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As a high school senior, what steps should I take as I study for the Medical College Admissions Test while doing my classwork for my undergraduate degree? How many hours would be ideal to study a day?

I want to become a cardiothoracic surgeon and I want advice to help me further enhance my eduaction and get ahead. I also want to join the BSMD program. Is that recommended?
#bsmd #doctor #undergraduate
#surgeon #mcats


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Yasemin’s Answer

Hi Jennifer! This is a great question also congrats on thinking ahead. There's a similar thread for the BS/MD program posed by another student so I would recommend to check that out too! My advice for it is that I believe the traditional route is fine as well, these programs are accelerated and can be high stress. Once you get to college though the experiences you have will prepare you for the medical field and it takes time to grow in your experiences to be prepared for medical school and as a physician. That being said I think the traditional route allows for this, I am very happy with the experiences I have had and have matured greatly along the years. It can be stressful doing an accelerated program as you must maintain a high GPA and in the end you will still need to take the MCAT and I believe it won't save much time, possibly a year? Of course it is what is in your best interest so definitely research around and see if it works for you.

Preparing for the MCAT is very important and can ensure success to gain acceptance into medical school; I would recommend studying around your junior year of college. Usually with the revisions, such as the psychology/sociology section and the biochemistry subject being added on it is advised to study about 400-500 hours. It may seem much but usually if you only study for the MCAT you study about 8-10 hours per day and that can add up quick. The study duration is about 3-6 months, as each student is different such as in time and responsibilities of other things. I agree with the above answer especially in seeking out a premed adviser and also check out AAMC.org they give great information for premed students, and cover what the MCAT is. For now begin college, take your prerequisites and do well (your premed adviser will have a sheet of what is required and recommended to take class wise, I would also take recommended courses as well if you can, such as genetics and anatomy/physiology because they will help you be more prepared), volunteer as well - both clinically/non-clinically- and shadow a physician and if you are interested gain some research experience. This will allow you to be a well-rounded applicant. AAMC.org offers information about these experiences.

Best of luck!

Yasemin recommends the following next steps:

Do well in classes
volunteer
shadow a physician/ research
meet with premed adviser
Study for MCAT around junior year and if feeling prepared take it!

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William’s Answer

Congratulations on thinking ahead. It is never too early to start studying for the MCAT. You will need to know not just the content of the test but learn how to take the test. As for how much time to spend studying, I would recommend studying as much as you can without burning yourself out or taking time away from studying for your undergraduate courses.

William recommends the following next steps:

Get a set of MCAT Flashcards.
Take a Kaplan MCAT course. If you score highly enough on the MCAT, Kaplan will hire you as an instructor.
Join the pre-medical students association.
Meet with a pre-med advisor as soon as possible after your acceptance to an undergraduate program and listen to their guidance, especially when they recommend which courses to take and in what order.

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