Author Archives: Sam Asgarian

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Sam Asgarian

About Sam Asgarian

I'm a current Tulane University medical student and an MBA graduate of the Johnson School of Graduate Management at Cornell University, and a long-time instructor and teacher trainer who continues to help students throughout the country. I've also done significant work behind the scenes, helping to develop and update study materials for both the MCAT and USMLE. I've been around long enough to see former students not only join me in medical school, but also be trained by me as new Kaplan instructors. While obtaining medical and business degrees has kept me busy, it hasn't stopped me from continuing to play soccer as a goalkeeper during both outdoor and indoor seasons.

Your Future
April 16, 2012

MCAT Practice Tests: Learning from your mistakes

Every Monday morning during the months of September through December, professional football players gather at their respective team’s facilities tired, weary, and groggy from the previous day’s game. They spread out based on their positions and assemble in dark rooms where video projectors display game film while position coaches break down the plays screen-by-screen. The players hate this. They just finished playing barely 24 hours ago. The last thing they want to do is watch the game again. If they won, they want to storm the practice field and keep up their positive momentum. If they lost, they want to … more
Tests & Scores
April 10, 2012

Teaching the MCAT: How I became a better doctor

The cliché “never say never” has been around for so long that its significance might be lost on most people. For me, though, every time I hear someone say it, I think back to when I was an undergrad studying for the MCAT. A group of us taking the prep class would study together and at times the conversation would veer towards our MCAT  instructor. “He’s so smart, there’s nothing that he doesn’t know,” one of my friends would say. Another overly-optimistic one would chime in with, “I bet he got a perfect score on the test.” At … more
Pre-Med Life
February 6, 2012

Getting into Medical School: Having well-rounded hobbies

Most medical school applicants tend to normalize towards a typical set of extracurricular activities; research, clinical experience, and volunteering activities are the standard and show up in abundance on applications. Applicants believe that a vital part of getting accepted is having these experiences, and that is largely true. Would it surprise you, though, to know that it was comic book collecting that was the one activity my medical school noticed most on my medical school application?

I had a strong background in research, significant clinical experiences, great community service, and lengthy periods of paid employment, but so did most … more
Applying to Med School
January 23, 2012

The Merits of an MD/MBA Dual Degree

After graduating from medical school and entering residency, a person will have an amazing foundation of knowledge. It’s not rare, however, to hear an MD say, “I have no idea how to fill this out,” regarding forms needed to bill for their services. There is a breadth of scientific and patient-care related material to cover during medical school, so learning the basic business skills surrounding medical care is often sacrificed.

While a doctor’s focus should clearly be on his or her patients, hospitals and clinics do require substantial overhead costs to operate. Similarly, pharmaceutical companies often approach physicians with complicated … more
Tests & Scores
January 16, 2012

Read it, Hear it, See it, Try it: What is Well-Rounded MCAT Preparation?

Choosing your MCAT prep can be a difficult task in its own right, even before you crack open the books and start studying. Walk into any bookstore or search the internet for MCAT study materials, and you might be overwhelmed by the number of choices available to you. Throughout the years, people across all industries (academic, test-prep, self-help, etc.) have published study aids and materials meant to help students achieve their goals on the MCAT, and the sheer number of options can be overwhelming. To further frustrate your efforts, try asking a friend or classmate for recommendations on … more
Tests & Scores
January 12, 2012

Studying for the MCAT: The Digestive System

Many test takers look forward to the biology section of the MCAT. After laboring through the Physical Science and Verbal Sections, it’s nice to finally tackle some passages on topics with which many pre-meds are familiar and comfortable. It also happens to be the last section of the lengthy exam, and after over 3 hours of test-taking, you might hear a grumbling coming from your stomach; a grumbling might grow even louder if you happen upon a passage focusing on the commonly tested topic that is the digestive system.

As with many biology topics, it’s important to think … more
Med School Experience
September 26, 2011

Topics in Medicine: Medical Resident Work Hour Regulations

The path to becoming a physician is, to say the least, quite long. Four years of medical school is followed immediately by a minimum of three years of residency – only once that’s completed can you start practice as an attending physician. It’s important, therefore, to know as much as possible about residency rules and regulations ahead of time so you don’t end up surprised by what’s awaiting you after medical school.

In 2003, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) made substantial changes to medical resident work hour regulations. For the first time ever, a limit … more
Your Future
August 29, 2011

Modern Technology in Medical School

Modern technology has changed the way that we live our lives; you can now order almost anything you want online, pay your bills and invest money easily without visiting the bank, and essentially live your life without ever having to leave your home. These changes have spread to the healthcare industry as well, and medical students are now starting to see the benefits of some of those changes firsthand. iPads, online materials, and lectures that resemble game-shows are only a few of the changes that make medical school much different today than it was when your parents and grandparents were … more
Applying to Med School
August 15, 2011

Casting a Network: How to gain exposure during the application cycle

When it comes to the medical school selection process, schools sometimes receive as many as 100 applications for every spot that is available. The majority of applications are extremely similar: high GPAs, top MCAT scores, and ample community service and clinical involvement. The difference between an accepted applicant and one that is not can be quite thin. In times like these, schools deeply appreciate knowing more about applicants than just the details found in their med school application. That means being more than just a name with some numbers attached to it. To achieve this, you need to harness … more
Your Future
August 4, 2011

Healthcare for Pre-Meds: An Industry 411

A commonly discussed topic on the wards during the third and fourth years of medical school is the health care system. Since the legislation passing health care reform in 2009, physicians are constantly talking about the possible changes, and students who have a thoughtful, informed opinion usually wind up standing out as a result of these discussions. The fact that it has also become a common topic during admissions interviews adds to the importance of understanding the health care system as a whole well before you actually find yourself immersed in it.

The American healthcare system is divided into three … more
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