Getting into Medical School, aka Holy of Holies (the F-1 version)

My adventures as an international student trying to get into a US medical school as a prestigious MSI student!

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Location: East Coast, United States

I am a 22 yr old Foreign lady trying to get into an American med school. The journey has been "rough" to say the least. So join the band wagon and let's see if they think I'm good enough to become a doctor. I hope my story encourages someone, maybe you. Not necessarily to become a doctor, but just to follow your dream. Leave your comments as you read...I thrive on feedback. And if this is your first time here, catch up on what you missed, cus every post IS important...well almost all. So forget that board meeting(at your own risk) or skip that class (again at your own risk) and lose yourself in my archives. REMEMBER: "If it aint ROUGH, it aint RIGHT" - Richard Hamilton, Detroit Pistons Guard

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The past part III

Theme parks on a beautiful summer Saturday. You wait in line for hours, watch some "smart" teenagers cut in front of you, hear those on the ride scream as their organs get thrown around and prepare yourself for thesame. Then you think about random stuff like what school the roller coaster's engineers graduated from, if they ever went to their physics classes, if they passed statics and dynamics, or if they even graduated at all...Then you get on the ride for all of three minutes, get off and repeat the cycle somewhere else. Even worse, you forget to check if you're tall enough, and in some cases slim enough, to get on the ride before joining the line, then all the hours of waiting are wasted. Reminds me of the sometimes skewed mentality of some guys. They buy her gifts, buy her drinks, take her to movies, carry her books, laugh at all her "jokes", etc. They wait and prepare. In this case for weeks and sometimes months. Why? Just to get her in a certain position for three minutes. They forget to do their background check to see if she's that kind of girl, or they make one wrong move, then all the weeks/months are wasted, but she will still have the teddy bears, will still have drunk that drink and will still think she has good jokes. His loss, her gain. It's all about good preparation and yes, covering all your bases. I wish I knew that back when I was preparing for the MCAT.

I had experienced the whole exam vicariously through one of my high school friends (we'll call her "smart-one") that was about a year ahead of me in college. The strenous preparation, the long days, late nights and such and had seen her do very well in the exam (mid 30's). So when I finally decided to take the exam I decided to follow in her foot steps and sign up for the famously over-priced Kaplan course. Luckily for me I was outside "The Ends of the Earth" at the location of Miu Corp and the course was available locally. So I went to class after work all through the summer, paid as much attention as I could summon after staring at a computer for 8 hours, and tried to do the whole mental preparation thing. Till now, "smart-one" had ingrained in my head how I was among the smartest people she knew (probably remebering my high school glory days when all the brain cells were still ready and willing) and how I was bound to get at least a 40 on the test. I guess when you hear something often enough you start believing it. So I started believing I could slaughter the exam with one pencil stroke...which wasn't necessarily a bad thing to believe, so far I backed it up with adequate preparation. But the moment that decided my fate in the exam came when we did our first practice test.

It was at this point I realized that most of the questions were based on reading passages. I had a quick flash back to the SAT verbal passages and ASSUMED they were going to be of similar difficulty..."Donkey"fication finally complete. You would think I would know better after scoring a 23 on the practice test, but for some reason, my brain had already registered that the exam was a walk-over and there was no going back. This led to me taking things REALLY easy during my preparation. I didn't stress myself out, I didn't see why. I didn't do any practice tests on my own, didn't study anything more than 30 minutes daily which entailed going through flash cards on the bus to work while keeping an eye on my purse.(Purse-watching became a full time job the moment my checking account started reporting a steady four-figure daily balance). As I gradually became more familiar with the exam and its questions, my practice tests improved and I began to feel more confident, well until the night before the exam.

Bear in mind that the exam is an 8 hour long exam that demands at least that many hours of sleep if you hope to perform your best. So the night before the exam after receiving numerous pep talks from quite a handful of people, I proceeded to glance at the supporting material that I was supposed to have studied on my own over the past few months. You know, the science summary books, the practice tests, etc. Page after page I freaked out a bit more. There was so much I hadn't done, no wonder I never got anywhere close to a 30 on the practice test. This was the first time it hit me that my preparation to that point was "slightly" lacking. And with every passing hour getting enough/any sleep was looking impossible. I had two choices, I could just not show up for the exam the next day($1500 for classes and $190 exam fees down the drain) or I could go for it and hope for some miracle. I remembered the few exams I had "free styled" through out my educational career and how I had been pleasantly surprised...sporadically. Maybe this would be one of those times.

Exam day came, I was running on three hours of sleep and eight of panic. Should really have been the other way around. I barely finished any of the sections. Physical Sciences was like greek,Verbal a bit better but didn't come close to finishing, writing...ok, biological sciences...good but could surely have been better. Time was up, and the proctor gave us one more opportunity to cancel the exam, it sounded very appealing. But I didn't/couldn't do it. Eight harrowing weeks later, the results came out.

I had gone after the "girl" for three months, paid for "her" drinks, laughed at "her" jokes and carried "her" books but I made one wrong move. I hadn't given her the respect she deserved. Not only was I unable to get "her" in the position I wanted, she had tossed me right out the window and left me to lick the wounds. My loss, her $190 gain.

We fall down, sometimes more than once, but we eventually get up and if we're sane, we don't follow thesame path again...if and only if we are sane.

PS: I got a 25 R on the test.

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Blogger Bijouxoxo said...

I believe u're sane. So, tell me the 2nd time around, u didn't follow the same path. Updates needed. But u know u were one of the efikos (sewrious ones) in school.

August 13, 2006 11:41 PM  
Blogger ABBEY said...

how do you know i took it i'll update soon enough

August 14, 2006 3:39 PM  
Anonymous O.E. said...

We know cos qc chics never give up. atleast not without a fight!

August 15, 2006 8:50 AM  
Anonymous Oworu said...

You see, I have the same problem. I always believe miracles happen in exams so I am never prepared like i should be. Always doing last minute reading like I read in the first place. Then I realise its not the same brain I had back in St. Saviours. Lets know what you scored the second time. Anoda question...? Anoda $190?

August 16, 2006 2:42 AM  
Blogger ABBEY said...

yup its not thesame anymore...old age is sneaking up on us!

August 16, 2006 3:05 AM  
Blogger Bijouxoxo said...

Is oworu a boy? He went to St. Savior's, does his 1st name begin with W?

August 16, 2006 4:35 PM  
Blogger ABBEY said...'s who ur thinking

August 16, 2006 4:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Abbey, thank you for sharing this experience!

August 11, 2011 1:51 PM  

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