Wednesday, 25 January 2012


Good day,

Over the course of the next month will post three feature articles from Qasim, MD, and myself (one article each), on the interview process and the waiting game.

Here is our first post.

Qasim, MD, and me!

“The waiting is the hardest part…”

I borrowed the title of this post from a 1981 single by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. Coincidentally, it was in high rotation on my iPod around this time last year, and I feel that it is quite appropriate at this stage in the admissions process. For some of you, the deadlines for applications have long passed, and that feeling of “YES! I got all of my documents and applications in on time” is starting to wear off. Now, you might be asking yourself, “When do I finally hear about interviews? What should I do while I am waiting? How can I prepare if I suddenly get an interview offer?”

I don’t have a firm answer for the first question, but I believe that it varies by school and by year. When I went through the application cycle, a friend of mine in his first-year of medical school told me I would hear about interview offers pretty much as soon as I started my Winter semester in January; instead, however, I heard back from schools from the last week of January until mid-February. Needless to say, I worried all throughout January, wondering if I had accidentally not submitted my applications or documents, or if there were other delays in my applications being received and/or processed. In hindsight, all I can say to you is: Relax. Don’t worry! If you got a confirmation e-mail of some kind when you pressed ‘Submit’ on your applications, you will likely hear back soon. When the time is right.

Now, what should you do while you’re waiting? One thing I highly recommend is to start getting some training or advice on medical interviews. At the U of A, I was lucky in that our campus career centre offered a mock MMI (multiple mini-interview) session, which I will tell you more about in a subsequent post. If your campus offers a mock medical interview session, I highly recommend signing up for it, even if you don’t know whether you have been offered an interview yet. The experience is priceless! If your campus or local area does not offer a similar service, you might be able to contact some friends who are in medicine who can offer you advice or perhaps even run through some standard practice questions with you. If you like reading, you could also look into getting some how-to books for the interview. However, be careful! Some books are targeted more towards medical schools in the US, and others tell you more about one particular format of interview (usually the panel-style interview, which is quite different from the MMI). If possible, try to find books that are geared toward the format of the interviews of the school(s) you applied to.

While you’re waiting for interview offers, you can also look into working on other aspects of your application. For instance, if you weren’t sure whether your MCAT scores were high enough, you could look into rewriting your MCAT in the meantime. I must stress, however, that since you already submitted your MCAT scores, your newly rewritten scores would not be considered for your current applications. That being said, if you don’t get accepted this time around and yet you score higher on your MCAT rewrite, it’s one less thing for you to do in the summer and you might have a better chance of getting in next year! You can instead spend more time and energy then on your summer research project, volunteering abroad, or even taking that much-needed holiday with your loved one(s). You could also beef up the extracurricular part of your application by engaging in more volunteer work, or even giving piano lessons. The sky is the limit, really.

And don’t worry, it might seem like suddenly you have an interview offer in your inbox, but usually the schools give you about a month before the interview, so you’ll have enough time to work out your transportation and accommodation arrangements, to get a nice haircut, and to practice your interview skills. Most interviews take place from about the end of February through to early April, so it might be a good idea to keep this time period free of extensive holidays or other commitments, depending on how many schools you applied to.

Yes, the waiting is the hardest part, but remember, it’s always darkest before dawn.

Good luck, I hope you all had a Merry Christmas!


Sunday, 1 January 2012

Introductions "Squared"

Hey readers,
This is my get-to-know-me post full of random and not-so-random facts. I’m happy to join the wanna be md blog team. For your convenience, I will use bullet points in no particular order.

· The initials of my first and last name are and have always been M.D. People said it was a sign. If I graduate from medical school as I’m supposed to in approximately 2.5 years, I will be MD MD. Or MD^2.

· When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a clown. Maybe I will be like Patch Adams?

· My educational background is a twisted maze. I was determined to be a doctor from 2001 to 2007 through high school and my first bachelors in health sciences. When I failed to get accepted (or even interviewed!) in 2007, I sulked, unemployed and depressed, for an entire summer before sucking it up and getting a job and becoming a useful member of society. I started taking creative writing classes and went on to get another bachelors and then a Masters in the subject. I was lucky enough to be accepted to a med school that encourages diversity and inter disciplinary work. I was worried that I wouldn’t fit in because of my arts background, but my school really fosters and supports the creative side.

· Now I’m in first year and I like talking to standardized patients and real patients whenever I get the chance. And learning about rheumatism and colonoscopies and other exciting things. Sadly, I still do not enjoy exams and would rather write a twenty page essay than a three hour exam.

· I took this online questionnaire ( and it said my top choice of residency would be Dermatology. Before med school started I took it and it said Plastic Surgery. Try it out and see for yourself.

· In my spare time, I like to write stories and poems. I am currently going through a very earnest Jane Eyre phase.

· The best part of the whole process of getting into med school was the interview. Because even though it was scary and I got the vertigo, having an eight minute venue to expound upon your views of the world is just fun! Plus meeting all the new people and the excitement of meeting your potential school – it’s a blast!

Greetings blog readers!

Please allow me to introduce myself! My name is Qasim and I am one of the new writers for the Wanna B MD blog. I started my undergraduate education by studying for a Bachelor of Science in Immunology & Infection. I completed my degree in 2010 and then spent a year in the wilderness (actually, not really… more like Open Studies) while applying for medical schools around Canada. Finally, this past summer, I was accepted, and I am now a first-year medical student. 

So, why am I writing for this blog? It’s simple: I want to share my views of the ‘pre-medical’ and medical experiences with you, and, if this is a career you really want to pursue, I would like for you to experience the same exhilarating thrill(s) of success that I did (and maybe sidestep the embarrassing mishaps and mistakes that I made here and there). Over the years, I have heard a lot of misconceptions and lies about the application process; I often wished that I had a friendly resource to go to in order to get balanced, truthful information about what it was like to go through the various processes in applying for med school (like writing the MCAT, getting reference letters, preparing for interviews, etc.). I made it through with the help of a few trusted mentors, and now I hope to fulfill the same function for you! 

Along with MD, I will be writing periodically on various aspects of the application/admissions process based on my experiences. However, if you have any additional questions about the process that we haven’t addressed in our posts, please feel free to contact us. We would be more than happy to help!