3 Reasons Why You Should Take an MCAT 2015 Diagnostic Test

Get ready for MCAT 2015Worried about the new MCAT? Prepare yourself with Next Step Test Prep’s new MCAT 2015 diagnostic test. Here are three reasons why you should take this high-quality practice exam…

1. To better acquaint yourself with the new test.

The new test has an increased emphasis on bio and biochem, as well as a new psychology and sociology section. Taking old practice tests just won’t cut it if you want to be prepared for the 2015 MCAT.

2. To determine your weaknesses.

Next Step’s diagnostic test results will clarify for you which areas are your strongest and which are your weakest. Once you’ve received your “diagnosis” (individual section scores, a total score, and detailed analysis), you’ll be able to work on those weak spots until you feel confident in ALL areas of the exam.

3. To learn a thing or two about time management.

One of the more difficult aspects of the new MCAT is the increased length. It is not easy to sit for eight hours, and you will do little to prepare yourself for the exam if you practice in short 1-2 hour spurts. Next Step’s four-hour diagnostic will not just help you in terms of content, but in terms of getting used to sitting for long periods of time and time management.

Sign up today to gain access to this valuable free resource.

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Med Student Interview with Amanda: “Be as Prepared as You Can Be”

Read more Med student interviews!This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with medical school applicants and students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top medical schools and the med school application process. And now, introducing Amanda Xi…

Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? What’s your favorite non-school book?

Amanda: I was born and raised in metro-Detroit. During my Sophomore year of high school, I stumbled across an ad for the Acceleration to Excellence Program at Bard College at Simon’s Rock (Great Barrington, MA) and applied for it. By the Spring of that year, I was offered the full-tuition scholarship and made the decision to drop out of high school to attend this college early.

After I completed my Associate’s Degree, I transferred into the Biomedical Engineering program at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI) where I completed my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.

Before starting medical school at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, I worked at Terumo Cardiovascular Systems as an engineer for a few months – it was a great way to confirm that medicine was definitely a better fit for me than engineering.

My favorite book tends to be the one I’m currently reading. Today, that’s Atul Gawande’s new book, Being Mortal. I developed an interest in biomedical ethics over the course of medical school and his book does a great job encouraging medical professionals, caretakers and patients to take a moment to reflect on end-of-life planning.

Accepted: Where are you in med school? What year? What is your favorite thing about that program? Least favorite thing?

Amanda: I’m currently a 4th year medical school student and part of the Charter Class at Oakland University William Beaumont (OUWB) School of Medicine in Rochester, Michigan. My favorite thing about the program is how receptive administration has been over the course of the last 3.5 years in accepting and implementing our feedback.

When I started at OUWB, I knew that I signed up to be a guinea pig and as expected with any new institution, there were definitely bumps along the way (this is my least favorite thing). But this wasn’t a big issue for me because we had supportive faculty and staff working on every issue from the moment it surfaced.

Accepted: Do you know what you’ll be specializing in? Have you had any clerkships that have stood out?

Amanda: I applied to Anesthesiology residency programs this last fall. We had an elective month during our 3rd year; because I had an interest in the field (I later learned that engineers tend to naturally gravitate toward the specialty), I decided to do a clerkship in it. From Day 1, it was clear that the field was a good fit – I enjoyed the intellectual discussion, procedures and environment. Additionally, I felt comfortable working alongside the anesthesiology residents and attendings, which was important to me because I would be spending the rest of my life working with this group of individuals!

Accepted: Can you share some residency application tips with our readers?

Amanda: Be as prepared as you can be. That’s the best advice I can give – the process has a lot of little things to consider (e.g. which programs to apply to, how many, letters of recommendation, when to take Step 2, away rotations, etc), but if you start planning your 4th year during the winter of your 3rd year, nothing will surprise you when you start July 1.

Obviously if you are not sure what specialty you want to apply to, this is a bit more difficult, but you can still plan to do away rotations/sub-internships in the specialties you’re interested in and ask for letters in support of multiple specialties.

If you perceive that certain parts of your resume may hold you back (e.g. Step 1 score), think of ways you can show improvement (like taking Step 2 early). Make sure to ask the students in the year ahead of you about their experience and for specific advice tailored toward your situation.

Accepted: Looking back on the med school application process (if you can remember that long ago!), what would you say was your greatest challenge? What did you do to overcome that challenge?

Amanda: I submitted my primary and secondary applications on the later side, so the greatest challenge for me was trying to stay positive despite having no interviews for many months then later being waitlisted at the first two institutions I interviewed at. I didn’t get my first acceptance until 9 months after I started the process, so it was a tough time for me. I turned to my support system to keep me afloat and in the end, it all worked out.

Accepted: Can you tell us about your blog? When and why did you start blogging?

Amanda: I started amandaxi.com the summer before M1 year as a way to reflect upon the application process and answer any questions about attending a brand new medical school. It evolved into a cathartic outlet for me and the inspiration for my Capstone research project on social media. I slowed down in 3rd and 4th year to free up time for my other commitments, but hope to get back into the swing of writing more regularly when I start residency.

The direction of my entries may end up evolving away from a day-to-day discussion to more scholarly reflections upon current events in healthcare, but we’ll see! I’m also hoping to start a video blog series with advice on applying to medical schools and getting through medical school.

Accepted: Can you recommend a nice coffee shop on or around campus that you recommend for studying or meeting up with friends?

Amanda: I’m a Starbucks fanatic, so just about any one will do for me!

For one-on-one guidance on your med school applications, please see our catalog of medical school admissions services.

You can read more about Amanda’s journey by checking out her blog, And thus, it begins. Thank you Amanda for sharing your story with us – we wish you loads of luck!

