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Engineering to Medicine


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Hi everyone, 

I'm currently an engineering student at university of Waterloo, having just finished my second year. I've done 3 coops so far, but as I gain more and more exposure and experience in the engineering field, the greater my desire to pursue a career in medicine (and not where I'm working to make someone rich). My questions are:

1) Am I on the right path to become a competitive applicant? 

2) On top of my extracurriculars, what are other things should I do to? 

3) When should I start prepping for MCAT? Will I need to take some courses to supplement my studies?

4) Any recommendations?

Also I'm a little worry that due to the nature of my program, my GPA and extracurriculars will not be as good as those in different programs. Do universities take this into consideration?

GPA (converted from OMSAS): 

1A: 3.86

1B: 3.94

2A: 3.95

2B: 3.9

Extra-curricular activities:

 3 Coops (6 by the end of graduation)

Intramural soccer

Volunteering at a hospital (with patient interaction). 

Also I'm hoping to do a bio-medical research during my last coop at the university. 

 

I wish I had realized this sooner, but it is what it is. :/ 

Any feedbacks are welcome :) 

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I'm not too familiar about how switching from engineering to med goes but people have done it (and you could find some threads on it). I can attempt an answer to your questions though:

1) There is not a 'right' path to med and you wouldn't be on a 'wrong' path, although it may be a bit harder for reasons like maintaining a GPA and ensuring you have all the prereqs (depending on if the school you're applying to has prereqs)

2) The bulk of the application is GPA/MCAT and CV, maybe Casper, and then of course interview. But some of that you would worry about later.

3) Not sure what courses you've taken for your degree, but anytime between now and before deadlines if you're taken the recommended MCAT courses (look up the MCAT topics to know if you're missing a course. They are all intro/first year level topics). Writing early means you have more chances to rewrite if you're not satisfied with your score, but writing later means you'll have more knowledge to help you. 

Being different is not a bad thing as long as you find ways to incorporate your experiences into the CANMED framework (look it up!) 

Some schools like McGill and UBC consider what kind of degree you have, others don't. But your GPA looks fine regardless, keep it up.  

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Your GPA is good (especially for Engineering course load).  That has typicality been the problem for Engineering students wanting to apply to medicine. 

Med schools account for Co-op term cycles in the application process so that is not an issue.

For MCAT, you have the physics already.  Your Chemistry from yr 1 is more likely industrial (aka stack gases) than medical chemistry.  You can pick up the chem and Bio background probably via self-study over a work term.

You don't have to have research -  but your thoughts of bio-med research is good thinking.

Read up about Can-Meds and think about ECs that could be leveraged in those ways.

 

 

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15 minutes ago, Meridian said:

Your GPA is good (especially for Engineering course load).  That has typicality been the problem for Engineering students wanting to apply to medicine. 

Med schools account for Co-op term cycles in the application process so that is not an issue.

For MCAT, you have the physics already.  Your Chemistry from yr 1 is more likely industrial (aka stack gases) than medical chemistry.  You can pick up the chem and Bio background probably via self-study over a work term.

You don't have to have research -  but your thoughts of bio-med research is good thinking.

Read up about Can-Meds and think about ECs that could be leveraged in those ways.

 

 

Thanks for the response!

Is my GPA competitive the way it is, or is it only competitive for students with engineering degree? I'm hoping the GPA will improve over the years as I put more effort and time (and also from the trends I've seen from my seniors). As well, how long would you say it will take to study MCAT from scratch? (I guess it depends on many factors, but just a rough estimate from your/other people's experiences). 

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10 minutes ago, wjl123 said:

Thanks for the response!

Is my GPA competitive the way it is, or is it only competitive for students with engineering degree? I'm hoping the GPA will improve over the years as I put more effort and time (and also from the trends I've seen from my seniors). As well, how long would you say it will take to study MCAT from scratch? (I guess it depends on many factors, but just a rough estimate from your/other people's experiences). 

