Friday, June 29, 2012

Interview at


15 days...

I was recently contacted by who asked if I would be willing to do an interview for their website.  I was asked me the following questions:

  1. First, can you tell us a little about yourself – where are you from, where did you go to school and when did you graduate; and what prior degrees do you hold?
  2. When do you plan on applying to med school? Do you know which schools will you apply to?
  3. What made you want to pursue a medical degree at this stage in your life? 
  4. I see on your Premed Progress page that you've already checked off a ton of items, but that you still have some biggies coming up. How are your AMCAS essays coming along?
  5. Why did you decide to blog about your med school application experience? 
  6. And last but not least, how do you get anything done with five little boys at home??

I'm not sure why they asked me, though I suppose I could email them and ask, and probably will now that I'm thinking about it.  But regardless, it was interesting to do a little self-reflecting about my medical school progress, my motivation for attempting this, and where I have come from.  I remember how my life used to be.  I don't want that life anymore.  I want something better.  Better for me, and my family.  I want to show my kids that they can do whatever they want to with this life.

Studying for the MCAT has me so focused on this task that it was nice to take a moment to reflect on what was, what is, and what is to come.  If you would like to read the interview in its entirety, it is available  here.  I just hope that I have done enough to get into medical school.  I hope I will be able to convey my passion and tenacity in my essays to them.  I hope that all of this has not been in vain.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sick and Sick of Studying

18 Days...

Being sick sucks.  I had the flu this past week and it really affected my ability to study.  I guess there really isn't a good time to be sick though is there?  I mean would I have rather been sick during my MCAT?  Or during finals week?  How about during an interview for medical school?  I guess it could be worse.  It still sucks though.

My real question is how is it that when I get sick, I operate at about 20% of my original capacity whereas my wife operates at 80% when she is sick?  Can someone explain this to me?  Am I a wuss or is she superhuman?  Maybe both.  It seems like I should be able to derive a formula for this... hmmm....

My MCAT study schedule needs to be "customized" a bit more... In other words there is no way I will be able to finish all of these horrid books (and I use the word horrid with all my love).  I figure I'm strongest in the biological section.  I will spend the rest of this week going over just physics and general chemistry.  After that I will call my review officially done.  The next phase of this process will then begin.  I will start taking the AAMC practice exams and study from those.  I plan on doing one every other day.  Maybe every third day depending on how well or poorly I am doing.

I look forward to an update soon saying that I'm kicking the practice exam's butt...

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Happy Father's Day

26 Days...

Happy Father's Day to all the fathers out there.  I was fortunate in that I only had to referee a few tussles instead of the several all out wars that tend to erupt in our little dwelling.  The little demons were really putting forth extra effort with being patient with each other because they know that fighting  amongst themselves aggravates me.  Sweet devils.  They got me several gifts... no tie... Wooo!  For dinner we went to Babes which was delicious and gross at the same time.  The food was awesome.  Because they give never-ending side dishes, the amount of food consumed by my 6'6" frame was disgusting.  However, my affectionately called "bacon pouch" that resides around my midsection seemed to relish the gluttony.  Good Day.

Now that Father's Day has passed, everything is back to normal.  The boys are at it like they need to make up for lost time.  Fists flying.  Nice.  Well it was good while it lasted.  It's also time to get back to studying.  Hydrocarbons are on the menu today in case you're interested.  It seems like something pretty basic that I should already have a good handle on, but we shall see.  Since it seems to be a frequent topic on the MCAT, I hope I'm able to crush this section.  Starbucks awaits... only this time, I will be able to block out any and all over-the-hill white rapping, Starbucks loiterers with my new headphones that block out all sound except the soothing tunes I choose.  Thanks Dear for the excellent gift!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

28 Days...

I really wish I had a smart phone.  For some reason, the phone I have does not take video.  I also didn't bring my laptop with me to Starbucks.  It's really a shame.  I would love to have posted a video of the guy that was hanging out there (of course I would first need to figure out how to post videos - if anyone knows how, please let me know).  This guy was white, in his mid forties, and was obviously jamming to some gangster rap as he played on his laptop.  He was loudly "singing," and I use the term extremely loosely, directly behind me while throwing in all the profanity that accompanied the piece.  Oh what I would have given to be able to upload the craziness.  It would have gone VIRAL!

My studying is progressing nicely.  I again got a 10 on verbal.  Today's 10 was a little more disappointing because I missed several questions due to misreading them.  I guess next time I will ensure that I get those pesky double negative questions a more thorough reading.  I also spent time going over physics.  I am now officially finished with the first physics book in the Berkeley
Review series.  Wooo! Sweet.  Score.  It really feels like I accomplished something.  When studying for the MCAT, there are so few times, at least so far, where I feel like I'm actually making progress.  I have to make sure to delight in the small victories that come along.

