Time Management Tips Ideal for Medical Students

Time Management Tips

Between going to classes, studying, and going about the everyday rigors of life – especially if you also have a job – it probably seems as if you never have enough time to get everything done. Fortunately, there are plenty of time management tips that can help you get more done in the time you have without sacrificing sleep or time for yourself.

Use a Monthly, Weekly, and Daily

Planners are a great tool to have in your medical school arsenal, and they come in many styles and price ranges. Ideally, you should keep a planner with a monthly, weekly, and daily view so you can have an overview of what’s coming up as well as a way to plan your day. Start by labeling the current month with your important exams and lectures, then head over to the current week and add these to that layout, as well. Then, every evening, review your weekly layout and create a schedule for the next day. By scheduling your entire day hour-by-hour, you will discover that you really can get things done as long as you stay focused.

Multitask When Possible

Though it’s hard to do much multitasking as a medical student, it is absolutely possible. Here are a few tips you can use:

  • Record lectures and listen to them when you commute or exercise. Some people find that listening to recorded lectures on their morning jog or even as they commute helps them discover things they may not have heard during the actual lecture.
  • Meal prep for a week in advance. This is one of the best time-saving tips of them all, and the good news is that it’ll also save you money. Plan your shopping trips in such a way that you have enough food to make two or three meals instead of just one. Then freeze your extra portions for healthy, wholesome dinners on the fly.
  • Study with friends. Social time is vitally important to your overall wellbeing, so make a few friends in your classes and turn part of your social time into study time. This will benefit everyone in the long run.

Don’t Procrastinate

“I’ll study an extra few hours tomorrow,” or “I’ll be okay if I only get four hours of sleep tonight,” are common among medical students. Unfortunately, what gets put off until tomorrow rarely gets done, and doing this regularly just puts even more stress on you the following day. Training yourself to stop procrastinating takes time and self-discipline, but it is well worth it in the end. Consider rewarding yourself for completing your list of daily to-dos without putting anything off. For example, for every day you manage to do this, give yourself $5 to spend at the restaurant on campus you’ve been dying to try.

Medical school is tough, and there’s no doubt about that. If you feel like you are constantly on the go but still not accomplishing as much as you should, you are absolutely not alone. The tips listed above are some of the absolute best for making the most of the time available to you without sacrificing your well being.

Are Medical Schools Looking for the Musically Inclined?

Doctors and Music

If you’ve always dreamed of being a doctor, you’ve likely spent many years preparing for your opportunity to attend a prestigious medical school. Between taking the right preparatory classes, getting good grades, and doing your part for your community, hobbies likely never cross your mind. However, there’s some evidence suggesting that medical schools prefer students with musical abilities for a few different reasons.

What Does Music Have to Do with Medical School?

If you think that your ability to play a guitar, saxophone, or piano will get you into medical school alone, then you have been sadly misinformed. Unfortunately, there’s a lot more to admission into medical school than playing a musical instrument. However, if you meet all the other requirements and you play an instrument, there’s some data to show that your chances of gaining entry will likely be much higher. It’s not about the ability or the knowledge of the notes; it’s about the self-discipline it takes to learn an instrument in the first place.

Similar Traits

Dr. Doug Angel, a surgeon who carefully removes cancerous tumors of the head and neck, didn’t take the usual route to medical school. Dr. Angel and several other of Canada’s medical professionals started their journeys with degrees in music. Though he majored in piano and created beautiful melodies with his hands, he now spends his days removing cancerous tumors from his patients’ heads and necks. Though music and medicine may not have an apparent and immediate link, there are traits shared between doctors and musicians that can help predict professional success.

  • Avoiding Complacency – Complacency is often described as the lack of desire to improve one’s skills and overcome plateaus. Musicians push past these plateaus by reassessing their skills and focusing on what they could do better. This translates well in medicine, too. By constantly assessing one’s skills and how they could be improved, patient outcomes also improve.
  • Preparedness – Musicians who performed as part of chamber groups also have an advantage. They learned early on to work together on their own time to do the best work possible and be prepared for their performances. Once again, this will also serve students well in medical school; they will be expected to study on their own time and prepare themselves for exams.
  • Matching Technical Skill with Art – A career as a musician is founded in technical skill just as a career in medicine is founded in knowledge of the human body. However, at some point, both of these will coalesce into something greater – something in which both the musician and the physician will give it his or her own signature and make it an artform. Art and science complement each other perfectly, and musicians who have taken the time to learn the foundations and apply their own personal touches are almost always successful doctors for the same reasons.

