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Light prep months before MCAT, is it futile?

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by kimicurtis, Jul 22, 2011.

  1. kimicurtis

    5+ Year Member

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    Hey,
    I am about to enter my junior year and plan to take my MCAT in next May so that I can apply in June. I have been told that I am a relatively well rounded applicant (research, leadership, exta curricular, a bit of shadowing and a 3.9 cum GPA). I feel confident for the most part in these aspects of my application. The main part of my application that I am concerned about is my MCAT. I really would like to score atleast a 36, to increase my chance of admissions and also scholarship. Scholarship/finances are a major determinant in whether I can go through Med school.
    Anyway, what I really am getting at is that MCAT is very challenging and after doing a practice test (albeit, a long time ago-like a year). I realized that MCAT would require a great deal of my time in order for me to attain the score I need.
    Could I get some advice on how to start prepping. Many people have said that it is not a good idea to start too early, because you will forget what you studied if it is several months before the test. I would like to start light prep to ensure that Iunderstand major concepts and so that I can asses my weaknesses. I want to really go hard three months before the exam. Today, I thought that it may be a good idea to do this the beginning of March. That semester I will be taking gem Chem 2 and physics 2 (I have already done a year of orgo-I initially had transfer credits for gem Chem but they are from Jamaica, and are not accepted by many US med schools). I will be continuing my research (15 hrs a week) with 18 credits. I think that maybe I should stop doing research periodically from March to May to give me extra time to prep. I also have a number of other extra curricular activities. Could I have some advice, from those who have followed a similar plan and found success or otherwise...also, advice on verbal would be appreciated. Thanks!
     
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  3. duckymd

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    I don't think it's at all a bad idea to start studying way beforehand. For me, I started light studying last September with my test date this past June 16. It felt good to review MCAT books so early without the pressure of an upcoming test. I devoted maybe three hours a week until winter break. I didn't really care if I would have to go through the books again. For me, rereading and reinforcing is exactly how I would normally study for any college exam.

    I studied each subject in this way until winter break, when I started taking practice tests so I could see how much I needed to improve. When I went back to school, I studied maybe an hour every day during the weekday and one whole afternoon (5 hours) out of the weekend.

    I got out of school in May, so I had a month for serious 8-hours-a-day studying and spent that last month taking as many practice tests as I could.

    Overall, I feel like I was less stressed out than my friends who had 2 months to prepare. It takes a lot of dedication studying long-term in this way. But looking at your GPA, it doesn't seem like you need to be worried about burning out :)

    Good luck to you!
     
  4. centrigeugle

    centrigeugle less qq, more pew pew
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    For what it's worth.

    I think studying more than three months ahead of time is a total waste.

    It's much more important that you focus on getting a good grasp of the concepts being used in your sciences (and this means more than just a high GPA,) than preparing for a test that's so distant.

    Taking your classes IS studying for the MCAT.
     
  5. duckymd

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    I wouldn't say it's a total waste. As sad as it may be, the MCAT tests, in my opinion, your test-taking ability. Your courses will help you develop a foundation for the test (duh). But I think easing your way into preparing for the test itself will of course help you score higher than you would if you were to study two months before the test.
     
  6. snikkle

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    It's good to get started early if you're weak on the subject matter, but know that you will most likely have to review things again as test day approaches. It'll help you find your weakness early, though, so you can fill any holes in potholes in your understanding. Also, you can never start preparing for the VR section too early.. Read a few online articles a day, and try your hand at an EK passage or two.
     
  7. kimicurtis

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    Thanks Duckymd, I think I am going to keep doing light prep and practice my verbal. I definitely know that I'm going to forget a few things, but atleast I'll know my weaknesses and how to plan my prep. Btw, how did you do on your MCAT, if you don't mind me asking?
     
  8. kimicurtis

    5+ Year Member

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    Thanks snikkle, what articles would you suggest? I have a copy of the Examkrackers 101 verbal book and have done a couple passages.
     

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