Is it actually difficult to become a doctor?

<p>My impression is that one just has to study day and night, which is exhausting, to be sure, but not terribly difficult. You just need the heart to stick with it. If true, it really isn't very hard to become a doctor. By comparison, other high-paying fields (like law and uberfinance) have so much more luck involved. Am I missing something here?</p>

<p>I don’t think becoming a doctor is particularly complicated and it doesn’t depend on your contacts or chance but its fairly competitive. While you may study day and night (which no one but a few kids do) the problem is that the other applicants have studied just as much and often have the same credentials you do. And sticking to it can be really hard for some people, especially if they have the wrong motivations.</p>

<p>You’re confusing three different types of difficulty. Something can require labor, luck, or talent. It’s quite obvious in my view that none of the fields you mentioned is particularly luck dependent, but whatever.</p>

<p>All three fields require both talent and labor, but it’s probably true that medicine is more labor-intensive than the other two. Nonetheless, medicine is still highly talent-intensive. Most people – even most premeds – couldn’t learn what they needed to learn, even if they studied night and day.</p>

<p>And in any case, I don’t think that labor-dependence is less hard than talent-dependence. But, again, whatever.</p>

<p>I think personal drive and motivation are very important. The motivation for becoming a doctor is your “fuel.” A honda civic with a full tank of gas and gallons in reserve will beat a ferrari with a half tank of gas.</p>

<p>I’d say talent is important as well, but I’m surprised at the sheer number of pre-meds who lack strong motivation. To me, it seems like it would take extreme dedication and drive to see the med school statistics, 4 years of residency, and large debt and say “I still want to give it a shot.” But the numbers of pre-meds who chug along saying “my parents want me to be a doctor” or “I will make a lot of money” surprised me.</p>

<p>@bluedevilmike: how is luck not a big factor in the other fields? in investment banking, for example, you may be out of a job because your interviewer was in a bad mood. or maybe you happened to meet the son of a wall-streeter at school. none of that matters for prospective doctors.</p>

<p>The thing is that a decently smart person could work very hard and do well academically - that is entirely under his control. there is much less of the subjectivity in finance or law, which really is a crapshoot.</p>

<p>I think you’re dramatically overestimating the subjectivity involved in other fields. They hire extensively at top schools and pay very strong attention to good credentials. And besides, isn’t networking itself another kind of skill rather than luck? It may seem like “luck” or a “crapshoot” to somebody who’s bad at it, but it really is a combination of talent and labor.</p>

<p>Luck implies that something is unpredictable. And that’s just not true.</p>

<p>Besides, I think you’re underestimating the subjectivity involved in medicine, too. Medical school and residency offer two rounds of interviews in a much more “sensitive” admissions process; finance and law each involve just one. And nobody in law or finance cares about your personal statement, but it matters a lot to medical school.</p>

<p>And besides that, interviewing isn’t nearly as subjective as you seem to believe. Interviewers do hundreds or thousands of these interviews. The arbitrary and capricious ones have a habit of getting removed from the pool. And even if you do get a toxic interviewer – so what? That’s why you apply broadly, whichever field you might be in.</p>

<p>(And, for the record, the only truly toxic interview stories I’ve ever heard were at the medical school admissions game.)</p>


<p>If your argument is that medicine has a higher tolerance for socially incompetent savants, that’s probably true – which is sad, because from an objective, external standpoint it’s the one that can least afford them.</p>

<p>I mean, I can’t think of any fields which I really think are luck dependent besides possibly the modeling/acting world. Sports certainly isn’t. Entrepreneurship can be, sometimes – luck can sometimes separate mega-giants from solid successes – but even then it requires huge doses of labor and talent.</p>

<p>So unless you want to talk about lottery-winning as a career, very few careers are dominated by stochastic events.</p>

<p>What you call terribly difficult? You will not need to carry bricks on your back whole day long, which would be terribly difficult for me. You have to define YOUR own “terribly difficult”, it is different from person to person.</p>

<p>Studying day and night leaves no time for ECs and networking. No med school for you.</p>

<p>The assumption is that hard studiers = successful applicants. To an extent it is true, but people who did nothing but study all of the time tend to fall by the wayside as applicants with just as good of stats AND ECs AND good LORs mow them down. Talent, or intelligence, is a huge part of medical school admissions. Trust me, I taught for Kaplan numerous times and there were many hard studiers in that group that, even after multiple attempts, couldn’t break 25.</p>

<p>The only luck that I see in the law and finance world is the luck of being born into a rich and influential family. Other than that, those fields require lots of work and talent.</p>