Medical schools are catching on, too. After all, professors put a lot of time and energy into developing the world’s next generation of doctors and surgeons, ensuring that previous generations’ work and research is expanded into the future. These days, medical schools look at much more than your GPA, so if you are musically inclined, be sure to put this on your application.

 

 

 

What Is the Professional and Linguistics Assessment Board?

QBank for the Plab Part 1

The Professional and Linguistics Assessment Board, also known as the PLAB, is an examination in the United Kingdom that is used to measure foreign medical students’ competency and knowledge before providing them with licensure to practice medicine in the UK. Learning more about the PLAB can help students feel more at ease before testing.

Sign up to our PLAB Part 1 Question Bank

Who Needs to Take the PLAB?

If you are a medical school graduate, but you graduated from a school that is outside of the UK, EEA (European Economic Area), or Switzerland, you will need to sit for the PLAB in order to prove that you have the right level of education and knowledge to practice medicine according to UK laws and standards. You will need to pass both parts of this examination before you can register with your license to practice medicine.

Scheduling Your PLAB

To schedule your PLAB examination, you will need to visit the General Medical Council’s licensing and registration section that is dedicated to this exam. Here, you can gain some vital information about how the exam is set up, create your online account through the GMC, and book your test in any number of countries. Beforehand, you should consider downloading the PLAB blueprint which is offered directly through the GMC to help you better understand the knowledge and skills you should possess in order to pass.

A Two-Part Test

The PLAB is administered in two separate parts.

  • PLAB Part 1 – This part of the exam consists of 180 multiple choice questions that you must answer within a total of three hours. In each question, you are given a scenario to analyze, and you must select the best possible answer to fit that scenario out of a total of five. You can take the first part of the PLAB in various countries worldwide, including the UK.
  • PLAB Part 2 – This part of the exam takes place in a clinical setting. You will be given 18 different mock scenarios to analyze, and you will have eight minutes per scenario to provide the required information. These scenarios are just like consultations or acute wards that doctors in the UK must perform each day, and these only take place at the Clinical Assessment Centre located in Manchester, England in the UK.

After Passing the PLAB

Once you have successfully passed both parts of the PLAB examination, you can apply for your license to practice medicine in the United Kingdom. It is important that you submit your application within a reasonable timeframe because you will only have two years after taking the PLAB Part 2 to obtain licensure approval. After your application is approved and you have been registered, you can rightfully and legally work as a doctor in the UK.

Simply put, the PLAB exam is much like an equivalency examination that ensures you have the expected level of knowledge and education to work as a physician in the UK while upholding that country’s medical standards. It is a requirement among students in Canada and the United States, among other countries, who wish to work as doctors in the United Kingdom.

What Are the Top 10 Medical Schools in the United States?

Top 10 Medical Schools in the US

If you are interested in attending an American medical school, there are dozens from which to choose. Below, you will find the top 10 medical schools in the country. These schools are ranked according to USMLE pass rates, post-graduation success, and more.

#1 – Harvard University

Harvard is arguably the most prestigious medical school in not only the United States, but also the entire world. The faculty are the most brilliant minds in their fields, and Harvard’s medical professionals are focused on research and innovation, as well. The school was established in 1636, making it the oldest university in the country.

#2 – Stanford University

Stanford is located in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley. Recently, through the Stanford Challenge campaign, the school spent $4.3 billion to enhance its research on the environment, human health, arts, education, and more. It’s one of the top research universities in the world, particularly when it comes to the medical field.

#3 – Johns Hopkins University

This school opened its doors in 1876 and has since set worldwide standards for educating new physicians and surgeons. Its medical center is known around the world for its ambition and research initiatives, as well. There are some 24,000 students attending the university at any given time, with several thousand of these students attending the medical program and performing their residencies at the famed Johns Hopkins Medical Center.

