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how long did u prepare for MCAT??

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by smileman, Oct 8, 2001.

  1. smileman

    smileman Junior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 23, 2001
    hi. i was just wondering how long did it takes u to prepare for MCAT. i heard that most people prepare about 4 months before the test. thanks for any input.
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  3. drdrtoledo

    drdrtoledo Pharm Delicious 7+ Year Member

    Sep 28, 2001
    Morristown, NJ
    I opted for the hardcore 2 months of studying. I busted my butt everyday after work and full time on weekends. I felt well prepared. I work best under pressure so that worked best for me. That is my input.
  4. Ai

    Ai Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 25, 2001
    San Diego
    I spent about 3 1/2 months. I was taking 2 classes and working about 20-25 hours a week.

    Good luck :)
  5. Atlas

    Atlas Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Feb 27, 2001
    Columbus, OH
    If it's possible, start as early as possible. I don't see harm in studying for the MCAT as early as your freshman year in college. Although, this is typically not likely to happen. Most, myself included, will probably study off and on for about 4 or 5 months. I plan to start studying during Thanksgiving break, through Christmas, and well into next year. In fact, I began reviewing some biology concepts last summer. I wouldn't consider it studying...more like bordem in July.

    Good luck.
  6. VC15

    VC15 MS4 10+ Year Member

    Sep 6, 2000
    Ontario, Canada
    I had just finished orgo, molecular bio, and physio, so I didn't have to study too hardcore for the BS section, and PS was pretty easy after reviewing everything. I started studying at the beginning of June. I also took the Princeton Review course, went to all the classes/tests, and did most of the homework. I studied or did the homework for 15-20 hours a week, not including classes the TPR administered tests. Maybe about 25-30 hours per week during the last 2 weeks before the test, when I had time off from work.. I felt decent about the MCAT once I came out of the test room, but it really means nothing until I actually find out my scores.
  7. none

    none 1K Member 10+ Year Member

    Jul 27, 2001
    I'm going to be quite honest and you can believe me as you want...I prepared for about a month and a half using the Flowers book and 3 different AAMC tests. I don't think I generally spent more than 10-12 hours a week on it. I did good on the MCAT, got a nicely balanced 30R, but not great. So that's what I did.
  8. jargon124

    jargon124 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Oct 2, 2001
    I spent a month over the summer studying. I think that I was well prepared - though we should find out if I was right in a few weeks! For mental health reasons, I would not advise spreading the studying over more than 3-5 months. Ultimately though, the answer to your question has to do with your personal learning style and intelligence level. Goodluck...
  9. Resident Alien

    Resident Alien What? 7+ Year Member

    Jul 21, 2001
    I revised all the basic sciences december of last year, took Kaplan, and practiced tests often till the actual date of the exam in april...33L in the end.
  10. KingScorpio

    KingScorpio Junior Member

    Mar 1, 2001

    I took the MCATs in April 2001 and thought I did pretty well (33). I started a Kaplan course in January, and lightly prepared (just enough for each class) until about March. Then I started preparing any chance I could get (when homework was lighter), especially Saturdays until the exam. I also took a lot of practice exams. It also helped that I took a lighter load (4 classes instead of the usual 5). Hope this helps you!
  11. riopsedm

    riopsedm Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 27, 2001
    i took the mcat in august, and did summer classes and took kaplan as well. but my summer coursework really took a lot of my time, and i didn't really get a chance to spend much time at the kaplan center and take the multitude of topical tests they had (much less get much time to review material from other courses--in the end, i only really got a week or two to review stuff and take the sections tests at kaplan). but everything turned out okay and i got a 35 and i really feel that it was because of studying the material well when i actually took the class (although my grades may not reflect that entirely and having to explain the discrepancy between my mcat and grades to the adcoms is something i'm really dreading and still trying to struggle with :confused: :confused: )
  12. Scooby Doo

    Scooby Doo IEatShavedPussyCats 10+ Year Member

    Jul 9, 2001
    First time took the test...studied for maybe about a week or two of real studying...I was taking a course at the time for it...but it did not help b/c I was half asleep in it all the time and I did not take the practice tests..big mistake. I recommend taking a course the spring before you take the test..then taking the test in august while you study over summer.
    After my painful score the first time...I learned from my mistake..well kinda :)
    I started studying on my birthday (late July) for the August MCAT which was on August 20th I think. Unfortunately, about 1 hour into studying...I met a beautiful young lady who I ended up dating for a week and wasting some valuable time. But, she was cool :)
    So come around July 30th or so, I start going hardcore. I asked for 2 weeks off from work and started reviewing as much as I could. I studied maybe 6 to 8 hours for a week. Then I flew home and began studying 8 to 12 hours a day for the last week and a half before the test.
    I did much better that time.
    I don't think you need months of preparation. It just depends how you study and how much time you can have all to yourself for studying. I was a hermit for roughly 2 to 3 weeks straight. It worked though.
  13. nochaser

    nochaser Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Aug 31, 2001
    Studied for 3.5 weeks between summer and fall semester break. Used practice tests and Physics the Easy Way for the stuff not covered in Physics I, plus to study Physics II stuff cuz I hadn't taken it yet. Took the Aug 18th test. Used practice tests to first gauge myself, then a few days before MCAT, took it at the library under "timed" conditions. That really helped.
  14. Wu-Tang Killa Bee

