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So i've posted about ADHD on this forum a few times now, but now that i've graduated high school and will be starting my pre med journey, I have some questions. And before you ask, yes I have considered other careers outside of medicine, yes I have been diagnosed with ADHD by a physician, and yes I am on medication.

 

OK NOW THAT, THAT IS CLEARED UP.

 

I did receive test taking accommodations in high school. I believe they called it an 'informal IEP' as I did not undergo a psychoeducational assessment. I was diagnosed with ADHD-PI November 2015, and discussed accommodations with my physician in January 2016 receiving them in time for first semester exams at the end of January. My 'IEP' outlined that i would write tests/exams in a quiet environment, and receive extra time. Personally, finishing tests have never been the issue, its making stupid mistakes by not reading the question carefully or by writing down the wrong number in a calculation... and not having the extra time to catch those mistakes is where I have struggled.

Now that I have enrolled in classes at UTM, I have seen an accessibility advisor at the university. I had the medical assessment form filled out by my physician, and I will be receiving the same accommodations in university really. I will be writing at the test centre receiving a shorter, but still an extra amount of time on tests and exams.

 

My end goal, is really to not need the extra time. My advisor even told me that I can choose to not use the extra time for certain tests, and I can honestly say that I might not use it all the time. Where I really struggle in is math. I will be answering a question but then i'll read the question above it on the same page and use the wrong numbers, or literally do a question right but not write down the correct number from my calculator, or do something correct but the question may specify for the answer to be in a certain form and I just completely miss it. Math is such a struggle, and not because I don't know how to do the question, but because i will misread the question, or write down the wrongs numbers. It is so frustrating. However, having extra time on math exams has helped me tremendously because I can catch those mistakes or have time to go over a test and catch where I went wrong (in terms of writing down the wrong number, not answering in the form asked, etc). But on the other hand, in a psychology test or a biology test with no calculations, I only really struggle with that attention to detail and I don't need as much time to catch these mistakes.

 

It hasn't even been a year since my diagnosis. My academic struggles prior to November 2015 can all be explained by undiagnosed ADHD, and the struggles i face now are related to things like medication, lifestyle, and trying to figure out the best way to study and learn! I will be going on a higher dose of my current med when school starts, in high school I was getting less than 6 hours of sleep way too often and this year I will be ensuring I get at least 7-8 hours of sleep, and with the help of academic advisors and mentors I am going to truly learn the best way to study with my ADHD.

 

I am just entering my first year as a pre med student now, and with a higher dose of medication, better sleep, and new study habits (quiet environment, recording lectures, cue cards, using an agenda) I believe that I can truly eliminate the need for extra time. Also, by doing all of this my grades will improve and certainly be enough for med school.

 

Anyways, I just feel like having ADHD and getting extra time is heavily looked down upon through the med school application process. I think extra time can be arranged for the MCAT, but I also know that extra time on assessments is really not a thing in medical school. So if I can get my ADHD under control, and actually work towards not needing extra time, will I be taken seriously as a med school applicant? One of the positive things from this disorder is the ability to hyper focus when I am doing something that I enjoy! I've actually heard that many ER physicians have ADHD, and work well in the adrenaline filled environment. i don't have any doubts in myself about becoming a doctor, but i just don't want my dream to be taken away because of test accommodations or because of the stigma of this disorder.

 

So if I can take tests without extra time, get a 4.0 GPA, and get killer EC's and letters of reference, will I have a fair shot at medical school? 

 

PS: If you have ADHD and you are pre-med, in medical school, etc. I would love to hear your experience with the process!

 

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First things first, med admissions will never know that you have ADHD and that you received special accommodations during undergrad unless you tell them (which is a whole other debate... you have 3 years to think about that).

 

Second, I am fairly certain that most exams in med school will have accommodations. At McGill there are students who write their exams through the office of students with disabilities. There may be cases where there are no accommodations (physical exam skills assessments?), I am not sure.

 

I am certain that there are students with ADD and ADHD in medical school. I am sure there are challenges, but there are no explicit barriers.

 

If I were you, I would focus on what you need to do now to get the grades you need and a strong application.

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First things first, med admissions will never know that you have ADHD and that you received special accommodations during undergrad unless you tell them (which is a whole other debate... you have 3 years to think about that).

