5 Things for Future Med Applicants to do NOW

Sounds like a lot? No one ever said applying to medical school was easy. But still, don’t stress – completing these to-do’s puts you five steps ahead in the med school application process!

Planning to apply to medical school this summer? If so, then you’d better get busy! It’s just around the corner, but there are concrete steps you can take NOW that will smooth the application process later on.

4. Research med schools. You’ll want to acquaint yourself with different approaches to medical education and focus on those schools that provide the approach that appeals to you

Accepted.com ~ Helping You Write Your Best

For more med school admissions advice check out our popular Med School Admissions 101 resource pages.

3. Check your transcripts. It’s your job to make sure that your transcripts are error-free. Just take a look to make sure everything is there so that if there’s a mistake, you’ll be able to file the paperwork and speak to the right people and get it in tip-top condition.
2. Seek out recommenders. Again, you may think you have time to ask professors or employers to write you a letter of rec, but a) the sooner you ask, the better your chances are that they won’t be late, and b) you want your recommender to have her experience with you fresh in her mind – like if she is a professor from last semester, you don’t want to wait until summer, when she hasn’t heard from you in months, to approach her.

Here are 5 immediate to-do’s:

5. Plan to send in your AMCAS application well before the deadlines – as soon after June 1 as possible. Don’t compromise the quality of your education by rushing it, but the earlier the better!

1. Decide when to take the MCAT. If you haven’t already registered to take a prep course and the exam, do so ASAP. You want to give yourself enough time to take the MCAT and then retake the exam if you receive essay writer a less-than-desirable score. If you already have your score or will have it shortly, congrats!

3 More GRE Prep Tips

• Making Friends with the GRE: How To Overcome Test Anxiety and Perform at Your Best 

3. Take a break

As you start to improve, it will get harder to improve. It is important to keep this in mind, since you’ll likely hit a plateau after an initial score increase. Though you might start to wonder if you can improve any more, don’t become dispirited. The better you do, the more difficult the material will become, since the test section is adaptive. To keep things in perspective, it’s also helpful to remember that others are also struggling to improve.

Prepping for the GRE and even taking a practice test is in large part mental. There is quite a bit of stress (and boredom) attending both practices. But instead of just telling you to stay positive—a cliché wrapped in bromide and served on a platitudinous platter—here are a few tips to help make GRE prep interesting, rewarding, and (most importantly!) effective.

Click here to read “How To Study For the GRE (Part I)“

• To GRE Or Not To GRE? That Is The Question

• MBA Admissions A-Z: 26 Great Tips
As you start to improve, it will get harder to improve. But don’t give up!

 This post was written by Chris Lele, resident test prep www.storify.com/nerdymates expert at Magoosh and a leader in GRE prep. For more advice on taking the GRE, check out Magoosh’s GRE blog.

1. Getting better is a struggle

Use official material as much as possible

2. You’re not learning Swahili

This is my way of saying that what you’re learning on the GRE is something that is relevant to what you’ll be doing in grad school. (I’m assuming you don’t have any plans to visit the southern half of Africa soon!) Essentially, you’ll be fine-tuning your ability to use logic, sift through dense texts, and, in some cases, work with numbers and number logic.

Related Resources:

Think like the test writers

Sometimes what you’ve learned takes time to incubate. Take a break from studying for a couple of days to let things sink in. Often, it is during this supposed “downtime” that your brain makes little connections regarding what you’ve recently learned.

The downside is ETS hasn’t released too much material: it has a few practice tests and about 100 practice questions scattered throughout its few books. That doesn’t mean that you should eschew other sources altogether; there are still decent sources out there. You just have to be careful, since poorly constructed questions will disrupt the logic you’ll have been fine-tuning by studying the official material.

Many interpret this phrasing as arbitrary and unfair. Often, we find an answer that sort of works and feel cheated that it is not credited as being the correct answer. It is best, though, not to become upset or resigned; rather, try to understand why the test writers consider one answer the best. On the flip side, figure out what made your seemingly logical answer turn out to not be the best according to the test writers’ thinking. There is a certain logic to the way the test writers construct the “best answer,” and conversely a certain logic to the way the wrong answers are written.

Writing test answers—both math and verbal ones—is something of an art form. Constructing an answer so that it is sort of right but just wrong enough so that it is not unassailably correct, as well as writing an answer that is unassailably correct, is tough.

Nobody does it better than the test writers themselves (the reason for this is not that the test writers are the Michelangelos of test prep—they use sophisticated statistics to determine answer validity). For this reason, you’ll want to stick to official material as much as possible. In this case, you’ll want to stick with ETS, the creators of the test.

Stay positive

You may have noticed the wording that accompanies many questions: “choose the best answer.” That phrase points to the somewhat subjective nature of the test, and yes, I’m talking primarily about the verbal section. (Don’t worry, number sense doesn’t become subjective on the GRE.)

Wrapping your head around this notion and thinking like the test writers is one of the most effective strategies to improving on the test. That is not to say that this is the magic bullet. After all, you’ll still have to deal with dense, convoluted questions where wrapping your head around the question is half the battle. But overall, understanding why the right answer is right and the wrong is answer wrong will go a long way toward helping you on test day.

2012 MIT Sloan Executive MBA Essay Tips

Please describe a time when you challenged established thinking or an existing system.  What did you do, and how did you do it? (500 words or less, limited to one page)

Essay 3

Please give an example of a time when you needed to use knowledge from outside your role in order to achieve an organizational goal. (500 words or less, limited to one page)

Note that the question does not specify a particular situation or setting.  But there should be real stakes.  And it ideally will be fairly recent, in the last few years.

