First Med School Test Freakout!

September 13, 2013
Emily Hause

Human AnatomyHello my persistent MCAT students! This week I had quite the adventure. I took my first tests of medical school and it seems that I have lived to tell about it. I’ll fill you in on a few details of the format, so you have an idea about the roller coaster of examinations I just completed. After three weeks of learning all of the muscles, bones, arteries and nerves of the back and extremities, I took a three-day long exam to ensure that I actually learned something.

Here’s the schedule:
Monday- A dissection lab quiz and an online clinical quiz

Tuesday- A lab practical

Wednesday- A four hour-long written exam

Whew! Now, what have I learned from this epic testing experience that I can share with you?

1. Lab practicals are very surreal experiences. Our anatomy lab practical involved being absolutely silent while walking around to different cadavers and identifying structures that were tagged with strings and pins. There was a beep every sixty seconds to inform you that it was time to move to the next structure. Just take a second and imagine exactly how odd it is to be silently walking around cadavers identifying structures with beeps every sixty seconds. If you’re not mentally prepared for it, you can be distracted by the strangeness of the situation.

2. People have different ways of coping with stress. This was our first group experience dealing with a stressful situation and I can safely say that some people’s methods of coping with stress seemed more effective than others. Not sleeping seemed to be a popular, yet unhelpful way to deal with stress. Other, more effective methods, seemed to be creative outlets, exercising, cooking and actually studying.

3. There’s no way to know everything. This is a piece of advice that everyone gives you when you start med school, but I really saw the truth of it this week. The best way to study, as I discussed with one of my classmates this week, is to learn a critical mass of high-yield information. Ideally this mass of information will get you enough points to do well on the exam. After I explained my theory, my classmate responded, “Is that a Kaplan thing? That sounds like a Kaplan thing.” Touche. Apparently my years of teaching Kaplan MCAT strategy are paying off in medical school.

So, as you’re studying for the MCAT, take comfort in knowing that the strategies you learn now are definitely useful within the first three weeks of medical school!

Happy studying!

Emily Hause Emily has been a teacher for Kaplan for over eight years; she's taught MCAT, ACT, SAT, SAT2 and tutored pretty much every subject under the sun in both the classroom and live online (aka Classroom Anywhere) settings. She's also worked for Kaplan in content development and teacher mentorship roles. Emily is currently a fourth-year medical student at the University of Colorado and is hoping to go into Pediatrics. She's involved in many campus opportunities such as being a Prospective Student Representative, admissions committee member, CU-UNITE member, and co-president of the Education and Teaching Interest Group. Prior to medical school, Emily got a BA in Biochemistry and Spanish from Lawrence University and a Masters in Public Health- Epidemiology from the University of Minnesota. In her free time, Emily enjoys dancing, baking, playing tennis and exploring her new Colorado home.

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