What to Know Before Applying to Med-School
If you want to become a doctor, you’ll need to attend med school once you graduate from a four-year college. In addition to your original four years in college, med school will add another four years, minimum, of additional training and education. This is what’s required to become a doctor. Sometimes, aspiring nurses also opt to attend med school.
The Beginning is Especially Difficult
The first two years of med school are the most difficult. For starters, making the transition from regular college to med school is tough. Plus, the first two years of med school are primarily in the classroom. Since there’s not much to do outside of the classroom, this can feel overwhelming for students who just finished four years of school. You may feel antsy to get out of the classroom and into a more hands-on program. Additionally, med school classes come with weekly exams and are packed to the brim with information that you need to memorize and learn.
You’ll Constantly be Studying
There is so much to learn in medical school. Between studying for regular exams, learning about all types of technology like the enterprise imaging and memorizing many medical terms, you’re going to be cracking the books daily. This is a lot different than traditional college, where you may have had three or so exams throughout the entire semester. You’ll also have to learn how to handle your new schedule, extreme workload and limited free time. Even your sleep schedule will change.
Unlike in college, when a late night cram session was enough to pass a final, med school requires a lot more studying. You’ll want to experiment with all different types of study methods, some that you never used in college. Play around with reading information from the textbook, working in a study group and using flashcards.
You’ll Need to Take the MCAT
Most med schools in the U.S. require applicants to take the MCAT. There are a lot of test materials out there that can help you prepare for the exam. If you take the exam and don’t like your scores, you can take the test again.
The Student Body is Very Diverse
In traditional college, most of the people you’re in classes with are around the same age. You may have even have noticed that a lot of your fellow students are from the same backgrounds and have a lot of the same experiences. Med school is very different. There are people of all ages and from all different backgrounds. Some are in the midst of a medical career while others have just graduated college. The atmosphere is completely different from regular college. However, you’ll be able to work with students who already have experience in the medical field, which will only help you.
You’re Going to Fail
Exams in med schools are graded with “pass” or “fail.” You’re not going to see percentages of how you performed or letter grades. It’s not uncommon for med students to pass at least one exam, especially in the very beginning of your med school experience. The good news is that this type of grading systems means your classmates will be less competitive with one another. You'll also learn how much you have to study for exams in order to pass them. Since there are frequent exams from the very first year, you'll quickly figure out how much studying is required of you to perform well.
Although it’s still formal education, med school is much different from college. A lot of students don’t expect med school to be so different, especially when they go straight to med school from regular college. Knowing the differences that are ahead can make the entire process a lot easier.