Outside Reading

Hi Everyone, haven’t started my post-bacc yet. But I’ve been tempted to do a little outside reading - for example, FAbric of the Cosmos - I don’t know to set the pace for post-bacc studies and/or the MCAT. But I think it’s possible it may confuse me? But it also might familiarize me with scientific reading/writing, after focusing on legal writing/reading for the past 5 years. Would be better to read something like the Chemistry MCAT review book, since that will be my first subject? Or just give it a rest, since I won’t be resting much longer?

I vote for rest. You’ll have plenty to do once class starts. I think having the chemistry MCAT review book alongside while you study chemistry is a reasonable idea, but there’s definitely no need to start ahead of time. The coursework will help put a framaework and a context to the review that you don’t have right now. I know how this feels - having made the commitment you are dying to jump in! But this is a long haul, enjoy your free time, read for pleasure and find other ways to be productive, and you’ll get that much more out of your studies when you get started.

In the dying-to-jump-in mode, you might consider some reading about medicine… not textbooks but just book books. For instance, anything by Oliver Sacks; Atul Gawande’s Complications; and of course there is much much more. There is an old thread about this somewhere but I don’t have time to find it right now… sorry.
If you’re desperate to review something, get an algebra book and review some algebra. You’ll need it for chemistry.

Read something fun while you still have time! If you’re looking for books that are related to medicine, one that I’d recommend is War Hospital, if you have any interest in international issues. And then there’s Flu, about the 1918 flu epidemic. Or The Moviegoer, by Walker Percy, about a guy back in the 60’s or so deciding (finally!) to get his act together and apply to medical school.
I wouldn’t try to use MCAT books before starting gen chem. They could end up driving you crazy, because they skip a lot of the detail and don’t explain the reasons for things. Plus, as I’m finding, they tend to have more than their fare share of typos, which is exasperating when you’re learning. However, I would second the advice to brush up on math.

To add to Joe’s suggestion, two books about “the world of medicine” that are good reading:
First Cut: A Season in the Human Anatomy Lab, by A.H.Carter. This book spends a semester with medical students at Emory University, following them through gross anatomy. I read it the summer before I started medical school and it was a great read, very inspiring.
My Own Country, Abraham Verghese M.D. A physician in the 1980s finds the AIDS epidemic coming to his tiny rural practice area of eastern Tennessee. Poignant, very moving, beautifully written.

While you are reading outside in a comfy lawn chair, warmed by the sun, a soft breeze caressing you and your reading material, snacks and liquids on the low table…oops wait…you aren’t talking about reading outside. Or maybe you are. At any rate (it’s Monday morning so pardon my silliness here), be sure to include something along the lines of the New York Times (especially the Tuesday science/health section if you read the Times). It will help your vocabulary/reading skills and is a rather benign way to work on the MCAT verbal/written scores.

Thanks everyone…awesome advice! What a lonely road this would be without you who have been here before me.