GrayArea

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Hello!

For those who studied for about 5 Months and hit a obtained a satisfactory score on the MCAT, how long did you study daily?

I do not want to burn out but I want to study sufficiently. I have taken all prereq's.

How many daily hours should I study? Open for suggestions!
 

Kpw101

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That's a by person basis. Personally I would burn out if I did any more than 6 hours a day for 5 months.
 
Aug 21, 2016
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That's a by person basis. Personally I would burn out if I did any more than 6 hours a day for 5 months.
:laugh: 6 hours a day for five months? Seriously? Do you not have a job/school/girlfriend (or boyfriend)?

Typical SDN... People, this is not a normal studier. Don't measure yourself against someone who puts in >900 hours of studying for the MCAT.


Edit: I should probably actually contribute. I am also planning on taking the MCAT in about 5 months (January, just started studying about 2 weeks ago). I used the studyschedule SDN site to help me come up with a schedule. It does depend on the person. I'm doing about 2 hr/day on weekdays and 3-4 on weekends, with Tuesdays off. Any other days I miss I'm making up on the weekend as well. This works for me because:

-I read very quickly without skimming, which helps me get through book sections quickly
-I am an advanced student with a doctorate degree in the health care field with a strong emphasis on sciences, and therefore both need minimal time on some subjects (such as reading comprehension and certain specific areas of chem/biological sciences) and know how to study large amounts of material efficiently
-I am a champion at standardized tests and tend to do well on them. For example - got a 32 on the ACT without cracking a single book or spending one second on review. I just get them.

So...YMMV. Don't do so much that you burn out and stop retaining. Evaluate how strong you are in each area and how long it takes you to get through each section in that area, and use that to pick a time frame. You can always ramp up as you get closer if you feel behind. You have a TON of time. Don't fall into the trap of thinking you are locked into whatever schedule you choose now.
 
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Kpw101

5+ Year Member
Jul 18, 2013
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:laugh: 6 hours a day for five months? Seriously? Do you not have a job/school/girlfriend (or boyfriend)?

Typical SDN... People, this is not a normal studier. Don't measure yourself against someone who puts in >900 hours of studying for the MCAT.


Edit: I should probably actually contribute. I am also planning on taking the MCAT in about 5 months (January, just started studying about 2 weeks ago). I used the studyschedule SDN site to help me come up with a schedule. It does depend on the person. I'm doing about 2 hr/day on weekdays and 3-4 on weekends, with Tuesdays off. Any other days I miss I'm making up on the weekend as well. This works for me because:

-I read very quickly without skimming, which helps me get through book sections quickly
-I am an advanced student with a doctorate degree in the health care field with a strong emphasis on sciences, and therefore both need minimal time on some subjects (such as reading comprehension and certain specific areas of chem/biological sciences) and know how to study large amounts of material efficiently
-I am a champion at standardized tests and tend to do well on them. For example - got a 32 on the ACT without cracking a single book or spending one second on review. I just get them.

So...YMMV. Don't do so much that you burn out and stop retaining. Evaluate how strong you are in each area and how long it takes you to get through each section in that area, and use that to pick a time frame. You can always ramp up as you get closer if you feel behind. You have a TON of time. Don't fall into the trap of thinking you are locked into whatever schedule you choose now.
I didn't put this much studying in. I studied over 3 months with a full time job, a girlfriend, but I was on vacation. Even so 6 hours a day studying is extremely manageable even with added commitments. Almost everyone I know that did well on the MCAT put in 5-6 hours a day for at least 3 months, some while in school. Those who didn't put in the time were already geniuses and scoring in the 523+ range. Those who didn't do so well didn't put as much time in. The residents I've met at the hospital my mom works at also told me they put in similar hours while they were studying for it.

But seriously 6 hours a day is abnormal? wake up at 8, study for 6 hours and finish at 2. You still have an entire day to do whatever you want. I don't understand what's so "SDN" about that.

But OP. Study as much as you can making sure you give yourself at least a day off every week. In my opinion 5 months is a little too long. Find 3 months where you can really concentrate on the exam and 5-6 hours a day with one day a week off should be sufficient.

Also dude consensus says there's a weak correlation between sat/act and mcat performance. Not saying that you won't perform well but don't bank on your test-taking abilities or you might get a very rude wake up call.
 
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Aug 21, 2016
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I didn't put this much studying in. I studied over 3 months with a full time job, a girlfriend, but I was on vacation. Even so 6 hours a day studying is extremely manageable even with added commitments. Almost everyone I know that did well on the MCAT put in 5-6 hours a day for at least 3 months, some while in school. Those who didn't put in the time were already geniuses and scoring in the 523+ range. Those who didn't do so well didn't put as much time in. The residents I've met at the hospital my mom works at also told me they put in similar hours while they were studying for it.

But seriously 6 hours a day is abnormal? wake up at 8, study for 6 hours and finish at 2. You still have an entire day to do whatever you want. I don't understand what's so "SDN" about that.

