Here, I attempt to answer all of your frequently asked questions about my application experience, the blog, myself and the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine through past entries, or a quick explanation.

This page is continually updated [last update: 2/14/15] — check back often!

When was your AMCAS verified? What was your GPA/MCAT?

My AMCAS was verified in mid-September and I had a 3.8 (GPA and sGPA) and a 31Q MCAT.

What is OUWB? Where is it?

“OUWB” specifically is an acronym for the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine. It also appears on our logo:

The school is based on a partnership between Oakland University and the Beaumont Health System.

OUWB is located in Rochester, Michigan — not Oakland, California or Rochester, New York.

When were you complete at OUWB?

I submitted OUWB’s secondary at the last minute — so I wasn’t complete until the end of December. I was invited for an interview in early January.

Why did you choose to attend OUWB?

Great question! You can read all about my decision-making process in the entry: “Making the final decision” [basically, OUWB vs Wayne State]. Oh, and the quote I’m known for on the local news: I’m a Beaumont baby. I decided that it was a really good fit for me to come back and start my medical training where I began my life.

How do I prepare for interviews?

I personally received 4 interview invites and was ultimately accepted at 3 of those schools. Check out my interview tips entry for more information!

I’m on a ton of waitlists… now what?

I was also on a ton of waitlists — try these tips that I point out in the “Waitlist limbo” entry.

What did you do during your week-long OUWB Orientation?

I suggest starting with my entry “OUWB Orientation: Day 1“, and progress on to newer posts to read an overview of each day of orientation.

What does “Team-Based Learning” [TBL] mean? Isn’t it just like “Problem-Based Learning” [PBL]?

I discuss exactly what TBL means in my entry: “An exercise in Team-Based Learning.” And no, it is not just like PBL [though, we do solve problems!].

Honestly, do you like TBLs?

Yes! I know I am ridiculously enthusiastic about everything OUWB-related, but when I started classes, I was extremely apprehensive about TBLs. Even though we did a mock TBL session during the interview day, nothing really compares to the real thing [plus, you do not get to try an Application problem during the interview day].

Here’s how I feel about TBLs [as of 12/2/11]: The discussion portion can be inefficient at times, and during the application exercises, it feels like we have a lot of “downtime”… but TBLs really break up the mundane week of lectures and give us something clinical to think about. Some of the TBLs we’ve done include: Huntington’s disease, Lynch syndrome, inflammation, CO poisoning, diabetic ketoacidosis, Acetaminophen poisoning, and antivirals. There have been a few “review” TBLs as well, where the questions are directly related to lecture material — those have been helpful in forcing us to review prior to the exam. Furthermore, all of the TBLs somehow fit into the material that we are learning in lecture [for example, we learned about hemoglobin in Biochemistry then did the TBL on CO poisoning since the two are intimately related]. Finally, one of the most important components of TBLs is the fact that it forces you to learn how to work in groups with a diverse set of personalities — this is vital to healthcare since no physician works completely alone. I have also found the feedback portion to be helpful — after all, when else in life will you be able to get frank feedback from team members?

What is your schedule like at OUWB?

We generally are in class [this includes labs, TBLs, assessments] from 8am-5pm, Mondays-Thursdays and 8am-11am on Fridays. Our lunch breaks vary depending on the day but usually last 1-2 hours. During the M1 year, Thursdays are usually spent in a classroom at Royal Oak Beaumont, but sometimes we are in the Clinical Skills Center at Troy Beaumont [this changes to Wednesdays during the M2 year].

Keep in mind that parking on the Oakland University campus can be quite… an adventure, which is why the 8am start time is optimal. Furthermore, all lectures are recorded.

Each clinical clerkship during Ms3/Ms4 have different schedules. As to be expected, surgical specialties have longer days while outpatient clerkships have more regular schedules.

What is the curriculum like at OUWB?

I try to de-mystify all of our first semester courses in my entry, “Thoughts on the OUWB Curriculum.”

How do you like the systems-based blocks?

Here are the blocks I reviewed: NeuroscienceCardiovascularRespiratoryRenalGI, Reproductive, and Endocrine. At the end of the first year, our last couple of weeks were in the M1 Synthesis course.

OUWB seems to have a lot of lecture… is attendance mandatory? 

Attendance is not mandatory at all lectures [see update below]. However, when we have an assessment, lab, group activity, or a guest speaker you are expected to be there. For some classes such as Capstone or Medical Humanities, there is a sign-in for attendance because those classes are based around guest lecturers and group discussion. All lectures are recorded [with the exception of Patient Panels] unless the recording equipment fails.

UPDATE: The attendance policy is now course-dependent, however the school still encourages attendance.

Do you get any patient contact in your M1 year at OUWB?

We start seeing patients within the first few weeks of class — I describe one of my first encounters in my entry, “At the bedside.” I reflect upon my second clinical experience in my entry, “My love-hate relationship with early clinical exposure.”

Are you happy with your decision to go to OUWB?

Absolutely! Here’s why: “Reasons I love OUWB

What does the “Day __” in the title of earlier entries refer to?

I discuss the importance of numbers to me in my entry “Numbers and impressions,” but basically I am counting the number of medical school training days completed [any day that I have listened to at least 1 lecture, studied material or gone to the hospital for my education, counts]. Each year, I restart the count. I finished my M1 year in 286 days.

I stopped counting days sometime into my second year of medical school. But I continue to chronicle my journey!

Do you have any advice for someone about to enter medical school?

Why yes, I do! Check out my post, “Advice from my first semester of medical school” as well as “Words of wisdom for 1st year medical students.”

What did you do during the summer between M1 and M2 year?

I did a Cardiology Internship offerred through Beaumont Health System. Check out my entries on the experience: “Non-invasive reading” “The surgical intensive care unit” and “My first code.” I also went to a conference and traveled a bit.

Any advice for seasoned medical students?

Of course. I have posted information on how I prepared for the USMLE Step 1 [including my study plan]. Here’s some advice from my 3rd year of medical school. And some thoughts on preparing for the 4th [and final] year.

What about advice for those of us also battling the long distance relationship [LDR] in medical school?

It’s no secret that I had a tough time adjusting to being in an LDR, but I’ve been becoming accustomed to it and shared a couple of tips for maintaing a relationship. And here’s an update on the situation and another update.

We’ve survived 3.5+ years of our medical school LDR!

Did you write for any other blogs?

Formerly, I wrote for MedScape’s The Differential. Although I no longer write for MedScape, I do still write for Kaplan’s Med School Insight!

What else do you do?

I also do some simple design work on the side.

Can I use text/images from your blog?

Yes! Please just make sure to provide a link back to the website. I spent the time to write the entries and capture the images and deserve credit for my work.