Category Archives: Medical students

Choosing the Right Medical School

Ask any high school biology student if they ever have dreamt to be a doctor, I am sure the majority of the answers would be yes. And why not? It is an honorable profession that puts you among the highest earners among your peers. However, the journey to be a doctor is a long and arduous one. I say long, without any reservation. Students in medicine spend at least 4 years in medical college and a further 5 or more years to do their medical specialization or residency.

Entering medical school is not a stroll in the park either. It is a lot of work. In addition to having good academic grades, there are essays to write, interview sessions to attend and also, entrance examinations to prepare for.

So, how do one choose a suitable medical school?

Here are some factors to consider when choosing the right medical school:

1. Academic Reputation

Top medicine institutes often attract the most talented academia, researchers and clinician-scientists. Treating diseases and finding the right cures for ailments require diagnostic skills and an in-depth knowledge of the most current medical science. Medical students will be able to learn the latest by working closely with the best minds in the field.

2. Quality of Research

Many of today’s problems require innovative solutions. Scientific and technological improvements have allowed medical science to expand to new frontiers, resulting in new treatments. Medical schools with a strong culture in quality research have contributed tremendously to the advancement in medicine.

3. Scholarships and Financial Aids

The tuition fee for a medical course is very high. A four-year program can amount to US $160,000. This amount does not include board and lodging. It is important to look for institutions that are able to provide scholarships and financial aids for students. Students planning to study medicine should also forget about working part-time. Time is a rare commodity when you are a medical student.

4. Know More about the School

Surprisingly, many people are still getting information about the medical schools from inappropriate sources. While online forums may be a good place to start, it is difficult to ascertain if the opinions are unbiased. It is always better to speak to the admissions officers from the schools.

If you have a passion in medicine and enjoy working with patients and finding cures for diseases, a career in medicine is certainly fulfilling. It is important to plan ahead and prepare yourself well for medical school. Lastly, spend some time talking to the admissions officers from the schools, this would help you in deciding if the school is suitable for you.

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How to Select a Medical Institute to Study Abroad?

If you are planning to travel abroad to pursue your higher studies in medicines, then you should keep some important points in mind before you make your final decision.

The first thing that you need to do is research about the institute that you are planning to enroll in. The internet has made it possible to gather all the necessary information that you would like to know about the medical institute which you are planning to join. You can find out its reputation and goodwill that it enjoys with the help of a simple internet search. You would be able to find out the ranking of the institute with help of a simple internet search. A medical institute, which has a WHO listing should be preferred over others. Student’s reviews can also be helpful in knowing the quality of education that you can expect from an institute.

When you have shortlisted the institutes that you would like to target, then find out about the procedure in which you can get entrance in each of them. Information like if they require a minimum qualification and the kind of entrance exam that is conducted in them will help you in preparing yourself for getting selected in the institute.

Other information like the fees structure and the kind of scholarship plans that are offered in them would also be useful in making your decision. Job opportunities that you are likely to get after completing your education should also be considered. If the medical institute provided on campus recruitment, then it would be easier for you to get placed during the course itself.

There are some international institutes that have special preferences for Indian students and likewise there are other medical institutes that may prefer students from a certain country and have some reserved seats for them. If you can find out the ones that favors students from your country, then it would be easier for you to get selected in them. It is sensible to try your luck in more than one institute at a time as this will increase your chances of getting selected in more than one institute.

As you are likely to spend 3 to 5 years in the medical institute that you select for yourself and you will also have to invest a lot of money in the tuition fees as well as living expenses, it is important that you take out your time and do proper research about the institute before making the final decision. This will ensure that you have a well secured future ahead. So consider all these points before selecting an institute and then take your final decision as per your own discretion. All the best!

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Avoid 4 Medical School Admissions Myths

When you decide to apply to medical school, it seems that everybody has tips on how to succeed in the application process. It can be very difficult to know if you’re putting your best foot forward in a process riddled with multiple forms, deadlines, requirements, and—the most nebulous of them all—myths.

So, what is truth, and what is fiction?

Most pre-meds have done enough legwork to know the basic realities of the application process. Everyone has to fill out the AMCAS application, get at least three letters of recommendation, and complete as many or as few of the essay-heavy secondary applications that each school likes to create.

[See U.S. News‘s rankings of Best Medical Schools.]

These are among the most common myths about the process floating around college campuses:

1. I need more extracurricular activities / clinical experience in order to apply. Not necessarily! While medical schools want to make sure that you are aware of what you’reSIGNING UP for (which you demonstrate through a clinical experience), they don’t expect you to publish or perform brain surgery beforehand. Schools would prefer to see an applicant who is committed to a handful of activities over a couple of years than one who dabbles in 15 with little staying power.