But OP. Study as much as you can making sure you give yourself at least a day off every week. In my opinion 5 months is a little too long. Find 3 months where you can really concentrate on the exam and 5-6 hours a day with one day a week off should be sufficient.

Also dude consensus says there's a weak correlation between sat/act and mcat performance. Not saying that you won't perform well but don't bank on your test-taking abilities or you might get a very rude wake up call.
I don't think most people would call it 'extremely manageable'. 900 hours of studying is way over the top for the MCAT and unrealistic for real life. You were on vacation the whole time, you said? I get up at 6am for work, get home about 4:30 - that's 10.5 hours out of my day. Then add 6 hours studying, that's 16.5 hours of my day leaving 7.5 hours for showering, eating, grocery shopping, literally anything else.

My schedule will allow me to net ~350 hours, which I think will be sufficient. As I said to the OP, if I feel like I'm getting behind, I'll ramp it up. I'm planning on taking a FL about 2 months out and using that to determine whether I need to increase my hours, and if so, how much.

Your advice re test taking is certainly valid. I'll clarify that my point is not that my ACT score will predict my MCAT score, but that I tend to do well on standardized tests (including higher-level post grad ones; as mentioned, I have a doctorate in a health professions degree and am licensed in two states) and therefore will not spend as much time on standard test-taking skills. I'm still putting in extensive time on materials.

As for what the residents you know said...I call bull****. I work at a hospital full time. I know a LOT of residents. I've spent countless hours with many of them, both working and doing other stuff - drinking, playing video games, gambling, hanging out, even dated one or two as we're in the same age group. Not one of them put in nine hundred hours for the MCAT. If they told you that, they're taking you for a ride. They may have done 6 hours a day at one point, but not for five months, that's for sure.
 

Kpw101

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I don't think most people would call it 'extremely manageable'. 900 hours of studying is way over the top for the MCAT and unrealistic for real life. You were on vacation the whole time, you said? I get up at 6am for work, get home about 4:30 - that's 10.5 hours out of my day. Then add 6 hours studying, that's 16.5 hours of my day leaving 7.5 hours for showering, eating, grocery shopping, literally anything else.

My schedule will allow me to net ~350 hours, which I think will be sufficient. As I said to the OP, if I feel like I'm getting behind, I'll ramp it up. I'm planning on taking a FL about 2 months out and using that to determine whether I need to increase my hours, and if so, how much.

Your advice re test taking is certainly valid. I'll clarify that my point is not that my ACT score will predict my MCAT score, but that I tend to do well on standardized tests (including higher-level post grad ones; as mentioned, I have a doctorate in a health professions degree and am licensed in two states) and therefore will not spend as much time on standard test-taking skills. I'm still putting in extensive time on materials.

As for what the residents you know said...I call bull****. I work at a hospital full time. I know a LOT of residents. I've spent countless hours with many of them, both working and doing other stuff - drinking, playing video games, gambling, hanging out, even dated one or two as we're in the same age group. Not one of them put in nine hundred hours for the MCAT. If they told you that, they're taking you for a ride. They may have done 6 hours a day at one point, but not for five months, that's for sure.
I think you're misunderstanding me. You extrapolated how many hours I say you should study for the MCAT by taking what I said about 6 hours a day. OP asked how much you should study over 5 months by hours per day. I said that you shouldn't study more than 6 hours a day. 2-4 hours a day over 5 months would be completely fine. Maybe I should have been more clearer. No I don't know any residents that studied for 6+ hours for 5 months, but I know many that did so for 3 months.

I have nothing to gain from lying to you or OP.
 
Aug 21, 2016
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I think you're misunderstanding me. You extrapolated how many hours I say you should study for the MCAT by taking what I said about 6 hours a day. OP asked how much you should study over 5 months by hours per day. I said that you shouldn't study more than 6 hours a day. 2-4 hours a day over 5 months would be completely fine. Maybe I should have been more clearer. No I don't know any residents that studied for 6+ hours for 5 months, but I know many that did so for 3 months.

I have nothing to gain from lying to you or OP.
OK, that makes WAY more sense.
 
Dec 31, 2015
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I don't think most people would call it 'extremely manageable'. 900 hours of studying is way over the top for the MCAT and unrealistic for real life. You were on vacation the whole time, you said? I get up at 6am for work, get home about 4:30 - that's 10.5 hours out of my day. Then add 6 hours studying, that's 16.5 hours of my day leaving 7.5 hours for showering, eating, grocery shopping, literally anything else.
/QUOTE]
10.5 hours of work
6 hours of studying
7.5 hours of eating, grocery shopping, literally anything else

When do you sleep?
When do you sleep
 

Kpw101

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When do you sleep
That's not my schedule - that was what my schedule WOULD be if I studied six hours a day as the previous poster said. If you look at my first post, you'll see I do about 2 hrs on weekdays and 3-4 + makeup hours if needed on the weekend days.
 
Dec 31, 2015
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That's not my schedule - that was what my schedule WOULD be if I studied six hours a day as the previous poster said. If you look at my first post, you'll see I do about 2 hrs on weekdays and 3-4 + makeup hours if needed on the weekend days.
I'm just saying you didn't include sleep hours.
 