#4 – The University of California

The UCSF’s School of Medicine is one of four professional schools, and it’s also one of the best in the country. Their research program focuses on basic science, which serves as a foundation for everything from medicine to engineering. The school places a great deal of focus on learning more about the very foundations of biology, which drives innovation.

#5 – University of Pennsylvania

UPenn has been operational since 1740, and it offers four undergraduate and 12 graduate schools, giving it a very broad reach. It focuses on intellectual rigor, inclusivity, and research to improve the lives of people around the world, and its medical program is certainly no exception. The school spends some $700 million each year on new research initiatives, many of which are in the medical field.

#6 – Columbia University

Columbia has led the nation in medical education for more than 250 years, and with more than 200 individual research centers and institutes, it sets world standards for research initiative. The university offers some of the best work-study programs, internships, and residencies in the country, as well.

#7 – Duke University

Though Duke is in its infancy compared to many of the other prestigious medical schools in the US, it has certainly proven its value to the country. It focuses on the pursuit of knowledge and is especially appealing to students who want to broaden their ideas and test their talents – even in the medical field.

#8 – Washington University at St. Louis

The medical school at Washington University is all about creating diversity in the medical field. Its research center is known as one of the most productive and effective in the world, as well. Students value this university for its unique career center, which helps aspiring doctors determine their career paths long before graduation.

#9 – University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor is yet another top contender when it comes to US medical schools thanks to its unique approach to data analysis and research. It offers some 31 master’s programs related to medicine and health, and it spends $1.3 billion each year on research initiatives alone. These initiatives not only produce some of the world’s greatest doctors, but also create jobs, enhance the economy, and make the world a better place for humankind.

#10 – Yale University

Yale is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the country, and it was founded back in 1701. It boasts numerous research centers that focus on various disciplines, including several specific to biology, medicine, and technology that could benefit the medical world. Career advising is top-notch here, and they offer some of the finest residency opportunities in the country.

If you are interested in attending medical school in the United States, these 10 options are the cream of the crop. Admission requirements are quite stringent, however, so be sure to check them out, work hard, and do your very best if you want to attend.

 

 

Steps Required to Become a Doctor in the U.S

Become a Doctor in the U.S

American doctors are among some of the highest-paid healthcare professionals in the world, so it comes as no surprise that people from all over the planet study, work hard, and obtain their license to practice within the US. There are several steps involved in becoming a doctor in the United States and understanding them can help you make better decisions about your chosen career path.

#1 – Earn Your Undergraduate Degree & Prepare for Medical School

The very first thing you need to do to become a doctor in the US is earn your bachelor’s degree. Though the major you choose is not really important at this point, remember that you will need to complete courses in biology, chemistry, math, and physics before you can gain entry into medical school. Once you earn your bachelor’s degree, you will need to take and pass the MCAT exam, which stands for Medical College Admissions Test. Almost every medical school in the country requires you to not only pass the exam, but also score highly on it. The most prestigious schools in the nation require incredibly high scores.

#2 – Get Your Medical Degree

Medical school is tough, and programs typically last about four years. You’ll spend the first two years in a classroom setting and the last two working with patients under the supervision of an experienced doctor. American medical students find their studies quite stressful, but fortunately, there are ways to simplify things. Keeping healthy, utilizing proven study methods, and getting enough rest will go a long way toward helping you to earn your degree.

#3 – Complete a Residency

After you’ve graduated from medical school, you will be required to complete a residency program to prove your competency to work as a physician in the US. During your residency, you will work in a variety of specialty settings, including things like obstetrics, pediatrics, and even surgery. During this time, you will be responsible for patient care, and depending on the year of your residency, you may or may not work under the direct supervision of a doctor. Residency programs last four years, and you will complete this part of your education in a hospital setting.

#4 – Get Your Medical License

Finally, in order to work as a physician in the US after you complete your residency, you will need to obtain a license, and in order to get the license, you will need to take the USMLE licensing exam. In order to qualify for the exam, you will need to complete medical school and your residency program beforehand, and you will need to pass any exams that come alongside this residency, too. The USMLE is a three-step exam, and you must pass each step-in order to move on to the next. Scores here are not important; this is a pass-or-fail type of examination.