2. The application may include essays, but it’s ultimately only about the grades. This widely held myth has sabotaged many an application. Though strong grades and MCAT scores are important, most top applicants will have similar scores, grades, and extracurricular experiences. The AMCAS personal statement is your way of securing an interview. Given most, if not all, medical schools only admit those they interview, it would be wise to spend quality time reflecting on your experiences and aspirations to highlight what differentiates you from the pack.

3. Secondary applications must be submitted within two weeks of receipt. Many think that medical schools believe those who submit most quickly are the most interested. In terms of rolling admissions, the advantage of submitting early ends up beingMARGINAL; it is much better to spend an extra week polishing your application than rushing to submit one that is less stellar.

4. Not knowing the answer to a question during an interview can make or break an application.You’ve probably heard stories of applicants being asked “stumper” questions during an interview, such as “Tell me about protein folding,” or “Name the five areas of the world that have a Mediterranean climate.” These questions are used to see how you handle yourself under pressure, rather than to check if you actually know the answer. It’s okay to say, “I’m sorry; I don’t know the answer to that.” Don’t forget to add, “I’d be happy to research that and get back to you.” And you actually do need to get back to them!

[See 10 medical schools with the lowest acceptance rates.]

Of course, there are plenty more myths about the smaller aspects of this often complex admissions process. Some easy tips to keep in mind:

• Be yourself: Sounds simple—yet, it’s probably the least followed piece of advice. Forget about what you think medical schools want to hear. Write about the essence of you, why you want to go to medical school, and why medical schools would want you. This can take a lot of introspection, so it’s best to start now.

• Be polite: When you’re making phone calls, asking for letters, or going through your interview day, a simple, thoughtful thank you note to your recommenders, interviewers, and even the secretaries at each of the schools you visit can go a long way. You’d be surprised who talks to whom and what might make an applicant stand out—in a good way, or in a terrible way.

You should approach the admissions process as an opportunity to highlight your unique and differentiating qualities. Focusing on how your experiences INFLUENCED your desire to pursue medicine, and honing how you present yourself, is the best way to succeed.

Top 10 reasons I’m glad to be in medical school

A friend of mine e-mailed me this blog entry awhile ago. Titled “10 things you need to give up to become a doctor,” the piece describes “your free weekends,” “your desire to change the world,” and eight other similarly positive items as areas of life that medical students need to sacrifice on their path to becoming a doctor.

As I read through this entry, my mood grew increasingly dismal. By opting to go to medical school, had I really committed myself to a lifetime that, according to the author, would be devoid of creativity, good health, big dreams, and more? I refused to believe that was true.

So, instead of dwelling on aspects of my life that may or may not be compromised on my path to becoming a physician, I want to highlight parts of my life that have been enriched by my medical school experience thus far. Here we go: The top ten reasons (organized loosely by importance) that I’m glad to be in medical school:

10. Four extra years of free two-day shipping via Amazon Student
I’ve ordered everything from tuning forks to trash bins – and I look forward to myFUTURE purchases being delivered via drones. Thanks, Amazon!

9. Daily dose of cheaper-than-Starbucks caffeine
For everyone paying $2.95 for a latte at Starbucks, be jealous! Stanford medical students get $2.70 lattes (+ an extra 25 cents off if you bring your own mug) at the Med Café every day.

8. 24/7 gym access
The 4th floor of Li Ka Shing is strictly for medical/bioscience students only and houses study rooms, a lounge, and a gym. Not that I ever have the urge toWORK out at 4 AM, but if I wanted to, I could!

7. Having friends come to me when they’re sick and feeling like I can diagnose them
Friend: “I’m feeling a little sick.”
(Five minutes later)
Me: “Actually, come see me again in like 4 years.”

6. Sleeping in scrubs like it’s no big deal
Because, really, they’re the most comfortable pieces of clothing I own.

5. Living life on pass/fail
It feels like this is the first time in my life where I’ve been given the freedom to learn at my own pace, in my own style. There are very few assignments in medical school, and as such, we can take the material presented to us and decide for ourselves how to master it. I can’t describe how incredibly refreshing this approach is.

4. Being on a text-message basis with role model physicians
Following my first patient encounter, one of my advisors texted me, saying: “You are a skilled, empathetic interviewer. I greatly enjoyedWORKING together yesterday and look forward to more experiences.” Needless to say, my advisor’s thoughtful, compassionate words completely made my day.

3. Full-length white coats
At Stanford, medical students receive white coats that are just as long (i.e. up to our knees) as coats worn by MDs in the clinic – a constant reminder that there are no hierarchies: We are part of a single medical team, with theSHARED goal of caring for someone in need.

