Nov 28, 2010
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if so, please share your secret about where you get your energy from!:laugh:

i work 40 hours a week as a research assistant - after i get home from work, make dinner, spend time with my husband and daughter and get her ready for bed...im exhausted! i am shooting for a summer MCAT and really wanted to have a consistent study schedule, inevitably on evenings and weekends.

anyone else?
 
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FrkyBgStok

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yep. 50 hours at my full time. and 20 hours at the hospital on the weekend. just finished up 21 credits. if i wasn't working i was studying, and i never got 8 hours of sleep. i don't think i have ever been so excited to have absolutely nothing going on. this was brutal.
 

FrkyBgStok

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and i am scheduled for the jan 29th mcat.
 

Self

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Nov 16, 2010
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Make studying and working one in the same! Whatever my school loans and grants don't cover I make by working at my school's tutoring center. It pays next to nothing but I tutor all the sciences and it ends up being a great review, especially when some 18 year old is looking to YOU for some answers! I tutor on the weekends privately and I manage to make some good money with that, but I think the real value is in seeing the same material over and over again.
 
Jul 31, 2010
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Yes I completely agree. It is exhausting. I'm working 30-40 hrs a week and when I get off of work, the last thing I feel like doing is opening a physics book. However, I remind myself I need to take this and I need to do good. Keep the goal in mind.
 

mauberley

radiating prestige
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if so, please share your secret about where you get your energy from!:laugh:
I reminded myself that I spent $$$ on my prereqs and $ on registering for the test, so I'll be damned if I do crappy on it. ;)
 
OP
pinkzebra
Nov 28, 2010
138
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frky - wow. that is amazing that you were able to balance that. i wish you the very best of luck on your upcoming MCAT - you deserve it!!!

self - that is exactly what i did in college :) i actually graduated this may and am now a full-time research assistant. i really like the work, but since i just started in mid november, it is just very stressful learning all the techniques and familiarizing myself with the lab. i know what you mean though, when i taught the material to others it really helped ME to get a better grasp on it, too!

nicole & maub - i completely agree. i am definitely keeping the goal in mind, too!!!
 

Reno

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I've been in this boat for a few years now as I decided to take a year or so off and just work after graduation with the hopes of taking the MCAT eventually and applying to med school however I have a wonderful habit of starting out strong for a month or so, getting discouraged and then quitting and the restarting the whole process a few months later. Hoping to finally get this monkey off my back... I have a number of things I try to use to keep me motivated.

1. Proving to myself that I can do this, as mentioned above I've quit and sold my self short for some time now and I don't think I could ever live with the regret of not finishing this. I think this is one of the harder areas to channel or grasp but when you do it is also the most powerful.

2. I think we are all drained by having to work 40 hours and then as someone mentioned having to pick up a physics/Ochem book is not exactly appealing. However, I am trying to view it as daily motivation in both a negative and positive way. I work in the pharmaceutical industry and enjoy being involved in drug discovery although I still view this as a job rather then a career as my options for growth are rather limited without those fancy letters after my name. Thus, I realize I do not want to do this for the rest of my life and to continue and grow in this industry, I need to take the MCAT and move on with this process.

I have other randoms I think about but my computer is about to die so few motivational quotes I like and will butcher:

A year from today you will be a year older, what have you done today to further your goals?

We all have the same 24 hours in a day, how do you use yours?

Also I think exercise is key, I need a break between work and studying and nothing revitalizes me more then a workout.
 

BK611

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Jun 21, 2009
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I also took off time after school to boost GPA and find a way to get into medical school. It takes a TON of committment cause as everyone has pointed out NONE of this is easy or what you probably want to be doing at the time.

Anyway, on to the suggestions

Consider enrolling in a prep course that meets twice a week for about 3 hours (i took Kaplan increased my score three points) I support this because it gives people like you that work and have a family the ability to not HAVE to plan what they will study and just study it. The organization and structure of the course i felt kept me going and the regular meetings kept me motivated.

If you cant take the course due any reason...

Plan, Plan, Plan! dont just open up the book and start at chapter one.

Buy a bunch of practice tests. Take one to begin with. Use the breakdown of what you got wrong (most break down the sections and tell you what your strengths and weaknesses were on the test)

From that test:
Schedule each day what you will study. (have at least two days a week where you don't study) everyone needs a break

Don't take another test for a month

See how you have improved after that month. Focus on the week areas again.