Once you obtain your license, you can seek employment in a hospital or clinic, or if you prefer, you can even start your own practice. You may also choose to seek certification from the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) in a specific area of medicine in order to further your career as a physician.

 

Important Things to Know Before Taking the USMLE Step 1 Examination

USMLE Step 1 Examination

If you are preparing to take the USMLE Step 1 exam, you may be feeling stressed out, apprehensive, or even terrified of failure. One of the best things you can possibly do is educate yourself as thoroughly as possible, and the following bits of information are sure to help you do just that.

Test Format

Familiarizing yourself with the test format can help you feel more at ease when it comes time to test, and fortunately, the first part of the USMLE is pretty cut-and-dry. It consists of seven sections made up of 40 multiple choice questions each, and you’ll have a total of eight hours to finish it. You’ll get a total of 45 minutes during the test session for breaks, but if you finish a section before the allotted hour is up, you can use that time to take a break, too. It’s always a good idea to participate in the optional 15-minute tutorial just before the exam that will help you feel even more at ease.

Application Steps and Cost

To apply for the USMLE Step 1, you will need to apply through the NBME, or National Board of Medical Examiners. If you are from a country outside of the US, you need to register with the ECFMG, or Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates. You will be able to choose a test date from a number of available dates throughout the year, and as of 2018, the cost to take the USMLE Step 1 exam was $605.

The Best Time to Sit for the Exam

If you are curious about the best time to take your exam, it’s important to know that most students opt to sit for it sometime between their first and third years in medical school. You should be able to pass once you’ve passed all your basic medical science courses, and you should always take it before you start your clinical rotation. If you take it at this point, the things you’ve learned are still fresh, but you’ve also had the opportunity to take a couple extra months to study.

Passing Scores and Test Results

In order to pass the USMLE Step 1 examination, you will need to obtain a score of 192. As of 2016, the NBME reported that the average score among passing students was 225 with a standard deviation of about 20. The NBME releases scores to students each Wednesday of the year, and it takes about a month after you’ve taken the exam to get your scores. When they are available, you will receive an email advising you how to check your score online.

The USMLE Step 1 is an important step in obtaining a license to practice as a doctor in the US, and while it can be a stressful event, learning more about it will help you relax and obtain a better score. Remember that you can take this exam as many as six times in your lifetime, too. Study hard and do well in medical school, and you should have no problem obtaining the required score of 192.

How Do I Become a Doctor in Canada?

Become a Doctor in Canada

If you are interested in a lucrative, high-paying, and secure career, becoming a physician is a fantastic option. As if helping others and potentially even saving lives were not enough, Canadian physicians earn $339,000 each year on average. Becoming a doctor in Canada is a lengthy process that takes place in four major steps, and the information below will help you understand how it works from start to finish.

Obtain Your University Degree

First things first, before you can even go to medical school in Canada, you will first need to obtain a degree from an accredited university. This must be a bachelor’s degree, at the very least, and most medical schools will prefer that your degree have a basis in science. Though BS degrees are not always necessary, they benefit you by providing you with a basic understanding of concepts like biology and chemistry, making medical theories easier to understand. All medical schools will have a list of prerequisite courses, most of which are in science, so be sure that you take these during your time at university.

Go to Medical School

There are 17 medical schools in Canada from which to choose, but most will require that you are a resident of the same province in order to attend. It is a good idea to contact the school of your choice to obtain its specific requirements for admission, as well. Many medical schools across the country will require you to sit for and pass the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test), so this is an important step. It is easier than ever to apply for medical schools in Canada thanks to standardized online application systems.

Keep in mind that only a quarter of the students who apply to Canadian medical schools are accepted, so having outstanding credentials and a high university GPA will work in your favor. Medical school lasts four years; the first two take place in more of a classroom and lab environment, and the last two incorporate clinicals, where you work with patients under the supervision of a licensed physician.

