University of Minnesota
For some people, waking up in the middle of emergency appendectomy surgery would be a reason for never setting foot in a hospital again. For Sikandar Khan, it was the opposite. “That was a very interesting experience,” he says. “It really helped push me more towards the medical field.” A recent graduate of the University of Minnesota, Sikandar took HMX courses while also studying for the MCAT and preparing to apply to medical school.
What appealed to you about HMX courses?
I hoped to learn more about these concepts that I may have learned briefly about in my undergrad courses and how they could apply to clinical scenarios. For example, I didn’t know how things like partial pressure could contribute to patients who developed the bends, that was really cool. So I got interested in those and they really helped continue to develop my passion for medicine.
Did you find the course material to be challenging?
I’d say it was the right level I was looking for – more challenging than undergraduate courses, and then the way that the material was taught was really effective for me.
I really liked the worksheets that were provided, along with the Cerego app [available in HMX Biochemistry]. I really liked that, how it reminded me to study flashcards all the time. I liked how after each video there was a quiz to help you make sure you understood the super in-depth material. And then the end-of-lesson quizzes were also pretty helpful.
How did the course material help you in studying for the MCAT?
Genetics and Biochemistry were good review, especially Hardy-Weinberg in Genetics, that really helped. There were some things in the Physiology course, like acids and bases, that helped me in the gen chem section. Immunology, some of the cells, like B cells and T cells, that we covered, helped me distinguish between some questions on the MCAT.
Would you recommend these courses to others?
I’d say for those who are getting ready to apply to medical school, especially in their gap year if they don’t know what they’re going to do, it’s a good academic challenge. I wish I would’ve taken them now instead of over the summer, just to keep me busy – even though I’m working right now, I just feel like it’d be better if I was taking courses right now to keep me in that academic mindset.
How are you applying the material you’ve learned now?
I’ve had a bunch of experiences in the health care field as an EMT and a CNA, and it’s really cool now that I’ve gone through the courses to be able to improve upon my knowledge in those areas and apply it slightly to my scope of practice. Also, when I watch TV, I’ve been able to pick up on things like medication ads. I picked up on PD-L1, and some medication they were advertising, it was pretty cool that, hey, I learned about that and I know what it does.
Anything else you’d like to share?
These are the best online courses I have ever taken by far. Nothing compares to how much knowledge I have gained from these courses. They not only helped me prepare for the MCAT but also for my future career as a physician. While studying at the library for the MCAT and taking these courses I overheard the medical students discussing some topics that I had learned in these courses and I was able to understand what they were learning. [The courses] helped me develop a new study strategy moving on in my academic career, and I will utilize this strategy in medical school once I matriculate.