If you look up accepted GPA averages, yours would be around there so Meridian was saying that your GPA is even more impressive considering you're in engineering (if the school even takes that into consideration). 

MCAT studying takes about 2-3 months with a decent background in most of the topics, for example. Highly variable

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On 1/13/2019 at 8:58 PM, wjl123 said:

Hi everyone, 

I'm currently an engineering student at university of Waterloo, having just finished my second year. I've done 3 coops so far, but as I gain more and more exposure and experience in the engineering field, the greater my desire to pursue a career in medicine (and not where I'm working to make someone rich). My questions are:

1) Am I on the right path to become a competitive applicant? 

2) On top of my extracurriculars, what are other things should I do to? 

3) When should I start prepping for MCAT? Will I need to take some courses to supplement my studies?

4) Any recommendations?

Also I'm a little worry that due to the nature of my program, my GPA and extracurriculars will not be as good as those in different programs. Do universities take this into consideration?

GPA (converted from OMSAS): 

1A: 3.86

1B: 3.94

2A: 3.95

2B: 3.9

Extra-curricular activities:

 3 Coops (6 by the end of graduation)

Intramural soccer

Volunteering at a hospital (with patient interaction). 

Also I'm hoping to do a bio-medical research during my last coop at the university. 

 

I wish I had realized this sooner, but it is what it is. :/ 

Any feedbacks are welcome :)

You will get in for sure, your GPA is great, keep that up. Just study for the MCAT, do well, get some ECs, you are probably lacking a bit on the volunteering/service side of things, so that is where I would start, but you will likely be able to get into med school in your 4th or 5th year. You should write your MCAT whenever you have the chance, your co-ops don't really give you a summer off right? I'd probably write it whenever you can get a more relaxing semester or work placement to study. MCAT is very important, so give it your full attention, it is more important to do well on the MCAT than to do ECs actually. 

 

 

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22 minutes ago, Edict said:

You will get in for sure, your GPA is great, keep that up. Just study for the MCAT, do well, get some ECs, you are probably lacking a bit on the volunteering/service side of things, so that is where I would start, but you will likely be able to get into med school in your 4th or 5th year. You should write your MCAT whenever you have the chance, your co-ops don't really give you a summer off right? I'd probably write it whenever you can get a more relaxing semester or work placement to study. MCAT is very important, so give it your full attention, it is more important to do well on the MCAT than to do ECs actually. 

 

 

Thanks man, really gives me a lot of hope. Yeah I really don't breaks longer than 2 weeks because of school & coops. Do you think doing a research is worthwhile? Also do you have any tips for preparing for CARS section of MCAT? I have roughly a year, so would like to tackle the fundamentals. 

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9 hours ago, wjl123 said:

Thanks man, really gives me a lot of hope. Yeah I really don't breaks longer than 2 weeks because of school & coops. Do you think doing a research is worthwhile? Also do you have any tips for preparing for CARS section of MCAT? I have roughly a year, so would like to tackle the fundamentals. 

The central dogma of premed in canada is GPA > MCAT > ECs. GPA is the hardest to fix, a bad GPA can cost you years and thousands of dollars to fix, which is why if you need to choose, always choose coursework and exams over the rest. The MCAT is incredibly important, some medical schools don't look at your ECs, like Mac for example. MCAT is fixable in Canada, since they look at the latest, but in the US they look at all your scores. Pound for pound though, prioritize the MCAT, it really is a snapshot in time, you could focus on the MCAT, get a good score and spend all your other time on ECs. 

Honestly, research isn't mandatory to get into medical school, there is a section for it, but it should take about the same priority as your other ECs. If you have the time, consider it, but it isn't a priority. 

If you have a year, i'd start with reading a lot. Reading novels, more challenging magazines like the Economist etc., would really help. CARS is a longterm game as opposed to something you can cram, so it is really important that you start now. 

