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Future doctors identify essential skills they will require

Wednesday, May 7, 2014
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Future doctors identify essential skills they will require
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It takes a special type of person to become a doctor. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, leadership and problem-solving skills, as well as compassion and physical stamina are among the qualities physicians should possess.

It's interesting to note that tomorrow's doctors have an opinion about the knowledge and skills they will need. Recently, Kaplan Test Prep surveyed nearly 500 pre-med students to learn what future physicians should be like.

"Today's pre-meds recognize that science and healthcare are far different fields than they were a generation ago and understand that it may be necessary to measure their knowledge and competency as future medical students and future doctors in different ways," said Owen Farcy, Kaplan Test Prep's director of pre-health institutional partnerships, in a press release.

Comfortable using data
Tomorrow's doctors will need to know how to work with data, according to 52 percent of surveyed pre-med students. For this reason, future physicians may want to place a greater focus on learning about data analysis and analytics.

Fortunately, Kaplan Test Prep reports that the new MCAT will assess test takers' ability to draw conclusions from multiple data sources, including graphs, tables and other visuals.

An understanding of the mind
As physicians will work with a diverse array of patients, it's crucial that they know how to communicate with people from all walks of life. Seventy three percent of pre-med students told Kaplan Test Prep that having a background in psychology would be relevant to their profession.

At the same time, there are certain subjects these individuals don't find as essential, such as sociology, which only 46 percent of respondents value. Meanwhile, 38 percent and 14 percent of pre-med students felt the same way about anthropology/cultural studies and philosophy, respectively.

Being bilingual helps
Not every patient who requires medical assistance will speak English, which is why doctors can benefit from knowing more than just their native language. As Spanish is one of the most commonly used languages in the U.S., 48 percent of survey respondents said a familiarity with Spanish is important.

As a result, Kaplan Test Prep advises pre-med students to consider taking Spanish courses for a few semesters. In the press release, company officials also voiced their support for the new MCAT, which will be released in 2015.

"At Kaplan we believe the new MCAT will better prepare students for medical school and careers in medicine, but because of the additional content and the marathon eight-hour length of the new exam, there's no doubt that the path to medical school will be more challenging," said Farcy. "We continue to advise pre-meds who can take the current exam to do so and reserve their testing slot immediately, as space is limited."

By Monique Smith

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