<p>“Trust me, I taught for Kaplan numerous times and there were many hard studiers in that group that, even after multiple attempts, couldn’t break 25.”</p>

<p>-I meant that hard study should have started in classes, well before preparing in Kaplan for MCAT. Then, 25 should have been on first practice test w/o actual Kaplan prep and greatly improve afte. I also meant that one who study hard also work hard on organizing time and setting priorities. Plenty of very hard working pre-meds who do it all, straight "A"s, decent MCAT, medically related EC’s in great variety (research, shadow, volunteering in many places), job, non-medically related ECs, minors and many friends surrounding them. Yes, lots of hard work, I am not sure about talent, we all have different talents, there are no single person who is not talented. There are people who did not discover theirs simply because they did not try (going back to hard work idea).</p>

<p>Miami, I was referring to the OPs post not yours. Hard work in class does not mean that you are going to do better on the MCAT. The material itself is pretty shallow. If it wasn’t, kids who weren’t science majors would get torn apart. Not every pre-med, regardless of effort, can get straight As, decent MCAT, medically related ECs of a great variety, job, non medical ECs, etc, etc. Many of my friends, among those who I have taught, had 3.7-3.99 GPAs and still couldn’t break a 25. Very few people start at 25+, in fact one of my friends started at a 10 and ended up with a 42.</p>

<p>That is a noteworthy observation, but can you be sure that the kids you have taught are studying efficiently? I believe that 1 hour of efficient studying beats 5 hours of inefficient studying. I know people who have been studying for the MCAT for years. While I am applying to medical school, one of my friends has still been “studying” for the MCAT, a process which he began a year ago! Many pre-meds just lack efficient studying skills, and “studying” for the MCAT consists of just reading textbooks, doing a practice problem here and there, and studying with a group of friends which usually just becomes a social session. I personally believe that most pre-meds have the intellectual capacity to break a 30, the question is how well are they studying.</p>

<p>"one of my friends started at a 10 and ended up with a 42. " - This what I call a great effort, wow, so impressive!</p>

<p>Naw brah its hella easy.</p>

<p>You could guess on every question in every section and get around a 10</p>

<p>If your friend really got a 42, i doubt he even tried at all when he got the 10.</p>

<p>^ He tried, just didn’t pace himself.</p>

<p>Lolly: Where do you go to school. Perhaps that’s the case for your pre-med population but, trust me, most pre-med kids at my former school could not.</p>

<p>Studying can be hard when you’re jumping between CC and SDN :D</p>

<p>I dont think its that hard.</p>

<p>Most people who “want to become doctors” are well… for the lack of a better word… average or incompetent. The top 5% of the kids HS who want to become doctors could probably do it without complication (unless they figure out that they want to be a lawyer, engineer, or $Ibanker$). </p>

<p>Of the people i know in my life, even the dumber ones have managed to get into at least a lower ranked med school (prestige and rankings matters more than your own mother in academic medicine). Basically, if you put in normal amounts of effort and are at least competent, you can be a doctor.</p>

<p>I disagree with jason. First of all, he overstates prestige and rank in academia. Obviously pedigree can come into play, but it isn’t an all or nothing deal. Merit is always more important in medicine than anything else. I’d rather have a mother, especially if she was a faculty member of an academic institution. More to the point, he first says that most people interested in medicine are incompetent and then says even his dumb friends can make it to medical school. Clearly he is being inconsistent or, as I implied by asking lolly about where he goes to school, he is sheltered from the vast majority of non top 5% probably private high school pre-med friends. I’m also not terribly confident in his ability to assess the ability people already in medical school when I believe he’s a freshman in college or less.</p>

<p>thank you all. do know that i am usually intentionally provocative in my questions so as to elicit strong answers.</p>

<p>A few months ago, at my school, we had a career’s fair day and many people from different areas were invited to the fair to speak about their careers ect. One of the doctors had gone to med school in the US, apart from that, he said what all the other doctos at the fair said: medicine is a wonderful path to take, although it seems like it might take you forever to graduate, it is unlike any other career, but as any other career a student is always seeking for a degree. Like any other career the doctor will have to study not only in school but throughout his life, the reason being all the unanswered questions going on in the scientific world. For any career there is a necessity to stay ‘refreshed’, like if you are in the business field you should know what ‘twitter’ is. He said that although you have to study really hard, it all recompensates whenever he treats a patient. Although some might study day and night, it does not mean that for any other career they won’t have to study day and night to master their area of study. I think medicine is labelled this way because of the competitivity involved in this career.</p>