Sunday, April 9, 2017

Pre-Med: Being competitive, Rough requirements

Just at hearing the word "pre-med," many people immediately think "cut-throat" and "daunting."  Rightfully so!  Know what you're getting into before committing to it.  Granted, when you try out a few science classes in college, you'll soon get an idea of how much you need to step up your game to stay in the game, or leave the game altogether.  At UCLA, stepping up your game is not an option.  You HAVE TO.  Whereas you were once at the top of your class in high school, now you are average at UCLA because everyone there is just like you.

If you are a freshman at UCLA, here are some things you should know and start thinking about as you persevere through the difficulties and long nights of acing all your classes.

1)  It doesn't matter which accredited medical school you get into.  Getting into medical school is what counts.  ALL of them are competitive, and regardless of which you get into, you WILL BE an M.D.!
2) To be COMPETITIVE for medical school admission and to pretty much give you a VERY HIGH LIKELIHOOD of getting accepted into medical school, ensure that you graduate with at least a 3.7 GPA and a MINIMUM of about 33 on the MCAT.  NOTE: There's a new MCAT scoring system.  33 roughly translates to 514-515 on the NEW MCAT SCORING SCALE.

Good luck, study hard, and go to your professor's office hours often!

Monday, November 23, 2015

ANSWERS to the latest questions and comments

Hi, Friends!It's been a while since my last entry here.  I came back to check on things and realized comments were waiting to be moderated and questions were waiting to be answered.Here are a few I picked out that several people had similar questions to.  Hope this input helps!

Anonymous said...
I was wondering, is better to take physics 6a and 6b during the summer or ls 2 and ls 3 during the summer?
Lisi said...
If I'm an incoming freshman at UCLA, who isn't in pre-med, is it possible to get into the program? what would i have to do?
Caitlin O'DONNELL said...
Hi MC!
Do you think taking Chem 14C and LS2 is an okay idea? Or would Chem 14C and LS1 be a better option? Or neither? haha

thank you!
Anonymous said...
Someone told me that if I get a b in any biology class as a premed I would have to change my major is this true? Will I get dropped from my premed career due to a b in a science class?
April 18, 2013 at 5:31 PM 

Anonymous, this is NOT true! Many students that get into medical school have cummulative GPAs of like 3.4-3.8.  ONE B is NOT going to ruin you. :)  Plus, you will also have to take the MCAT and your MCAT score will also greatly impact your application. 
Anonymous said...
I'm a physical science major and was wondering if i had to take math 32B to apply to med school. So do I?
Anonymous said...
How hard is Chem 153A compared to all the lower division science classes? I'm done with all the prereqs except for physics 6C after this quarter and want to get started on upper divs. So far I've been fine with quarters where I've taken 3 south campus and 1 north campus, eg Chem 14C, LS3, Physics 6A, and Anthro 9, getting all A's and A-'s, but just wondering if 153A is significantly harder.
Diana said...
I was wondering if you've taken 3 science courses at a time yet?
I was thinking of taking chem153b, MIMG101, MIMG132 this spring on top of SR99. Do you think that's wise?
Anonymous said...
Can you take 14BL at the same time as you take 14B? The description was somewhat confusing. If so, im planning on taking 14BL with 14B, as well as my GE cluster and English Comp 3 this quarter. Is that a bad idea? I know its going to take a lot of time, but Im scared if I drop the lab and only take one science class this quarter, i will fall behind.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Update: I'm teaching science

So, recently, I've been very busy teaching science to young minds in hopes of sparking some scientific interest in this new generation of kiddos!

I'm sorry I haven't been responding to comments lately, but I'll be sure to get on them soon!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Update: new baby bunnies!

Hi all!

Just a quick update.