Take another two or three tests in the next month and keep focusing on the week areas.

Sorry for the length. Hope this helps. Keep at it! You will get there eventually. When that first interview invite email pops up in your inbox you will forget about the months of MCAT prep, GPA second guessing, and anxiety.
 
Oct 14, 2010
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We all have the same 24 hours in a day, how do you use yours?
This is key. I work 20 hours a week, go to school full time, and work at my clinical rotation an additional 20 hours a week. You need to prioritize your time and find ways to make it all fit. You need to allot a specific amount of time for each necessary activity. DONT FORGET SLEEP. :sleep:
 
OP
pinkzebra
Nov 28, 2010
138
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Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Consider enrolling in a prep course that meets twice a week for about 3 hours (i took Kaplan increased my score three points) I support this because it gives people like you that work and have a family the ability to not HAVE to plan what they will study and just study it. The organization and structure of the course i felt kept me going and the regular meetings kept me motivated.
great advice, i was actually just about to enroll in TPR's prep course beginning in march and ending in may. thanks :)
 
Oct 19, 2010
13
2
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Last spring I took the MCAT while working full-time and taking graduate courses. It was difficult but because I work at a hospital I was able to find a study partner. We met 2 nights per week for 2 hours and went through 2-3 chapters of ExamKrackers that we had prepared-we would take the end of section tests. We also took practice tests every weekend and went over our diagnostics together and re-reviewed weaknesses. We did this for about 4.5 months and both ended up scoring >30 and have been accepted into medical school. It was difficult to do, however, having a study partner forced me to commit time every night to preparation. It's hard but definitely feasible :)
 

LaurenMCAT

Elite Kaplan Instructor
Dec 1, 2010
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Los Angeles, CA
hi there pinkzebra :hello:

I'm now a Kaplan MCAT instructor & tutor, but just two years ago, I was working full-time as a nanny to three boys ages 6 and under, doing my pre-requisite science classes in the evenings, and trying to balance my REALLY small bank account.

Fortunately, I figured out that with my schedule, the summertime would be a perfect opportunity to study for the MCAT! I had a lot of time & financial constraints, but I wanted to do EVERYTHING I could to nail the exam on Test Day...so I took an on-site Kaplan course in the evenings (two days a week) and studied like heck on the weekends. I made sure to draw up a REALLY detailed study calendar, marked down all my reading assignments, practice tests, etc. and also found a little time to schedule breaks and time away from studying. My pre-med friends from my post-bac program (who are much younger than I) took Kaplan before I did and raved about it, so I paid for the course myself using a credit card I could pay off in a few months. I NEVER once regretted my decision and I'm really happy that I had a robust, personalized, and regimented classroom test-prep experience.

(You'll have to understand that 1 - I'm not an objective advice-giver! and 2 - I NEVER studied for a standardized test before - not the SAT or GRE and 3 - my MCAT score needed to be high to compensate for my low undergrad grades almost a decade prior.)

How funny is it that my MCAT experience actually led to a NEW job for me? As a teacher! Anywho - I've been accepted to med school and I'm clearly a non-traditional applicant! I think our route is MUCH more difficult, but perseverance and dedication does pay off.

Give me a holler if you have any other questions. I hope I can help!
 

MLT2MT2DO

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Jan 21, 2008
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Last spring I took the MCAT while working full-time and taking graduate courses. It was difficult but because I work at a hospital I was able to find a study partner. We met 2 nights per week for 2 hours and went through 2-3 chapters of ExamKrackers that we had prepared-we would take the end of section tests. We also took practice tests every weekend and went over our diagnostics together and re-reviewed weaknesses. We did this for about 4.5 months and both ended up scoring >30 and have been accepted into medical school. It was difficult to do, however, having a study partner forced me to commit time every night to preparation. It's hard but definitely feasible :)
I'm going to reinforce the 4.5 months. If you are trying to balance a full time job as well as trying to study for the MCAT, you should plan on stretching out the "3 month plan". I took the advice of don't study longer than 3 months out while working full time and going to school and I'm sure I cost myself quite a few points. If I had it to do over again 4.5 months seems like a better time frame if you're more than just a full time student.
 

