Apr 15, 2013
10
6
St. Louis
Status
Medical Student
I am currently working 45+ hours per week as a phlebotomist at a local hospital (St. Louis, MO) and am looking for a prep course for the MCAT which will balance well with my schedule and also adequately prepare me for the exam. I work Monday-Friday from 5am to 130pm and the majority of my afternoons are free. Should I look for online courses or try to meet in a classroom setting (Kaplan, Princeton Review, etc.)? I spent 3 months last summer self-studying for the MCAT and didn't get the score I was looking for. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
 

CarlosDanger

5+ Year Member
Jul 25, 2013
624
310
Status
Medical Student
I was also working full time while studying for the MCAT, but my job was a more normal 9-5/6 type gig, so I couldn't have done a classroom course even if I had wanted to. I was kind the opposite of you, I took a classroom course in undergrad and didn't do very well, and I had better luck making my own tailored study plan for after work studying.

If the class is the way you want to go, I would try to look for a face-to-face classroom setting so you can get the most personalized feedback possible - especially since you're probably free during that time of the day. I would just be careful about scheduling stuff so late in your day since you have to get up so early in the morning. You definitely want to make sure you're getting adequate sleep at least most of the time so you can be effective and focused after work on a regular basis. I would also recommend (depending on how much studying you need to do well) that you block off more time than you normally would since you don't have as much time each day to dedicate to studying.

It's tough working full time and studying for the MCAT, but if you have a good routine and stick to it, you'll do great
 

TXKnight

Better Known as TXK
7+ Year Member
Oct 21, 2010
1,052
191
Georgia
Status
Medical Student
I also had a 50hr /week job, I did study on my own at nights,weekends,breaks and anywhere in between. I used BR, PR and wikipremed, also bought all AAMC FL's and the gold standard ones. I had a few Kaplan here and there. It was hard, but doable. I followed a pretty detailed schedule that I custom made. I made sure I was constant and I designed it to measure my progress at regular intervals (using FL's). You can do it with dedication. As an advise, don't neglect VR.
 
Jul 2, 2013
1,433
1,021
Status
Medical Student
I am currently working 45+ hours per week as a phlebotomist at a local hospital (St. Louis, MO) and am looking for a prep course for the MCAT which will balance well with my schedule and also adequately prepare me for the exam. I work Monday-Friday from 5am to 130pm and the majority of my afternoons are free. Should I look for online courses or try to meet in a classroom setting (Kaplan, Princeton Review, etc.)? I spent 3 months last summer self-studying for the MCAT and didn't get the score I was looking for. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
I worked while I was studying for the MCAT, but not 40 hours (more like 30). But I chose to take a course (Princeton Review) because I just wanted the structure that was provided. I personally preferred a classroom course rather than online, but that's just what I felt would help me stay on top of studying better. I think being able to talk in person with an instructor and other students in the class is really helpful. Online courses may provide you with a little more flexibility though, depending on how they are set up.

I managed to find a course that was 6-9:30 (M-Th&Sat because I did the 10 week summer session), so I could go after I got off from work - but this is pretty late if you are getting up at 4 or so. If you are taking one of the longer courses, a lot of them only meet a few times a week, which also gives you more time to study on your own and keep up with your outside studying. I would definitely look into the different times that courses are offered in your area and see if any of them fit your schedule!
 
OP
C
Apr 15, 2013
10
6
St. Louis
Status
Medical Student
Thanks everyone for the feedback! I'm still having a hard time deciding whether I should meet in a classroom or take a course online for convenience. I'm definitely motivated enough to make myself sit down everyday and do the online course, but the personal interactions in a classroom would really help me--I always learned best in college courses with fewer students.

As for cost, I can spend the money on a course, but I'd hope if I'm going to spend around $2000 on a course that it would get me the score I want.

How many hours would you all recommend that I study everyday? I know I'm pretty drained at the end of my occasional 12-hour work days, so I don't know if I would be able to beneficially study for much more than four hours a day on weekdays.
 

TheWeeIceMan

And like that... *poof*... he's gone.
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Apr 8, 2009
3,500
2,372
How well do you learn on your own? You could save like $1300 by doing the study schedule stickied in the MCAT forum. Personally, I think you can hit much higher scores using that method than doing the Kaplan, PR, whatever classroom programs, which are more designed for the average person who needs to be walked through the test (in my opinion).
 

TXKnight

Better Known as TXK
7+ Year Member
Oct 21, 2010
1,052
191
Georgia
Status
Medical Student
How well do you learn on your own? You could save like $1300 by doing the study schedule stickied in the MCAT forum. Personally, I think you can hit much higher scores using that method than doing the Kaplan, PR, whatever classroom programs, which are more designed for the average person who needs to be walked through the test (in my opinion).
+1 This
 
Apr 19, 2013
44
12
Status
Pre-Medical
What were the major weak points of your 3-month self-study? Would they be addressed by a course?

I studied for the MCAT while working 40 hrs/week. I used The Princeton Review, including some of their practice tests if I recall correctly, and I also completed several AAMC practice MCATs; the review books helped a lot but I think the most important part of my preparation was doing the practice exams. I wasn't worried about learning the material, but I wanted to practice regurgitating it. It remains to be seen if I'll get into medical school, but I doubt that my MCAT score will be the limiting factor.

Since you find the face-to-face interaction the most important part of preparation, another option could be finding a study buddy or two. You could take turns targeting each other's weak points, and avoid spending a lot of money covering concepts that you might already know.