trying

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Hey guys, I am only a 2nd year, but I have this crazy fear of the MCAT. My grades, EC, research are all extremely good, but I am worried the MCAT is gonna keep me from medical school. I am planning on studying all this summer and all next year before taking the April 2005 MCAT. How did you guys feel before you had to face mcat prep and exam? Were most of you confident about doing well or did the confidence build up slowly. How'd you guys handle the pressure/fear of the mcat. Thanks so much for your help.
 

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Originally posted by trying
Hey guys, I am only a 2nd year, but I have this crazy fear of the MCAT. My grades, EC, research are all extremely good, but I am worried the MCAT is gonna keep me from medical school. I am planning on studying all this summer and all next year before taking the April 2005 MCAT. How did you guys feel before you had to face mcat prep and exam? Were most of you confident about doing well or did the confidence build up slowly. How'd you guys handle the pressure/fear of the mcat. Thanks so much for your help.

I was a drunk sociology major working at a talent agency when I decided I wanted to go to med school, I didn't even know what an electron was 2 years before I took the MCAT - You think I was comfortable goin' into it?

HELL NO! You might as well have asked me to perform open heart surgery, that's how confident I felt about my MCAT taking ability.

Just take as many full length practice exams before the test as you can tolerate, because the more prepared you feel, the less you will freak out. And remember, the MCAT isn't everything; the people here throw their big numbers around like loose women but the average matriculant gets a 29, so don't sweat it! You'll be fine!
 

G_Eagle

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Calm down...studying that much for the MCAT is insane, risking serious burn out. Focus on the core classes that will be on the MCAT (yes, you will see very little new material on it). Then, start studying about 3 and 1/2 months before the MCAT. If you knuckle down starting then, you'll do fine. Starting earlier will only play with your mind. Calm down and enjoy your time in college...stop worrying!
 
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bella_dottoressa

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Just try to relax a little bit. I'm a second year too, taking the mcat this summer. If you really do study the entire summer and then the months prior to the April test, you're going to be more than well prepared. Also, if you have "extremely good' grades, there is no reason you won't do well. Plus, you have to think that if you have extremely good grades and ECs, as long as you do reasonably well on the test, you'll be golden for an acceptance somewhere.

You're worrying unneccessarily. Relax. You'll be fine. :)

Good Luck!
 

evenstar

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I think the vast majority of us have, at some point, had an irrational fear of the MCAT...it's part of the pre-med experience! Try not to stress too much about it, though. It's great that you want to get an early start on studying; I think the key is to get your hands on as many practice tests as possible. Get a good feel for what kinds of questions are asked and what content you will need to work on specifically. Probably, once you go through a couple of old exams, you'll find that studying a year in advance won't be necessary. As far as confidence goes, this definitely helps. Once I had a sense of what the test was going to be like, it was a lot less frightening.

If you have a good grasp of basic physics, chem and bio (high school level is often adequate for the physical sciences), you'll most likely do fine with a few months of preparation prior to when you sit for the test. Whether you want to take a prep course is more a matter of personal preference, I think. It depends on how much guidance you need; if you're good at structuring your own time and think you can force yourself to study (it's harder than it sounds!), it's totally possible to study for the MCAT without a class (although the August MCAT is more amenable to that). Just get some good books and investing in purchasing some exams from past years through AAMC is a good idea.

Since you've already got the GPA, ECs and LORs in hand, just relax and enjoy the rest of college--you'll miss it when it's over! I'm sure you will do fine on the MCAT. Good luck!
 

Harps

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Originally posted by trying
Hey guys, I am only a 2nd year, but I have this crazy fear of the MCAT. My grades, EC, research are all extremely good, but I am worried the MCAT is gonna keep me from medical school. I am planning on studying all this summer and all next year before taking the April 2005 MCAT. How did you guys feel before you had to face mcat prep and exam? Were most of you confident about doing well or did the confidence build up slowly. How'd you guys handle the pressure/fear of the mcat. Thanks so much for your help.

