study skills

Quiz: Are You A Pre-Med at Risk for Severe Burnout?

Quiz: Are You A Pre-Med at Risk for Severe Burnout?

By: Ryan Kelly & Rob Humbracht

Are you a boiled frog?

Imagine a pot filled with cold water, with a frog peacefully swimming in it. A fire is lit under the pot and the water becomes lukewarm. The frog finds this rather pleasant and keeps swimming, but then the temperature keeps rising. As the water turns hotter, the frog grows uncomfortable, but it also becomes weak, so it stands the heat as long as it can and does nothing.

4 Lessons Professional Basketball Can Teach You About Getting Better Grades

4 Lessons Professional Basketball Can Teach You About Getting Better Grades

By: Ryan Kelly

I never expect much from announcers. Occasionally I turn on ESPN before a basketball game to find a talking head unleashing such golden nuggets of wisdom as, “This team is really going to have to score a lot of points in order to win.” I think to myself, “I wonder if the players know that they’re supposed to score more points than the other team. I bet they would win if they knew that!” If only basketball were so simple.
The same can be said about your grades in college. On the surface, it seems like all you need to do is earn more A’s than the competition, and you “win.”

The Zen Valedictorian, Decreasing Your Stress without Decreasing Your Ambition

The Zen Valedictorian, Decreasing Your Stress without Decreasing Your Ambition

By: Ryan Kelly

When people hear the word ‘valedictorian,’ they might think of a hustling overachiever who participates in every possible organization or activity. Others might picture the opposite--the highly gifted coaster who gets by on nothing but his or her natural ability.

But the truth is, if you want to be a successful pre-med, you should find the happy medium between these two extremes.

5 Most Common MCAT Mistakes and How To Avoid Them

5 Most Common MCAT Mistakes and How To Avoid Them

By: Ryan Kelly

5 Most Common MCAT Mistakes, as explained by a professional MCAT instructor.

“Las Vegas is a great place to take your MCAT.”

This unusual tidbit was the first of many surprises when The Savvy Premed sat down for an interview with MCAT instructor Levonti Ohanisian. In addition to scoring well himself, Levonti serves as an MCAT teacher at UCSD Extension.  While he teaches all subjects, some of his best advice is how to approach the test as a whole.

How to Silence Your Inner Monologue

How to Silence Your Inner Monologue

We’ve all been there.  We’re trying to get work done, but our brain is elsewhere.  It’s re-hashing our troubles, revisiting embarrassing moments from our past, refusing to budge from a tense exchange with a friend.  Wherever our brain is, it’s preventing us from focusing on the task at hand, and the inner monologue - that we’re stupid, that we’re unworthy, that we can’t ever get into med school - is dragging us down.

It’s times like these when we need techniques to help silence that monologue and bring our brains back to the present.  

 

Highly Recommended: Too Much To Do, Not Enough Time

Highly Recommended: Too Much To Do, Not Enough Time

I’ll never forget a student who once asked - in all seriousness - whether she should try to study more for her MCAT by cutting her sleep from seven hours per night to only four.  With three more hours per night, she reasoned, she could get some quality studying done!  Wasn’t this the solution to her problems?

Highly Recommended: The Radical Simplicity Manifesto

Highly Recommended: The Radical Simplicity Manifesto

There is so much to do to get into med school: get good grades, prepare for the MCAT, volunteer, shadow, research… the list seems infinitely long.  You would be excused for loading up your schedule with activities and classes, giving yourself very little time to do anything else.

 

But of course, you would be foolish to do so.  I want to recommend an alternative that you may not think is possible as a pre-med, something that Cal Newport calls The Radical Simplicity Manifesto.

 

Your Study Skills Suck: Part 1 - Focus is Overrated

Your Study Skills Suck: Part 1 - Focus is Overrated

You think you know how to study.  You're pre-med, after all, and you've managed to get good grades so far.  You're pretty good at school, and you like it (or even if you don't, you're a masochist).  You've followed the advice you've been given from parents and teachers over the years, and you do well through using your intelligence and sheer force of will. But unless you're also a slacker (or a cutting-edge social science researcher), your study skills are inefficient.