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GrayArea

GrayArea

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Whoa! lol.

Didn't mean for my question to begin an argument. I appreciate the input, from both of you.

I definitely do not want to over study or under study. I voided my last exam because I was not as prepared as I thought I was. I probably studied for 8 hours a day for 2 months. Which is why I want to study for a longer period of time, but less hours. Studying too many hours stressed me out. I became aware that taking the MCAT means that I need to also learn how to test without stressing out. Stress clouds judgement.

I am not the best standardized tester. Don't get me wrong, I know I am intelligent. I got a 3.9 in college. However, I have not gotten the hang of standardized tests.

One thing I need to do different this time around is created an efficient schedule. I got PR, EK, BR, and Kaplan. Any suggestions?
 
Dec 31, 2015
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Whoa! lol.

Didn't mean for my question to begin an argument. I appreciate the input, from both of you.

I definitely do not want to over study or under study. I voided my last exam because I was not as prepared as I thought I was. I probably studied for 8 hours a day for 2 months. Which is why I want to study for a longer period of time, but less hours. Studying too many hours stressed me out. I became aware that taking the MCAT means that I need to also learn how to test without stressing out. Stress clouds judgement.

I am not the best standardized tester. Don't get me wrong, I know I am intelligent. I got a 3.9 in college. However, I have not gotten the hang of standardized tests.

One thing I need to do different this time around is created an efficient schedule. I got PR, EK, BR, and Kaplan. Any suggestions?
I don't know man studying 8 hours a day for 2 months should be pretty effective. You def need to change how and what you study. Also try taking more practice exams to get used to the standardized testing. Maybe try an exam every week tbh.
 
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GrayArea

GrayArea

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I don't know man studying 8 hours a day for 2 months should be pretty effective. You def need to change how and what you study. Also try taking more practice exams to get used to the standardized testing. Maybe try an exam every week tbh.
Yes, it was effective for
I studied for 2-3 hours per day for 3 months following the EK self study schedule and supplementing with other books, then ramped up to like 6 hours per day in the last month watching videos on Khan Academy and doing practice problems from AAMC. I think following any home study schedule with one set of books should be plenty (and supplement with the other books you have when something isn't clicking).

However, I think if you've already put in so much time, I would focus on taking practice tests in less than ideal conditions to get ready. Like do one after a night of not sleeping well, in a louder area than usual, etc. Obviously if you find a lot of weak areas while taking practice tests, then do some heavier content review, but otherwise I'd try to do practice tests/problems/passages to work on your test taking abilities and pacing. i took a practice test pretty much every week (I really liked Next Step tests, got around 512-508 on all of them, and got a 509 on the real thing). Hope this helps, good luck! :)
Very good idea! I like the concept of taking practice exams in non-ideal conditions.

Yes, I have a good grasp on concepts. There is definitely nothing on the MCAT (concept wise) that I have not seen before. Therefore, I am not planning on doing heavy content review. However, things like formulas, amino acids, etc. are forgotten quickly if not repeated. So I am planning on going through content again before starting to take exams.

Did you do heavy content review? 2-3 hours a day for 2 and then 6 for 1 doesn't seem like much time...
 

fourandtwo

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I think that 4 months total of studying was adequate. It's all about how you study best. I did best studying intensely for 2-3 hours following a strict schedule from EK. I was also working full time and could not devote more time to studying. Good luck!

I'm also doing the EK plan. So far it's been okay since I'm still well versed in bio and gen chem. However I'm worried that when it comes to physics, i won't be able to finish each chapter in 2-3 hours like EK recommends. I'm afraid I'll fall off schedule like that. How did you manage in chapters that were more challenging for you?



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fourandtwo

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their schedule is really ambitious to finish in 2-3 hours for things that you aren't just refreshing (and the one day where they claim you can "preread" every chapter for the upcoming week! that day always sucked for me). for physics and a lot of the chemistry, i had to do an additional hour or two at night or break a chapter up into 2 days in order to really grasp it. since i was doing the 10 week plan in more like 12 weeks, it allowed for me to spend an additional day on certain topics that I needed more time on. I also spent my last month really focusing on my weaknesses (physics, chemistry) by watching Khan Academy videos and working though the AAMC question packs and section bank, which solidified the content. I personally needed the schedule from EK to keep myself on task, but I'm glad I had extra time at the end to spend, for example, a few days on organic chemistry, etc. I'm a non-trad and am 8 years out of most of my pre-reqs and I benefited from going through the schedule and reviewing everything, then really honing in on my weaknesses at the end.

Wow thanks! That's so good to know you were non trad too. So am I, 6 years out, majored in biotech. Good to know as non trads, that you're not the only one. Anyway, thank you for your response


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fourandtwo

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No problem! Good luck. In some ways it's hard to re-learn a lot of material, but in others the critical thinking skills that you've likely honed over the years will really help you a lot! :)
Ha! Your comment about honed critical thinking skills rings so true to me


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