 

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Jesus.... you put me to shame. I’m not a med school student but judging by the fact that I was impressed with that and embarrassed with myself tells me you have a solid chance. The fact that it’s engineering too....probably just continue to get 3.9+ and for mcat you’ll need to review organic chem and bio and some social science such as psych (there’s courses you can take or you can just by the books and of course khan academy) you’re good on the physics it’s probably baby work to you but you should review it because baby work can sometimes be the thing that messes you up. If you want to go to Ottawa or Mac you need CASper and for that you just need to practice; I’ve heard from people that reading doing right and looking at MMI scenarios really helps. But yeah honestly just keep it up and you’re competitive. Good for you and good luck :)

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4 hours ago, reticularlamina said:

Jesus.... you put me to shame. I’m not a med school student but judging by the fact that I was impressed with that and embarrassed with myself tells me you have a solid chance. The fact that it’s engineering too....probably just continue to get 3.9+ and for mcat you’ll need to review organic chem and bio and some social science such as psych (there’s courses you can take or you can just by the books and of course khan academy) you’re good on the physics it’s probably baby work to you but you should review it because baby work can sometimes be the thing that messes you up. If you want to go to Ottawa or Mac you need CARS and for that you just need to practice; I’ve heard from people that reading doing right and looking at MMI scenarios really helps. But yeah honestly just keep it up and you’re competitive. Good for you and good luck :)

Ottawa doesn’t take MCAT, but they do use CASPer like Mac which is sort of like an online psych test lol. 

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9 hours ago, Edict said:

The central dogma of premed in canada is GPA > MCAT > ECs. GPA is the hardest to fix, a bad GPA can cost you years and thousands of dollars to fix, which is why if you need to choose, always choose coursework and exams over the rest. The MCAT is incredibly important, some medical schools don't look at your ECs, like Mac for example. MCAT is fixable in Canada, since they look at the latest, but in the US they look at all your scores. Pound for pound though, prioritize the MCAT, it really is a snapshot in time, you could focus on the MCAT, get a good score and spend all your other time on ECs. 

Honestly, research isn't mandatory to get into medical school, there is a section for it, but it should take about the same priority as your other ECs. If you have the time, consider it, but it isn't a priority. 

If you have a year, i'd start with reading a lot. Reading novels, more challenging magazines like the Economist etc., would really help. CARS is a longterm game as opposed to something you can cram, so it is really important that you start now. 

 

Thanks for the insight! I will absolutely focus on school the most. The current plan is to do biomedical research my next coop (which is more relaxed than a regular coop job), so that I can focus on studying MCAT as well as on volunteering. Again, thanks a lot I really appreciate it! 

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5 hours ago, reticularlamina said:

Jesus.... you put me to shame. I’m not a med school student but judging by the fact that I was impressed with that and embarrassed with myself tells me you have a solid chance. The fact that it’s engineering too....probably just continue to get 3.9+ and for mcat you’ll need to review organic chem and bio and some social science such as psych (there’s courses you can take or you can just by the books and of course khan academy) you’re good on the physics it’s probably baby work to you but you should review it because baby work can sometimes be the thing that messes you up. If you want to go to Ottawa or Mac you need CASper and for that you just need to practice; I’ve heard from people that reading doing right and looking at MMI scenarios really helps. But yeah honestly just keep it up and you’re competitive. Good for you and good luck :)

lol thanks man. Well i have to say engineering so far has been pretty shit. Pointlessly hard. I'd definitely not recommend taking my path to medicine :P I will definitely grind all the sections of the exam, but from what I heard CARS is probably the most important, so I'll get started with that soon. 

You also aiming for medicine?

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3 hours ago, wjl123 said:

lol thanks man. Well i have to say engineering so far has been pretty shit. Pointlessly hard. I'd definitely not recommend taking my path to medicine :P I will definitely grind all the sections of the exam, but from what I heard CARS is probably the most important, so I'll get started with that soon. 

You also aiming for medicine?