This really is an extremely tedious process.  I have to just take it one step at a time though and hope it all pays off.  Inch by inch life's a cinch.  Yard by yard, life is hard.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Let the Countdown Begin

29 days...

I at least found something I'm good at as far as MCAT prep.  I've been getting so thoroughly discouraged with these Berkeley Review books.  However, I just breezed through the Stereochemistry chapter of the Organic Chemistry review book.  Woooo!  How awesome is it that I just crushed it.  I certainly needed that small shot of confidence.  Hopefully my MCAT will have several questions about stereochemistry on the exam.  But since they are psychic as well as sadistic (that's the word on the street anyway) I'm sure they will be maniacally laughing as they feed me a bunch of WTF kinda passages.

Another bright note is that I'm still solid on the verbal section.  I took another EK 101 verbal exam yesterday and scored a 10.  Nearly an 11.  And it's funny.  The questions that I struggled with are the ones I missed.  Hopefully on the real exam, I improve my intuitive reasoning and guessing (which will prove important for organic/biochemistry questions).  I would really like to get my verbal up to a consistent 12.  With all the reading I've done, and the fact that I'm majoring in a social science, I really should be scoring higher than I am currently.  Oh well... I'll take another practice test maybe tomorrow and see how that goes.  Until next time America.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

One More Month

One month.  One month till the big day.  It's really sneaking up like a freight train.  I have so much more material to cover in preparation for the exam.  It's daunting.  It may not be possible to adequately cover everything.  I may just have to be okay with that.  What else is there to do?  I'm not going to postpone my test.  I have to know that I have done a ton of passages.  I know the MCAT will try to get me out of my comfort zone.  Fortunately that doesn't really rattle me.  I mean, how much worse could it possibly be compared to the Berkeley Review passages?  Some of those are really nutty.

30 days.  I need to be done with content review in 2 weeks so I can take a bunch of the practice MCAT exams.  Wow.  I'm already burnt out.  My kids are tired of me studying all the time.  I never see my wife.  This is mentally and emotionally draining.  The hardest part of my day is opening a review book.  I put it off as long as possible to just give my brain a break.  I don't know how many people feel this way, but I feel like my brain is completely full.  It's like training for a marathon.  I keep building up my endurance in preparation for the big day, but I feel like I'm ready to drop.  I need someone to hand me a cup of Gatorade before I pass out.

Ok.  I guess I've put it off long enough... back to General Chemistry I suppose...

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Customizing my Study Plan

I've found that I will not be able to follow my previous MCAT study plan as laid out.  There just is insufficient time to do everything in that manner.  I have revised the plan to better fit my schedule.  I will be rotating between physics, general chemistry, and organic chemistry.  Each day I will read a section (chapter) and do the passages in the Berkeley Review (TBR) book.  I think the Exam Kracker questions are fairly elementary but will be a nice review once I have completed my content review.  So I will save those for later.

I will squeeze in verbal every few days or so.  Instead of doing a couple verbal passages each day, I will do a whole one hour exam so I can get my pacing down.  I'm feeling more and more comfortable with the verbal section and hope I score well on it during game time.  

I'm also not really worried about the writing section.  Heck, this is the last year there will even be one so who really cares right?  I will peruse the writing book I purchased - don't wanna waste my money after all!  But I'm in no real hurry to do so.  Being that I'm a psychology major, I have written many essays and feel fairly comfortable with my writing ability.

What about biology?  Well funny you should ask.  I'm reading it before bedtime.  It's quite soothing and an enjoyable read.  I don't really know why everyone on Student Doctor Network bags so hard on TBR's biology section.  I agree that it may be overkill for what is necessary on the MCAT, but I enjoy biology in general and feel I have and am getting a better grasp of the concept by the day.  I will work in the biology passages as time permits.  All in all, it's a less intense schedule for sure, but all the relevant material will be covered without the pressure of making sure I'm sticking to "the schedule".  I've been doing this for a few days now and I already feel like I'm accomplishing more.  Confidence is key.  Anyone who knows me tells me that I certainly don't lack for it, but this studying is sure putting it to the test.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

9 year old says, "Hey Dad, I'm hungry.  Will you make me some dinner?"

4 year old interjects, "Yo mama can make you dinner.  HA HA!!  That was a yo mama joke :D"

Is it wrong that my four year old loves yo mama jokes?

Friday, June 8, 2012

"So did you know that if you shove a pixie stick up your nose, your nose will bleed?"

