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Breaking Down the MCAT: A 3 Month MCAT Study Schedule

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by SN2ed, May 1, 2009.

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  1. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    I do not suggest a 5 month study schedule. Four months is already pushing it. Actually, I'm tempted to take it down now that I've extended the 3 month version and made it more manageable. You should take the MCAT during the summer rather than during school.
  2. sixpence

    sixpence

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    Taking it in the summer would be ideal... but what if we don't have that luxury... is there any other way to make it work? any suggestions at all?
  3. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    Unfortunately, I don't have much advise. I have not seen a 4+ month strategy that appeared effective for most people. Also, I feel very strongly that it's a bad idea to study for the MCAT while in school. I wish I could provide more assistance, but studying for the MCAT during school is like swimming in a river. There will be calm areas. There will be rapids. I don't know what's ahead for you nor can I predict how well you can navigate through the white water. It is up to you and your assessment of the situation and your abilities. All I know is that most people sacrifice their GPA or MCAT and sometimes both while swimming downstream.
  4. BennieBlanco

    BennieBlanco

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    With all that said, many people do fine taking a January exam or a March exam. In fact, statistically there are the same scores as any other testing date (say August). There is no proof for this idea, just anecdotal evidence that could be found to support either side.
  5. mattnumbernine

    mattnumbernine

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    -edit-
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2010
  6. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    It's really up to you since I don't personally know your skill level or how easy your schedule will be. I don't think either situation is a good one. If you're absolutely sure you can't fit in a few months, pick whichever option you think would work better. Both choices have their benefits and drawbacks.
  7. medhoney

    medhoney

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    Hi. Sorry but this is the first time I'm actually thinking of following such a regimen and I don't really understand some of the lingo on the schedule.

    What does 1/3 of the corresponding passages mean? Also, what is exactly the Phase I and Phase II, etc? Lastly, you mentioned that verbal passages should be done every day on top of the schedule for that day?

    Thanks a bunch!
  8. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    The 1/3 is explained in the guide. Also, my guide doesn't use BR's Phases. Finally, yes, verbal passages should be done every day on top of the schedule except on break days.
  9. Roxy15

    Roxy15

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    Hello, I took the mcat in January and got a 22. I want to kick it up to a 32+ Will your plan work for me even though I am extremely weak in my overall content. I got a 7 PS 7 Verbal and 8 BS. I am taking it again in January and have a month before the "three month period" Should I start reviewing content now since I'm so weak and start your plan exactly three months before my test date? Also, I did little review and just went over the aamc tests..I've done about 8 of the exams. I shouldn't repeat these exams as you've mentioned so what are the best FL's to practice w other than the official AAMC ones?

    I am having a terrible time finding the Berkley review books. I need to pay with my credit card so I can't buy them directly from their site. Any suggestions?
  10. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    You should spend the extra time analyzing what went wrong the first time. Also, go back and look over old tests. After your analysis, try to fix your weaknesses. Next, I wouldn't start the guide at exactly 3 months, but at roughly 100 days before your test date. On that note, make sure you schedule your test as soon as possible. You don't want to finish your studying only to find there are no spots.

    Since you've used up the AAMC practice tests, I suggest you take Gold Standard's practice tests. Berkeley Reviews practice tests are solid as well, but they're expensive. About GS's practice tests, your score will be a couple points lower than normal.

    You can indirectly use a credit card to buy BR books. What you need to do is get a money order from your bank or the post office or wherever. I've heard money ordering is the easiest way to order from BR.

    Ugh. I REALLY wish they would update their unprofessional and archaic website.
  11. LALAKERS24

    LALAKERS24

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    Hey SN2ed,

    I am taking my MCAT in January and I am very very slowly beginning preparation now, but I plan on following your study guide strictly once time allows and I had one question I was hoping you could help me with.....

