Nov 28, 2010
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I'm debating whether I should sign up for the Jan 28/29 date or the March 26. There is a huge gap and I can't seem to decide. I know the bottom line is that its better not to rush. However, I plan on studying for the MCAT about 6 hours a day (5-6 days a week) all throughout december and study about 3 hours during winter quarter (starts January). I am VERY comfortable studying for that long per day if that makes a difference and will study more if I have to. I read through the score/method thread and it ranged anywhere from 5weeks to 4 months average. The reason why I'd rather take it Jan 28 is because I feel like March is stretching it out way too far and It'd go into BOTH my winter/spring quarters. Plus, if I know my test is on Jan 28, then I'd get cracking and really devote my december to studying whereas a March test date would lead me to slacking off december, making me miss the opportunity to study w/ all that free time.

I know this is a tough question to answer when you guys barely even know me, but would 8 weeks of studying be enough? Based on the "average" time most people put into studying for the MCAT?
 

impulse

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Perhaps 8 weeks is enough for some people (maybe you) but I would give myself more time. Besides, I see no reason to rush and take it in Jan. Worst case scenario, March still gives plenty of time to retake.
 

phltz

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I'm debating whether I should sign up for the Jan 28/29 date or the March 26. There is a huge gap and I can't seem to decide. I know the bottom line is that its better not to rush. However, I plan on studying for the MCAT about 6 hours a day (5-6 days a week) all throughout december and study about 3 hours during winter quarter (starts January). I am VERY comfortable studying for that long per day if that makes a difference and will study more if I have to. I read through the score/method thread and it ranged anywhere from 5weeks to 4 months average. The reason why I'd rather take it Jan 28 is because I feel like March is stretching it out way too far and It'd go into BOTH my winter/spring quarters. Plus, if I know my test is on Jan 28, then I'd get cracking and really devote my december to studying whereas a March test date would lead me to slacking off december, making me miss the opportunity to study w/ all that free time.

I know this is a tough question to answer when you guys barely even know me, but would 8 weeks of studying be enough? Based on the "average" time most people put into studying for the MCAT?
You should take it when you are ready. Without knowing more about you, no one can give you any more specific advice than that. Some people spend years diligently working to get their MCAT score to where they need it, and some people can sail through with a few weeks of work. You haven't said how recently you took your prereqs, how well you did in them, how much you've continued with classes that build on those and therefore keep the concepts fresh.

I'd recommend that you take a few full length practice MCATs to gauge where you are right now. Make a list of everything you get wrong and why. Figure out what topics you may need to learn/relearn, and which ones need a thorough content review. Figure out how good or bad your general test-taking strategy is, how well you can handle the general style of the MCAT. Then come up with a detailed study plan, and then figure out when you should take it.
 

SFO-IST

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It took me six months to prepare for the MCAT. I had continually improving scores throughout the time period. I would recommend you start studying and stop only when you have a stable score for 3-4 times. That way you know you've entered the point of diminishing marginal returns.

PS: I signed up for my MCAT with 3 weeks to go. Don't sign up too far in advance. Especially if you live in a metropolitan area, you're fine to sign up at the last minute.
 

NickNaylor

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I would do the March date. To be honest, unless you're a beast you should've started studying a month or two ago IMO for a January date. If you sign up for a March date, you win either way since you'll either be extra prepared or will have just the right amount of time to prepare.
 

jdtx

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i don't really agree with the "study 293932 months" for the MCAT because i myself have experienced this personally; and even if you set aside 6 months to study (i set aside 6-8 months), by the end of the 6 months you'll forget what you studied in the beginning..

so the only "time frame" that will matter is most likely when you light a fire under your ass and realize "OH SHIZZ!" and start studying like a crazy man, the last 5-8 weeks was probably the most efficient studying time.

plus, look at a few correlations ppl who studied longer, didn't do much better than people who studied for 8-10 weeks.
 

NickNaylor

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i don't really agree with the "study 293932 months" for the MCAT because i myself have experienced this personally; and even if you set aside 6 months to study (i set aside 6-8 months), by the end of the 6 months you'll forget what you studied in the beginning..

so the only "time frame" that will matter is most likely when you light a fire under your ass and realize "OH SHIZZ!" and start studying like a crazy man, the last 5-8 weeks was probably the most efficient studying time.

plus, look at a few correlations ppl who studied longer, didn't do much better than people who studied for 8-10 weeks.
Seems like a big risk to me. There may not be a significant degree of improvement, but I also doubt that there's a positive detriment. Besides, a March date is only 4 months. I think that's the norm in terms of study time in these parts. It's not 6-8 months.
 

jdtx

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my point was that, no matter what your "study schedule" consists of whether it's 4 months or 6 months or whatever, the time while studying where you are MOST serious and MOST efficient is the 4-6 weeks prior to the exam date, it's kind of the same type of thing when studying/cramming for a school exam. you kinda sit around and glance at your work for a few hours a day, but closer to the date, you're more serious and scared about it, where you're able to sit there for HOURS. that's all.
 
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Nov 28, 2010
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thank you guys so much for your answers!

to give a little more background info, i completed all the prereqs and others (genchem, ochem, physics, bio, biochem, upperdiv inorganic chem,) w/ average of B/A- at UCD by my end of second year (i'm a third year now). I know its not the ultimate best for such a competitive field, but my grades overall have been improving (i wasn't too serious beginning of my freshman year). So I do see hopes of getting better grades the next two years.

i think i'll stick w/ the january date, since i have till jan 15 to change my mind. plus/ with a date a sooner, i'll definitely be a lot more focused during my winter break which is great.