I really didn't think had to worry about my kids snorting white powdery substances at the age of seven.  It's a different world than where I'm coming from... yes it is now.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Show Me the Money

During a break in MCAT studying, I noticed my financial aid had come in for college.  Well, now I'm signed up for the fall semester already!  Next semester I'm taking the following classes:

Psychology - Biological Basis of Behavior
Biology - The Biology of Cancer
Psychology - Lifespan Development
Behavioral and Social Sciences - End of Life Issues

I'm very excited.  Now it's time to order the necessary textbooks so I'm prepared.  Fun times.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Dancing formulae

Yesterday, while doing MCAT prep at my school library, I got a text informing me that I was to attend a "concert in the park" with fireworks afterwards.  Although I really wanted to take advantage of not being surrounded by a pack of wild animals (my kids), and instead focus on my content review, I acquiesced.  We saw the Old 97's and some cool fireworks.  It was also the twins first concert.  All in all, I'm glad I went. The music gave the formulae in my brain some rhythm with which to dance.

This schedule that I'm trying to follow is really intense.  I mean crazy intense.  I don't know why I have to do everything the hard way.  It would be sooooo much easier for me to take the three months and prepare for this exam like a normal person.  Instead, I want to push myself to the breaking point and beyond by trying to do all of this in double speed.  My initial thought process was that I have taken all the prerequisites within a very short period of time, so everything should be fresh; content review should be at a minimum.  Additionally, I wanted to be able to apply as soon as possible to theoretically increase my chances of acceptance.  Though I may have bitten off more than I can chew by attempting this.  If I had it to do over again, I would definitely take it a little more slowly.  Oh well... back to physics...

Friday, June 1, 2012

Day One of MCAT prep... Again

I'm very excited!  My Berkeley Review MCAT books are arriving today.  I've read many posts on student doctor network that these are by far the best prep books available to simulate the actual MCAT.  So far I've been studying using resources from my school library.  I've delved deeply into McGraw-Hill's and Barron's, and some of Kaplan. I've honed up on my biology already so I feel great about that.  I thought I had a good handle on organic, after all I just finished two semesters of it.  However, I found out quickly that I do not perform well on organic MCAT type questions.

Right now I'm reviewing organic chemistry until my books arrive... Hurry up Fed Ex delivery guy. Once I receive my new material, I plan to study those along with the Exam Krackers books that I recently purchased but have not started to complete.  I will be following SN2ed (a frequent poster on student doctor network and the innovator of this study system) intense 3 month MCAT study plan in half that time.  This plan has been heralded from some extremely high scorers as the way to go.  At least that's my plan right now.  We shall see.  I will copy his study plan and post it here for those that are interested.

Day 1: Berkeley Review (BR) Physics Chapter 1 + Every third practice passage of all the corresponding practice passages for this chapter.  Take passages # 1, 4, 7, etc.  If you have a version with discretes, take descrete 1, 4, 7, etc. and spend about 1 minute per discrete. If you have the version with both "Review" passages and a practice exam, take 1/3 from the Review Passages and 1/3 from the Practice Exam.

** I'm eliminating the Hat Trick that he says to do as I will not have time.  I will include a link at the bottom should you wish to go to the original post**

For Instance:

Review Passages 1, 2, 3
Practice Exam Passages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

First 1/3: Review Passage #1;Practice Exam Passage # 1, 4, 7
Second 1/3: Review Passage #2; Practice Exam Passage #2, 5
Final 1/3: Review Passage # 3; Practice Exam Passage #3, 6