    I have all the MCAT material you have listed for prep and I have reviewed/read some of the BR books in the past (I have the most recent BR set) while attempting to study for the MCAT.... However, I recently was able to purchase the 2009 TPR set and to me personally, I find the TPR set more amazing then the BR books in terms of content. Although I do agree BR is money in terms of passage practice.... So, I was wondering if I could do my Content review with TPR as my primary source and use BR content as a reference (and at times actual content when needed) and of course, use the BR practice passages..... Please let me know what you think... Your advice and time is greatly appreciated!!
  12. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    Now if this is TPR Hyperlearning, go for it. That is a great series of books. However, if it's the TPR big book, don't do it. Fortunately, it sounds like you have the Hyperlearning books since you mentioned set.

    For the practice passages, stick with BR if you haven't already done them. If you've only done some, supplement some passages with the TPR Hyperlearning Science Workbook.
  13. LALAKERS24

    LALAKERS24

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    It is the TPR Hyperlearning set and I will stick with BR passages for practice, thanks for your help!

    Side note: I truly appreciate all the hard work you have put into making that fantastic schedule, and I'm sure there are hundreds if not thousands of people who have already benefited from your advice, time, and help as well! Best wishes for all that lies ahead! Thanks again buddy! Take care
  14. LALAKERS24

    LALAKERS24

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    It is the TPR Hyperlearning set and I will stick with BR passages for practice, thanks for your help!

    Side note: I truly appreciate all the hard work you have put into making that fantastic schedule, and I'm sure there are hundreds if not thousands of people who have already benefited from your advice, time, and help as well! Best wishes for all that lies ahead! Thanks again buddy! Take care
  15. CoolRunnings

    CoolRunnings

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    Hey there,

    I was looking at your 3 month MCAT prep plan. Thanks alot for making this available for everyone. I especially like the emphasis on passages. A couple of questions:

    1. Have you (or anyone else) completed this study schedule and perform well on the MCAT, if you don't mind me asking?

    2. Have you thought about incorporating TPR science workbook, which is basically just hundreds of passages, into the schedule- rather than the discretes from EK1001 series? If I wanted to do this, how could I best fit them in?

    Thanks
  16. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    I wouldn't replace the EK 1001 series with the TPR Hyperlearning Science Workbook. The two things target different things. If you want to use the workbook, I'd add the problems over the 3 months of the schedule.
  17. CoolRunnings

    CoolRunnings

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    Great, thanks for the help.

    And the first question: has anyone followed this schedule with success? Have you taken it SN2ed?

    Thanks
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2009
  18. capn jazz

    capn jazz

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    I followed this schedule, mostly, and I ended up with a 35R. It's an amazing schedule. I encourage everyone to use it!
  19. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    Great score and thanks for the compliments.
  20. CoolRunnings

    CoolRunnings

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    Have you taken it SN2ed? How did you do?
  21. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    Unfortunately, I don't want to share that information. I hope my advice is helpful without pretense.

    Thanks for understanding.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2009
  22. Bond03

    Bond03

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    Hey SN2ed- I was given the BR books from copyright 2001,2000. Would you recommend purchasing the newer books? Is there a difference between them?
  23. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    This was posted by BerkReviewTeach a little while ago:



    In terms of the editions for the books, here is a mix of the reply I got from the office along with my input based on feedback from students I tutored last summer:

    Biology: There is a 2008 version, but the book is pretty much the same as it was in 2004 with minor editting and upgrading of drawings since that time. Avoid books from before 2004.

    Verbal Reasoning: There are a 2008 and 2009 version that look the same to me. It underwent a major overhaul in 2007, where more technqiues were incorporated into the answer explanations. After running it by students for a year, it went to print as it is now. It also took into account the CBT and issues associated with a computer screen. Avoid books from before 2008.

    General Chemistry: There is a 2009 version. It underwent an overhaul in 2004 (in terms of passages and sequence of topics). Apparently it's being revised and editted at this time to match the physics book that was supposed to be out this past spring. But once the new edition comes out (probably late Fall 2009), it will be the version of choice. For now, avoid books from before 2004.