LaurenMCAT

Elite Kaplan Instructor
Dec 1, 2010
91
2
Los Angeles, CA
I agree with MLT2MT2DO! 4.5 months sounds good ;) I hear that the average number thrown around for studying is 300 hours.

If you're interested, there are Kaplan classes that meet just once a week!
 

wiscomicro

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Nov 5, 2010
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Hi all,

After reading the MCAT timing thread, I think I'd like to take the exam in May, possibly June at the latest. I still have to take the ochem lab but all the evening sections are full at the moment and I don't think I'll really need it for the MCAT anyway. So, I think it makes sense to focus on the MCAT now, ochem lab in the fall after I've applied to med-schools. I should be able to start studying for the MCAT in late January, after I finish some big projects at work (I'm also a research assistant, btw). If I go by the 4.5 month timeline, I should be prepared. I'd like some thoughts on this plan though.

On another MCAT-related thread, I'm trying to decide on whether to take a Kaplan course. I studied on my own for the GRE and definitely improved my score. So, I know I have the discipline to prep. I also have a series of Kaplan books that a friend gave me after she took the course (and went off to med school). Question is, how much more will I get out of an on-site course?

Thanks!
 
Dec 26, 2010
21
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I'm almost in the same boat. Working full time in research, retaking prereqs to boost my GPA, shadowing/volunteering, etc. Every day when I wake up there are about a 1000 things I need to do, and I try as I might, I NEVER get them all done. But every night when I go to sleep I know that I have done everything in my power that day to reach my goal.

As far as balancing family with all of this, it's ok for your daughter to see you studying. I don't have kids myself, but my dad was a non traditional college student. He graduated when I was 9. I can remember waking up every weekend to find him studying at the dining room table. Seeing his motivation and hard work had a positive impact on me!
 
Aug 18, 2010
218
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I too worked full time and went to school part time while studying for the mcat. I did not take the classes. However, I really struggled motivating myself. I did well enough on the mcat. However, i believe if i had studied more than the 50-75 hours that I did, I would have done significantly better. So my advice is stay focused. Oh and the one thing that really helped me though was the aamc practice tests. I raised my score about 4 points over a month without studying by taking 3 practice exams. Good luck all.
 

TXKnight

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Oct 21, 2010
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Pinkzebra--I Work full time about 50-55 hrs (mostly 55 hrs) a week and two kiddos and a wife. I condense my studying mostly to very late at night 1 or 2 hrs and on the weekends, keeping in mind that I needed more time to cover all the material I started studying very early (Nov) for my 04/2011 MCAT. I am having to really reteach myself a lot of stuff as some of these prereq's were taken 10 yrs ago. I took CBT #3 in sept -took it cold i.e no review whatsoever- PS-7,VR-8,BS-9. That's how I decided what to prioritize (besides verbal) and what to start studying first (PS). Working in the field of public health motivates me to shift my attention to medicine and reacquaint myself with my original and true interest: medicine. Long story short I have been wanting to be a doctor since I was a kid. My family is another great motivation and I am sure it is for you as well. Good luck.
 

garrett24

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Oct 12, 2008
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Hey everyone, I am in he same boat as well. I just got married in November, plus I work full time (40-42 hours each week) in a pharmacy and go to school full time. I am planning to take my MCAT this summer! I was able to fit in a new class that my school was offering, that is supposed to help prepare you for the MCAT. I'm hoping that the class will help focus me in the right direction because right now I feel lost as to where to start. The professor teaching the class has a lot of experience and I have taken another class with her so I think it will be beneficial.:xf:
 

LaurenMCAT

Elite Kaplan Instructor
Dec 1, 2010
91
2
Los Angeles, CA
On another MCAT-related thread, I'm trying to decide on whether to take a Kaplan course. I studied on my own for the GRE and definitely improved my score. So, I know I have the discipline to prep. I also have a series of Kaplan books that a friend gave me after she took the course (and went off to med school). Question is, how much more will I get out of an on-site course?
Hey wiscomicro :hello: Short explanation: It depends upon your current schedule, personal motivation, and target score! I'm not objective, but I have never for one day regretted the $$ I shelled out of my own pocket for my Kaplan course. And now that I'm an MCAT prep teacher, my kids actually tell me that class is fun! WHO KNEW?