Take and Pass Your Licensing Exam

After you complete your training in a four-year medical school, you must pass a licensing examination to prove your knowledge and competency before you can work as a physician in Canada. This exam, known as the MCCEE, or Medical Council of Canada Evaluating Examination, is by and large the most difficult exam most students will ever take. It is best to begin preparing and studying early, and for the best possible retention, utilize several study methods. Group study, quiet reading, note-taking, flash cards, and online question banks can provide you with a well-rounded study experience.

Complete Your Residency

Finally, once you have passed the MCCEE examination and become a licensed physician, Canada law requires you to complete a residency program before you can work independently. The goal is to allow newly-licensed doctors to learn from more experienced professionals in a sort of mentoring system and to allow them to adapt to their new career choices. For family doctors, the residency lasts two years, but for specialists, residencies can last as long as six years. Beyond that, you could even choose a subspecialty with another two or three years’ residency.

It takes at least 10 years of education and residency to become a doctor in Canada, and in that time, you will take one of the most difficult examinations in the world – the MCCEE. With enough dedication and persistence, and with the drive to help others for a lifetime, you could be one of Canada’s next favorite physicians.

Tips on How to Pass the AMC CAT Examination

The Australian Medical Council Computer Adaptive Test, or AMC CAT, is one of the most difficult examinations any aspiring doctor will ever take. The exam consists of 150 tough multiple-choice questions administered over the course of three and a half hours. Students often start preparing months or even a year in advance to give themselves an advantage. The following tips are those that come most recommended from those who have passed.

Start Studying Early & Access the AMC’s Preparation Info

By far, the best advice for passing the AMC CAT involves preparing early on – up to a year in advance of the exam itself. The Australian Medical Council has produced some publications to help you better understand the process and the best ways to prepare, and the earlier you access these, the better off you will be. The AMC even provides its own MCQ Online Trial Examination designed to help you familiarize yourself with the question and exam format.

Stay Healthy

Medical students work very hard during their time in university and medical school, and many simply forget to take care of themselves along the way. It is absolutely vital that you remember to eat a balanced, healthy diet, to stay hydrated at all times, and to get at least seven or eight hours of sleep eat night. Remember that you need to be healthy and rested in order to retain information, so taking care of yourself is important.

Utilize a Variety of Study Methods

Another important tip directly from those who have successfully completed the AMC CAT involves utilizing numerous different study methods over the course of several months. For example, reading textbooks and taking notes is important, but it simply isn’t enough to help you retain all the information you need. Be sure to group up with other students to quiz each other, make yourself some flash cards for terminology, and access an online study tool, such as CanadaQBank, to put your knowledge to the test regularly. Studying via all these different formats will help you retain more information over time than using any one of them alone.

Take Recall Exams

Finally, one of the most popular means of preparing for the AMC CAT examination involves taking recall exams from the last several years. These are available from the Australian Medical Council, and they provide you with the absolute best opportunity to truly familiarize yourself with the exam format and the types of questions you will be asked. Dedicating several hours each week to this will benefit you. Aim to take the last five years’ worth of exams, and if you can, perhaps even the last 10.

Passing the AMC CAT examination is about preparing early on, studying in the right ways, and taking care of yourself and your health throughout the process. Though it is a very difficult examination, it is possible to pass on your very first attempt if you dedicate your time and energy to learning as much as you possibly can during your classroom studies, labs, clinicals, and study sessions.

Are Medical Schools in Canada About to Go Through Some Changes?

Canadian Medical Students

If there’s one thing you can count on, it’s that everything changes with time. Recent changes to Canada laws will undeniably affect medical schools, and while some believe the reform could be for the better, there are others who are not so sure. Here’s what you need to know about Canadian medical schools and the upcoming changes.

Medical Licensing Examination Reform

All Canadian medical students who wish to practice as doctors in the country must take and pass the Medical Council of Canada Evaluating Examination, or MCCEE. This exam is designed to test potential doctors’ competency and knowledge before they begin their residencies. For many years, the Medical Council of Canada (MCC), has allowed students to take the exam at any point during their last year of medical school. Recently, however, the MCC started allowing students to take the exam as early as 20 months before graduating, instead – and for an interesting reason.