2. Being surrounded by inspired, motivated classmates
From founding non-profit organizations to creating World Health Organization reports to winning international awards for their research, my classmates are among the most accomplished, friendly, and down-to-earth individuals I have ever met.

1. Finding meaning every day of my life
Whether it’s through a patient visit, an anatomy lecture, a morning at pediatrics rounds, or a standardized patient encounter, I’m reminded every day that what I’m learning is directly linked to caring for others.

Hamsika Chandrasekar is a first-

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Residency Interview Guide

Internal Med Residency 1


So you’re about to head off on your first interview. A little nervous, are we? Not to worry, we’re
here to help!
First, remember some of the personal and professional traits they are looking for: Enthusiasm,
motivation, initiative, communication skills, chemistry, energy, determination, confidence,
humility, reliability, honesty, integrity, pride, dedication, analytical skills, and listening skills.
Next, think of some of the questions that they might ask you – we’ve given you a head start by
listing over a hundred questions you might hear on your interview, so click on the link below to
download the list.
Now, what questions are you going to ask them? We’ve helped you out there too. Click on the
links below to download the lists.
There you go – you’re all set to impress!
Be sure to check out some of the other interview resources we have on our medical student home
page…and good luck!
Questions They Will Ask You
Questions to Ask Residents
Questions to Ask Faculty
Questions to Ask the Program Director
1. List three accomplishments of which you are most proud of and what each accomplishment
about you?
2. List three abilities you have that will make you valuable as a resident in this specialty?
3. What clinical experience have you had in this specialty?
4. Do you have any questions?
5. Tell me about yourself?
6. What three adjectives best describe you?
7. What might give me a better picture of you than I can get from your resume?
8. Tell me a story about yourself that best describes you?
9. If you were going to die in 5 minutes, what would you tell someone about yourself?
10. Of which accomplishments are you most proud?
11. Are there any hidden achievements or qualities that you are secretly proud of?
12. How have you changed since high school?
13. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
14. Tell me about your “secret identity” – The part of your personality that you don’t share with
15. Any skeletons in your closet you want to tell me about?
16. How well do you take criticism?
17. What’s your pet peeve?
18. If you could change one thing about your personality what would it be?
19. If you could be any cell in the human body, which would you be and why?
20. Do you see yourself as more relaxed/casual/informal or more serious/dedicated/committed?

21. Which is more important, the ability to organize, structure, and prioritize or to be flexible,
change and make do as needed?
22. Which is more important, knowledge or imagination?
23. Strangest Halloween costume you ever wore?
24. What do you value in your own life?
25. If you had unlimited money and (x amount of time) what would you do?
26. 3 wishes, what would they be?
27. What kinds of people are your friends?
28. Describe your best friend?
29. How are you similar and dissimilar to your best friend?
30. How would your friends or co-workers describe you?
31. Who are your heroes?
32. What is your favorite movie, book?
33. What is the last book you read?
34. What do success and failure mean to you?
35. What do you do in your spare time?
36. Favorite games/sports? Why?
37. Have you done any volunteer work?
38. How did you choose these outside activities?
39. If you had a completely free day, what would you do?
40. Describe for me your typical day?
41. What is the most bizarre thing you have ever done (in college, high school, etc)?
42. What is the most unusual occurrence in your life in the past (x amount of time)?
43. Which organizations do you belong to?
44. What are your plans for a family?
45. If could not be a physician, what career would you choose?
46. Why choose to be a doctor?
47. How do you make important decisions?
48. Are you a risk taker or safety minded?
49. What made you choose your undergraduate major?
50. How did you select undergraduate college and medical school?
51. What were the major deficiencies in your medical school training? How would you plan to
remedy this?
52. If you could begin your schooling again, what would you change?
53. Have you ever dropped a class, why?
54. Have you ever quit or been fired from a job?
55. Biggest failures in life and what have you done to ensure that they won’t happen again?
56. Have you always done the best work of which you are capable?
57. Which types of people do you have problems working with?
58. What qualities drive you crazy in colleagues?
59. Describe the best/worst attending with whom you have ever worked?
60. Do you prefer to work under supervision or on your own?
61. With which patients do you have trouble dealing?
62. How do you normally handle conflict?
63. How do you respond when you have problems with someone?
64. What do you do if someone senior tells you to do something you know is wrong?
65. With what subject/rotation did you have the most difficulty?
66. Why do you want to go into EM?
67. What would you be willing to sacrifice to become an emergency physician?
68. What is the greatest sacrifice you have already made to get to where you are?

