MEDPATH

Study Strategies I: “Time is Money”

This is part one of a four-part series on study strategies. I’ve received a few emails in the past requesting advice on general study tips or any advice on studying while working full-time (which I did during my gap years). So in this series, I’ll be presenting strategies that I currently use and have found to be effective. To kick it off, I’m starting with the major requirement for any study session and successful endeavor:

Time

Time pic

Time management is a skill most people struggle with at some point; it’s something I find myself constantly fine-tuning. Although I consider it one of my strengths (years of experience juggling competing priorities), I know it’s something that can always be improved on. During orientation this past August, one of the speakers, Dr. Alvin D. Pelt gave a workshop on study skills that changed the game for me. BIG TIME. I’m going to focus on the time management technique I gained from the presentation and have been using everyday for almost 3 months now. It’s a system that has been immensely effective for me, particularly with my challenging schedule (to be disclosed later).

“Time is like money. You always think you have more than you actually have.”

This was an analogy Dr. Pelt made and I must admit he was quite right. Ever look at your bank account and go “How in the world did I spend that much?” or look at the time, perhaps in panic, and wonder “Where did all the time go?!

Yea.

Time and money are two peas in the pod. Similar to how you would budget your money i.e. a certain amount for rent, bills etc, is the same way you should budget your time. This brings me to my first point:

Schedule daily

study

Make a “budget” for your time that day. When do you have free time? What amount of time is spent in class? commuting? Eating dinner or talking on the phone? Basically account for each hour of the day. This allows you to see the potential times during your day which can be made more productive. Once you’ve blocked out potential times during the day, then comes the crucial step:

Log actual study time

No, this doesn’t mean logging in 4 hours in the library, when you actually spent 2 hours on Facebook, half an hour in the bathroom, another half hour getting situated, and only one hour in the books. Nope not that. As Dr. Pelt put it, your actual study time is different from your perceived study time. So here’s the key ingredient, the magic to this technique:

Log in & out each time you start or stop studying. Exclude bathroom breaks, naps, phone calls etc.

pic study 2

Please excuse my chicken scratch handwriting 🙂

Boom. That’s it. It sounds so simple and perhaps you’ve done a version of this in past, but this method requires discipline and definitely some behavior adjustments. The picture above is my log book. This notebook is EVERYTHING. I carry it everywhere.

Seriously.

It’s always in my backpack and folks who have studied with me, have seen me whip it out and scribble in a time as soon as we stop studying or take a break. I personally aim for 4 hours/ day or a minimum of 20 hours/ week of focused studying. Although I may fall short on my 4 hour goal on some days (unexpected interruptions, my mood etc), I consistently exceed my 20 hour/ week minimum (weekends to the rescue!). This leads to the last point:

Graph the results. Place the graph where you will see it everyday

Now, I’ll be honest, I typically don’t graph the results because I find tracking my daily progress in my small spiral notebook very effective just in of itself. However, this last point was mentioned by Dr. Pelt. As he noted, it’s particularly important if you’re studying for a major exam for a long period of time i.e. USMLEs, MCAT etc. It allows you to see if you’re on track or should perhaps, postpone. There’s also something gratifying about seeing a visual representation of your work and discipline.

charlie-sheen-winning

Success takes discipline. Budgeting my time and tracking actual study time has definitely worked for me. Give it a try. Stick to it. You might find yourself being more efficient and having more productive study sessions.

Thank you to Dr. Pelt for his awesome workshop!

Time: Image source

#Winning: Image source

The Ohio State University’s MEDPATH Program: The Info

“The expert in anything was once a beginner.”

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I’ve received a few questions regarding OSU’s MEDPATH Program and I’ll admit this post is long overdue. I know the OSU secondary deadline is coming up in a few days (November 1st) so this might be helpful to some people. As some of you may know, I was conditionally accepted into Ohio State’s Medical School. Still feels surreal. It’s an acceptance and I’m here at Ohio State, but…there are conditions. I was accepted into the medical school for the incoming class of Fall 2016 through the MEDPATH program. Yes, that’s not a typo. It’s Fall 2016. To retain my acceptance, I do have to complete the one year MEDPATH program. This entails:

  • Achieving/ exceeding a 3.0 MEDPATH GPA in order to matriculate into Med-1
  • Taking the MCAT (again) during spring semester as arranged by the MEDPATH Program and achieving/exceeding a certain MCAT score on the first attempt on that scheduled date
  • Passing the Summer Pre-Entry Program

There are a few other requirements but these are the major ones. You can view the full list and official information on the program here. The program is fall, spring AND summer. The summer component (and the classes in general) puts you somewhat ahead of your fellow incoming MS1 students – you take Anatomy and a few other classes that you’ll be taking during MS1 with some of the same professors that teach in the medical school. It’s pretty cool. The whole program is designed to make you a strong and competitive student while in medical school; it’s meant to build you up for success. The people in charge of the program are really supportive and want you to succeed. There are only 15 people accepted, so this allows you to form close relationships with your cohort. There are a lot of resources and OSU is just amazing all around.

So yes, there are conditions BUT there’s also a white coat with your name on it waiting for you. The 2014-15 MEDPATH class had 13 out of 15 people matriculate. I would call that very successful, so going this route isn’t an impossible feat.

The application process:

Now regarding the application process, you do have to apply to Ohio’s medical school just like any other applicant and also turn in your secondary before the deadline. I personally applied early and completed my secondary for Ohio State sometime in July. Around October, I received a notification from the school informing me that I had been rejected but was being considered for MEDPATH and would receive more information about it soon. To be honest, I wasn’t aware of the program prior to receiving the correspondence from them. So I started scouring the web for any information on it (imagine if there had been a blog detailing all the info and an individual’s personal experience! *wink wink*). The information I did find (thank you SDN), did convince me that this would be an incredible opportunity if accepted.

I later received another email from OSU inviting me to fill out the supplemental MEDPATH application, that was due end of January. A few months passed and I was invited to interview at the school. The interview IS your medical school interview for Ohio State. It’s with a medical student and faculty. You go on a tour of the medical school and receive a lot of information just like other medical school interviews, but it’s recognized that you and the other interviewees are possibly incoming MEDPATH students. Just like OSU does for their incoming students, they call to let you know you got in. As I wrote in a previous post, when I received that call, or rather voicemail, I FREAKED THE HECK OUT! 

The stats:

From what I understand – and please don’t take my word as the “official word” on this – 100 students who apply to OSU but get rejected are invited to apply to MEDPATH. You have to be invited to apply and that’s the only way you can get the supplemental application. Out of the 100 students, 30 students are invited to interview. There are 2 interview days in the first week of April and it’s split up with 15 people each day. I interviewed on the first interview day.

Out of the 30 people interviewed, only 15 are accepted. As you can see, it’s competitive BUT if you’re able to get an interview invite, the odds are in your favor (50% chance – at this point just ace your interview!). It’s a conditional acceptance. So you’re accepted to OSU at this point as long as you complete the aforementioned requirements, and of course, sign the form that you’re coming.

My experience thus far:

Loving it! I’m studying my butt off (hence the lack of posts) but I’m thriving and that’s honestly what matters. I’ll be detailing more about my experiences in future posts. I have exams coming up next week so it’s back to the books I go! However, I hope this information has been helpful. If you have further questions, drop a comment below and I’ll get to it as soon as I can.

All the best with applications!