MedEdits | Medical School Admissions Consulting

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

MMI Interview

The Multiple Mini Interview (MMI), which was originally developed in Canada, is now being used at medical schools in the United States. The scenarios presented at the MMI must remain confidential to keep things fair. These interviews also consist of discussions between the student and the interviewers. Thus, it is tough for students to "feel" adequately prepared for these interviews. Students must rely on their own instincts, communication skills, ethics, values, and ideals which is exactly what the MMI is testing. Two of my clients who recently had an MMI interview said that none of the scenarios were clinically based. It will be interesting to see how many medical schools adopt the MMI next year and which schools take a clinically, versus a non-clinically, oriented approach.

Unsure of How to Rank Residency Programs? How About Communicating with Programs Before the Match?

The end of residency interview season is approaching so it is time to start thinking about how you will rank programs. The NRMP matching algorithm works in favor of the applicant so you should rank programs based on where you would like to train rather than where you have the greatest liklihood of matching.
You should also communicate with every program that you will rank either by doing a second look (and making sure the program director is aware) or by sending an email to the program director. 
The email to your first choice program should explicitly state that you will rank them first. For other programs on your rank list, don’t even mention the word ranking. Phrases such as, “I will be ranking you highly,” or “Your program is one of my top three choices,” tells the program director, indirectly, that they are not your first choice which is less than ideal. Instead, state something such as, “I would be honored to match with you.” 
Do these letters really make a difference? It is tough to know. All program directors want to avoid the scramble so they all try to rank enough applicants to fill their programs. Programs (especially those at prestigious medical schools) also like to boast when they “matched their top picks” which is why letters of intent can influence your position on a rank list.
If you are interested in working with me for the 2011/2012 application season, be sure to retain my services soon.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Residency Second Looks

Even though residency programs often state that second looks do not affect rankings, I still think second looks provide an opportunity to meet other faculty and residents who can put in a "good word" for you and thus influence your candidacy. It is your job, if you do a second look, to make sure the program director is aware. Consider stopping by the program director's office during your second look to say hello. If this is not possible, after the second look, send the program director an email to express your interest in the program and that your second look helped confirm this interest. Also mention whom you met during the second look.

However, doing second looks after programs rank applicants will not impact your ranking. Programs typically rank applicants by the second week of February so, if you are considering a second look, do them now! 

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

MMI Interview

Click Here to read this descriptive article about the Multiple Mini Interview at Stanford.

Medical School in Israel

Attending medical school in Israel presents a great alternative for applicants who cannot gain admission to medical school in the United States. Click Here to read an article on this topic.

Thank You Notes: Email or Hand Written?

My recommendation is that applicants email thank you notes. Why? Everyone in academic medicine is now "connected" and checks email incessantly. Email communications also present the possibility of dialogue between you and your interviewer. An email thank you note can also be saved and filed. In contrast, a written thank you note may end up in your hard copy file (if the program/school prints out hard copies), but more often ends up in the garbage.

The only time you should consider writing a hand written note is if your interviewer seems "old school." For example, do you think this person works in an office that uses paper charts and has not yet converted to an electronic medical record system?

My clients have had great luck with email thank you notes; interviewers sometimes hit the reply button, acknowledge receipt, and express something positive. If, however, you do not receive a reply to your email, there is no need for concern.

If you are interested in working with me for the 2011/2012 application season, please contact me soon.

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Friday, January 7, 2011

Residency Letter of Intent

Read a previous post about letters of intent. It is time to start composing these letters and thinking about which program you will rank first.

Consider hiring MedEdits editors for help with your letter of intent. Please contact us for information.

If you are interested in working with Dr. Freedman for the 2011/2012 application, please retain her services in advance.

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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Do you value the opinion of Dr. Jessica Freedman and MedEdits?  The New York Times does.

At MedEdits, we advocate for all of our clients regardless of their path into medicine.  In a New York Times letter to the editor, Dr. Freedman discusses why medical educators from New York and the Caribbean must work together to ensure high quality clinical training for all medical students.  
Click here to read Dr. Freedman's letter to the editor.

Talking About Bad Grades on Medical School Interviews

Medical school applicants are often nervous to talk about poor grades they may have received during college. They don’t want to “make excuses” or “blame someone” for their performance. So, what is the best way to frame your discussion when talking about poor grades? First of all, explain the scenario. Was this a difficult time in your life, was the subject matter especially difficult, were you bored, did you question your commitment to medicine, or were you adjusting to college? Many applicants have less than stellar academic performances, especially early in college, because they lack the time management and study skills to do well. During your interview, after talking about why you earned poor grades, also give an explanation for your academic improvement. Did you become more mature, realize your passion for medicine, or improve your study and time management skills? Don’t only speak about the poor grades; segue into a discussion about the steps you took to improve.

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