 

Second, I am fairly certain that most exams in med school will have accommodations. At McGill there are students who write their exams through the office of students with disabilities. There may be cases where there are no accommodations (physical exam skills assessments?), I am not sure.

 

I am certain that there are students with ADD and ADHD in medical school. I am sure there are challenges, but there are no explicit barriers.

 

If I were you, I would focus on what you need to do now to get the grades you need and a strong application.

 

 

Thank you! My only worry is being looked down upon for taking extra time, but I guess if I choose not to tell the med schools I am applying to I won't have a problem. That is still tough however because my ADHD is a big part of me, but like you said I have 3 years to think about that. Thank you for the advice, will dedicate this year to finding the most efficient way to study with my particular struggles, and hopefully eliminate the need for extra time all together.

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I agree with not my real name.

 

Focus on getting good grades right now in undergrad and think about medical school much later. If you get in, you will more than likely be fine.

 

Thank you very much, i'll try to do that. I think pre med students often forget that applying to med school does not happen until much later haha.

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Hey

I am a 4th year medical student and I have ADHD. Ive been diagnosed around 8 years old but never took any medication until medschool. I just couldn't keep up with all the boring reading...

 

ADHD really is a disorder. You will have to work harder than everyone else. I hope your IQ is high enough to compensate for your attention deficit without burning yourself out.

 

Contrary to what I often heard in the past (and still hear it), being a physician is not a good career for someone with ADHD. People think ER docs have ADHD because they have a high level of energy which people tend to call hyperactivity and believe there is a link with ADHD. In fact, working and being efficient in the ER needs a sustain multitask level of focus and attention few people cant get, let alone people with ADHD.

Also, 2 third of the job is reading files and writing the said files, which is not a really good fit...

 

Sorry if I sound bitter.

You can do it. It is doable. But you have to ask yourself if it is really a good career choice. Not because it is too "hard" in an absolute way but because it is a job that especially need a lot of attention... and at the end you may not be happy with it. I wish I knew this before entering medschool.

 

I dont know if I have answered any of your questions. I haven't really read your first post because ADHD.

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Hey

I am a 4th year medical student and I have ADHD. Ive been diagnosed around 8 years old but never took any medication until medschool. I just couldn't keep up with all the boring reading...

 

ADHD really is a disorder. You will have to work harder than everyone else. I hope your IQ is high enough to compensate for your attention deficit without burning yourself out.

 

Contrary to what I often heard in the past (and still hear it), being a physician is not a good career for someone with ADHD. People think ER docs have ADHD because they have a high level of energy which people tend to call hyperactivity and believe there is a link with ADHD. In fact, working and being efficient in the ER needs a sustain multitask level of focus and attention few people cant get, let alone people with ADHD.

Also, 2 third of the job is reading files and writing the said files, which is not a really good fit...

 

Sorry if I sound bitter.

You can do it. It is doable. But you have to ask yourself if it is really a good career choice. Not because it is too "hard" in an absolute way but because it is a job that especially need a lot of attention... and at the end you may not be happy with it. I wish I knew this before entering medschool.

 

I dont know if I have answered any of your questions. I haven't really read your first post because ADHD.

 

 

Thank you for being honest with me. Med school is a lot of reading and memorization in the first place, but reading and writing files is also a big part of being a physician. One thing you said stood out to me, and it was about burnout. When you have ADHD, a lot of the times you are either dealing with no focus or hyper focus... and you can really overwork yourself if you've had an unproductive day and then hit a window of time where you are super productive and hyper focusing. For me particularly I hyper focus and get a lot of work done late and night, but the consequence of that is that I don't get a lot of sleep and I get burnt out. I think at this point I honestly just have to figure out how to manage productivity during low and hyper focusing. Like you said, it is doable :) and if I find myself struggling in undergrad from all the reading and memorizing then I will know that medical school is not the path for me. Thank you for sharing your experience with me.

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I really don't think you'll be looked down upon.

A number of my classmates in medschool have dyslexia and require extra time to complete exams. Medical school lecturers and tutors should be familiar with these circumstances.

 

Wow really!? I personally think that having dyslexia would be even harder than having ADHD, and that is super inspiring and motivating to hear that your classmates are in medschool despite having dyslexia. I guess there really are no explicit barriers in life when dealing with learning disabilities or mental illness. Thank you for sharing :)

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