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Everything posted by MarkMass

  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.
  15. Glad to see a forum started for the program. I am an accepted student waiting to start in August. When I was going through the process last year it was very helpful to have current students available to field questions so I would like to do the same for you all. My interview offer came in late September and I was given two options for the first and second weeks in November to interview. I'm not sure if it will be the same this year. The program is in Stamford, not the main campus in Fairfield. The facility is brand new and state of the art and is across from the brand new Stamford Hospital. Good luck to everyone and feel free to send questions.
  16. I was in your exact shoes a few years ago. I had sub par grades from my undergrad, applied to several PA schools, and was rejected from all of them. After working for a few years (and getting personal life stuff in order) I went back to school in a post-bac program. I worked full time, took night classes, and over about two years I completed over 40 credit hours of classes: Bio, chem, orgo, stats, A&P, etc. I pulled straight A's and brought my science GPA up 0.6 points and my overall slightly less. My GPA's were still lower than the ones you listed. Long life story short, I ended up being offered 4 interviews, attended 3, and was accepted by all 3. I consider myself very lucky and am not bragging. The advantage I had was 9 years of work experience to help carry me. I say this because you should not get down or think you wont get in. PA schools want to see dedication and working to improve your grades. We are all human and not all of us know what we want to do when we're 19 and make mistakes. It's about what you do after that and persistence to get what you want. My advice is to retake classes (if you want or have the means), keep working and volunteering, and keep applying. You will get there.
  17. Realistically, the challenging part will be to get hands on patient care hours prior to submitting your application. It will be helpful for panels to see that you are getting patient care hours, have great grades, and are working hard to get into PA school. Dietetics may be an advantage for you because there are a lot of applicants with exercise science, Bio, chem, and AT backgrounds. I would also recommend shadowing a few PA's in different settings. A letter of recommendation from a PA is key and you should try to spend more than half a day shadowing one before asking them for a letter. Consider this... PA schools accept 3-5% of applicants and most students have over a year of experience in a healthcare setting. Look at demographics and you'll see that they are usually ethnically diverse and female dominated. The key to PA school is persistence. You may not get get in on the first try since you still have a lot to do, but programs love to see hard work and those who don't give up. I tell you this just to be realistic, hopefully it does not come off as pessimistic. Good luck with everything.
  18. I'm a big fan of being yourself. The faculty do not want to hear rehearsed statements and "I really want to help under served populations." Obviously, like others have written, its important to be confident (without being cocky), be personable and make eye contact, and do not touch your phone the entire time!! Even if you have down time. Make conversation with other interviewees and current students. The most important thing to remember is they already like you based on your stats. You do not have to spew your application back to them. They want to make sure you are able to converse professionally, work as a member of a team, and have some humility. I truly believe the group activities are a huge part of the decision making. Everyone panics and wants to get their say in. Just remember to be professional, non-confrontational, and include everyone. One last comment. Everyone is nervous and the faculty knows this. Don't sweat it. Just take a deep breath and be yourself.
  19. Thanks for the feedback. This part of the puzzle I am familiar with but I appreciate the explanation regardless. What I am looking to get a sense of is paying interest while in school. I know it's beneficial but I am trying to understand how much it'll actually be and when I'll have to pay it. My program and area of residence will be pricey so lets say I am borrowing $20K a trimester for a total of 7 trimesters. This will be a blend of stafford (20.5K) and grad Plus. Since the bulk will be Plus loans and assuming the current interest rate (which it wont be I'm sure) of 6.31%, will I be paying $1262 per trimester in interest? I'm just throwing out numbers here but I'm really interested in knowing if this is the way it would work and if so, is this paid monthly, one time payment each trimester, etc? I am in my 30's so unlike many of my younger classmates, I have some money saved and some retirement I can potentially liquidate to pay the interest if it is a reasonable amount and wont make my cost of living suffer more. If anyone did pay interest while in school and would be willing to share how their's worked, it would be very helpful. Thanks again.
  20. This is something I am interested in as well, Specifically the first part regarding interest payments while in school. It seems counter-intuitive to borrow money because you need it and somehow pay interest on it at the same time. I know you save money in the long run. Can anyone comment on whether they deferred interest while in school or payed interest? And for those who paid interest, can you give an example of how much, on ave, it cost and when you had to pay it? I imagine I'll have to borrow close to $150K over the length of my program.
  21. I spoke to Bianca who referred me to someone in the graduate office to answer this question. The answer at this time is that we can find coverage through the ACA at the Healthcare.gov website. I expressed my concern over the Trump administration's and Republican's attempt to repeal the ACA might leave us with limited to no options. I was told that the university is following this issue and always looking for suitable replacements. I also ask about requirements for coverage and when we will need it. I will post more info when I know.
  22. I think it should be directed to Bianca so I'll email her today. It's definitely important because the link to healthcare for domestic graduate students directs you to healthcare.gov. This seems problematic given the new administration is trying to tear down the marketplace without suitable replacement and/or the premiums are out of control.
  23. I agree that there is still plenty of time for people to get in. Today was only a phone call so who knows who said yes, maybe, or no. I understand the frustration as I am someone who is older (34) and took several tries and basically redid my sciences to get in. Applying to PA school is the most frustrating and humbling undertaking I've done. I was one who had little to no faith at one point but it does work out. For those who didn't get a seat (yet), my advice is to take on challenges, take classes, shadow/volunteer, and most of all, reach out to the program and see if you can find out where you fell short. The faculty st SHU seems awesome so I bet they will give you quality feedback. I know preaching and seeing people's excited posts can be maddening to those still waiting. You'll have that chance eventually so don't give up.
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