Yeah but I have a lot more work to do to fix my mistakes so props to you dude. And yeah I know a couple people at Waterloo some hate it some love it - at least the co op makes you money right? And yeah for Mac and Ottawa super important basically for most med schools it’s GPA > MCAT > EC but for those schools they have cars weighing a lot to try to diversify their admissions and make sure the right kind of people are becoming doctors but best of luck to you! You got this! :) And if you took full course loads your eligible for wGPA for UofT and what not which will just make your gpa higher. But yeah you have a lot of options if you just continue to raise your GPA.

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I also did engineering at UW and now am in my second year of med at Western. Definitely not the easiest route to medicine, but definitely doable! Also, just to make you feel better, I decided I wanted to medicine at the of 3B... So you're definitely doing ok!

1) For sure! That's a great GPA, especially for engineering (as everyone has said).

2) If possible, I would try to get an extracurricular with a bit more of a leadership role and/or some research (research co-op definitely counts). Though don't knock yourself out too much, having varied work experience from co-op is valuable and you don't want to stretch yourself too thin. Also, if you don't have a lot of people around you applying to med school, try to read some books/listen to some podcasts/watch videos/etc. about the process and med school itself. That's something that really helped me!

3) It depends on your study style and what courses you've done, but I studied in the evenings over a co-op term and that was enough for me. That being said, one of my friends in engineering took a co-op term off to study for the MCAT. Really depends on what you think you'll need! In turns of extra courses, it probably depends a bit on the type of engineering and your electives whether. A number of med schools don't care about your courses, but for UofT and UOttawa they have more specific requirements.

4) Stick to whatever you're doing now! You've got a great GPA and good extracurriculars, and obviously are thinking and planning in advance. While engineering is directly helpful in the application process, it was definitely a great talking point in interviews, and gives you a unique mindset in medicine which I think can be quite valuable. Also, regarding co-op - depending on your stream and how your terms work out, you might end up having an "academic year" that only has one school term, which technically isn't counted a full course load. I had that, and it ended up being fine, but I ended up writing a decently long explanation on some of my apps to make sure they would take Waterloo's crazy co-op schedule in to consideration.

All the best!!

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5 hours ago, dreng12 said:

I also did engineering at UW and now am in my second year of med at Western. Definitely not the easiest route to medicine, but definitely doable! Also, just to make you feel better, I decided I wanted to medicine at the of 3B... So you're definitely doing ok!

1) For sure! That's a great GPA, especially for engineering (as everyone has said).

2) If possible, I would try to get an extracurricular with a bit more of a leadership role and/or some research (research co-op definitely counts). Though don't knock yourself out too much, having varied work experience from co-op is valuable and you don't want to stretch yourself too thin. Also, if you don't have a lot of people around you applying to med school, try to read some books/listen to some podcasts/watch videos/etc. about the process and med school itself. That's something that really helped me!

3) It depends on your study style and what courses you've done, but I studied in the evenings over a co-op term and that was enough for me. That being said, one of my friends in engineering took a co-op term off to study for the MCAT. Really depends on what you think you'll need! In turns of extra courses, it probably depends a bit on the type of engineering and your electives whether. A number of med schools don't care about your courses, but for UofT and UOttawa they have more specific requirements.

4) Stick to whatever you're doing now! You've got a great GPA and good extracurriculars, and obviously are thinking and planning in advance. While engineering is directly helpful in the application process, it was definitely a great talking point in interviews, and gives you a unique mindset in medicine which I think can be quite valuable. Also, regarding co-op - depending on your stream and how your terms work out, you might end up having an "academic year" that only has one school term, which technically isn't counted a full course load. I had that, and it ended up being fine, but I ended up writing a decently long explanation on some of my apps to make sure they would take Waterloo's crazy co-op schedule in to consideration.

All the best!!

