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Anyone else cramming one month before the MCAT?

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by Phoenix., May 8, 2007.

  1. Phoenix.

    Phoenix. Emdee Jaydee Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    I guess I'm looking for a little companionship in insanity, or anyone's success stories who mainly studied one month before the MCAT. I've heard it's been done with success, and I'm hoping I can duplicate it.

    I guess I'm not starting cold turkey right now though. I quickly went through the EK Bio book and half of the EK Chem book in late December/early January and then took three practice MCATS (I initially signed up for the April MCAT):

    1/25 3R 7 PS 8 BS 11 VR - 26
    2/12 4 8 PS 10 BS 12 VR - 30
    3/06 5 8 PS 11 BS 9 VR - 28

    Then I did NOTHING MCAT-related until this week, so it feels like I've forgotten a lot of the content, and I wasn't quite getting the Chem and Physics passages anyway (couldn't break an 8). However, I was studying for Physics II and Organic II classes in the interim, so I guess that isn't doing *nothing* MCAT-related.

    My plan now is to cram as much as I can into May 8th to May 29th (taking the May 31st MCAT). I'm studying 10 hours a day, covering 3 EK chapters a day plus doing related passages in TPR's Science Workbook and at least 2 verbal passages from EK's 101 book so I don't forget to "go with my gut" like I did on AAMC 5. I'll also take practice MCATs 6-10. I think I'll take 6 this weekend. I've been putting it off because I'm scared of the anxiety I'll put myself through if I don't hit a 30 on 6.

    Thoughts? Advice? Similar state of insanity?
     
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  3. Dr OCD

    Dr OCD Junior Member 7+ Year Member

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    Apr 5, 2005
    um i feel you. im taking the mcat may 25th and this is my home stretch. im really sick of studying and almost want to vomit when i see my mcat books. but such is life. hang in there, youre not alone!:eek:
     
  4. Vanguard23

    Vanguard23 5+ Year Member

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    Sep 5, 2006
    I'm in the same situation. Check out my thread concerning my FL schedule.
     
  5. Jingalicious

    Jingalicious 2+ Year Member

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    May 9, 2007
    I took the MCAT after only one month of studying. I seriously didn't open a book until there were 4 weeks left.

    Waiting for my MCAT score right now -- will tell you how that goes. =)

    While things can always go wrong on test day, by the looks of my practice scores it's quite possible to really improve your score. So don't freak out! You'll be fine and soon it will be over and all you'll have to do is wait (no easy feat in itself, though.)
     
  6. Phoenix.

    Phoenix. Emdee Jaydee Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    Jingalicious - Thanks for offering to share your score. Could you also give an indication of what kind of improvement you were able to make in one month? I.e., what your practice MCAT scores were looking like?

    And of course, GOOD LUCK! Hope the scores come out soon so you don't have to wait in agony any longer. I have a feeling that waiting may be the hardest part....
     
  7. rcd

    rcd .2K Member 5+ Year Member

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    Jul 6, 2004
    Today's my first day of cramming for the May 31 exam.

    Actually, I took a free MCAT practice test offered by Kaplan last February (more or less cold turkey) and scored a 34 :eek:. I have my doubts of how representative it was of the real thing.

    I'll be using the EK books, hopefully 2 lessons / day (mixing up the subjects, so bio lesson 1, followed by chem lesson 1 for instance). I plan on taking all of the AAMC tests offered online ($$) as well. I think I we can do it.

    I have a final Friday that I will spend a few hours Thursday studying for, but after Friday I'll resume my cramming. Also I'll take off some time to drive home and see my mom this Sunday.

    I took off work until the day after the MCAT, so I'll be studying more or less full time. I was planning something like 4-5 hours / day, but may up it to 10 as you have.
     
  8. nshams

    nshams 7+ Year Member

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    Apr 22, 2007
    Hi :)

    I'm totally in the same place you are - 3 weeks left & mad rush to review stuff before taking more practice tests to figure out how I'm doing.

    On diagnostics, I hit 26 (Kaplan) & 28 (3CBT). OChem & Physics are real problems so I actually had to get to my old textbooks to review those two subjects :mad:.

    I started "studying" about a week ago but I haven't been very particular about getting as much done as I should be everyday. I plan to take another practice test tomorrow - lets see if things got better :).

    I'm hoping to get a 32 on MCATs on May 31st. It's a pretty big jump (not sure if it's realistic or not but other posts on this forum have DEFINITELY boosted my confidence in what concentrated studying for a couple of weeks can do for your score).

    Goodluck & hang in there!!
     