Like everyone has suggested "relax"....while content preparation is important, psyching yourself out of the test is a definite possibility....study hard, but don't become obesessive about the outcome...

G'luck

-Harps
 

MErc44

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Originally posted by trying
Hey guys, I am only a 2nd year, but I have this crazy fear of the MCAT. My grades, EC, research are all extremely good, but I am worried the MCAT is gonna keep me from medical school. I am planning on studying all this summer and all next year before taking the April 2005 MCAT. How did you guys feel before you had to face mcat prep and exam? Were most of you confident about doing well or did the confidence build up slowly. How'd you guys handle the pressure/fear of the mcat. Thanks so much for your help.

see how long that studying over the summer idea lasts. I think I went to the library once and said f$ck it. You won't remember what you studied over the summer so just study alot about a month before and maybe take a review course. I took princeton review and studied about 8 hours a day for a month before the test. Even though you go to review classes and do the homework you still need to put in that extra push. That's what brought me from a 26 to a 33 on the actual in 4 weeks.
 

DoctorDoom

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If your grades are extremely good you'll do fine. You'll realize as you study that you have seen the material before. Don't get too worked up about one test. All you'll do is psyche yourself out. Enjoy your summer, plenty of time to stay home and study in medical school!
 

relentless11

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The best way to do bad on the MCAT is to worry, fear, and just plane talk yourself into failing the test. If you think you are prepared, then take the test. If you're not prepared, then don't take the test, its a simple yes or no.

The MCAT is more of an endurance test than something that requires large sums of brain power. The questions are generalized and cover every course that is required for med school. If its something new, then its covered in the passage, otherwise it requires basic sciences which you should have learned already to figure out the problem.

I took the MCAT in 2001, got a 24. Was not ready, dealt with supporting my family, paying for school, supporting myself and so on. Despite my score, the test wasn't that scary. The most important thing for me was to take it again when i was READY. In 2003, when life was better, i retook it again, and so I will be applying this June with a 34. I went into the test confident that i knew my stuff, gave myself ample time and focused on my weaknesses.

As the saying from Sun Tzu goes: "If you know the enemy and know yourself,
you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.
If you know yourself but not your enemy,
for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat.
If you know neither the enemy nor yourself,
you will succumb in every battle."

Even though this is from the book "The Art of War", really if you know what the MCAT is all about, and know your own strength's and weaknesses, then you should do well. I applied this to myself, having taken the MCAT once already, I was reassured that the test wasn't as bad as it was before. Additionally, many years of dealing with the ups and downs of my study habits, and intelligence has provided me with a way to adjust my studying skills to take advantage of my strong points and avoid exposing my weaknesses (ie: procrastination!) On top of all this, one has to get your game face on and want to destroy this test, not worry about how it could destroy you.

I hope that helps. I know that its hard for you to understand it since this will be your first and hopefully only time taking the MCAT. Just know that the MCAT is just a hyped up standardized endurance test. Remember how people hyped up OChem? Wasn't so bad after you took it right?
 

Celestron2000

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I'm convinced that the key to the MCAT is confidence, it will try to psyche you out, but just get into that zen-like MCAT mind-state. Be like Neo at the end of the Matrix (part 1) and see past the questions.
If you study for about three months, on average 1hr/day, you can know everything that you need to know for the MCAT (I reccomend Exam Krackers material for this.) If you are confident that you know everything that you need to know, the MCAT can't psyche you out. Many of the passages/questions seem alot scarier at first glance than they really are. The MCAT only tests the basic concepts of the sciences, but questions can be disguised to seem like they're testing something much more advanced. Also, sometimes the most complicated, difficult to read passages have the easiest questions.
It all boils down to knowing your stuff, and being confident that you know it. Don't worry, you can always take the test again.
Also, when you go to take the test everyone will be milling around in a state of blind panic, don't let that mindset suck you in. Stick to yourself, show-up at least 1/2 hr early, then go somewhere quiet to meditate and or pray. Stay calm, focused, confident. I did much better than I had any right to expect.
Best of Luck!:clap:
 

