Author Archives: Alex Macnow

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Alex Macnow

About Alex Macnow

I graduated from Boston University with a BA in Musicology and am currently a fourth year in medical school at the University of Pennsylvania. I took Kaplan to prep for my MCAT. After such a great experience with my course, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to teach and tutor hundreds of pre-health students for the MCAT, DAT, OAT and PCAT in both our Boston – Haymarket and Philadelphia Kaplan Centers. I am one of the Content Managers for Kaplan's new MCAT 2015 course. When I’m not preparing for residency or teaching MCAT, I enjoy playing classical piano, exploring new cuisines and traveling on road trips.

October 21, 2013

Med School Admissions Statistics, Part I: How Many People Get into Medical School?

The first day of autumn is coming this Saturday, and that means it’s admissions season!   If you’ve already gotten in your AMCAS application, you may be spending a decent amount of this time out of the crisp air and – instead – focusing on finishing up secondary applications, preparing for interviews, and charming admissions committees with your excellent credentials. 

Considering how much time and energy we’re putting into this, let’s make sure we understand some of the numbers (after all, we’re science people, right?).  This post is the first in a series focusing on medical school admissions statistics.  Today, …

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April 8, 2013

MCAT 2015: What You Need to Know … Now!

With all of the buzz about the new MCAT 2015, Kaplan will be hosting a panel discussion tonight focusing on this test change, what it means for you as a pre-med student and future applicant, and how it fits into the current trajectory of medicine.

Sign up using this link:  The Pulse Series – MCAT 2015:  What You Need to Know … Now!

MCAT 2015:  What You Need to Know … Now!

Monday, April 8, 2013  |  8 PM Eastern

Big changes are coming to the MCAT in 2015. At this event, we’ll explore what those changes are, why they’re …

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January 24, 2013

A Tale of Two MCATs: Which Should I Take?

With the major MCAT revision coming up in 2015, many students are starting to ask:  which MCAT should I take?  Is there an advantage to one test versus the other?

The short answer is:  it’s possible to do either and score extremely well, but you’ll have to plan starting today.

What’s changing in the 2015 MCAT?

If you haven’t read our other articles about the MCAT 2015 exam, make sure to go back and check them out:

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January 17, 2013

Application Essentials VII: Interviews

We’ve all heard horror stories:  bizarre ethical dilemmas, not clicking with your interviewer, the old “window-being-nailed-shut” story.  But medical school interviews really aren’t that bad.  Perhaps the most misunderstood part of the application, these brief conversations hold the key in that final step of getting you from interviewee to medical student.

Why do pre-health schools do interviews?  What are they looking for?

The interview is all about your ability to communicate clearly and effectively with others.  Medicine is, at its core, a humanistic practice of care for one’s community.  To be a successful clinician, you will have to be able …

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January 11, 2013

Application Essentials VI: Letters of Recommendation

When you need advice on something, who do you turn to?  Your friends, of course!

Medical schools don’t have “friends,” per se, so the professional equivalent is the Letter of Recommendation.  In other words, the letters you aggregate become the medical school’s “squad,” each highlighting different attributes of what would make you a great candidate for their medical school.  Luckily, they’re actually serving as mutual friends:  since they know you, they can represent you honestly and in the best possible way.

Here are some of the commonly-asked questions about Letters of Recommendation:

What’s a committee letter?

While you’ll be …

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January 3, 2013

Application Essentials V: Non-Medical Extracurriculars and Experience

There are many things to consider on your path to becoming an excellent physician: preparing for the MCAT (the current or the new MCAT 2015), nailing a 4.0 GPA both semesters, or writing a killer personal statement for that AMCAS application.

And then there’s the consideration of maintaining a personal and pre-med life balance: I’m planning on playing the piano more in this coming year.  Given the daily grind of medical school, it’s gone on the wayside for some time, but it’s always important to keep up with your life outside of medicine.  Which brings us to today’s …

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December 21, 2012

Application Essentials IV: Medical Extracurriculars and Experience

The life of a pre-med student is busy, between the challenging pre-med courses you’re taking, preparing for the MCAT, and keeping up with your extracurriculars. Today, we turn our focus to that last category: what medically-oriented extracurriculars should you be doing before medical school?

Why are medical extracurriculars important?

In addition to the obvious (that this is what you’re going to be doing for the rest of your life), the significance of medical extracurriculars is the demonstration that you have explored medicine as a field — and you still love it!  Many students come into undergrad with an idealized …

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December 17, 2012

Application Essentials III: Secondary Applications

You’ve crafted a masterful personal statement, you’ve chosen your favorite 15 activities*, you’ve meticulously entered every class you’ve ever taken — verbatim**, and you’ve finally hit that blue “submit” button on your AMCAS application.

Everything’s going fantastically since you dominated the MCAT.

But now it’s time to turn your attention to that growing pile of letters:  not acceptances (just yet!), but secondaries.  These school-specific applications feature a host of essays — and they’re the next step on the  path to medical school.  As part of our continuing series on holistic review in admissions, let’s look …

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December 6, 2012

Application Essentials II: The Personal Statement

Let’s start today with a simple (?) question:

“Who are you?”

With all respect to Roger Daltrey, this is actually one of the most challenging questions for pre-med students to answer.  And yet, this question is the basis of a major part of your application:  The Personal Statement.

While there just isn’t enough space in a single blog entry to cover every facet of the Personal Statement, there are a couple important themes to keep in mind as you’re coming up with what you plan to write in – what many admissions officers refer to as – “your …

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November 30, 2012

Application Essentials I: The Holistic Review Process

Earlier this month, I had the great fortune of attending the 2012 AAMC Annual Conference in San Francisco, CA.  This meeting represents one of the largest gatherings of medical educators, premedical advisors, admissions officers, practicing physicians and students in the country, all with one common goal:  your education.  This is the group that writes the MCAT, runs the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) and creates informative resources like Careers in Medicine to help you plan your future medical career.

One of the “hot topics” in medical admissions these days is holistic review.  While a full detailing of this …

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