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If enrollment in MCAT Prep courses was reported to AMCAS & MedSchools...

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Nevadanteater, Feb 24, 2007.

?

Would you still use prep-course?

  1. Yeah!

    82 vote(s)
    64.6%
  2. Jeez, I dunno.

    21 vote(s)
    16.5%
  3. Nope.

    22 vote(s)
    17.3%
  4. You didn't see my first MCAT score... yeech!

    2 vote(s)
    1.6%
  1. Nevadanteater

    Nevadanteater biochemical engine
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    ...would you still use (or have used) kaplan/EK/etc?

    ----------------------------------------

    Assuming med schools would consider this in your application and the like. Do you think it would it be worthwhile in the application process? Do you think they would consider a student with the same score as you, but who didn't take a prep course as a more desirable applicant?

    -----------------------------------------

    I know it is an impossible question, but just something i'm mulling around in my head as i try to decide whether $1700 (I'm not really sure if i even have this cash in the first place) could be better spent...
     
  2. calcox

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    I was asked in one of my interviews whether I had used Kaplan, after I had been complimented on my score. I responded that yes, I had used Kaplan. I did get in. I think that it is so common to use some sort of prep course that adcomms take it for granted. Though I know you might get some responses here on SDN from 39ers that didn't need one, I whole-heartedly recommend a prep course. Find the money for it if you can.
     
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  3. TMP-SMX

    TMP-SMX Senior Member
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    I don't have the money nor do I think it was necessary. I think a lot of the students at my school jump on the bandwagon because they have the money and are hoping for some miracle. You can easily do the work without the obscene cost of prep courses. In fact, you can get all of the books for free if you have some good friends. Your only expense will be for the AAMC practice tests.
     
  4. Droopy Snoopy

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    I can't tell you whether or not to do a prep course, but I can advise you to consider the finances in perspective. If you're like most of us, you're about to drop a good quarter million or so on a medical education (including tuition, books, supplies, clothing, PDA, laptop, etc). Your $1700 is therefore relative chump change.
     
  5. QuantumMechanic

    QuantumMechanic Avatar=One of the Greats
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    I whole-heartedly do not recommend one (I fall into the above category:rolleyes: ), especially since some students are lulled into a false sense of security about their prep for the actual test. The classes are overpriced and take up alot of time that could be better spent reviewing topics that you as an individual are weak on. Use them only if you need structure and motivation to study, and still you need to do alot of independent studying and practice test taking. The tradeoff (money-wise, time-wise, and IMO score-wise) is not worth it. Get Examkrackers and study with that, and I promise you that if you devote the time and effort, you will score just as well, if not better, than if you took a prep course.
     
  6. TMP-SMX

    TMP-SMX Senior Member
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    Perspective? I might as well buy myself a Lexus since I'll be spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on my education. You are supposed to at least attempt to reduce your expenses especially long before you are in med school. Let's say you are like one of many pre-meds that take the prep course and can never score above a 25. Wasted expense? They won't even get the prestigious chance to have hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans.
     
  7. Hurricane95

    Hurricane95 Senior Member
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    I took the TPR prep course form nov '05 to april '06 for the april mcat that year. I did not take the course expecting to learn a whole lot or to gain security or any of that. I took it mainly to have a structured study regimen set up for me with really good study materials. TPR's review books are downright awesome, and I know I have trouble organizing a study schedule so i find it helped me a lot. I also took 10 practice tests, full-length, timed, official conditions, etc (4 TPR tests, and aamc 3R-8R).
     
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  8. Anastasis

    Anastasis caffeinated for safety
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    I agree with this completely and I think my score would have been lower if I had taken a review course. That being said, the decision on whether or not to take a review course is entirely an individual decision. You really need to take personal stock of your strengths/weaknesses, critical thinking skills, test taking abilites and motivation to study before jumping into a prep course.


    (That being said, I didn't take a prep course so the original question is moot to me but I think the insinuation is that schools might look down on someone who took the class and got a decent score as compared to a person who did not take the course and got the same score. I don't know if that's the case. The MCAT measures a certain level of test-taking ability and information recall. Why would the school care how you got to that point as long as you did get to that point? )
     
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  9. NYyanx28

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    So you believe that the MCAT score is a state function. Sorry, little physical chemistry joke.
     
  10. Doctor Bagel

    Doctor Bagel so cheap and juicy
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    I don't think a school would care how you got the score provided that you didn't cheat. The school would surely look more favorably on a student who took an exam review course and make a higher score than on a student who self-studied and got a lower score.
     
  11. Green Pirate

    Green Pirate Neurotic Neuro Enthusiast
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    I hesitate to admit that I lol'd a bit inside
     
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  12. meddstudd

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    What everybody says is true. Don't waste your time/money on a prep course (ok, maybe "waste" is too strong, but still...). I spent $50-60 on MCAT prep books (which included some practice tests) and just devoted the four weekends before the test to study. My approach: spent the first weekend looking through the prep books, familiarizing myself with the test and the type of information in it (I never actually restudied any subject that much, just sorta looked over it all and refreshed a few formulas that were old, etc.). The next three weekends were all about practice... I learned how long I had per question, and I honed my time-usage skills for the layout of the test. results: a score that would look very good at any school. Price: not much at all. The only reason that I can imagine that could justify buyiing the course is if you have a problem with test anxiety and the expenditure of money/time makes you feel better prepared.
     
  13. NYyanx28

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    The end result was...?

