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About MarkMass

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    Physician Assistant

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  1. My advice is don't over study. The longer you drag out studying the further away you are from something you studied at the beginning. I finished school 10 days before the exam. During the last 4 weeks of school we had to do 500 practice questions per week on Rosh, did the NCCPA practice exam, and had a 220 question exam by my school. During the last 10 days I studied for about 10-12 hours a day, went through old notes, watched HIPPO and OnlineMedEd videos, looked up things on UpToDate, and did Rosh & Hippo questions. The PANCE assesses your medical knowledge to be an entry level clinician. While there are some zebras on it, most of the content are common things. The key is knowing the subtle details about major systems/conditions. For example, there are questions that will present pathognomonic things. SO lets say, a patient with fever, jaundice, and RUQ pain. Your mind goes to Charcot's triad then cholangitis. But when you look at the actual question, it'll ask something like, what is the most common pathogen or initial diagnostic test. You will also get "gimmes" that are super straightforward. The overall point is know common, important things in detail like pneumonia, copd, heart failure, hypertension, MI, diabetes, cushing/addison, biliary diseases, etc. Advice for the exam: 1. Dont dwell and think there is a trick question. If it seems straightforward and easy, go with it. 2. Dont change your answer unless you're absoultely sure or if you encounter a question that validates changing it. 3. If a question is hard or vague (which a bunch will be) remember that its 1 of 300 and not all of them count. So move on. You won't know everything. 4. Take advantage of your breaks. Get up, snack, walk around and stretch. I did 120, 10 min break, 120 more, 10 min break, and finished the last 60. 5. Don't study the day before or morning of!!! Take the day off to relax your brain, watch mindless tv, rest and hydrate Be confident and you'll do fine.
  2. I took mine on Monday the 16th, received my score the following Monday, the 23rd. I've also read its Mondays and thursdays, usually a week after the exam.
  3. Sounds like a thorough and well organized plan. I have two bits of advice, but I recognize that everyone studies and retains differently so it may or may not help. 1. Don't overstudy and be too rigid to your plan. I told my classmates, you will never know everything and if you let yourself, you will obsess over small details and go down wormholes while forgetting the core info. Which leads to my second: 2. Doing questions are great and how most people advise us to study. I also think it's important to know core details about topics because, as you probably saw with the 1st pance, they ask round-about type questions. For example, I felt like mine had a lot of endocrine, especially pituitary function/dysfunction. I did questions while studying but also spent a good amount of time making sure I knew details of the pathologies and how to differentiate primary, secondary, and tertiary causes. That took the guesswork out when I saw vague questions about decreased libido or skin hyperpigmentation, etc. And you're 100% right. Take the day before off, watch mindless Netflix, and don't even think about studying. Lastly, don't doubt yourself or change answers. That seems to be where a lot of people have trouble and regret the most after completing the exam. Good luck, you got this.
  4. I got rejected. But all is good. Went to another program and am graduating in 3 weeks. It's all about spreading out your applications and finding a program that fits your personality. Good luck!
  5. I'm about to graduate in early December with my boards scheduled to follow 10 days later. I anticipate being able to work by early January. I'm looking for advice from recent grads on job hunting, especially out of state. I've applied to a few jobs in the state I hope to return to (Massachusetts). All jobs that I have found route through a hospital website where I feel my resume and info just goes into an HR abyss. Aside from job fairs, any advice on how to get past this annoying system? Graduating with massive debt and then having to wait to find a job and deal with credentialing & privileges process seems like a dangerously long time compared to getting the ball rolling now. I also realize that I am looking for a specialty and am not applying to jobs screaming "new grads apply here - Will train you," but any advice will be appreciated.
  6. Hi all, As a current student, I understand the anxiety of waiting. We are currently in finals and the older class is in clinicals. The faculty is very busy and understand that you all want to know. Point of fact, acceptance calls for you are about a month earlier than last year’s. Try to be patient. I know it’s next to impossible but it’s important. If you inquire about waitlist or rejection status you will most likely get a response saying that info is not available right now.
  7. Congrats to those who heard. For those who didn’t, don’t lose faith. Not everyone accepts and they pull people off of the waitlist. Several of my classmates were notified later so seats DO open.
  8. Yes, there is. In my experience, any program that offers a seat will require a down payment within a defined timeframe. It typically ranges from $500-$1000. I do not known what the current one is for this program. Regardless, it’s applied to your 1st trimester tuition.