    Wu-Tang Killa Bee Member 7+ Year Member

    Sep 4, 2001
    Prep-course!!!!!!! I highly recommend taking one.

    There's gonna be a lot of slow singin' and flower brigin' if my burglar alarm starts ringin'.
  15. Wu-Tang Killa Bee

    Wu-Tang Killa Bee Member 7+ Year Member

    Sep 4, 2001
    Above quote: Biggie
  16. DJ W.R.

    DJ W.R. Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 5, 2001
    I studied for about a month (about 3 hours a day) by taking a ton of practice tests. I was satisfied with what I got (31P) but I know that I could have done much better with more prep time. I also would have tried to take some unpaid leave from my full-time job...working full-time and studying for the MCAT don't mix very well.
  17. EMDrMoe

    EMDrMoe Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Mar 15, 2001
    Well, in contrast to most of the above test takers, I studied for about 9 months. I started really light, without a study schedule and gradually increased. I also took Kaplan. I took the test in August of 2000.

    Also, the key factor here is that I graduated from undergrad in 1995, and didn't learn a whole lot while I was in there. My GPA isn't very good (and I'm talking a REALLY poor science GPA of about 3.0 including postbacc organic). I had to do very well on the MCAT to overshadow the GPA. I also wanted to prove to myself that I could do it.

    The prep course is very good - BUT you have to use their resources.
  18. UCMonkey

    UCMonkey Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Aug 26, 2001
    Cincinnati, OH
    I took the MCAT in August, 2000, and really the only studying I did was a Kaplan class that started at the end of June. I should also mention that I did minimal homework and outside studying, since I was working all day. Ended up with a 34O, so I guess it worked for me.
  19. AceUF78

    AceUF78 Membaaa.... 10+ Year Member

    Nov 11, 1999
    I studied hardcore for 1.5 months on my own. Did pretty well, but I would recommend studying atleast 2 months seriously if at all possible.
  20. AceUF78

    AceUF78 Membaaa.... 10+ Year Member

    Nov 11, 1999
    Finally a senior member !!! HeHe, I'm just excited.
  21. DNALadder2002

    DNALadder2002 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Aug 21, 2001
    Sometimes it's not the hours you put in studying that you score well in MCAT while it would be true for other exams. The actual success of MCAT comes with maturity, meaning your experience with individual subjects being tested or the test format. You can practice all you want but you may not score well first (if that's the case for you). But three years later, you decide to take the test again and the same struggle you had no longer is the case. You see the exam in a different light and you understand the matter differently. By all means, study, study, study but do not let this exam take over your life. You do as much as you can and that's that! You accept the score and move on. If you don't score well (MCAT>28), you try to show med schools other parts of you, those that are intangible or not seen in 1-15 scoring format.
  22. The Fly

    The Fly Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    I was working full time also while studying for the MCAT, but at like 60 hours per week--that meant that the time I set aside had to be *quality*, I couldn't screw around. I also did not want to pony up the $1200 for a class, but I bought the materials for both kaplan & PR (all the books for both classes--56 lbs worth!) on ebay, which worked perfectly.

    I set aside approximately 30 hours per week, which didn't permit much free time, but I only did this for 8 weeks. I put a bit more time into the verbal since, but ended up coming out pretty well (34T), so I guess I should be pleased...
  23. lilninja

    lilninja Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Oct 8, 2001
    I agree with DNALadder2002 - it's not so much how many hours you study for it, but whether or not you can integrate what you know. I remember studying the renal system backwards and forwards, and was initially thrilled to see it on the MCAT, but then realized that I didn't need any of the stuff I had studied to answer the questions, and instead had to twist knowledge around to figure it out. Don't get me wrong though - you still need to study - but it's not the same as cramming for any old exam in college.
  24. racergirl

    racergirl Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Good advice. Integration of knowledge from different disciplines was really important. I started studying in Jan lightly (about an hour a day) then really raqmped up the last 6 weeks. Used the Kaplan review phone book looking thing, text books, old class notes, and the practice tests and stuff from the AAMC.

