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Combined MCAT course and hard self-studying?

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by deanthedream17, Mar 11, 2012.

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  1. deanthedream17

    deanthedream17 Chewbacca Dog

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    So I am student from a large state university finishing up my sophomore year and thus far my grades are very good (gpa = 3.9+) and I want to do as well as possible on my MCAT. A little history first. In high school, honestly I spent a lot of hour studying for the SAT which proved to be futile only getting me about a 2000. I realized afterwards that one of the reasons I did poor was that I had not been exposed to the material soon enough (was not allowed to take calc my senior year, therefore took algebra 2 trig my junior year and when i took the exam, which I know hurt my math and science preparation for these exams, though I did very well on my AP exams (4 exams all 5s). I believe one of the major mistakes I made in my preparation for the SAT was not taking a very solid prep course. So for this time around, I am willing to do whatever it takes to not make history repeat itself (though I know I am in different situation having not only caught up educationally but also surpassed the majority of students with my exposure to the material, greatly increased knowledge and different study habits learned in college to actually learn it right the first time.)
    I want to know both when I should start studying to not have to take a year off from applying and also when would be an ideal time to take the MCAT. I would really like to follow Sn2ed schedule (as it seems there is strong evidence it works) but I am sure I want to also take a prep course. How and when should I do both of these things with a challenging major (biochemistry)? i.e take course and study both at the same time or do one before the other? Next semester I will be taking physiology and gen biochem 1. Done after this semester with prereqs and genetics. Of course, I don't want to overload myself with school and MCAT studying so I will prob only take 12 or so credits the semester I plan to take it. I would really appreciate your honest advice. What happened in high school really discouraged me and do not want my hard work thus far to be a waste. I would love to go to a top 30 medical school as well.

    I do not know how I will do as I have yet to take a diagnostic. Though I know I will at the end of this year. Any advice sincerely appreciated. :)
  2. ShadowMagiq

    ShadowMagiq

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    Sorry but it really depends on your mastery of the material. It seems like you have a solid background so maybe you can get away with ~2 months of studying or so? I don't think you have to worry about preparing early since your classes should be preparing you. Just study for the few months before the test. I think the biggest thing is just to keep yourself motivated and pace so you don't burn out/ quit, so like 5-6 hours a day ? but this is also personal... Avg MCAT for top 30 is around mid thirties and should be attainable if you master the sciences, which are easier to prepare for imo.
    I don't think course is necessary; Kaplan is a big rip off seriously. Just buy some ExamKracker books and self study. save money for application and interviews.
    If you're confident, you can take in summer months (even July/Aug) after submitting primary; if not, take it by June so you have chance to retake if needed.. GL
  3. phaloz

    phaloz

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    Majoring in science and reading a ton of critical newspapers articals for the next 3 years will prepare you. If you want to be a competitive for a top medical school you're going to need EC's, the more unique and interesting the better. If you can get 10 hours a week of EC's for the next 3 years, manage a a 3.8+ gpa, and 35+ MCAT you'll be set.
  4. ShadowMagiq

    ShadowMagiq

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    Ok reading lots of newspaper articles could help but not all of us are that determined to read. And if you're not interested in the news, it's a waste of time. Just do lots of practice and you should be fine.
  5. deanthedream17

    deanthedream17 Chewbacca Dog

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    To a certain extent I agree that the prep courses are a waste. But in other ways I think they are worthwhile because through their practice exams they track your improvement and also learning. My brother now teaches an SAT prep course and he said that they are worthwhile because they give you the latest tricks in test prep that are crucial in your ability to score high. Self studying is good, but I just feel that without professional help from people who know the test inside and out this ability is limited. My parents also do not want what happened to me in high school to repeat itself so they want me to take a course either way. Which brings me to the question on when I would take? and to follow the Sn2ed schedule its a minimum 3 months so how would I factor these things in while making a tentative schedule as well as doing more ECs to enhance the application.
  6. DrHouse579

    DrHouse579

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    I fear for OP's verbal score. :whistle:
  7. ShadowMagiq

    ShadowMagiq

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    You shouldn't be doing ECs to enhance application... you should be doing them because you want to. If you're doing them for application, I feel like it will show and they would basically be a waste...
    For the prep, I don't think you have to follow the 3month thing to the letter... ppl have been sucessful with much less studying and ppl have failed with more, it's all on you.
    For the class, I feel like the tricks are really gained through doing the problems yourself. And Kaplan Qs are only good for telling you which concepts to study. Their Qs are NOT real MCAT Qs. Use the real AAMC tests to gauge your progress/level; but then I never did Kaplan mock tests although I've heard their Qs do not 'feel' the same. And Examcrackers verbal is very good. I speak from experience.
  8. Morsetlis

    Morsetlis SGU MS-4

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    If you want it enough, you will get it. The MCAT is not a particularly "hard" test compared to all the cramming you'll do in actual med school.

    I'm not sure how reading newspaper articles is helpful outside of increasing your vocabulary and exposing yourself to rather bland non-fiction prose. I'd rather have questions to analyze my reading comprehension performance afterward. Everybody knows how to read, but how can a person who did not understand assess themselves of their performance in comprehension?
  9. aSagacious

    aSagacious Send in the clowns Moderator Emeritus

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    Moving to the MCAT discussions forum.

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