    Physics: There is a 2009 version. It has had changes to some of the answer explanations with every new session of the class, but the text has been constant since 2002. There were new passages introduced and changes to existing passages in 2004 and 2007. Selected chapters from the upsoming version of the physics books are supposedly going to be used in the classroom this summer. The new book apparently should be out in the Fall. Avoid books from before 2007.

    Organic Chemistry: There is a 2009 version. It underwent a major overhaul in 2004 (when the AAMC people decided to change the content on the MCAT--no more benzene and alkene chemistry, amongst other changes). It also incorporated some biology subjects (mostly biochemistry, in an effort to serve as a sort of Cliff Notes for those topics). Avoid books from before 2004.

    My personal opinion is that the year is not as important as the condition. If it's marked in, then it's natural to overemphaisze what has been written in the book. Worry first that the copy is clean (even if it's been erased, indentations from circled letters give you a bias when you attempt a question). If the books are clean, then used books seem fine for most subjects. I'd probably get the physics and general chemistry brand new if it were me, but those are the subjects I most would not want a previous user's influence.

    Just to see what's out there, I looked at Amazon and have to laugh at the following offer: $72.49 for a used Physics Part I

    Based on the Amazon prices, I would definitely not buy from them. If they come up on eBay, that would probably be the better way to go.
  24. phience

    phience

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    Question for ya, Sn2ED. I will be applying summer 2010. My application is looking pretty solid, but I haven't taken the MCAT yet. I am the kind of studier who does best after dedicating consistent and focused study over a short period of time. That's why I think your schedule is perfect in my case.

    The problem is that I won't have completed second semester physics until later April. That doesn't give me much time to study if I want to submit with everything available on June 1st. So, my question is this. Do you think your schedule is feasible with this schedule:

    • General Physics II-3.0
    • General Physics II Lab-1.0
    • Brain Anatomy-2.0
    • Cell Biology-3.0
    • Neuroscience research ~9 hrs/week
    Those are my hard classes. The other classes will literally require NO time and give me a total of 14 credit hours. I won't be working.

    So in your opinion, given my outside schedule, would your schedule work if I used it February-April and then took the test at the end of April/beginning of May?
  25. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    You should study during the summer. Going into the MCAT without ALL of your pre-reqs is pointless. Take the MCAT in the summer after you complete Physics II and Cell Biology and apply early the following year.
  26. phience

    phience

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    The following year as in summer of 2011? Are you kidding me? Haha I think I'll be fine studying in the spring semester. Next year...? I don't think so.
  27. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    Yes, studying in summer 2010 and then applying in June 2011 or applying June 2010 with an August 2010 MCAT. If you don't want to, that's your call. I have already written why I think it's a bad choice to study during the school year.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2009
  28. phience

    phience

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    Yeah, I understand why it's not an ideal situation, but waiting another year is not in the cards. Thanks for the input!
  29. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    Just out of curiosity, why ask then? :confused: It sounds like you already made up your mind before posting.
  30. CoolRunnings

    CoolRunnings

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    That is completely understandable. I don't want to come across as a jerk, but have you at least studied for and taken the MCAT? This is pretty important to know if people are considering following your study plan.

    Thanks
  31. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    No, that's a reasonable question. Yes, I have taken the MCAT. I took it in 2007.
  32. loveoforganic

    loveoforganic -Account Deactivated-

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    I used this schedule from the first day. I didn't really keep up with all of the verbal practice, and I was burning out a little at the end and decided not to do any hat trick, but other than that followed it to the T. I'll get my scores in two days, and will post them here. I kind of agree with SN2ed though, in that one or two examples of scores is essentially irrelevant. Unless one were take a matched sampling of say, 200 students following this schedule, 200 students following their own self study schedule, 200 students following each different class, then crunching all the numbers when the MCAT comes back, the scores you do see mean nothing really.

