Medical school is a demanding endeavor that requires adequate preparation. To get started, you need to do your homework. More than that, you need to develop habits and skills that will serve you well in your education and beyond. Here’s what you need to do to prepare for medical school and your career as a doctor.
Compassion is a key component of any healthcare provider. It helps you to connect better with your patients and not dismiss their concerns. It also helps you to resolve to find solutions that will ease their pain or discomfort instead of giving up easily. It’s not the same thing as empathy, though. You need to be able to take action on those feelings and do what you can to help improve their situation. You can develop empathy by volunteering at a hospital or somewhere you can connect with people who have medical needs.
Assemble a Study Group
As with any major goal, medical school can be overwhelming, especially for a first-year student. You may find yourself getting distracted by the material or losing track of your progress in class. Having a study group will help you stay motivated and on track throughout your first year of medical school. A study group is also an excellent way to learn more from each other and can help you better understand complex topics.
Plan to Take the MCAT Exam Early
One of the most important tests you’ll take prior to medical school is the MCAT exam. You can start preparing for the MCAT exam as early as your first year of college. Although, most people wait until later in their college career when they have more education under their belts. In addition to taking an excellent MCAT prep course, you should also practice taking sample tests so that when it comes time to take the official examination, you will feel comfortable and confident with what is expected of you. It’s a huge investment and a good score is critical for placement in medical school.
Make Sure you Have the Right Prerequisites
The prerequisites are the requirements that must be met in order to get into medical school and become a physician. While there are many different types of doctors, such as psychiatrists and surgeons, they all share some basic commonalities in terms of their training requirements. The most important component is the ability to think critically and solve problems through the use of deductive reasoning skills. The core subjects for all applicants include biology, chemistry, and physics. Additionally, certain math courses and more are all required. Some programs require additional courses, so it’s important to go above and beyond to ensure that you meet all the requirements for the medical schools you’re interested in.
Stay on Top of Current Health Issues
Asking good questions, learning, and growing will help you in school and when you become a doctor. Being on top of current health issues will help you stay relevant, and it also makes you a good medical student. In your classes and clinical rotations, you’ll have to be aware of social, political, and economic changes that impact medicine. As new discoveries are made, it can impact the way that medical professionals deliver care to treat patients.
Practice Empathy and Cultural Competency
As a medical student, you’ll be working with people from all walks of life. You will treat patients from different cultures and backgrounds. As such, it’s important that you develop empathy and cultural competency in order to provide the best care possible to your patients.
You can start by reading literature on the subject matter. Read up on what empathy is and how you can develop it in yourself as well as others. Another great way to learn about both empathy and cultural competency is through internships or shadowing opportunities at community health centers or hospitals. You’ll want to learn how different cultural norms impact healthcare and how you can deliver better care.
As you can see, there are many things to consider when preparing for medical school. While testing and doing well in classes are important, you’ll never be a truly great doctor if you don’t develop compassion, empathy, and cultural competency.