Junior year can be incredibly difficult especially if you are planning on taking the MCAT during that year or the summer after Junior year. There are a couple of very important questions to ask yourself especially during the summer before or right before starting Junior year to set yourself up well for the next couple of years.
WHEN AM I TAKING THE MCAT?
The MCAT as we all know is a very big part of your premed career and in order to get into medical school you need to do well. So it is a great idea to start thinking about when would be a good time you would like to schedule your MCAT. The MCAT does require for you to have taken the major course subjects prior to the test so that you are prepared best for it. So the first thing you want to see is when you will be done with Biology, Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, and Physics. It would not be a good idea to take the MCAT when you still have all of Physics I and II to take.
But if you really need to take the MCAT at the end of say your third year in undergrad, Try and take it a couple of weeks at least after the end of the semester. This will give you some time to decompress after a stressful semester and then also further review information more so than during your regular semester.
It is also important to realize that there is a “just right” time to take your MCAT and what this means is to not give yourself too much or too little time because both instances can cause problems. Many students give themselves a whole year to study after graduating but they end up doing poorly because they could not study well enough for a whole year. And then there is the other end of the spectrum, students who take it with minimal preparation just to get a good “baseline” which is not a good idea at all. Always make sure to fully prepare prior to taking the MCAT.
WHERE WOULD I LIKE TO APPLY TO MEDICAL SCHOOL?
Many premeds think that this is not an important part of the medical school application process but they find that in the end they do wish that they had thought about this prior to the summer when applying for medical schools. The reason for this is because students may attend several medical school fairs during their junior year and they ended up being sort of a waste because the students did not have a good idea of where they wanted to go. They figured that they would just go wherever they get in but if they had a better idea of where they wanted to go then they would have been able to take full advantage of the medical school fairs.
IS MEDICAL SCHOOL THE CHOICE FOR ME?
It is recommended that as you are nearing the start of writing your applications, just make sure your revisit your desire to attend medical school. Some people go through the whole application process and then after performing interviews realized that medicine is not for them. This is better than the alternative which is going through medical school and realizing that it is not for you. However, it is always a good idea to make sure this is the path for you.
Medicine is a grueling career and you may hear this from a lot of different people. But it is just a good idea to make sure this is what you still want to do because you will be putting in a lot of money, time, and effort in the process of medical school applications.
It is easy to just see the positive aspects of medicine which includes how you feel when taking care of patients but there can be a lot of negative aspects of medicine which are not highlighted such as the long hours, time away from family, and constant hours spent studying. Just take the time to realize this side of medicine also before you continue on this journey because this journey is not a cakewalk and takes a lot out of you as a person. If you are not committed to the field 100%, it will be easier to walk away from the journey when adversity strikes.