It’s no wonder that a brilliant academic performance in your premedical year is essential for getting accepted into a medical school. Unfortunately, many premedical students don’t perform outstandingly because of various strategic mistakes. If you are thinking to apply to a medical school, avoiding these common mistakes will ensure strong academic performance in the long run. Taking these measures will help you improve your academic record, stay on the right track and become a more competitive student.
Taking Too Many Courses
One of the biggest mistakes that many premedical students usually make is overloading themselves with a tons of science courses along with lab works in one semester, especially during their basic science programs. It is not a piece of cake to excel in physics, chemistry, physiology, biostatistics and organic chemistry all at once in your first semester. Many students take this decision because they want to graduate early and enroll in basic science programs sooner. But due to this overburdening, they poorly perform in exams and usually spend an extra year or two in order to improve their grades. But that doesn’t mean to take only one class per semester and take years to graduate. It is advised to be realistic and take two or three difficult science courses per semester that you can easily manage, so that your grades are not affected.
Choosing the Wrong Major
If you are interested in applying to a medical school, you can choose any major of your choice. Yes, there is no need to take too many science courses to be accepted into a medical school. As long as you fulfill all the basic requirements for medical schools you are interested in applying to, there is no need to worry about getting accepted. Never choose a major solely based on convenience or difficulty level, avoid a major if you find it easy or too difficult. Whatever major you choose, make sure you know what prerequisites are needed to get into a medical school.
Failing to Plan
Premedical students who have a brilliant academic record tend to plan early. They meet with their adviser and create a plan of courses they will take each semester when they will study for MCAT. They also figure out which extracurricular activities they will participate in. But sadly, many premedical students don’t have an idea of what it is going to take to get accepted into medical schools. You should meet up with your premedical adviser as early as possible. Your adviser can give you an in-depth knowledge of your prerequisite and advanced level coursework, and provide complete information on volunteering, research and shadowing opportunities. Meeting with your adviser early and creating a plan will help you prepare for a medical school.
Overburdening Yourself with Extracurricular Activities
Many premedical students try to get involved in as many extracurricular activities as possible, so they have a comprehensive list of activities to mention in their medical school application. But burdening yourself with too much extracurricular activities will make it extremely difficult for you to thoroughly understand the complex concepts and manage your time. It is advised to stay focused on a few activities so that you can perform well in your exams without compromising your academics. Keep in mind that accredited Caribbean medical schools pay close attention to the GPA on your transcripts than the number of hospitals, campus clubs or research labs where you work.
Cramming for Exams
During high school, preparing for the exam the night before or the weekend before the test may sound easy to receive good grades. However, in medical college, this is a bit trickier as it takes time to learn the complex medical terminologies and clearly understand the concepts to perform well on exams. Therefore, it is critical to develop the proper study schedule, stick to it and study regular during your finals to earn good grades. If you are one of those students who can pull of cramming the night before the test, make sure you develop a consistent study routine during the exam as this skill will be necessary in medical school. Premedical students who develop smart study habits early in their college career will more likely perform outstandingly in medical school where time management and discipline is key to success.
Avoiding these common mistakes and developing an effective learning strategy will certainly help premed students improve their academic performance during their basic science programs. This will eventually create a great impression on medical schools and increase your chances of admission.