69. If EM did not exist, what would you do?
70. How much did lifestyle considerations fit into your choice of specialty?
71. Why did you apply to this program?
72. What qualities are you looking for in a program?
73. What interests you most about this program?
74. What have you heard about our program that you don’t like?
75. Are you applying here because it is a familiar environment?
76. What will be the toughest aspect of this specialty for you?
77. How will you handle the least interesting or least pleasant parts of this specialty’s practice?
78. What qualities are most important in this specialty?
79. What kind of qualities does a person need to be an effective emergency physician?
80. Why should we take you over other applicants?
81. What can you add to our program?
82. What computer experience do you have?
83. Describe your ideal residency program?
84. What is your energy level like?
85. How many hours of sleep do you require each night?
86. How well do you function under pressure?
87. How do you handle stress?
88. Can you handle stress without the resources you are accustomed to relying on?
89. Tell me about the patient from who you learned the most?
90. Most memorable experience in medical school/college?
91. What errors have you made in patient care?
92. Greatest fear about practicing medicine?
93. Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
94. How do you see the delivery of health care evolving in the 21st century?
95. Is health care a right or a privilege?
96. What problems will our specialty face in the next 5-10 years?
97. What would you do if the house staff had a strike?
98. What do you think of what’s happening in mid east? Congress? Economy?
99. Teach me something non-medical in 5 minutes?
100. Where else have you interviewed?
101. What if you don’t match?
102. Can you think of anything else you would like to add?
103. How do you deal/cope with failure, give example?
104. What was your favorite course in medical school?
105. Describe a conflict you had with someone and how it was resolved?
106. Describe something that was very difficult in your life, how you dealt with it, and what you
learned from
107. What needs to be changed in our health care system?
108. How can you do your job more effectively?
109. What is the most pressing problem in medicine today?
110. What is the most rewarding thing you have ever done?
111. Tell me some of your successes?
112. Tell me some of your failures?
113. How do you show your commitment to medicine?
114. Who is the most influential in your life?
115. What is the worst thing that has ever happened to you?
116. What do you do for fun?
117. When did you decide you wanted to be a physician?

118. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
119. What leadership roles have you held?
120. What are the biggest problems in medicine and EM?
121. What do you think of socialized medicine?
122. Do you know how hard residency is?
123. Do you want research to be a part of your career?
124. What is your most important accomplishment?
125. What makes you different from everyone else?
126. What do you expect out of EM?
127. What is your most important lesson learned from childhood?
128. What do you expect will be the hardest part of residency for you?
129. Who in your family are you closest to?
130. What makes you happy?
131. What makes you sad?
132. What makes you unique?
133. Is there anything else not in application that you want to tell me?
134. How do your friends describe you?
135. 3 people you would invite to dinner and why?
136. Describe important relationships you have had with people?
137. Anything else you want to tell me about yourself?
138. What was your most difficult challenge in life?
139. Why do you want to come here?
140. What are some challenges that will face this specialty?
141. What motivates you?
142. Why are you here?
1. What contact will I have with faculty and how often?
2. What is the faculty ED coverage? (Single, double, triple?)
3. What is the faculty per hour per patient ratio?
4. How often do you want faculty input but find it’s unavailable?
5. Who teaches – senior resident, attending, both? Do you feel you have the opportunity
to teach as a
senior resident?
6. How much didactic time is there? How much time is spent in lectures, seminars,
journal clubs?
7. What has higher priority: Attending conference or clinical duties?
8. What are the types of clinical experiences I can expect?
9. Are there struggles between services for procedures?
10. Is it difficult to obtain consults from other services?
11. Are you boarding lots of patients in the ED?
12. Have graduates felt comfortable performing all necessary procedures by the time they
13. What type of ultrasound and hyperbaric experience is there?
14. Will I have time to read?
15. What type of support staff is available? Who starts IV, blood draws, clerical work,
takes patient to x-ray? How often do you wheel patients to X-Ray?