  9. Phoenix.

    Phoenix. Emdee Jaydee Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    nshams - If you have time to get your hands on a copy (or order it asap), you should definitely get Nova's MCAT Physics book. Physics is my biggest problem, and it's the most help (although I've yet to take a practice exam with it, it was great for my inclined planes issues). Figure out from the practice MCAT breakdown what your weak spots are in, and then go over the Nova chapter for that topic. It really takes you step by step and while it's mostly example problems and discretes, there are about 2-3 passages at the end of each chapter. EK Physics is good too, but it doesn't really break things down enough for people with Physics mental blocks like me.

    And from what I've read on here, it sounds like a jump from a 28 on your diagnostic to a 32 on the real thing sounds like a reasonable goal. I'm basically aiming for the same thing. Hopefully your verbal score is in a decent place, since that's a lot harder to improve in a short period of time. Good luck!
     
  10. SolanoSkywkr

    SolanoSkywkr Accepted = Super Psyched 2+ Year Member

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    I didn't really start doing any hardcore studying until probably a month before. By hardcore I mean every minute of the day I wasn't sleeping, or in class I was studying. I used the EK books alone and got through each book twice. I also did all of the AAMC practice tests (usually between 30-38). I took the test on April 12th and felt pretty good, though I'm still waiting for the scores. I think my method worked for me just because that's how I've always studied. I've had all of the MCAT relevant classes in the last two years, and got A's in all of them, so I wasn't learning anything from scratch or relearning anything from too long ago, so the EK books worked fine. If I hadn't had a decent grasp of the subjects before studying, the month wouldn't have been even close to enough.
     
  11. Jingalicious

    Jingalicious 2+ Year Member

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    May 9, 2007
    Phoenix, my scores are finally up!

    I got a 37R (13PS, 10 VR, 14BS)!

    This semester was incredibly difficult academically, and I didn't have a chance to study before Spring Break (which for me started March 9. I took the April 7 MCAT, to give you a sense of time.) I decided personally that taking a class wouldn't help me, because the way i learn best is just to sit down and study for a long time on my own. It's different for everyone, I guess. Anyway, I split up my studying into a week of reading and reviewing used Kaplan and EK books I bought off of someone. The next week, I did all 1001 problems in both chemistry and physics (it was ridiculous and painful and I don't recommend this for ANYONE, but wow was I a lot more confident by the time I finished.)

    After that review, I took my first diagnostic (AAMC 3CBT) and got a 31 (crazy problem-solving and reading is not good enough). I THINK the breakdown was 10 PS, 11 VR, and 10BS. At this point, I was back at school and in the midst of midterms and papers, and so the studying calmed down slightly. I was doing a full-length exam every other day. I was also pretty good about getting to the gym, as it turns out that you have nothing else to distract you then but memorizing things.

    I'm not sure what all my practice test scores were, but the last 5 AAMCs I took were all 37 or above (37, 39, 40, 37, 38 or something along those lines). Judging from that, my actual exam score fell in the right range and my AAMC scores were pretty accurate. However, a 10 VR is pretty low for me, and that might have been caused by nerves when taking the real test (i was so thrown off during the physical sciences section from just being so nervous and having really weird questions that I completely forgot the kinematic equations and all that shakiness carried into the VR section). In either case, VR is always a crapshoot, and with a month there was probably nothing I could to do improve that score.

    But yes, you can DEFINITELY improve your PS and BS scores in a month. If you have any questions at all, please feel free to ask. You'll be fine.

    Good luck good luck good luck!!!
     
  12. Green Pirate

    Green Pirate Neurotic Neuro Enthusiast 5+ Year Member

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    Nov 13, 2006
    wow congrats on that amazing score Jingalicious. it seems like you deserved it too. :thumbup:
     
  13. Phoenix.

    Phoenix. Emdee Jaydee Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    Jingalicious - CONGRATS! That's awesome!

    And thanks for all the info. I have all of the 1001 books but wasn't sure whether to do them. I think you've decided that for me. I had all of my pre-reqs within the last year and a half, so nothing is that far off. My weaknesses seem to be first semester Chem and Physics (both due to lots of calculation problems (doing scientific notation division or square roots of decimals without a calculator doesn't sit well with me no matter how many times I try), and shoddy teachers so I was less inspired to study even though I did pull As).

    So, I'm spending a week cramming in all of the EK books (except for Orgo, which I'll fit in pieces in near the end - I just finished orgo II), and then was going to concentrate on TPR passages and practice exams. Now I think I'll try to cover as much of the Physics & Chem 1001 questions as well.

