My Doctor Reading List

Wednesday, May 17, 2017


I still can't believe it. 

On Monday I got an email said from the Medical University of Warsaw with just "Decision" in the title. 

And they said that based on my results from the entrance exam that I took on May 6, the Admissions Board is offering me a place in the 6 year medical program starting this October.

At first I wasn't sure if I read it right. I even CALLED the admissions department to make sure.

But I'm in - for sure.

And I have to tell you about the crazy, last minute whirlwind I had to endure.

So my plan was to apply to the medical program based on my IB grades. However, I didn't have the required chemistry and my biology was at a lower level than required. But the admissions lady I spoke with at the time assured me that I could still apply, I'd just get a lower ranking and that I could take the chemistry portion of their entrance exam. And if that didn't work, my plan was that I'd take the premed prep program that they offered (a year of biology, chemistry, physics and anatomy) to help prepare those who are really keen for the entrance exam and I'd also apply to a bunch of other programs around the country that also required an entrance exam. 

Anyway, two days before the applications were due I was ready to submit my application. But there must have been a bug in the online portal we had to do it in, because I kept getting an error. I called the admissions department and the woman I spoke with agreed that it was a bug - and then noticed that I had included my high school diploma and asked me why I was applying via the IB route if I had graduated high school as well. This was odd to me as I assumed everyone who did the IB diploma also graduated from high school so I never thought to ask about applying with just my high school diploma. She told me that I'd have a way better chance of acceptance if I applied via the entrance exam route - however that would require taking the entrance exam in chemistry, biology AND physics.

I told her that I wish I'd known that earlier, because I had only been preparing for the chemistry portion. The entrance exam was in two weeks. There is no way that I'd be able to prepare for all three subjects well enough! 

She then told me that in her honest opinion, she didn't think my IB marks would be enough because apparently they only reserve a small number of their spots for IB candidates and said even if I did poorly in physics but well in chemistry and biology, I'd have a shot. Biology and chemistry each took up 35% of the exam while physics was 30% and the exam was all multiple choice.

I honestly didn't know what to do. First of all, I was surprised she would even tell me. This would NEVER happen in Canada! And while sure, I felt confident in my chemistry I hadn't done any biology review in years and the last time I did physics was when I was in 10th grade. 

Yet something told me to try this anyway. She also told me I'd find out if I got in much sooner as they inform the candidates shortly after the entrance exam. A part of me wanted to know earlier so I could plan ahead - if I got in, it would mean I'd get to enjoy my summer and give me time to deal with the logistics of going back to school full time. If I didn't, I could immediately apply for the prep program (which only accepts 40 people pre year) and also try and enjoy my summer. Going down the IB application route would mean waiting until the end of July to find out. I just wanted to rip that bandaid off.

Again my family stepped in to help me big time. My husband convinced me to take the risk. My parents convinced me to go away for a week and do some hard core studying without any distractions. They came to stay with the kids and I took off to the Polish seaside and did some hardcore cramming. 

I managed to review most of biology and chemistry but didn't get to physics at all. I decided to just answer "B" on all the physics questions (seriously).

The exam was hard. And there were so many people taking it! For only 120 spots, I was sure that I didn't stand a chance against a group of smart looking people who had known they needed to prepare for the whole exam from the beginning. There were easily 400 people taking the exam at the location I was writing it in - and there were six or seven other locations where the exam was taking place as well! Also, the chemistry portion of the exam ended up having way more organic chemistry questions than I expected and while I'm comfortable with it, some of the questions were incredibly tricky. I honestly think I did better in biology.

I still don't have the actual results of the exam (they will be published next week) but they basically take the top X results and those people are accepted. If you take the entrance exam, its the only thing that counts. So I must have done much better than I thought in both chemistry and biology. That said, I do wonder if I scraped through at the bottom with a point to spare or if I did better than that.

As my mom said, "Who cares? It doesn't make you more or less accepted."

But I still can't believe it. I'm going to be a doctor.


  1. Congratulations! Looking forward to hearing about your journey through medical training.

  2. How did I miss this?!?!?! OH my goodness, huge congratulations!