Thank you so much for your response! Do you mind if I dm some other questions I have? I'm actually aiming for Western myself as well and would love to get to know more about your experiences on preparing for it :) 

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  • 5 months later...
On 1/13/2019 at 8:58 PM, wjl123 said:

Hi everyone, 

I'm currently an engineering student at university of Waterloo, having just finished my second year. I've done 3 coops so far, but as I gain more and more exposure and experience in the engineering field, the greater my desire to pursue a career in medicine (and not where I'm working to make someone rich). My questions are:

1) Am I on the right path to become a competitive applicant? 

2) On top of my extracurriculars, what are other things should I do to? 

3) When should I start prepping for MCAT? Will I need to take some courses to supplement my studies?

4) Any recommendations?

Also I'm a little worry that due to the nature of my program, my GPA and extracurriculars will not be as good as those in different programs. Do universities take this into consideration?

GPA (converted from OMSAS): 

1A: 3.86

 1B: 3.94

 2A: 3.95

 2B: 3.9

Extra-curricular activities:

 3 Coops (6 by the end of graduation)

Intramural soccer

Volunteering at a hospital (with patient interaction). 

Also I'm hoping to do a bio-medical research during my last coop at the university. 

 

I wish I had realized this sooner, but it is what it is. :/ 

Any feedbacks are welcome :)

Competitive cumulative GPA for med school in Canada is 3.9+, the closer to 4 the better, but if you're above 3.9, which you are, you're in good shape. Also I just wanted to add that that is a phenomenal GPA considering your at Waterloo Engineering!!! Its a damn shame that Canadian medschools don't factor in the difficulty of one's coursework, by far the biggest hole in the current admissions process imo, there's no way in hell your 3.91 is equivalent to a mac health sci 3.91, and I say that as someone who was in health sci before medschool. Good for you man. Most important thing is for sure to maintain that GPA, try to increase it if you can, every little bit helps, but ultimately a 3.91 isn't going to hold you back. For MCAT CARS, the key is practice, consistent, spread out and TIMED practice. For the science sections, it's a matter of sitting down and learning the material and then again doing a good amount of timed practice. You can self study everything for the MCAT, you don't need to take first year bio, biochem etc. for the MCAT, but you do need some of those courses as they are prereqs for certain medschools (UofT and Ottawa both require something like 4 courses in bio/biochem + 2 courses in social sciences, check their websites, Mac, Queens and Western had no prereqs at least when I applied). In terms of non-academic requirements they're looking for you to demonstrate the CANMED roles, refer to the table here: http://www.applymd.utoronto.ca/non-academic-requirements. You can demonstrate these character qualities through your coop experiences, it does not need to be cookie cutter president of the premed club type of stuff, if anything reviewers love stuff that is unique. Maintain that GPA above all else. As others have said, other mistakes are fixable, but it's near impossible to recover from a hit to your GPA. 

Also don't be discouraged at all by having a non-traditional path, you're bringing unique experiences and skills to the table that others don't have. For example theres a really famous opthamologist at UofT who did eng before medschool, theres also a new concurrent MEng program at UofT specifically for med students, the point being that your eng background can actually work to your advantage depending on how you spin it in your application. Reviewers love things that make applicants unique.

 

 

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On 7/10/2019 at 8:15 PM, batmanisthebestsuperhero said:

Competitive cumulative GPA for med school in Canada is 3.9+, the closer to 4 the better, but if you're above 3.9, which you are, you're in good shape. Also I just wanted to add that that is a phenomenal GPA considering your at Waterloo Engineering!!! Its a damn shame that Canadian medschools don't factor in the difficulty of one's coursework, by far the biggest hole in the current admissions process imo, there's no way in hell your 3.91 is equivalent to a mac health sci 3.91, and I say that as someone who was in health sci before medschool. Good for you man. Most important thing is for sure to maintain that GPA, try to increase it if you can, every little bit helps, but ultimately a 3.91 isn't going to hold you back. For MCAT CARS, the key is practice, consistent, spread out and TIMED practice. For the science sections, it's a matter of sitting down and learning the material and then again doing a good amount of timed practice. You can self study everything for the MCAT, you don't need to take first year bio, biochem etc. for the MCAT, but you do need some of those courses as they are prereqs for certain medschools (UofT and Ottawa both require something like 4 courses in bio/biochem + 2 courses in social sciences, check their websites, Mac, Queens and Western had no prereqs at least when I applied). In terms of non-academic requirements they're looking for you to demonstrate the CANMED roles, refer to the table here: http://www.applymd.utoronto.ca/non-academic-requirements. You can demonstrate these character qualities through your coop experiences, it does not need to be cookie cutter president of the premed club type of stuff, if anything reviewers love stuff that is unique. Maintain that GPA above all else. As others have said, other mistakes are fixable, but it's near impossible to recover from a hit to your GPA. 