What Kaplan gives you: structure, an expert that you can throw all your questions to, ridiculous online resources that allow you to strengthen any and every area you don't feel confident in, testing strategies, and a living, breathing, tangible classroom environment with other students who may be up for studying together outside of class. All that gave me: peace of mind knowing that I had everything at my fingertips to be successful...it was just up to me to work hard to make it happen!

A[ND as far as previous posters have mentioned, re: kids and studying...I ALWAYS studied around the 3 little boys I nannied for and they LOVED it! The munchkins (5.5 and 3.5 y.o.) begged for workbooks or crayons so they could sit at the table with me and do their "homework," too. In fact, my Mom changed careers mid-life and I was awed by her dedication and flexibility. You can be an excellent role model this way!!]

Send me a PM if you have more questions ;) Good luck!
 
Sep 2, 2010
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I'm married with a 5 month old daughter.

I study at work.

But if I need to hit it hard at night, I withhold coffee all day until it's time to study. It's simple, but it really seems to work for me. Getting to sleep is a little tough, and you're definitely feeling it at work, but it is priceless to be alert and even happy studying at 11pm.
 

blife

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Sep 30, 2009
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Hi all, I'm amazed by how much some of you do! I'm working 50 hours a week and studying for the MCAT. I'm lucky in that my job goes in spurts and I can study in the down time. I was originally going to take the 1/28 test, but after a month or so of studying and working a new job I knew I wouldn't be ready so I switched to 3/26.

I'm using the Kaplan on Demand program, which has all the lectures and practice tests of the in class stuff but I don't have to fit a class into my schedule. For the most part I like it, although sometimes the lectures are way too fast to follow in the workbook. It'd be nice to be in a class with others, but that's a small price to pay for the flexibility to study whenever I want to.

I've also started carrying around a small notebook that fits in my purse, and I've been writing big ticket stuff in there to review whenever I have a minute or two. For me, it's things like trigonometric relations, capacitors v resistors, etc. I'm using it as a one-stop shop for stuff I have trouble remembering and need to review.

Good luck everyone; I keep reminding myself to keep my eye on the prize!
 
Feb 12, 2011
2
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So happy to hear there are so many of you with the same "challenges"- I was about to say "struggles" but reframed. I'm also working full time- 3 12 hour night shifts, with a fairly large family (depending on who you talk to- I've got [thank G-d] 6 children). It's not whether or not I'll be doing this- it's just when and how. Focus on how to do it. I've come across an excellent online review course, as well as having attended many Kaplan classes. I'm looking for someone interested in meeting once or twice a week in Brooklyn to keep up the study momentum- to motivate each other to meet goals and discuss topics if necessary. Someone who would appreciate a partner to help with structure, review, motivation, and a little peer pressure. Anyone interested please respond, and I'll forward you my email address. Then we'll work on the details. Good luck to all of you-- study well (effectively) and practice, practice, practice...
 

Reno

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It is comforting to know there are others out their working a full time job (some with crazy hours and crazy schedule so kudos to you guys) and with various other commitments and still chugging along, keep up the good work folks and as someone said, eyes on the prize. I am still struggling to get 2 hours of solid studying a day after work and hoping to slowly increase it as the weeks go by and I build some momentum/endurance. I relate it to exercise, you can't expect to jump in and run 10 miles or whatever a day if you've been inactive but slowly and steadily one can hope to reach that pace.
 

JapaneseSakura

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Jan 6, 2010
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yep. 50 hours at my full time. and 20 hours at the hospital on the weekend. just finished up 21 credits. if i wasn't working i was studying, and i never got 8 hours of sleep. i don't think i have ever been so excited to have absolutely nothing going on. this was brutal.

That's exactly what I did! Actually, I was pretty fortunate in a way because I had a butt-sitting job. But, I had to go to japan various of times for personal reasons too. When I wasn't busy, I studied practice questions online in which my boss did not give a rats if I did it, lol. After hours, I did my studying, took Kaplan class, and took test at the library in hospital. It was hard and I didn't have too much time to study for it, but I was able to do well on it and got into medical school. I hated that, I am glad it's done. But you can do it!

I was the same too. My job paid well but it wasn't what I wanted to do forever. It became very unfulfilling and boring with little advancement. My talents and skills were not being used or challenged like I wanted it to.
 
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