    I feel like it was a great schedule.
  33. phience

    phience

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    First, I wanted to know what you thought.

    Second, I thought you might say something along the lines of: "No. That wouldn't work for February to April for your schedule, but maybe if you dropped the cell biology for something easier."

    I mentioned at the beginning that I would be applying summer 2010.
  34. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    Ah okay. Well along those lines then, I suggest you switch out Brain Anatomy for an easier class. I'm guessing you may be able to take that later if you need it. I'd definitely keep Physics (for the obvious reasons) and Cell Bio since both of those classes should help you prepare.

    Additionally, if you could scale back your research or do it later, that would add more time to spend on the MCAT. While research is a nice aspect to have on your primary, you should focus more on the MCAT because that's a vital piece. You could do research later and tell the schools during your interview, on the secondaries, or by sending an update letter.
  35. Bond03

    Bond03

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    Thanks BR. I think I will order the books off of the official BR website. "Late Fall 2009" means November/ December?
  36. capn jazz

    capn jazz

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    Are you a college junior right now? If so, you need to understand that taking an extra year to apply isn't some stupid idea that should be thrown out. Many, many medical students take time off and do things between college and medical school. Also, you'll do better in your classes AND on your MCAT if you're not studying for both at the same time. So consider it before dismissing it.
  37. BWSTW

    BWSTW The B's be ballin'

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    Im curious to know how helpful the hat trick is?
  38. loveoforganic

    loveoforganic -Account Deactivated-

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    Unfortunately, that's the one thing I can't weigh in on.
  39. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    It will help some people that have problems connecting topics together. For others, it will serve mainly as a content refresher. Either way, you shouldn't devote that much time to it unless you have trouble with it. The hat trick is more of a cool down exercise for the end.
  40. Bma27

    Bma27

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    SN2ed, do you think the EK Verbal strategy book is needed in addition to the Verbal 101 book or will the 101 book and TPR hyperlearning workbook be sufficient?
  41. loveoforganic

    loveoforganic -Account Deactivated-

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    I got the EK verbal strategy book. The strategy boils down to read the passage closely once, then answer the questions, only looking back if you really need to. And use the questions stems to get hints about the passages.

    There, saved money :p

    Edit: It is good advice though
  42. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    101 Verbal and TPR Hyperlearning Verbal Workbook is enough.
  43. BennieBlanco

    BennieBlanco

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    lol. Pretty close. But he is right, just read the verbal advice threads and save your $. You just need to instead buy a bunch of practice passages.
  44. BennieBlanco

    BennieBlanco

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    I am making a competing post soon, I will call it

    "Bisecting the MCAT: your 120 day guide through hell"

    "subdividing the MCAT: A 90 day study schedule that will make you cry"

    If anyone has any other good title ideas then let me know. Or any requests in what to put in my MCAT guide.
  45. loveoforganic

    loveoforganic -Account Deactivated-

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    35 n. 12/11/12
  46. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    Sweet. Great score. Looks like I won't have to ninja hide :cool:
  47. loveoforganic

    loveoforganic -Account Deactivated-

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    But my friend made a 36 with Kaplan! :rolleyes:

    Thank you :p
  48. BWSTW

    BWSTW The B's be ballin'

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    Wow! That is a great score!

    I was wondering if you would be willing to share what premed courses you took and how well did you did in them?

  49. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    Ah well, at least you have a good score that won't hold you back anywhere. Not to mention you saved some money if you only bought the listed materials. Kaplan's course costs $1700.
  50. loveoforganic

    loveoforganic -Account Deactivated-

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    English: A
    Gen Chem: C / B
    Gen Bio: C / B-
    Physics: A+ / A+
    Organic: A+ / A+
    Organic Lab: A
    And not premed, but helped me catch up on some gen chem concepts after slacking freshman year - Quant. Analysis: A+



    SN2ed: That was a joke :p Thanks again for the schedule.
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