  9. Also remember that interviews change as programs grow. My biggest advice to anyone for any interview is to be yourself. Seriously. The faculty is great and if you interview you'll see that. Good luck to everyone.
  10. Interview was pretty standard. Group activity, panel interview, one on one with the director, general mingling at breakfast, and some current students there to chat with. It may change a bit since this will be the 3rd year. Notification was after all interviews were conducted. I want to say early to mid January. One of the faculty will call you.
  11. I think your story and motivations are great. I worked in cardiology before leaving for school and I know how difficult caring for heart failure can be. Not a lot of people have this experience to drive them to care for others so that is important in your personal statement. As far as the statement itself, you may want to revise it a bit. It seems somewhat fragmented and you have a fair amount of run-on sentences or sentences with a few too many points at once. For example, "I took an EMT course, gaining a lot of experience, as I am now a full-time EMT." You can simplify this by just saying you are a full time EMT and go on to talk about the type of work you do or how it drove you to want more.. All in all, concentrate on fluidity. Maybe outline first and make sure your essay flows from an intro to a body to a conclusion. You can state the importance of your fathers illness, which led to serving others (EMT), which led to PA. CASPA restricts characters so eliminate and superfluous info and you don't have to describe what PA's do...They know. Also, don't concentrate on talking about medicine too much. You're not applying to medical school or nursing school or anything else. You're applying to PA school. Show that you know a PA's role and how they fit into the healthcare system/medical model. Lastly, general grammar. Try not to abbreviate excessively, use a ton of commas (just make new sentences), and type out numbers (ninety instead of 90).
  12. I'm also someone who had sub-par undergrad grades and had to do a lot of work in post-bac to build my academic resume. I can tell you that it does pay off eventually. It is annoying that schools care about 0.1 on a GPA. I was rejected from a school because one GPA was 0.06 below. They do it because they have so many applicants that they have to narrow it down. My advice would be to take another class or two to break the 3.0 barrier. Once I did, I went from 0 to 4 interviews. The rest of your resume will carry you in that regard. Keep working, volunteering, and growing your application. Schools want to see persistence. My advice for schools would be to concentrate on newer or developing programs and ones with a holistic approach to applications. They will see what you have to offer and what your circumstances were that led to your GPA issues. Schools that are well established, like Northeastern, won't give you the time of day unless you have a great GPA or have some crazy heritage.
  13. I'm new to Stamford myself so I am still learning about it. It is relatively expensive. Being a city that's growing and transitioning, there are a lot of new and old housing options. You can easily find a place to live but apartments seem to run anywhere from $1800-2800 a month for a one bed. There are a ton of new buildings with pools, gyms, etc. Depending on your situation(pets, willingness to have a roommate) it can vary a bit. Parking is a work in progress. There is no on-site parking at the hospital/program building. They are looking for new options for garages or you can find garages with monthly rates nearby on your own. If you commute in via train there is a free shuttle from stamford train station to the hospital. Again, depending on your situation, you can find apartments within walking or biking distance. Traffic on 95 is a nightmare so driving can be hell but there are commutable towns nearby. Norwalk/South Norwalk(sono) is becoming a popular area as well. A bunch of classmates worked with a realtor who found a group rate at a local building. Overall point: there are a lot of apartments but it's not cheap to live here. You can save money and live farther away but you may spend 1-2 hours commuting each way. Personally, I would rather have that time to study or do personal things but to each is own.
  14. Some schools don't mind CC credits but prefer you take them at a university. They understand the difficulties with work and school timing but they also receive 1-2,000 applications (or more) every cycle so they won't bend for one person. If you have your heart set on certain programs, maybe reach out to them or setup a meeting and see how they feel about CC courses. I found a post-bac near me that offered evening courses but I still had to tweak my schedule and eventually drop to 36 hours at work. I also took a few classes at a different university for convenience so it doesn't necessarily have to be all at one program. The added benefit of retaking classes is new teachers. You can ask one of them for an LOR and it will be current! That's what I did. Also make sure you get a PA or two to write one. Don't let us tell you exactly what to take. We would feel guilty if you felt like time and money was wasted. Contact programs. Personally, I only retook pre-reqs and didn't bother with courses like exercise physiology or nutrition. Those, to me, were my next step if I didn't get into a program.
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