Study Techniques and Theory: the week I tried them all.

After trying out many different studying techniques, I may have not strictly settled on one nor the other hundred but noticed many interesting things that provide a lot more insight than expected. I started the week off hoping to find the ‘perfect’ technique for myself, my style of learning, my preferences, time frames-the list goes on. Throughout the week, I somewhat hesistantly learned there is no perfect system- not if you are truly learning,that is. Read: less obsessing over what will work, more observing what works and what does not-emphasis on the what works. So often, if you’re like me, we focus on what does not work instead of what works. Throughout the week, I wanted so bad to find my technique but stumbled upon something better: finding my strengths. I learned the highest yield ways for me to both understand and retain material.

  1. I need to hand write- whether that means just a bit of writing or paragraphs. However, I should note I am working on streamlining the amount of writing to maximize efficiency.
  2. I need to draw. I need to draw as I think to imagine on paper. I have found this process gives me a lot of clarity. Although very imaginative and visual, I am also very concrete oriented and thus, need to see it.
  3. Overall, I need to interact and synthesize the material. A nice surprise as this is a well known and popular form of active studying.
  4. Practice questions and actually thinking hard through them and truly trying them out before peeking at any clues. Let me tell you- this is quite the brain workout šŸ™‚

Amino Acids: a comprehensive guide.

Categories, their preoperties, quirks and useful details in the context of medicine.

Non-polar LIMPVAG

  • Leucine
  • Isoleucine
  • Methionine
  • Proline
  • Valine
  • Alanine
  • Glycine
  • Tryptophan
  • Phenylalanine



Acidic AG

  • Aspartate
  • Glutamate

Basic LAH

  • Lysine
  • Arginine
  • Histidine

Titrations of Amino Acids





Enzymes,galore: a comprehensive guide.

  • Types
  • What is:
  • Km: primarily used as a measure of affinity of an enzyme for a substrate
    • decreased km: higher affinity; need less substrate to saturate enzymes
    • increased km: lower affinity; need more substrate to saturate enzymes/increase probability that this will happen
  • Vmax: maximal rate of reaction for any specific enzymatic reaction without considering inhibition factor
    • lower vmax:
    • increase vmax:





Attempting to go to medical school despite low stats?

Edit: The following blog post was originally created on loveformedicine’s tumblr ~2 years ago and thus is much older than a few days old. However, it has not been edited to preserve the original post. Additionally, the information is posted as unbiased as possible without inserting my own thoughts on any particular point to preserve this as an informational piece rather than an opinion piece.

A few days ago, I attended a webinar delivered by Alicia Nimonkar, former Student Advisor at UC Davisā€™ postbacc program on on how to apply to medical school with low stats(low gpa, low mcat,both).

Note: Per my personal opinion, I found the webinar to be particularly useful for pre-meds who might be earlier in the application process. I took as many notes as I could during the 60 minutes. For simplicity purposes, I have put this in a list format in the order the topics were presented:

Numbers Game

  • Mcat scores are used as the main predictor for USMLE scores
  • GPA is considered less of a predictor for USMLE
  • conclusion: Mcat scores>> Gpa

What to consider after having met pre-req’s

  • If concerned about both your gpa and mcat, consider SMP programs(Special Master Programs) as some have linkage agreements to medical schools after completion.
  • Upward trends are critical, especially if applying with low stats. If there is a decline/downward trend in coursework, consider a post-bacc program to enhance your application.
  • If considering Master’s programs, consider an SMP as it displays convincing evidence that you are ready for medical school

    Personal StatementĀ 

  • Self-reflect but also important to get a third person view to acknowledge strengths and weaknesses in your pre-med history to assess how to present it in your statement
  • State facts/address weakness’ but do not “whine” about what has affected grades
  • Tone is important: maintain balance between personal and professional- don’t come off as super cold but also stay away from “whining”
  • Make sure your statement is authentic and honest and be careful to not embellish
  • One paragraph is enough to talk about low gpa/mcat and factors that may have affected this- ending on a high note,of course
  • Better to show than tell– Answer any questions that might arise from the rest of your application that you may want to address
  • Highlight perseverance about any struggles in your story and end on a high note aka focus on your progress/what you have done to improve your situation

Technicalities: Create outlines to begin your writing,have other people read it, review drafts

Activities portion of application

  • For the meaningful essays portion, consider keeping a journal during the actual experiences. This is the section where you want to highlight how an experience was transformative and how it impacted your interest in medicine. You will want to include your most transformative and impacting experiences here.
  • Explain how the experience shaped your interest in medicine
  • Use ALL 3 meaningful essays
  • If you have too many activities for the activities descriptions portion (>15)of the application, consider combining similar activities into groups and bringing in a CV with the separate activities to the interview

School Selection

  • To maximize chances of acceptance, recommended # of applications= 20-25 schools.
  • When applying, if one of both scores is in the accepted range for a school, do not hesitate to apply- as long as one of 2 scores(gpa/mcat) is in range
  • Osteopathic schools are recommended over Carribean medical schools based on the lower probability of securing a residency post graduation
  • Apply EARLY- especially if applying with lower stats
  • Keypoint: Do NOT cut and paste from the personal statement to other areas of theĀ applications.