Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Premed lingo

Us premeds are so odd that often when talking to us, there are words that we say to normal, non-premeds that sound completely bizarre. If you are a non-premed and you hear these words, your initial thought is probably this person scares me or this person needs a life.

Here are some premed vocab words so, if you're ever in an awkward discussion with a premed and have no way of getting out of it, you have some knowledge of their inside vocab.

MCAT - a horrible test that takes hours to write. It stands for "Medical college admission test." Super premed keeners will tell you they "like" the MCAT. Be cautious if anyone ever tells you this.

Adcom - an intermingling of the words "admission" and "committee." Specifically, with regards to medical school admissions committees when used by a premed. Some perceive adcoms to be intimidating. I don't, and if there are any adcom members reading this, vote Cerena for med!

OCHEM or Orgo - organic chemistry, a class which most premeds hate due to intense memorization. 

E.g. "That orgo test killed me, bro!"

or "I thought I was done with ochem, but it's going to be on the MCAT."

BS, PS, VR - these are different sections of the MCAT. BS stands for biological sciences. PS stands for physical sciences. VR stands for verbal reasoning. 

Be cautious when talking about the last one, "VR," since it's an instant conversation ender (and possible tear-jerker) to tell a premed their VR score is too low.

CASPer - In the premed world, the CASPer stands for "Computer-Based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics" used by McMaster medical school at the time the application is submitted. For non-premeds, you probably read this as "Casper" as in the friendly ghost, and thought I left the caps lock on at an awkward placement.

GPA - grade point average. Although, not unique to premeds, it is frequently discussed between premeds when discussing medical school admissions. 

OAS - online admissions system. Medical school applications are performed online.

E.g. "Today the UBC OAS opens up. I have been waiting for this moment since I was 3 years old."

ECs - stands for "extracurricular activities." Personally, I do these because I enjoy them. For others, it's a way to get accepted into medical school. 

Pubs - the plural form of publication. When talking to a premed or researcher, this is something we all strive for. Some like to brag about having them as they are so hard to come by.

Person A: "So what have you been up to this summer?"
Person B: "Writing the MCAT, submitting my application, and doing some research. I've already got 8 pubs."
Person A: "Holy crap."

IP/OOP - "In province" and "out of province," respectively. Some medical schools favour applicants from within that province, thus making out of province applicants have a much harder time to gain admittance to. The look on a premeds face when they say they are applying OOP is usually quite a sad thing to see.

Stats - a word used between premeds to quantify how competitive they are. Specifically with regards to MCAT and GPA scores (sometimes non-academics as well). It is perceived by many that the better a premed’s stats, the more likely they are to be accepted into medical school. 

Person A: "Your GPA is 3.98 and your MCAT score is a 44 T?! You have killer stats!"
Person B: "I know..."

ABS (as requested by kid) - stands for "autobiographical sketch." The ABS should provide adcoms with a brief summary of who you are, what your aspirations are and your previous achievements. Some like to include quotes or reflective stories that help paint an image of the applicant in a favourable fashion. If you are a friend of a premed, it is always a nice gesture to offer to read their ABS and give constructive advice.

LOR (as requested by kid) - stands for "letter of recommendation." You do not want an LOR to get in the way of med school acceptance as a poor LOR, or one that is inconsistent with what you have written about yourself. Make sure you have a good relationship with whoever is writing your LOR and that he/she has a good impression of you. Neglecting this may lead to a poor LOR.

Adcom: "You said in your personal essay that you went to Taiwan and saved the lives of children. But your supervisor said he only saw you once, at a the Taipai Bar. 

... Next."

If you have any more terms/phrases, please feel free to leave them in the comment box :)

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  1. Love it. Now when someone asks what OOP stands for, I'll link them here.

    LOR and ABS could have been included too?


  2. You made me lol with this post (:P).

    Love you

  3. oh, wait, so when I said I volunteered in Bombay, they took it to mean Bombay the city where I was helping people rather than Bombay, the store where I was helping my friend kill time before she got off her shift? Shoot!

    Seriously though, very helpful post! My non-med friends must have hated me each time I opened my mouth spewing out words or acronyms like OMSAS and PS, VR and whatnot.

  4. "My non-med friends must have hated me each time I opened my mouth spewing out words or acronyms like OMSAS and PS, VR and whatnot."

    Yes, us premeds have our own little world. Filled with bizarre acronyms that sound odd, at the very least.
    Happens to the best of us.
    I can only imagine what computer science majors must feel like.
    *Cough* Michelle. *hug*

  5. Hey... I really *do* like the MCAT!

  6. non-premeds may think LOR means
    "Laugh out Randomly"

  7. Thank you for share this informative post.


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