Also don't be discouraged at all by having a non-traditional path, you're bringing unique experiences and skills to the table that others don't have. For example theres a really famous opthamologist at UofT who did eng before medschool, theres also a new concurrent MEng program at UofT specifically for med students, the point being that your eng background can actually work to your advantage depending on how you spin it in your application. Reviewers love things that make applicants unique.

 

 

Hey thanks for the response man, I really appreciate it. Yeah for now my main focus is the GPA. Trying my best to raise that up to 3.95+ cgpa for year 3 and 4 but it's so hard :/ 

Also I've recently secured a research position at the SickKids hospital so I'm really looking forward to it! 

Do you have any good resources for CARS practice? As you've said, I think I can self-study the rest of the MCAT content but the CARS section seems the most difficult to me. I already do online daily passages but haven't been helping very much. 

Thanks a lot :) 

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On 7/12/2019 at 12:21 AM, wjl123 said:

Hey thanks for the response man, I really appreciate it. Yeah for now my main focus is the GPA. Trying my best to raise that up to 3.95+ cgpa for year 3 and 4 but it's so hard :/

Nothing to add to the conversation except to say that you have a great GPA for Waterloo engineering.  You must be one of the top handful in your class.  Keep doing whatever it is you're doing.

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On 7/12/2019 at 12:21 AM, wjl123 said:

Hey thanks for the response man, I really appreciate it. Yeah for now my main focus is the GPA. Trying my best to raise that up to 3.95+ cgpa for year 3 and 4 but it's so hard :/ 

Also I've recently secured a research position at the SickKids hospital so I'm really looking forward to it! 

Do you have any good resources for CARS practice? As you've said, I think I can self-study the rest of the MCAT content but the CARS section seems the most difficult to me. I already do online daily passages but haven't been helping very much. 

Thanks a lot :) 

Straight up man, dont worry about your GPA it's more than enough to get you admitted (I had a 3.84 cumulative and i got in). As for CARS, it's not as hard as people say. The key is:

1) Dont second guess yourself during the test, your first instinct was probably right

2) Any answer with an absolute (always, never, etc) is probably wrong and you can work through process of elimination to find the right answer

3) Actively Read the WHOLE passage and try and absorb it. You dont need to remember every detail just get the jist of it. You will prob not be able to increase your reading speed but you can increase the speed you answer questions

4) think critically about everything you see and read in your day to day life. I dont really read books that much anymore but I watch tons (probably too much) of tv and movies and I analyze the hell out of them and I walked out with a good score. Also read the news if you arent already.

As for general CARS practice, I used the Examcrackers books and they were excellent. The passages are much harder than the real test so you will be ready on the day (but feel like you are soul-crushingly stupid while you practice XD)

Also those COOP terms will look great on your CV, it shows you can work with a team in the real world and that you can balance multiple responsibilities at once. 

Its very doable to study for the MCAT while working a COOP term. I worked full time while studying for mine, it just means you'll spend most weekends studying instead of doing other things. 

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  • 1 month later...
On 7/12/2019 at 12:21 AM, wjl123 said:

Hey thanks for the response man, I really appreciate it. Yeah for now my main focus is the GPA. Trying my best to raise that up to 3.95+ cgpa for year 3 and 4 but it's so hard :/ 

Also I've recently secured a research position at the SickKids hospital so I'm really looking forward to it! 

