Balancing school, clinical and community service work and research is difficult enough. Throw in the MCAT, med school applications and interviews and the task can be truly overwhelming. A year spent working, volunteering or doing community service prior to applying to medical school, known as a “gap year,” can be a good option for some applicants caught in a time crunch. If you decide that taking a year off before med school is the best route for you, then spend that time addressing areas relevant to your application that you did not have a chance to explore during your undergraduate years. In addition, you can also earn money to finance your medical education and further develop outside interests.My focus in this entry is on taking a year or more prior to medical school to spend on activities other than a post-bac program. For applicants who don’t have the necessary pre-requisites for medical school or who need to strengthen their academic credentials, a post-bac or special master’s program is a good route. You can read about these here.