Day 2: BR Gen Chem Ch 1 + 1/3
Day 3: BR O-Chem Chapter 1 + 1/3
Day 4: EK Biology Chapter # 1 + 1/3 of the corresponding passages in the BR Bio book.  Although some of the chapters correspond well to each other, you'll probably have to jump around for some chapters.
Day 5 BR Physics Ch 2 + 1/3
Day 6: Re-read ALL of the previous week's chapters (Day 1-5). This means you re-read the ENTIRE chapter again for both BR physics chapters 1 & 2, BR Gen Chem chapter 1, O-Chem chapter 1, and EK Bio chapter 1.  Additionally, work through corresponding EK 1001 sections for the chapters you worked through last week (Day 1-5).  For instance, BR O-Chem chapter 1 goes over Organic Structure and Bonding; hence, complete the Molecular Structure in the EK 1001 O-Chem.  The topics probably won't match all the time, but go with the best fit.  Also, only do every third problem/passage in the EK 1001's.  Lastly, complete the in-class exam for the EK Bio chapter 1.  From now on, this day's work will be abbreviated: "Re-read chapters + EK Bio In-class exam"
Day 7: Break
Day 8: Complete second 1/3 of BR passages for the previous 5 BR chapters (remember this includes BR Bio).  I'm going to shorten this to: "Complete second 1/3 of BR passages"
Day 9: BR Gen Chem Ch 2 + 1/3
Day 10: BR O-Chem Ch 2 + 1/3
Day 11: EK Bio Chapter 2 + 1/3
Day 12: BR Physics Ch 3 + 1/3
Day 13: BR Gen Chem Ch 3 + 1/3
Day 14 Break
Day 15: Re-read chapters from Days 9-13 + EK 1001 for Days 9-13 + EK Bio In -Class Exam
Day 16: Complete second 1/3 of BR passages
Day 17: BR O-ChemCh 3 + 1/3
Day 18: EK Bio Ch 3 + 1/3
Day 19: BR Physics Ch 4 + 1/3
Day 20: BR Gen Chem Ch 4 + 1/3
Day 21: Break
Day 22: BR O-Chem Ch 4 + 1/3
Day 23: Re-read chapters + EK 1001 + EK Bio In-Class Exam
Day 24: Complete second 1/3 of BR passages
Day 25: EK Bio Ch 4 +1/3
Day 26: BR Physics Ch 5 + 1/3
Day 27: BR Gen Chem Ch 5 + 1/3
Day 28: Break
Day 29: BR O-Chem Ch 5 + 1/3
Day 30: EK Bio Ch 5 + 1/3
Day 31: Re-read chapters + EK 1001 + EK Bio In-Class Exam
Day 32: Complete second 1/3 of BR passages
Day 33: BR Physics Ch 6 + 1/3
Day 34: BR Gen Chem Ch 6 + 1/3
Day 35: Break
Day 36: BR O-Chem Ch 6 + 1/3
Day 37: EK Bio Chapter #6 + 1/3
Day 38: BR Physics Ch 7 + 1/3
Day 39: Re-read chapters + EK 1001 + EK Bio In-Class Exam
Day 40: Complete second 1/3 of BR passages
Day 41: BR Gen Chem Ch 7 + 1/3
Day 42: Break
Day 43: BR O-Chem Ch 7 + 1/3
Day 44: EK Bio Ch 7 + 1/3
Day 45: BR Physics Ch 8 + 1/3
Day 46: BR Gen Chem Ch8 + 1/3
Day 47: Re-read chapters + EK 1001+EK Bio In-Class exam
Day 48: Complete second 1/3 of BR passages
Day 49: Break
Day 50: EK Bio Ch 8 +1/3
Day 51: BR Physics Ch 9 + 1/3
Day 52: BR Gen Chem Ch9 + 1/3
Day 53: EK Bio Ch 9 + 1/3
Day 54: BR Physics Ch 10 + 1/3
Day 55: Break
Day 56: BR Gen Chem Ch 10 + 1/3
Day 57: BR O-Chem Ch 8 +1/3
Day 58: Reread Chapters +EK 1001 + EK Bio In-class Exam
Day 59: Complete second 1/3 of BR passages
Day 60: Break
Day 61: Hat Trick **
Day 62: Complete last 1/3 of BR passages for ALL Ch 1's: BR Bio Ch 1, BR Physics Ch 1, BR Gen Chem Ch 1 and BR O-Chem Ch 1
Day 63: Complete last 1/3 of BR passages for ALL Chapter 1's - From now on, I will abbreviate the last 1/3 of BR as 1/3.  I will include the chapters to cover.
Day 64: AAMC FL #3
Day 65: Review FL per guidelines + 1/3 Ch 2
Day 66: Review FL + 1/3 Ch 2
Day 67: Break
Day 68: 1/3 Ch 3
Day 69: 1/3 Ch 3
Day 70: Break
Day 71: AAMC #4
Day 72: Review FL + 1/3 Ch 4
Day 73: Review FL + 1/3 Ch 4
Day 74: AAMC #5
Day 75: Review FL + 1/3 Ch 5
Day 76: Review FL + 1/3 Ch 5
Day 77: Break
Day 78: AAMC FL #7
Day 79: Review FL + 1/3 Ch 6
Day 80: Review FL + 1/3 Ch 6
Day 81: AAMC # 8
Day 82: Review FL + 1/3 Ch 7
Day 83: Review FL + 1/3 Ch 7
Day 84: Break
Day 85: AAMC # 9
Day 86: Review FL + 1/3 Ch 8
Day 87: Review FL + 1/3 Ch 8
Day 88: AAMC #10
Day 89: Review FL + 1/3 Ch 9
Day 90: Review FL + 1/3 Ch 9
Day 91: Break
Day 92: AAMC #11
Day 93: Review FL + 1/3 Chapter 10
Day 94: Review FL + 1/3 Chapter 10
Day 95: Break


The original post can be found here.