Julie Christoph has considered medicine from several different angles – as a nursing student at Baylor University, as a registered nurse in the maternity unit at Medical City Dallas Hospital, and as a patient with a rare heart condition (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome). These experiences have encouraged her to consider medical school, with the goal of applying her knowledge as either a neonatologist or cardiologist. Julie explains how HMX courses have helped her pursue that goal.
What appealed to you about HMX courses?
I’m a little bit older and haven’t had science since undergrad which was in 2006, so I was thinking I need something to see if I can hack it or not. I wanted something to help me prepare for the MCAT instead of just an MCAT prep course. I wanted to have a little bit of a leg up in case I do decide to go back to school.
What aspects of the courses did you find most helpful?
I think what’s amazing about [the HMX program] is that it gives you a lesson and then it immediately applies it to a clinical setting, and that’s what we’re used to [as nurses]. Going to school and learning about something is one thing, but having to translate it into the hospital where you’re having to apply what you’ve learned, your brain works a little bit differently. Being able to learn about something and then see it with a patient is invaluable, because a lot of times once you see something with a patient and you’re interacting with that patient, you never forget it – so when you see it again later, you remember it. Usually it’s because you remember it from the interaction with the patient instead of reading or studying it. It’s far better than just going through lessons and quizzes.
The visuals were awesome – they were easy to understand and easy to navigate. I also liked that before each course they kind of introduced you to who’s teaching it to you and what their experience is. So you know you’re learning from the best people in that field, all from the computer and you can do it at your own pace at home, which I think is really awesome for someone like me. I work three 12-hour shifts per week but they vary, so me trying to find a classroom to be able to attend is really hard.
How did the courses compare with your other MCAT preparation?
My MCAT prep course was great, but it just presents you with the material and you just have to study it and regurgitate it. With HMX, especially with genetics, it has the interactive lessons and models so you’re seeing it – like meiosis and mitosis, you see it on the page and watch the movement and they color code it which is really helpful. Whereas if you’re doing generic [MCAT] review, it’s just in the book and you read it in pictures. The interactive aspect helps a lot – it made the genetics portion much easier.
Anything else you’d like to share?
The approach is so helpful. Especially if you’re like me and you haven’t had it in 10 years – it’s kind of like getting back on a bike but a really wobbly bike, and you’re like, “oh my gosh, I remember that now!” It’s incredibly helpful.