    4 weekends prior to the MCAT is NOT a lot of time. Many people who take Kaplan, Princeton Review, etc. spent months preparing. Granted my score isn't that great after my months of prep... damn verbal man, if I actually read books when I was younger, I would have gotten a few points higher in verbal and had a great score... too bad...
     
  14. nacho libre

    nacho libre New Member
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    how can you laugh out loud inside?
     
  15. hippiedoc13

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    No need for the prep course. I never did one, mostly because back in college, it was financially out of the question at the price of ~$1200. (Though if those current prices you're posting are accurate, WOW, it makes the price in my day look like a bargain!) I spent $65 on a MCAT prep book from Kaplan and did all the practice tests in it. Then I staked out all the free practice tests on campus during the few months before I took the exam (the ones hosted by Kaplan & TPR in an attempt to get you to sign up for their courses) so that I could practice sitting down and taking the test in as "real" a setting as possible. I also took the free practice tests online.

    Bottom line: I have found that the fastest & most consistent way to improve one's score is to get familiar with the test format and TAKE PRACTICE TESTS!! This will improve your score more than reviewing study materials. Now that the MCAT is in the computer-based testing format, this has become even more important. Being comfortable with the computer interface will go a long way toward making you comfortable on test day, so you can concentrate and not worry about figuring out how the interface works. (I speak from experience taking my boards in this format, at the same testing centers.)
     
  16. psipsina

    psipsina Senior Member
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    Yeah, I took it mostly for the structure. I had a friend who studied on his own and got the same exact score, . . . so its really just a matter of whether you think that having extra structure will be of a benefit to you or not. I also agree with someone above who pointed out that the price of a MCAT review course is pennies compared to the amount of money you are going to spend in the process of your medical education. Even with scholarships and a state medschool, before residency apps and step prep, I will have spent over 170K between undergrad, medschool apps and medschool. I'm not rolling in it and have no financial support from my family and I pulled the money out of my metaphorical tush so it is possible if you believe that it would convey some significant benefit to you.

    And yes I still would have taken the course if it showed up on my AMCAS or something. I don't think medschools have any beef with prep courses, for heavens sake my school helps pay for us to use kaplan prep for step 1, . . I don't think they care how you got the info stuffed into your brain to get your score as long as the end result is info in your brain.
     
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  17. psipsina

    psipsina Senior Member
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    Of course you are supposed to try and reduce your debt, but never at the price of your education. A lexus confers no benefit to your medical education, so its a false analogy to compare it to paying for an entrance exam prep course. And of course there is a risk that even with the course you won't be able to achieve to the level necessary to get admitted to a medschool. This is the type of risk we all take at every step of this process. When you invested in an undergrad education instead of going to trade school, when you invest in a prepcourse if you think it may boost your score a bit, when you pay to fly yourself around the country in an expensive suit when you may just be rejected by every school, when you take out your loans for first year medschool not knowing if you'll be that kid who flunks out or hates it so much that you quit, when you enter medschool and shell out the moolah dreaming of derm only to find yourself in the bottom half of your class and destined for family practice, when you fly yourself around the country in an expensive suit hoping to match only to have to scramble in the end . . . and so on . . . The point is that this one risk is worth it if you truely believe that it will be help you achieve your goals, because in the grand scheme of risks and debts you will take over the course of your medical education, the choice to take MCAT prep is really quite miniscule.
     
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  18. TMP-SMX

    TMP-SMX Senior Member
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    You can't take student loans out for a kaplan course. The fact is that the price is obscene and should be avoided if you can have structured study time on your own. I really don't view MCAT studying as part of your education since that's what undergrad was supposed to be for. I just think that a lot of people give poor advice making it seem like the prep courses are essentially a requirement for you to do well. Of course it's different for different individuals, but a majority of us don't have that kind of money to throw down. I think self-studying is much more efficient and high yield than listening to some student lecturing about random subjects. Since practice tests are the best way to study for the standardized tests, is there really any reason to pay 1200+ dollars to sit in for a few practice tests and get the 50 dollar books they give you?
     
  19. Critical Mass

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    :thumbup: Agree big time here. I never considered one because I knew that the people who they got to teach them were not exactly experts, nor do I think that they provided any information that wasn't already covered in the prerequisites.
     
  20. Doctor Bagel

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    I think we're all sort of moving away from the point of the thread which is whether or not schools like students to take prep courses or if they hold it against you.

    I don't think schools hold it against you. Does anybody have any reason to believe a school might?
     
  21. Doctor Bagel

    Doctor Bagel so cheap and juicy
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    But if you haven't taken a lot of your prereqs, like say, biology and chemistry since about 7 years before you took the mcat, the fact that you covered the material in those courses isn't too helpful. :) Yeah, I know the traditional nontrad advice on sdn is that you should retake all prereqs that you didn't take like 5 months ago, but I think it's a better tradeoff to refresh your memory by shelling out $1500 for a two month Kaplan course than it is to retake these courses or try to tackle textbooks for stuff you haven't look at in ages. Certainly an unusual circumstance for most sdn'ers but still a good reason for taking a prep class.
     
  22. QuantumMechanic

    QuantumMechanic Avatar=One of the Greats
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    People place too much faith in being able to learn from lectures (whether its from a college course or an mcat prep course). A friend of mine in med school claims that you only remember "5% of what was covered in a lecture." I agree with him, its the independent reviewing and studying that improves your understanding, whether you got done taking the prereqs one month ago or 5 years ago.
     

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