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I'm not retaining anything! Advice!

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by prettyNURSEtoMD, Jan 14, 2014.

  1. prettyNURSEtoMD

    prettyNURSEtoMD 7+ Year Member

    Jun 17, 2009
    Dallas, Texas
    I am going crazy with anxiety. I have every single study guide, review book, etc, and have yet began to study because I just don't know how, or where to begin. I have Kaplan, EK, TBR, TPR. I have several full length exams, I've got it all. Generously given to me by the most wonderful 4th years rotating through my hospital. The things is, I don't know what to do from here. I took some sciences alongside my nursing degree, back in 2010, and now I can't remember anything from Biology. I took Gen Chem last year. I just finished both Organics and did well and gone. It's like I'm only remembering bits and pieces.

    I think I'm brain dumping. I remember for the moment, then boom, it's gone. I remember I made a 94 on an organic chem II test, and somebody asked me can you explain this to me the next day, and I couldn't. I just knew it then. Maybe I'm just freaking out and getting overwhelmed because I never thought I would actually see the day I would take MCAT.

    I need help! I need help with content, and I am a terrrrrible standardized test taker. I have a projected date for MCAT. 8/15/14. So I've got time, but I don't know what to do with it.

    Can anybody offer any advice?
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  3. phantomcello


    Jun 6, 2013
    Create outlines of what you're studying or flashcard. That might help solidify the information and allow you to retain it. Also the fact that your MCAT is 8 months away might be contributing to your lack of retention. It is dubious whether you will be able to recall the intricacies you reason through now in 8 months. Make a schedule and move through the material carefully and efficiently.
    prettyNURSEtoMD likes this.
  4. prettyNURSEtoMD

    prettyNURSEtoMD 7+ Year Member

    Jun 17, 2009
    Dallas, Texas
    Thank you! do like flashcards, I am very much a visual learner. Also, I haven't "set" the date, I just picked that day far enough because I felt like I wouldn't be prepared if I choose, June or July. I have Physics and will be finished the second week of May. Do you advise maybe picking an earlier date? I remember when I graduated nursing school I took boards 4 weeks later, and did well because I was afraid I would "forget", so I don't know why it's opposite now.
  5. 1TB4RKSB4CK

    1TB4RKSB4CK wussup doge 5+ Year Member

    May 6, 2010
    Just do the Sn2ed schedule and utilize the re-read days.
  6. Czarcasm

    Czarcasm Hakuna matata, no worries. 2+ Year Member

    Jun 22, 2013
    Crypts of Lieberkühn
    Try to find a genuine interest in the material. 400 years ago, a lot of what we take for granted today was so mysterious to those of our distant past. How can the fusion of two individual cells create the complex organisms all around us? It's really fascinating if you sit back and try to appreciate what you read rather than feeling obligated to know it. The only subject I personally struggle with is Physics. I hate it. Both Organic and General Chemistry are actually fun once you realize it's not half as bad as people make it out to be. The concepts are fairly straightforward and with practice, solving problems will become more like entertaining puzzle games than a laborious task.

    If I had all the time in the world, I'd genuinely enjoy studying for the MCAT. But it's because there's SO much material that we have to learn within a given time frame that makes it stressful. Even if I did have all the time in the world, studying for prolong hours can eventually make any sane person go crazy, so eventually we reach our breaking point. But anyways, try to look past that and approach things with an open mind. For now the MCAT is in your distant future -- now would be a great time to reacquaint yourself. You might even surprise yourself at how much you remember.

    PS - We have a MCAT support group (via skype). I call it the "MCAT Army." We are growing more and more everyday and becoming increasingly active. So far there's 80+ people in the group. You're welcome to join us. My skype ID is dbeats88. Add me there and I'll include you in the group.

    Goodluck :)
  7. sashka1

    sashka1 2+ Year Member

    Oct 16, 2013
    your first sentence gives it away (no offense). try to find some stress relief. yes this exam is brutal (Ive started studying myself), but know that it can be conquered. if other people have done it, so can you. Be confident.
    try to be interested in the material, or at least pretend to and when you study, try to connect concepts that you are learning now to those you've learned in the past.
    also, don't just passively read the material and not take practice questions/drills/practice passages. Make sure you read a chapter (say genetics), then take a practice passage or two on it (EK bio has in-class lecture exams).
    hope that helps
    DocWinter likes this.
  8. DocE305

    DocE305 5+ Year Member

    Nov 8, 2011
    Miami, FL
    OP it seems like you were me last summer, this is my advice to you.
    1) Don't switch between study materials, stick with one! I suggest BR everything except for bio, use TPR for bio.
    2) Try and keep a balanced life, don't stop everything you do study. Continue working out and socializing here and there, or you will burn out.
    3) Do not reread the books that is a waste of time! Read them once, make good notes, and review your notes every once in a while.
    4) Realized that the MCAT is a thinking exam and practice is more important than content review. If you don't remember some minute detail don't stress it.
    5) Look up the stress vs. success curve.
    Czarcasm likes this.
  9. Gauss44

    Gauss44 5+ Year Member

    Oct 28, 2012
    Just a guess:

    1. Anxiety.
    2. Organization. Make sure you mentally organize the information you're taking. Randomness is hard to remember. There's a science about this, but I can't explain it in depth. It is sometimes more difficult to remember material that doesn't make sense fully.
    3. Motivation can help if you lack that. It's difficult to remember stuff that you don't care about if that's the case. It's hard to say without knowing you.
    4. Learning style. Do you learn well from books? I'm an auditory learner and started remembering stuff MUCH better when I used videos. I remember information that I hear better than information I read.
    5. Brain health. Are you having trouble remembering in general, or only study material? There are a number of memory/neurological problems, that can go undiagnosed at early stages.
    6. Underestimating. Some people memorize a lot of material for MCAT, yet underestimate how much they are memorizing. Their "little bit" is really a lot. It just seems like it's taking forever because there is truly a lot to do.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2014
  10. DocWinter

    DocWinter 2+ Year Member

    Jan 2, 2014
    Sweet Home Alabama
    This is truth. Take one chapter, read it through, put it down, take a 5 or 10, and read it through again. Then do the practice exam/quiz whatever was for that passage.

    I took that approach through my BR books. Do one of those big sections a day and TAKE THE END EXAM on the material you just read. Quiz yourself. Make notes in the book. Keep track of what you get right/wrong and then, later, study up on those areas you are notably weak in.

    But do one thing, at a time, and you will be ready in 6 months.

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