Do you want to be featured in Accepted.com’s blog, Accepted Admissions Blog? If you want to share your med school story with the world (or at least with our readers), email us at bloggers@accepted.com.

5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your Residency Personal Statements.

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Related Resources:

Residency Applications: How to Match

Help! I’ve Been Waitlisted – 6 Tips for Waitlisted Applicants

• Residency Application Tip: Settling, and How To Avoid It

Pre-Med Summer Undergraduate Research Programs

Often top medical schools in the U.S. offer pre-med summer undergraduate research programs. The purpose of these programs is to expose ambitious, talented college students to graduate-level medical research, usually over the course of 6-12 weeks over the summer. These programs generally provide generous stipends, as well as free housing and compensation for travel expenses. Students work closely with faculty members on research, usually resulting in a large, final project that’s presented at the end of the summer term.

Below are some of the top undergraduate research programs in the U.S. But first, a few notes:

  1. Each program awards students a stipend (detailed in the chart), as well as free housing. Some also cover travel costs and provide other subsidies, which are specified below.
  2. Each program requires applicants to submit an online application. See the specific applications for details as the number of essays/personal statements differ per program (generally ranging from one to three essays).
  3. While none of these programs require students to have a minority or disadvantaged background, nearly all of the programs explain that this background is sought and a plus in the admissions process.

Here are a few highlights from the different research programs:

Summer Programs 1

Summer Programs 2

Summer Programs 3

Summer Programs 4

Interesting in applying? Here is application information:

Summer Programs A

Summer Programs B

Summer Programs C

Are you interested in pursuing a career in medicine? We have more pre-med resources where this came from! Continue reading our blog and check out our catalog of medical school admissions services. We are happy to help you achieve your dreams!

Related Resources:

Navigating the Med School Maze
Where Should I Apply To Medical School?
Medical School Admissions: MD vs DO Programs

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Medical School Admissions 2015-2016: A Dean’s Perspective

It is ‘Medical School’ time of year.  Some of you are getting ready for the interview. Others are dealing with being waitlisted or rejected. And some of you are getting your applications ready to submit this summer for the first time. Now that MCAT 2015 is another and new ingredient in this volatile mix, we thought it was time to bring a medical school admissions expert, Jennifer Welch, to our podcast.

Jennifer Welch, currently the Associate Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at SUNY Upstate Medical University, has been a medical school admissions director and dean for over twenty years.

Listen to the recording of our conversation as Dean Welch graciously shares her time and insights on medical school admissions 2015-2016.

00:4:07The New MCAT – a different focus.

00:5:35 – MCAT – are high scores still necessary for acceptance?

00:7:00 – New vs old MCAT scores, how to evaluate?

00:8:05 – The goal of the medical school interview.

00:9:25Interview day – time to make sure you are a good fit!

00:11:45 – Speaking with students on campus?  Chatting with a receptionist?  The “interview” isn’t over.

00:12:31 – Be real…feel real…in a suit.

00:13:47MMI Interviews – what is the SUNY Upstate’s approach?

00:17:00 – The student who did not get an interview and why. Suggestions so that you snag the med school interview invitation.

00:19:45 – Great GPA and MCAT but no clinicals – what are your chances?

00:21:35 – Details, details, details!

00:22:50 – How to make shadowing count.

00:26:59 – 2016 Applicants – get the applications in early!

00:28:26 – Took a gap year?  Explain. (It’s to your benefit).

00:29:24Reapplicants – what should your focus be?

00:30:15 – Think being a waitress or camp counselor wasn’t important?  Think again.

00:32:33Waitlisted – When is updated information helpful?

00:33:43 – Dean Welch gives advice for college students thinking of med school.

00:35:43 – Final pearl’s of wisdom for all applicants.


Listen to the full conversation to learn more!Relevant Links:

• SUNY Upstate Medical School Admissions
Navigating the Med School Maze
• A Second Chance at Medical School: The A-Z of Applying to Postbac Programs
• Medical School Reapplicant Advice: 6 Tips for Success

Related Shows:

Getting Into Medical School: Advice from a Pro
Med School Conversation with Cyd Foote
All Things Postbac
MCAT Scores, MCAT Prep, and MCAT2015
MCAT Mania: How to Prepare
A Window into the World and Life of Medical Scribes
 What You Need to Know About Post-bac Programs

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*Theme music is courtesy of podcasthemes.com.

Parents of Pre-Med Students: How Much Help is Too Much Help?

Download our Parents of Pre-Meds guide!As a parent of a pre-med student dreaming of getting accepted to medical school, you probably wonder “How much help is too much help?” We’re pretty sure we’ve got just the resource for you…

Here’s an excerpt from our new guide, Parents of Pre-Meds: How to Help, on respecting boundaries during the admissions process:

As the application season progresses and anxiety is rising, avoid bringing up the topic of medical school admissions or calling medical schools on your son or daughter’s behalf. Most children are thrilled to share good news with their parents – once they get it. To prevent unnecessary stress, allow your child to be the person who gives you regular progress updates. (Rejoice! No need to nag.)

Your children are adults now. And giving them the space that adults deserve will enhance their sense of self-responsibility and independence, not to mention your relationship with them. Applications can become a painful topic for them and bringing it up before exams or while they are focused on other goals can derail their progress in those other activities. You can even have an open and honest conversation with them early in the application process about how they would like to manage the topic. Whatever you agree to do, honor your word.

Are you looking for more spot-on advice on how to help your child achieve their med school dreams without panicking, pushing, or pestering? Download Parents of Pre-Meds: How to Help  today!

Get your free copy of 'Parents of Pre-Meds' now!Accepted.com: The Premier Admissions Consultancy