How much time do I need to study for the mcat?

Max98

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I just finished my freshman year so I obviously won't start studying for it in a while. However, I want to know so that I can maneuver my classes to try to take a smaller course load when I'm studying for it. As of now I think I would study a lot during midwinter break and take a small spring semester course load so that I can study for it and then take it in March. Does this make sense or should I leave myself more time?

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freak7

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You're going to take the MCAT as a sophomore? :eek:
 
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DBC03

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If you are taking a *very* light course load and have completed all prerequisite courses, three months should be sufficient. I created a 15-week schedule that worked well. If you extend it too much further you might get burnt out or forget the information you are learning. I took half the time for content review, and the second half for practice exams (while still reviewing content).
 

Max98

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If you are taking a *very* light course load and have completed all prerequisite courses, three months should be sufficient. I created a 15-week schedule that worked well. If you extend it too much further you might get burnt out or forget the information you are learning. I took half the time for content review, and the second half for practice exams (while still reviewing content).
I think I'm gonna only take 13 credits. Is that a light enough load?

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DBC03

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I think I'm gonna only take 13 credits. Is that a light enough load?

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I'm thinking more like take one class or two at most. If you're going to take a normal load (12 credits and up), then you'll want to spread it out a lot more, but I think there are a lot of downsides spreading it out. If you can, take it over a light summer or some other time when you can really focus on it. The biggest problem with a heavier load is finding sufficient time to practice. You could conceivably start doing content review during the year and then do six weeks of practice exams right after the semester is over.
 

Max98

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I'm thinking more like take one class or two at most. If you're going to take a normal load (12 credits and up), then you'll want to spread it out a lot more, but I think there are a lot of downsides spreading it out. If you can, take it over a light summer or some other time when you can really focus on it. The biggest problem with a heavier load is finding sufficient time to practice. You could conceivably start doing content review during the year and then do six weeks of practice exams right after the semester is over.
Oh I see.... I'll try see if I can take a lighter load. If I can't would you say that studying for 6 months would be good? I would start from that fall if I did that.

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DBC03

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Oh I see.... I'll try see if I can take a lighter load. If I can't would you say that studying for 6 months would be good? I would start from that fall if I did that.

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I only studied for three months, so let's see if someone who studied for six months can chime in!

FWIW, I took Advanced Biochem 2 and continued research, volunteering for four hours a week, and driving back and forth each weekend (2.5 hours each way) when I was studying. I also added four to eight hours of shadowing during the last half. It can be done, but you might risk either getting lower grades in your classes or getting a lower MCAT score. My schedule worked out perfectly as I only had three exams in Biochem, and two were right after the MCAT. I was able to pretty much completely blow biochem off as so much of what we needed for the final was tested in the MCAT, so I was kind of killing two birds with one stone. That wouldn't work with regular biochem as you really need a solid biochem background to do well on the MCAT. But you could make it work if you take two semesters.
 

Max98

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I only studied for three months, so let's see if someone who studied for six months can chime in!

FWIW, I took Advanced Biochem 2 and continued research, volunteering for four hours a week, and driving back and forth each weekend (2.5 hours each way) when I was studying. I also added four to eight hours of shadowing during the last half. It can be done, but you might risk either getting lower grades in your classes or getting a lower MCAT score. My schedule worked out perfectly as I only had three exams in Biochem, and two were right after the MCAT. I was able to pretty much completely blow biochem off as so much of what we needed for the final was tested in the MCAT, so I was kind of killing two birds with one stone. That wouldn't work with regular biochem as you really need a solid biochem background to do well on the MCAT. But you could make it work if you take two semesters.
Thanks. I have to see how my schedule works out but if I need to take classes while studying I'll spread it out to 6 months

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Max98

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I'm thinking more like take one class or two at most. If you're going to take a normal load (12 credits and up), then you'll want to spread it out a lot more, but I think there are a lot of downsides spreading it out. If you can, take it over a light summer or some other time when you can really focus on it. The biggest problem with a heavier load is finding sufficient time to practice. You could conceivably start doing content review during the year and then do six weeks of practice exams right after the semester is over.
Also, do colleges typically let you take a semester off?

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DBC03

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Also, do colleges typically let you take a semester off?

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I have NO idea. The college I went to for undergrad only let you take time off in very specific circumstances. A large state school probably has no policy regarding this and I know the state school I go to now couldn't care less what you do. If you're going to a small private school, plan your studying around the summer. Take a full or slightly lighter load in the spring and start doing content review as possible, then use the summer to take the MCAT. If you do it over your Junior summer and you're determined to go straight to medical school after college, it could make you a slightly later applicant. In that case, you might want to consider taking a year off and focusing JUST on the MCAT your Junior summer, then applying during your senior year. Honestly, secondaries really are like a full time job, so trying to cram the MCAT and secondaries into one summer is a recipe for disaster.

You still have time to think through all of this, so consider all your options and see what is available. Also ask the other pre-meds at your school to see what they are doing. But don't ask just anyone. Try to find someone who had a successful MCAT score. I've found that 99% of the pre-meds at the school I am currently attending are completely clueless.
 

Welshman

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The best advice you'll get on this forum is you'd get better advice if you used the search function.
 

Max98

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I have NO idea. The college I went to for undergrad only let you take time off in very specific circumstances. A large state school probably has no policy regarding this and I know the state school I go to now couldn't care less what you do. If you're going to a small private school, plan your studying around the summer. Take a full or slightly lighter load in the spring and start doing content review as possible, then use the summer to take the MCAT. If you do it over your Junior summer and you're determined to go straight to medical school after college, it could make you a slightly later applicant. In that case, you might want to consider taking a year off and focusing JUST on the MCAT your Junior summer, then applying during your senior year. Honestly, secondaries really are like a full time job, so trying to cram the MCAT and secondaries into one summer is a recipe for disaster.

You still have time to think through all of this, so consider all your options and see what is available. Also ask the other pre-meds at your school to see what they are doing. But don't ask just anyone. Try to find someone who had a successful MCAT score. I've found that 99% of the pre-meds at the school I am currently attending are completely clueless.
Okay. Thanks so much!

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The Knife & Gun Club

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I'm a big fan of taking the summer MCAT. Live at home, get your parents to cook and clean for you, and study your a$$ off for 2 months.

Only problem is you've gotta take a gap year since summer after sophomore year is too early to have all the classes and summer of junior year is too late to apply that cycle...
 

Pagan FutureDoc

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for anyone looking at taking less than 12 hours the semester you take the MCAT please bear in mind this usually will put you below full time and can impact student housing and financial aid
 
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raiderette

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I took MCAT immediately following my junior year, which is now pretty common. If you can swing a light spring semester, that would be great. I basically gave up fun for one semester, with a few weeks dedicated to practice tests. Just make sure you finish the chemistry sequence and allow yourself dedicated study time. Treat it like a job and push through.
There is no need to actually take a semester off. Also, you don't want a really top heavy senior year with interviews in the fall.
 
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