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MCAT Advice

Discussion in 'Pre-Podiatry Students' started by swinsh01, Apr 30, 2012.

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  1. swinsh01

    swinsh01

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    Hi all,

    I've registered for the MCAT on July 14th (very intimidating thing!) I have studied very little so far (maybe 10 chapters in the Kaplan books). I was just wondering if people think that I'll have enough time to prep for the exam if school ends next week I'm working 8-430 everyday after that (that's about 2 months at 4-5 hours a day). I know it's a HUGE amount of material and I just want to make sure I can do well. My GPA (cum and science) is a 3.0, so I want to do well enough to counterbalance that for my application.

    Thanks for the advice! (I'm also accepting study tips!)
  2. bobdolerson

    bobdolerson

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    It depends on your study habits, but learning to study efficiently is a good thing to start now.

    My first advice is to get rid of the Kaplan books and go with Examkrackers. I found Kaplan to have a lot of extraneous information (even saying so in the book..."you don't need this"....well don't put it in!!). All I used was the EK books and their practice tests, and some online practice MCATs and did fine.

    As far as how to study, the way that worked best for me was to work on one subject at a time for an extended period of time (a good week or so), so you weren't just jumping around, and it helps to be able to relate material to other material you're currently studying. I also recommend taking practice exams that /explain/ their answer choices during the entirety of your studying, not just after you think you know a subject well. Learning why/how the MCAT asks certain questions while studying the subject will go a long way to helping you study the right way, even subconsciously. That's another reason I liked the EK books, was how they explained common ways the MCAT tricked you up (and found them to be very accurate in that regard).

    As long as you're motivated to do well, that should be more than enough time (assuming you paid attention in class, most of it should be review, and even if some of it is from long ago, it's a very doable timeframe you're talking about).

    I also can't stress enough that during the exam itself, DON'T FREAK OUT! It may appear incredibly difficult, and indeed some questions on there I swear are just about impossible if you're not a professor. Your grade isn't based on your performance, it's graded on a curve, and if you study well and study the right materials, you can bet most people will have problems with the same parts, and you may lose a point, but on a lot of those you won't lose a point in the curve.

    Good luck and godspeed!
  3. footfan34

    footfan34

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    I would take a couple of practice tests before you even start to study. See where your strengths and weaknesses are and then mold your studies after what you need. I wouldn't waste a ton of time doing the fire hose method and trying to re-learn EVERYTHING. Find out where you need to improve and focus on those areas. And make sure that you really do put in those hours every day. It will pay off. Good luck! You will do great.
  4. MaxillofacialMN

    MaxillofacialMN Osteopathic Foot Dentist

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    You'll be fine. Make sure you get your app in early august and you'll be good to go as long as your MCAT isn't below 20.
  5. RockFoot

    RockFoot

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    I crash studied for 11 days and got a 25R. if I had your time to study I could have done much better. take advantage of your time between now and then and you will do just fine and might even get some scholarship offers!

    Sent from my SPH-D600 using SDN Mobile
  6. MaxillofacialMN

    MaxillofacialMN Osteopathic Foot Dentist

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    A buddy of mine studied for seventeen days and got a 36, he's somewhat a genius in the sciences though... Lol
  7. swinsh01

    swinsh01

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    wow! something tells me I won't be that lucky. My true goal is to get a 30. I really think the biggest challenge is buckling down and feeling prepared. I was contemplating taking a practice exam before hand, so maybe i will now with your advice footfan. Thanks!
  8. bobdolerson

    bobdolerson

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    Just buckle down and get it done, son! You'll do fine if you put in the work.

    Man...I will do absolutely anything to not study for this upcoming exam...
  9. heybrother

    heybrother

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    What's your background OP? Do you have a solid baseline in anything? ie. a biology major with a strong understanding of cell biology and genetics? I'd drop the texts and just start doing the tests. Work all the problems back through using the explanations even if you get them right.

    My take - practice some verbal everyday ie. do at least 3-4 "paragraphs"/ ~20 questions everyday. Verbal is a big adjustment and is humbling. I had days where I dedicated my entire study period to it, but mostly I just tried to keep it sharp and focused. It really is possible to train yourself to understand how to think these through. Get the understanding first - then recognize the importance of time cause come test day you frankly you won't have any. These are free points - you don't have to memorize any equations and you don't have to fret about biology classes you didn't take yet. You just have to train yourself to attack them and think them through.

    My lame tip on verbal - the answer has to be completely right. I can't tell you how many times I selected the wrong answer because I said "I like this answer so much, but there's this one little thing about it that I sort of disagree with". Good enough. That's the wrong answer.

    Biology - other than organic I hate to say I didn't really study this section - I have a biology background. I would definitely have my cell structures, DNA/RNA/protein coding down tight. There always seems to be a section on cholesterol synthesis and inhibition, but I think the above are good sections for picking up meat. Otherwise - and feel free to disagree - I feel like there's a lot of biology to learn to pick up one or two more points. My last MCAT had one very specific question on calcium and muscle contractions. Relearning muscles entirely for 1 question isn't great time management if you ask me.

    Chem and physics. I think learning to associate parameters with their units helped me a lot. You are going to be tested a little on everything. I guess the tricky thing is spending enough time on things to learn them while still having time for more material. All your hours on friction and pulleys and there will probably be at most 2 sliding block problems. Practice the timing. Accept that there probably isn't time to do problems requiring calculations unless you have a solid understanding. Hope and pray the topics you don't know are in short supply. I never really understood batteries and somehow I was fortunate enough for there to be no battery paragraphs on either MCAT I took.
  10. swinsh01

    swinsh01

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    I'm a biology major, probably strongest in physiological form and function, but I've also taken mostly cellular level courses (cell, genetics, immunology, biochem). I also really enjoyed organic chemistry, so I'm betting that the biological sciences will be my strong suit. I'm also a chemistry minor, but i absolutely hate gen chem and physics (even though i do moderately well in it), so I'm really going to have to work on that weak point.
  11. bunion123

    bunion123

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    if you want a 30 one practice test is not enough. PM with ur email for some useful PDF's of which i cant disclose their nature on sdn haha
  12. SuperFeisty

    SuperFeisty

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    I don't think learning "content" is the best way to improve your score. I went into the MCAT basically having only taken Chem 1, 2 (B and C :(), Orgo 1, 2 (bad and REALLY bad), and Physics 1, 2 (meh...). Although I am the black sheep of my community, ultimately a 30 was all I really needed. It tests more for "how" you think. Learning material and blind regurgitation without critical thinking will get you nowhere on the test. I'll be honest with you; a LOT of the MCAT can be answered correctly by very good guesswork. Except verbal... If there were an emoticon between sad and angry, I'd use it here.
  13. bobdolerson

    bobdolerson

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    Precisely why I liked Examcrackers so much (I swear, they're not paying me to say this stuff...). It did a good job of explaining the tricky ways they ask questions, and how to easily narrow down questions from the different sections.
  14. SuperFeisty

    SuperFeisty

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    I will definitely agree with you that Kaplan is not sufficient in preparation. Examcrackers I have no experience with. Maybe I will... just to see

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