I own baby bunnies now.  They're super cute, and here's a short 30 sec video for you!  Feel free to share! :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Some cool stuff to Know at UCLA

  • If you have the non-premier meal plan, you can get an extra swipe after 10pm for your late-night cravings after dinner. :D
  • There's a planetarium on the Math building roof-top that gives free shows on Wednesdays -- check their website to see the schedule.
  • If you need to get to north campus from the dorms, don't take Bruin Walk. Walk down Charles E. Young drive (parallel to Sunset blvd) instead!
  • Seriously, brunch (on Saturdays and Sundays in the dining halls) is delicious! Fluffy waffles with your choice of toppings, french toast, scrambled eggs, omelets made custom for you, etc etc... Delicious!
  • If you're visiting an amusement park, buy tickets from CTO -- you get student discounts!
  • The cleanest ladies restrooms on campus are in the Engineering buildings.
  • You can take the elevator all the way to the roof in Knudsen for a great view of UCLA.
  • Eating on campus instead of the dorms? You can get a sack lunch in the mornings or you can trade a meal-plan swipe for a food voucher (see front desk in the dorms).
  • Kerckhoff Coffee house gives out free coffee during finals week.
  • You get a free 1 year subscription to amazon prime!
  • Watch out for campus police -- they are ruthless in giving out tickets for jaywalking.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

How to pull an all-nighter

My credentials: I aced all my UCLA PhySci and NeuroSci exams and assignments in which I pulled all-nighters.

Rule #1: You should never pull an all-nighter. Avoid it at ALL costs.

Rule #2: IF you screw up badly and have to resort to an all-nighter, this post is for you.

First of all, you must anticipate pulling an all-nighter. If you know that you have an exam next week and you have 10-15 lectures you still have to master, you better start now because chances are, you're going to procrastinate this week and you'll have 5-7 lectures left to master AND must review all the previous chapters you studied on the day and night before the exam.

#1) Eat healthy and get lots of rest/sleep well TWO nights before the exam. That way, you can study all day and all night before the exam. I think the fact of knowing that the exam is one day away makes people very diligent in studying hardcore the day and night before. Don't eat junk food 2 days before the exam because you need to bring out your best on the day/night before and during the exam. When you're studying the day before the exam, my bets are that you are going to be munching on unhealthy snacks all day/night, and you're going to be consuming plenty of caffeine.

#2) On the night before the exam, when you see that there is no way you're going to get through all the chapters you still have to study AND all the chapters you have to review, you need to stop studying for 15 minutes and create a plan that will allow you to maximize the good use of the time that you have left. This plan should be the following:
  • For the lectures you haven't even looked at yet, don't pay attention to the last lecture. Chances are, the professor rushed through it and it has stuff that won't be on the exam. If you think there are useful things on it, pay attention to the useful things. (Note: A good student goes to lecture and notes which topics the professor spent lots of time on and which things the professor simply brushed over. I put a star with a circle around it next to the things the prof spent lots of time on, a star next to the topics the prof spent a medium amount of time on, and a squiggly red line next to the stuff the professor just brushed on).
  • Also for the lectures you haven't studied, skim through your notes.
  • For the first few bits of the first lecture, everything is probably just introductory and review, so don't review that.
  • For the lectures in between that you have studied, review all of them, but spend less time on the topics that you KNOW you'll do well on (but make sure you KNOW - not THINK - that you'll do well on them, or else that will just be a waste of time).
  • If your TAs or professors give you study questions, you better have answered them already and KNOW the concepts and answers. If they gave you answers to the questions, but you haven't looked at the questions or answers, read them and KNOW them. Sometimes, these questions will be about the stuff you haven't studied or reviewed on your own yet, so they could be very helpful in helping you learn a bit about the topics in the lectures you haven't studied.
#3) 1 hour before you have to leave to go to the exam, stop studying. Get dressed, take a 20 minute nap, and drink caffeine if you've been on it all night. It's crucial to keep your caffeine high up if you've been on it all night or else your brain is going to shut down during the test -- you won't be able to think right or focus.

#4) If you think you have time, take 15 minute study breaks throughout the night. My 15 minute study breaks usually consisted of naps or rest.

#5) After the exam, go home and sleep. And shower if you had no time to shower the day/night before. And tell yourself that you're never going to do that again.

Rule #3 At all costs, DO NOT pull an all-nighter for an exam if you have another exam immediately following the first exam or is on the day after the first exam because you're definitely going to screw yourself over for the 2nd exam if you haven't studied for it. If you do have a 2nd exam immediately after the first exam, you better have already studied for the 2nd exam.