Recently, the MCC introduced yet another examination, called the National Assessment Collaboration Objective Structured Clinical Exam, or NAC-OSCE, which is required for international medical graduates who are seeking licenses to practice medicine in Canada. This examination will be administered in September of each international student’s final year of medical school, and as a result, the MCC allows earlier administration of the MCCEE so the exams do not coincide.

The Good and the Bad

The MCC believes the NAC-OSCE examination is necessary to gauge the ability to international graduate students prior to providing licensure due in part to the different curriculum and medical standards in different countries. In theory, it is an excellent means of ensuring Canadian residents receive the same level of excellent medical care from every physician across the country, regardless of that doctor’s country of origin.

However, it is posing significant problems, particularly for Canadian students who are studying in Irish medical schools. To put it simply, students who received their medical schooling abroad, but who want to be licensed in Canada, are being asked to take the equivalent of a final-year exam nearly two years prior to graduation. What’s more, they are being asked to take this examination during their clinical rotations, which are exhausting and demanding as is. Even after all of these, students must still study for, take, and pass the NAC-OSCE to receive a license and start their residencies.

Fear for the Future

The Irish medical education system relies heavily on funding from Canadian students’ tuition, and without it, there is significant fear that the country’s ability to educate new doctors will crumble. Canadian medical students make up some 13% of all medical students in Ireland. Now that the students are being asked to take two grueling examinations – and one of them nearly two years before the end of their formal training – experts think Canadian medical students will simply strive to remain in Canada to avoid the NAC-OSCE altogether.

Though the idea of standardizing education for all Canadian doctors is one born out of good intentions, the way it is being implemented seems nothing short of impossible for international students. Things certainly will change, but it’s more likely that Irish medical schools will take the brunt of the negative effects. Only time will tell.

How to Overcome a Bad USMLE Step 1 Examination Score

Bad USMLE Step 1 Examination Score

The US Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) is one of the toughest examinations in existence today. About 4% of students in these programs fail the USMLE Part 1 on their first attempt, and while this can be discouraging, it is certainly not the end of the line. It is possible to retake and pass this examination if you do not allow yourself to be overcome with disappointment, work hard, and try again.

Work with Faculty

If you failed your first attempt at the USMLE Step 1 examination, which is designed to test your knowledge of the material learned in the first two years of medical school, it is vital that you work with faculty and other education specialists to figure out where you need help. Then, once you have this information, you can utilize various study methods to better familiarize yourself with the content. Through diligence and the help of those who want to see you succeed, it is possible to obtain a passing score on your second attempt.

Don’t Fall Victim to the Stigma

Many students who do not pass the exam on the first attempt feel a great deal of shame, particularly when they are the only student among a group of peers to score poorly. However, it is worth noting that students are not ostracized from their study groups or peers in these cases. In fact, your peers who have passed the exam will likely extend their knowledge and tips to help you succeed on your next attempt. Focus on learning what you need to know to provide the best patient outcomes, and never let a perceived social stigma bring you down.

Utilize a Variety of Study Methods

Often, students who do not pass the USMLE Step 1 on the first attempt are those who utilize only one or two different study methods, which can sometimes prove detrimental. Different people learn in different ways, and while some can learn everything they need to know simply by reading the material, others need to repeat it, practice it, and put it to use. Try mock exams, online study tools, flash cards, study groups, and more to give yourself access to the material from every possible angle. Make note of which method seems to provide you with the best comprehension and spend more time with it.

Keep the Facts in Mind

Finally, rather than feeling discouraged, it’s important to remember that you are not the only student who received a bad USMLE Step 1 grade. A study published in Academic Medicine looked at 129,000 students who took the exam for the first time between the years of 1993 and 2000. Though some 6% failed on the first attempt, 90% of those students ultimately graduated medical school and obtained their licensure. This means that only a very, very small percentage of students who do not initially pass the USMLE Part 1 will ultimately fail to graduate medical school.

A bad grade on your first attempt at the USMLE Part 1 can certainly be frustrating, especially if you worked hard and studied. However, there are things you can do to improve your chances of passing on the second attempt – and more than 90% of students in your position do. Utilize these tips, work hard, and focus on the ultimate goal, which is providing the best possible patient care.