16. What is the call schedule? Is it home call or hospital call?
17. What is the patient population like? (Indigent, insured, HIV, penetrating/blunt
18. Do the residents go out as a group? Are the events for all residents or just those in the
19. How often do social events occur? Any activities of special interest to residents?
20. Are the majority of residents here married or single, any with kids?
21. Where do people live?
22. Is parking a problem?
23. What if there is a problem, will the program stand up for the resident?
24. How are shifts done? What is their length? Advance from days to evenings to nights?
Time off?
25. Are there any away electives? Where?
26. Is there research time? How much and what is required?
27. What are the weaknesses of the program and how are they being improved?
28. What is the one thing you would improve at this program if you could?
29. Are you happy here?
1. What types of non-clinical responsibilities are there? (Research, projects, writing,
2. What research projects are the faculty and residents currently working on? How is
obtained? Who gets first authorship?
3. Is there time to do research? If you need to present at a national conference, will the
pay for your way there?
4. Is there training in administrative and legal aspects? Is there hands-on experience
dealing with
insurance, billing, contracts, hiring?
5. What are the population demographics? (Indigent, insured, etc)
6. Who does airway management and who does it in trauma? Does anesthesia come
7. Is there conference time? Is it protected time?
8. What is the pediatrics exposure and experience?
9. What is the underlying philosophy of the program? What is the mission statement for
the program?
10. Are there any required/provided certifications? (ACLS, ATLS, PALS/APLS)
11. Are there any skills labs?
12. How are procedures recorded and credentialed?
1. Where are your graduates? Geographic areas? Academic vs. community?
2. How have your graduates done on the board exam? Did all pass on the first time? How
did they do on oral exams?

3. How have residents done on in-service exams?
4. Any new faculty coming on? Any leaving?
5. Type of resident evaluations? How often? How is feedback supplied to residents?
6. What changes if any do you anticipate in the program’s curriculum? Why?
7. Have any residents left the program? Did they enter the same field elsewhere? Why did
they leave?
8. Do you help graduates find jobs? How do you accomplish this – counseling sessions,
contacts? Will faculty review job offers with residents?
9. What are the weaknesses of this program and how are they being improved?
10. What are the strengths of this program?
11. I am very interested in your program, what else can I do as an applicant?
12. What can I expect from you as a resident in your program?
13. What do you expect from me as a resident in your program?
14. What are your future plans and how long do you intend to stay here?
15. How are faculty chosen? What are their strengths, weaknesses, interests?
16. What is your accreditation status?
17. Has the program ever been on probation? If so, why?
18. How often are you reviewed by the RRC and when is the next review?
19. Do you support resident involvement in national associations?
20. How many national conferences do residents get to attend and when?
21. Does the program pay dues to ACEP/EMRA/SAEM?
22. What processes are in place to deal with issues for residents?
23. What is their policy on maternity/paternity leave?
24. How are the residents treated by the ancillary staff?


Recommended General Surgery Books for medical students

I. Good reference and reading book, recommended for junior students:

1) Essentials of General Surgery, by Peter Lawrence: This book provides a synopsis for junior medical students on surgical clerkship. It covers all major topics in surgery and, overall, it is considered a good book to read from cover to cover (approximately 400 pages). It includes a glossary and some chapters discuss major advances in the field. $39.00. 

2) Current Surgical Diagnosis and Treatment, by Lawrence W. Way: This is an excellent book, currently on its 11th edition (1996). It was originated at the University of California, San Francisco, with more than 85 contributors. It focuses on all diseases managed by surgeons and it is an outstanding reference for junior & senior medical students, residents, and practitioners. It is more difficult to read from cover to cover (approx. 700 pages) but it provides a more in depth review of subjects, covering many aspects frequently asked on board part I & II exams. Highly recommended. $42.00.

3) General Surgery, by Ritchie P. Wallace: From Temple University, this is a book that concentrates on the clinical presentation, diagnostic studies, and common surgical procedures. It is concise, two-color textbook for medical students that addresses the essential clinical conditions treated by general surgeons. Approx. 970 pages. $154.00.

4) The Student’s Textbook of Surgery, by William M. Rambo From the Medical University of South Carolina, this book was written with the junior medical student in mind. With only 350 pages, it covers all the essentials of general surgery, easy to read and understand. Highly recommended as an introduction to surgery. $40.00.

5) Essential Surgery: Problems, Diagnosis, and Management, by George H Burkitt: Concise surgery synopsis for medical students. Approx. 740 pages. Uses a problem-based approach. Includes outlines of major procedures, discussion of minimally invasive surgery. $49.95.

6) Basic Surgery, by Hiram C Polk, Jr.: From the Univ. of Louisville. An introductory text for medical students on the assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and postoperative care of the surgical patient. New topics include managed care and indications for referral. 89 contributors. Approx. 1,000 pages. $48.00.

Continue reading

Internal Med Residency 1

Medical Student’s Guide to Surgery


Welcome to your Surgery Clerkship! This rotation can be one of the most memorable experiences of your third year. This may be the only chance you will ever have to see such things as a liver transplant, open-heart surgery, a laparoscopic gastric bypass, a trauma, or even an appendectomy. It can be an unbelievable experience, but we also recognize that it can be quite intimidating. With this guide, we hope to unlock the mystery of surgery and give you some tips on how to excel on this rotation. Continue reading

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