Hope this helps! :D

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Blog Post suggestions

Hey all!

I'm accepting blog post suggestions for the next few blog posts I'll be writing!

So, email me if there's any topic in particular you'd like me to blog about. Email me at

Some topics I have in mind:

  • How to pull an all-nighter successfully

  • How to ace finals that are scheduled to be on the same day or consecutive days

  • How to get great letters of recommendation

  • Hidden treasures/great resources at UCLA!

You can also suggest a topic that is not pre-med-related, but just for fun.

Email me suggestions and I'll try to cover all of them! :)

This is random... but LOL I think this is funny and clever. It's an Obama spoof on Whatever You Like by TI :D

Friday, September 9, 2011

Hi again! Updates!

Hello again, everyone!

It's been almost one year since I have written my previous blog post, and I'm glad to be back to give you all an update and hopefully get this blog going again.

I've been on a roller coaster ride with trying to figure out my life. Last year in September, I took the MCAT. My scores were as follows:

  • Verbal Reasoning: 11

  • Physical Science: 10

  • Biological Science: 12

  • Writing: R
Total score: 33 R -- A pretty darn awesome and competitive score! To see how your scores stack up against the competition, you can do one of the following:

  1. Look at the links on the right side of my page and click on "Are your scores competitive?"

  2. Or, to search the entire web for similar resources, type "Are your scores competitive?" in the Custom Search search box near the top of my blog.
Some people have asked me how did I study and what do I recommend?

Honestly, I think it just depends on what type of learner you are. Some students study well in a structured, well organized setting where there is a lecturer -- in those cases, I recommend taking an MCAT Preparation course to study. UCLA has a Kaplan Center in Westwood. Also, the Berkeley Review is a very good one, and they hold classes at UCLA as well.

I, on the other hand, ordered an entire set of Kaplan Review books and studied my behind off for the entire summer. I spent almost 8 hours a day studying the materials in the books. Then, on the last month of my studying, all I did were practice problems (I also bought a set of Exam Crackers 1001 questions for each subject). Aside from that, I purchased real past AAMC MCAT exams from the AAMC website and did one like once a week in the last month to see where I was at and to make sure that I was progressing as I wanted.

Good luck! I would write more today, but I've got tons of studying to do!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Almost nostalgia.

I got my finger and toe nails done today. =D

I'm going to miss home! I'm going back to LA this Sunday... I'm looking forward to it, and I'm looking forward to the new school year! But, at the same time, thinking of the family bonding time I had this summer is going to make going back bitter sweet.


Just now, my dad came into my room and showed me old pictures he had of me and my sister that he always keeps in his wallet. :'( :'( He has pictures of me and my sis at different ages... and we were looking through them. Ahhh! I'm going to miss this evening family bonding thing!

Re the pictures:
There was one when I was a babyyyy and I was bald.

Then there was one of when I graduated kindergarten (or was it preschool?.. I have to ask). I had a bowl hair cut and straight hair.

There was another picture that was some years down the line of when I was in middle school -- my hair was short, frizzy, curly (puberty turned my hair curly!).


And now, my hair is still curly -- I just know how to make it neat now. Lol. It's much longer now too, in comparison with the middle school pic (though my hair is still relatively short compared to girls with long hair).

It doesn't feel like I've been alive for 21 years. Time really does fly. I honestly don't know how I got through my primary and secondary education -- back then, it seemed like it would take so long to get to "big-girl age."

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Don't scare me like that!

After exercising/running then eating, I felt pain on my lower right abdomen. I swear I thought it was appendicitis. The fact that the exercise and eating and no stretching afterward could have been the causative factor didn't cross my mind because… well I was thinking it was appendicitis. So I went on Google, and I convinced myself that I had appendicitis, and the pain was in its early stages and will be really bad in a few hours.

I thought, "Well, if it's appendicitis, I'm going to end up going to the ER so I should shower now and get all primped up. I should be clean before going to the ER because I have that sweaty exercise smell. What if the doctor is hot?" So I showered, bearing with the pain. I mean, I could walk and everything, but that made the pain hurt a little more. When I had to bend over in the shower to use the loofa on my feet, my right lower tummy hurt.