    When I was studying chem or something and was reminded of a biology concept, I switched books and chased down the connection. This worked really well for me, better than devoting huge blocks of time to one subject.

    I didn't take a prep course, and if you include Jan I studied for 3 and 1/2 months.
  25. Kazzar

    Kazzar Psychiatrist 7+ Year Member

    Jun 17, 2001
    Ventura, CA
    I said I was going to study the December before the April MCAT everyday 2-3 hours.

    I ended up studying about 5-10 hours a week the last 2-3 weeks before the test.

    But I knew what I didn't know. I learned to learn what I lacked. (I waxed Buddhist and Yoda-like sayings.) I did not take the last quarter of physics at that point so I read the Kaplan Comprehensive Review chapters on those parts.

    I highly recommend doing a practice test every weekend for a couple of months before the test. I did. Scattered, delayed learning works much better than massed, compacted learning. (Studies show). You'll become one with the MCAT.

    Also, read as many books as you can --- NOW! Not just cause books are f-ing great entertainment - but you'll love your verbal score in the end. My advice: don't read Harry Potter or Tom Clancy - read Mark Twain or Dickens or some classic - something well written - at least if you want to learn).

    Not that I am any basis to judge, but using these studying skills I got a 34R.

    Basically, realize what you don't get. Also, dont waste time studying >everything< Most of the test is having critical thinking skills. You can't get that from memorizing the Crebs Cycle. You have to be able to shift your mind around the ideas like a cat toying with a ball of yarn.

    Have lots of sex too. I did. I got a sorta--high-score. Don't tell me that does not have something to do with it. Have sex the night before the test if you can (and after too). During the test, it might be hard to pull off though... pun intended.
  26. TwoSteveSquared

    TwoSteveSquared Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jun 22, 2001
    Los Angeles
    In August...

    1.5 months, 30 hrs. a week + full time job.

    =29 (****ing verbal!)

    The Following April...
    3 months, 25 hrs. a week + course work + part time job


    Start early, study consistently, practice test, practice test, practice test, drink a beer, study, study, study, practice test, practice test, take the exam, drink alot, sleep.

    Good Luck!
  27. cm7b5

    cm7b5 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jun 20, 2001
    Washington DC
    I studied a great deal (3 months) for the first time I took it in August 2000.....but I voided it because of some personal problems.....then I tutored the whole next year (12 hrs per week)....physics, biology and chemistry.....I really didn't study that hard at all for the April 2001 MCAT because I was so used to the material.teaching/tutoring really HELPS!!!!!!!!..I just studied verbal reasoning.....I read passages and difficult Sarte's Being and Nothingness.......I spent 2 weeks preparing for the sciences.....I wound up with a 36R
  28. tBw

    tBw totally deluded 7+ Year Member

    Oct 6, 2001
    infront of an iMac
    Well, I am studying already for April's MCAT, but I can't say I do much focused studying yet. Personally I like Kazaar's approach!! I guess even if you get a bad MCAT at least you have fun?! (actually the truth in his approach other things, have a normal life too...and to be honest I think each of us *knows* roughly how much studying they have to do...we are all different so one study approach is not going to suit everyone..g'luck everyone!

  29. ewells

    ewells Big Daddy 7+ Year Member

    I took it last August. My New Year's resolution was to study at least an hour a day until I took the exam. Unbelievably, I kept it up, missing one day the whole eight and a half months. As the test got closer, I increased my study time. It was nice, though, because anybody can find one free hour. I went to school, worked full time, my son was born in July; even with all that, as long as I got in my one hour, I felt okay.

    I studied pretty much on my own. I did not take a class (you can buy a lot of diapers with that much money), but I did use Kaplan and Princeton Review material. I took lots of practice tests, but my scores stoppedimproving as the test came closer (principle of deminishing returns). Slow and steady worked great for me.
  30. sundevil1

    sundevil1 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 23, 2001
    Well, this is what worked for me. In Jan. I started reading the Kaplan book and in February I switched to the PR book from like 4 or 5 years ago (I liked the format better). Did the practice problems at the end of each section but no tests yet. I studied and learned the sections I was not too familiar with first and then about midway through March started practice tests every weekend until the two weekends before the tests where I did one test on Sat. and one on Sun. each weekend. Definitely do practice tests, and many of them, at least a month ahead of time. The results? Similar to others, 33R. See what works for you as far as the pace at which you learn and the most optimal hours for which you learn. For me it was late at night/early morning so that is when most of the studying was done. See what worked for you to succeed in tough undergrad courses and apply that over a more extended period of time. Really try to learn, integrate and not just memorize.

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