    I see I'm really going to have to try to keep my cool (I tend to panic a bit during standardized tests), or I may get a lower VR score as well. And I'm banking on a higher VR to off-set the likelihood that my PS score could easily be an 8 or a 9.

    One question for you - which practice AAMC MCAT do you feel was the most representative and yielded similar scores to your end result? 8? 9? 10? I'm trying to figure out in what order to take them. I have 6-10 to take til May 31st.

    Thanks!
     
  14. Jingalicious

    Jingalicious 2+ Year Member

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    May 9, 2007
    Thanks so much, guys!

    Phoenix -- 1001 is a lot to do, and if you don't have time try to randomly pick a few in each section and do those. if there's clearly a section that you're weak on, do all the problems in that section. The 1001 are best for figuring out how to do computations quickly, so you're on the right track. When you do these sorts of problems, see if you can think up "shortcuts" to help you solve problems faster (like rounding, converting things into fractions or decimals if that makes you comfortable, figuring out what kind of exponents in hydrogen ion concentrations that you should expect for pH calculations, etc.) Because orgo is a smaller section of the BS, I wouldn't emphasize it as much, if you feel like you have a better grasp of it. Part of my issue was I took physics and gen chem SO long ago that i had a lot of refreshing to do. Most of the work lies in getting comfortable with the topics and kinds of questions, so you have more precious time to go back and double-check your answers for silly mistakes.

    AAMC 10 was the closest to my actual score. I took that 3 days before I took the actual MCAT. I'd say from there, 9 was better than 8. Hope that helps!
     
  15. nshams

    nshams 7+ Year Member

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    Apr 22, 2007
    I just ordered the ExamKrackers Physics 1001 & the Nova Physics questions - so much of what goes wrong during the practice tests is because of the time crunch so I think it'll REALLY help if speed goes up.

    Today, I took just the PS & VR sections (GoldStandard#5): PS: 10 VR:10

    I know BS is my going to be one of my biggest weaknesses but it's so hard to not get totally obsessed with trying to raise that PS score. It didn't improve a lot :( & I'm still getting atleast 10-12 questions wrong :(. Here's hoping ExamKrackers will help.
     
  16. Phoenix.

    Phoenix. Emdee Jaydee Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    I took AAMC 7 today and got a 27: 8 PS 10 VR 9 BS. Even after five days of 10 hours straight of PS work I still couldn't break an 8. So, I think I'm chickening out on May 31st. If a seat opens for June 15th I'm taking it. At least then I'll have been studying hardcore from May 10 - June 14th, which is probably a lot more reasonable since I really have to work on PS calculation problems something fierce. The BS should go up once I review bio (it's been a few months) and get the synthesis reactions down for orgo (the effects of being allowed to use a cheat sheet for orgo exams is really showing now).

    And since I'm submitting my app on June 5th, I'll already be verified (and my letters are already put together too), so it'll really just be a 2 week delay for my MCAT score. I'm thinking that doing even one point better on PS will be worth a 2 week delay in being complete mid-July instead of early-July. If only I could get that one point increase even on a practice test!

    Now I just have to cross my fingers that something opens up. Or suck it up and take that spot a 3 hr drive away.... In the meantime, back to the books. I hope the rest of you are nailing your practice exams.
     
  17. freelove

    freelove MS-12.... 2+ Year Member

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    Apr 4, 2006
    Yeah... i feel you Phoenix. I'm trying to get through EK and finish all the practice exams before June 15th as well. I was gonna try and take the test at the end of May, because I start this summer program which supposed to be really difficult, and I would have really liked to have the MCAT out of the way before then, but this semester was alot more challenging academically than I had anticipated it being so I ended up pushing everything back until now.

    I had done alot of studying before spring break, I was averaging between 27-30 on the practice tests, but it feels like I've forgotten everything, and now i have a little more than a month to get everything down pat. I think I'm going to do like someone advised earlier and pick up those EK 1001. Are they available in book stores? Or do you have to order them on line?
     
  18. Phoenix.

    Phoenix. Emdee Jaydee Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    I believe you have to order the 1001 books. I bought mine off Amazon. The physics and chem books are pretty much just discretes, while the verbal (101) and bio books are all passages.

    The chem and physics 1001 books are good for drilling the basics and repetative calculations covered in the EK books (even though they don't seem to be doing me much good - if feels like they should be), but I've found that the best passage-based questions for practice (by topic) are in TPR's Hyperlearning MCAT Science Workbook. I bought mine off someone on SDN in the "for sale" forum. If you can get your hands on one soon, it's definitely worth it.
     

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