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if you have an excellent gpa in all the subjects that the mcat is going to test and you are planning to study all summer and all next year, you will most likely do veeeeeeeery well on the mcat. just do a whole bunch of practice passages. the only thing that colleges dont really teach is how to do well on the verbal portion. so just do practice passages in verbal to get feel about where you stand in that part. dont worry. you are going to do well. that is, if you stick to your commitments. also, be comfortable with taking the exam before you take the real one. take at least 3 or more full length practice exams. check your heart rate. if it's too high then you are too nervous. you dont need to be nervous about the mcat.
 

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Originally posted by Brickhouse
And remember, the MCAT isn't everything; but the average matriculant gets a 29, so don't sweat it! You'll be fine!

Thanks for a dose of reality on SDN! Not everyone is headed to Harvard or Hopkins on here.

:)
 
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Take many practice tests. You won't be afraid if you're familiar with the MCAT. It is really not so bad, more an endurance test than anything else


If you're still nervous, even after all of your prep, make sure to wear Depends to test day...
 

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I concur with everyone. and I think you are crazy/insane/militant/psycho if you study almost one year in advance for the MCAT. you only really need a couple solid months unless you are a complete degenerate, which is sounds like you are not...good luck.
 

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Everytime I get scared of taking the MCAT, I try to make myself feel better by thinking that this will be a piece of cake compared to the USMLE. ;)
 

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I also had a fear of the MCAT, especially of taking the first practice test. One way of looking at it that really worked for me was to approach each test as though it was designed to expose the holes (or deficiencies) in my knowledge. So each time I missed a problem, I considered it a hole to fill, and it was my job (or challenge) to fill those holes before the real deal. By the end, I really looked forward to practice tests because there were fewer and fewer holes to fill.

My confidence did improve over time and especially when I got the real score back. Getting that wonderful score report was one of the happiest moments of my life. It is just work...there is nothing scary about work.

Good Luck!!
 

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A) do lots of practice tests - get the AAMC ones and if you do a review course, do all those as well

B) don't stop doing whatever it is that helps keep you sane and productive the week before the test. that is, if the gym closes the week before the MCAT and you were going to it regularly, go run outside or play a sport (i stopped and had a restless few nights leading up to it).

C) establish a good sleep schedule. being sharp that early is tough if you haven't gotten used to it. be glad verbal isn't first anymore.

D) don't take a couple shots of homemade vodka to try to fall asleep
 

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1.) Do not drink and drive the night before the test.

2.) Do not swim at a beach full of sharks.

3.) Do not get in a bar fight the night before.

4.) Avoid getting shot the night before.

If you follow these guidelines, you should be fine for the MCAT.
 
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Eraserhead

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:eek: I am apalled you would call me a shark troll. Shark is just fine enough. Really though, I was just joking around. :D

hehe, sorry i was joking too. there are just alot of trolls around recently and your posts kind of reminded me of Dr. C's.
 

Sharky

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Originally posted by DoctorKevin
hehe, sorry i was joking too. there are just alot of trolls around recently and your posts kind of reminded of Dr. C's.
Everything's chill. Dr. C huh? I'm not sure who that is but he needs to be eaten by a shark.
 

trying

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Did you guys end up doing 1)better 2) worse 3) about the same as you thought you would do when you started studying?
 
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on my first practice test i had a 19 then i got up to 35, then dropped to 31 and got a 30 on the real test. i think the 35 was an "easy" test.
 

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If you are afraid of the MCAT, then take a practice exam and see how you do. You will either do well, poorly, or average. If you do poorly or just ok, then figure out what you have to study to do well, and study it-- then you'll be too busy to worry. If you do well, then your fears will be assuaged. In any case, after you take the practice exam, you won't have to sit and worry and stew anymore.
 
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