I was just thinking, "Okay, this MUST be appendicitis, omg — if I have it, I'll have to cancel the test I will be taking in about a week…. I should hurry up and shower so I can dry my hair before the pain gets really bad so that I don't end up in the ER with disheveled, after-shower hair and everyone might look at me funny."

Then I was hoping hoping hoping it wasn't appendicitis. I lied on my bed and stretched my tummy — to the left, right and what not. Then the pain went away and now I'm perfectly fine.


I don't like it when I misdiagnose myself and freak out over nothing! I think it's a downside of reading about so many disorders, diseases, and other conditions. I end up thinking one swollen lymph node near my neck means I've got lymphoma despite the fact that my roommate is just recovering from a viral infection and could have infected me (this really happened, btw, and I freaked out and did a ton of research and called the emergency nurse hotline at my university…).

I need to stop doing this. Someone, please slap me on the wrist. Thanks.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Mcat & being physci, neurosci

The great part about being a physiological science major and neuroscience minor is that you dont have to freak out about the following topics on the mcat bio section:

Eukaryotic cells


Nerve cells/neural tissue

Muscle cells/contractile mechanisms & processes

Other specialized cell types

Endocrine system: hormones & their action mechanisms

Nervous system: structure, function, sensory reception & processing

Circulatory system

Lymphatic system

Immune system: innate & adaptive systems

Digestive & excretory systems

Muscle system: function, structure, nervous control

Skeletal system

Respiratory system: structure, function, breathing mechanisms

Skin system: thermo, osmo regulation, structure, function

Reproductive system


And a bunch of other things

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

MCAT - 2 weeks

Just 2 weeks left until the MCAT.

Anxiety is already building up. *sigh*

Oh yeah. Time to start hyperventilating. Yikes.

I've never really been so nervous about a test before. I'm so exhausted from studying. Even my voice is weak at the end of everyday -- no energy. I'm tired. I've been studying at least 8hrs everyday for the last few weeks. *sigh*

So much pressure. :'(

I plan on taking the last few days before the MCAT off just to get energized....

Saturday, August 7, 2010


THE best place to RANT and let anything off your chest. Haha. I <3 this website.

My friend co-founded it, and it's new, still in beta, and it needs to grow, so sign up and RANT about ANYTHING!

I honestly find it to be a good stress reliever. Give it a try, folks! I'm sure you'll love it. =P

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

MCAT, Finals, Iced Americano

Hey yall. :p

I recently registered for the 8am MCAT on September 2nd. $230! Gotta book a hotel room near the testing center so that I'm not tired during the test from driving and sitting in traffic. :D

Finals this week. Really busy.

Just got the Iced Americano from Coffee Bean for the first time. Decided to try something different. Has 5 shots total, which is completely fine with me, but what is NOT fine with me is the fact that it tastes like TAR. DISGUSTING!!! So, I mixed it with a powder coffee mix and added a little soy milk. Now it's got the taste AND the caffeine. :)


Monday, July 12, 2010

Myth Debunked!

I know there's word going around that I can't cook. But folks, let me just say this. I CAN cook if I put my mind to it. =P

The first time I cooked here in my new apartment, I gave myself food poisoning and the vomit didn't stop. But, hey, I've improved, and I say that it's simply a myth that I cannot cook. :)

It's funny though, because when I talk to my parents and they ask me what I'm going to make, they call me a while later asking me if I was able to cook it. Lol. I think they just fear for my safety, but I mean, I would be concerned too! :)

Anyway, despite this burnt chicken I tried to make for my sister,

here is some PROOF, that I CAN cook. Enjoy. :)

Caprese Sandwiches. My sister said they are DELICIOUS.

Chicken Parmesan with pasta. I swear, the chicken was sooooo goooood and full of flavor, and NOT dry. :)

Hot wings and Veggies.

French toast. :D My sister and my roommate both said it's SO GOOD & insanely delicious. In fact, my sister requested that I make it a second time. :P

Gotta admit, living in the apartments really forces you to learn how to cook. Ah, apartment cooking. NOT bad at all! :D

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