This intriguing set of essay questions seeks to distill out those applicants who are bold thinkers; who discern, or even better, create connections among disparate elements; and who have the will and the ability to transform sometimes difficult or uncomfortable ideas into effective action – all in one person.  A person who also possesses “leadership performance, global perspective, and functional expertise.”  These questions and the values they reflect accurately represent a university renowned for innovation generally, and for an MBA program renowned for management innovation.  While the statement of purpose challenges you to succinctly create your portrait as an applicant, the three essay questions, each in their own way, ask you to follow the arc of grabbing onto or defining an idea, finding synergies, and taking action.  That basic arc reveals that the MIT EMBA adcom is not just interested in your engaging thought process or in your stellar achievements, but in the dynamic connection between them.  People who have fundamentally mastered this arc are the people best suited to this EMBA program.  Another notable aspect of the three essay questions is that they ask you to put yourself on the line, to take a stand.  It appears that the adcom also seeks a certain quality of character.

 By Cindy Tokumitsu, co-author of The EMBA Edge, and author of the free special report, “Ace the EMBA.”

Another story question, another straightforward narrative essay.  Again, start the essay with the moment of recognition: you encounter the situation in your organization that makes you realize the need for outside knowledge.  Walk through your thinking – be specific about how you come to this conclusion.  Discuss how you pursue the knowledge and your thoughts or concerns about how to introduce or present this knowledge to your organization – the synergies.  Finally, describe your actions; how you presented the outside knowledge, the responses to it (and your responses to the responses if there was some resistance), and the outcome.

How does the above-defined arc play out in this question?  In answering this question, you should clarify two key ideas: what you consider a principled, innovative leader, and what “improving the world” means to you – i.e., take a stand.  (This essay question appeared last year, and sometimes people were tempted to answer it blandly, as if everyone knows or agrees on what these points are – doing so only sounds evasive.)  Next, identify and articulate the synergies of these ideas with the program’s stated mission.  And, finally, action – what you will contribute.  However, don’t cast the whole essay in the future tense – all the things you’re going to do.  It ends up not sounding credible.  What makes a gripping, memorable essay is real experience and example.  Your answer will have more credibility if you cite a previous time or two when you already have contributed toward the stated mission.  In discussing how you will do so in the future, don’t list of 10 ways, but identify 1 to 3 and provide some succinct but meaningful discussion of them.  Your future contributions may be related to your goals, or you may cite other initiatives.

In an overall plan for the essays, the statement of purpose works as a context, a positioner, an opening pitch.  You will describe experiences in each of the three essays (although essay 1 doesn’t explicitly ask for it, you should still integrate actual experience in the answer), so strategically try to select experiences that are somewhat different, to give a comprehensive and broad view.  Also, usually it’s advisable to discuss fairly recent experiences, to allow the adcom to see you working at a high level and in relevant circumstances.

Please provide a statement indicating your qualifications and why you are pursuing the MIT Executive MBA (500 words or less, limited to one page)

For why you are pursuing the MBA, presumably the nerdymates.deviantart.com/ reason relates to your professional goals and objectives.  However, do not focus only what you want to do, i.e., become the CIO, but also on what you want to accomplish for the organization and/or its customers/market.

If you would like help with MIT Sloan’s executive MBA essays, please consider Accepted.com’s MIT Sloan Executive MBA packages or our other MBA admissions consulting and MBA essay editing services.

Again, this is your portrait – your candidacy at a glance.  Will it be full length or head-and-shoulders?  Will it have a realistic background or a wash of color?  Will it be naturalistic or abstracted?  Will it contain other objects or not?   Will you look directly at the viewer or into the distance?  There are a lot of questions in painting a portrait, and there are a lot of questions in answering the open question that a statement of purpose represents.  It shouldn’t just convey facts – it should have a point of view and a message, and if you decide on these first, it will help you select and elaborate the content.

Deadlines

The educational mission of the MIT Sloan School of Management is to “develop principled, innovative leaders who improve the world.” Please discuss how you will contribute toward advancing this mission. (500 words or less, limited to one page)

Essay 1

Statement of Purpose

Beware of a pitfall: in discussing qualifications, do not present a list of accomplishments that repeats your resume in prose format.  Also, don’t present all your qualifications.  Think and select carefully which qualifications to discuss.  Focus on those that (a) are really distinctive and relevant to the MBA and/or (b) support your goals directly or indirectly and also (c) reflect the qualities (directly or indirectly) noted in the introductory section. Don’t just make it a did-this-did-that discussion; have a short meaningful point to make about each qualification, such as the insight it lends or its influence on you.

This essay will essentially tell a story – a story of when you took a stand.  Don’t hold back.  Show the adcom that you can mix it up and that you don’t shy away from the rough-and-tumble of the business frontier.  If you are challenging established thinking or an existing system, it is because you perceive a problem with one or the other in some way – start the essay right there, with your identification of this issue.   So you see this problem.  Eventually you’ll take some action.  But between the identification part and the action part comes the thought-and-decision part: what were your ideas, your thought process, for how to tackle the issue, and how did you decide on what action to take?  Presumably in this thought process you would be looking for synergies among the possible actions you could take and the people, organizations, and/or principles involved.  Once you decide what to do, you do it – describe how you implement your decision and plan.  A nice structure for this essay is a short opening paragraph showing the problem you perceive, the next paragraph addressing how you decide what to do, and a couple of paragraphs detailing the actions you took and the outcome.

Essay 2

Application review for the Class of 2013 will be opened on April 1, 2011, and will close at noon on June 30, 2011.  Classes begin in October 2011.

MIT Sloan Executive MBA Essay Questions and Tips

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