Do you have any good resources for CARS practice? As you've said, I think I can self-study the rest of the MCAT content but the CARS section seems the most difficult to me. I already do online daily passages but haven't been helping very much. 

Thanks a lot :) 

Shoot, haven't been on here for awhile, my bad if this is too late, this is taken from **DELETED**, but this is a summary of all the advice I have on CARS:

"Here's what you need to do to improve CARS: Do around 400-500 CARS passages over 4 months, I did a minimum of 2 timed passages (back to back, no break inbetween) a day, and for the last month or so I was doing a test everyday. Some days I did 2 practice tests back to back to further challenge my stamina. I would also undercut my time for the entire test by about 1 minute to further challenge my speed.

In terms of what practice material to use, IT DOESN'T MATTER, all practice is good practice, honestly. Prep companies like to pretend they have climbed to the top of mount everest and unlocked the hidden secrets of CARS/Verbal reasoning and only they can provide you with this esoteric knowledge, for a price of $10k, and that's just good marketing. The secret is there is no secret, you just need to put in the time on a consistent basis.

For reference though, I used Nextstep 108, EK 101 Verbal, EK 101 CARS, Testing Solutions, Khan Academy and ofcourse AAMC. AAMC's practice passages is the most essential purchase imo. I would spread out the AAMC practice passages, like 1 day a week do passages from AAMC, and also try and do the AAMC passages multiple times. Also with the AAMC passages, sometimes not always, after I would finish the timed practice, I would go back and take a closer/slower look. I would try and read the passage more deeply, like summarize it in my own words, summarize each paragraph, describe to my self the stucture of the passage, what the author is doing stuff like that. I would also look at the questions a bit more carefully and think about why the correct answer is correct and the wrong answer choices are wrong (7sage blind review technique, google it). Don't bother doing this with the material from the other prep companies, there question-answer logic is flawed compared to AAMC imo, and also you're time is much better spent doing other things, because doing this stuff would take me awhile, like 1-2 hours per passage. Also, this is not as important as the sheer number of practice passages you do. I say that becasue I have taken the smell the roses and read 1 passage for 10 hours approach in previous attempt, and it didn't improve my score. It helps a bit, but I think the majority of score increase can be attributed to doing lots of timed passages, and doing that every day. Over time, you just develop a feel for how to do CARS.

Another note on CARS practice materials, my score stayed the same from beginning till end on prep company materials, ~50%, but rose substantially over time on the AAMC material. So if you're not seeing progress, don't let that demotivate you. Also even on the AAMC material, the progress was slow as heck, I don't think I noticed any change till I was a month and a half in, and even then it was minor.

None of this advice is anything new really, testing solutions recommends something similar, probably the only prep company I trust somewhat, its run by a med student, and its prices were pretty reasonable at least when I used it. I would actually recommend the testing solutions CARS guide for scheduling convenience, but in terms of the techniques he recommends, I cant comment because I was too lazy to try them.

Lastly, I think I could have easily gotten more than 128 if I had spent more time studying consistently. During the first month or so of studying, I kept quitting becasue of how my score was, and I probably only put in 2.5-3 actual months of studying. Most of my score increased happened towards the end. On my scored sample, 2 weeks before the test, I got a 127, and then a 128 on the real. If you give yourself 4 months, and do 400-500 passages, i think you'll be able to achieve the high score you need, based on my experience. Also I don't think doing the same number of passages in less time, say 1 month or worse 1 week, is going to have as good of an effect. I think you should give yourself a minimum of 3, ideally 4 months of regular practice. You can definitely cram for university exams, but CARS is a skill and it takes time to develop. I realize there are people who are 'naturally' good at CARS, but I would guess those people have developed that skill over years of some kind of reading related activity.

TLDR: Do 400-500 timed CARS passages over 3-4 months, on a consistent basis (at least 2 timed passages a day). This approach allowed me to go from a 124 to 128; hopefully it will work for you too.

 

 

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