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Limited time to study?

Discussion in 'Exam HQ' started by PolypFiction, Jun 10, 2017.

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  1. PolypFiction

    PolypFiction

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    Jun 10, 2017
    New here, sorry if I'm not doing this correctly.

    I took the MCAT last year and got a 499 (Phys/Chem 123, CARS 125, Bio 126, Psych 125). Finding time to study proved to be a challenge with a full time job, as I work M-F 8-5. On top of that I needed my daily gym time, time for dinner, time to be an attentive boyfriend, and a bit of just R&R for sanity purposes. Unfortunately this did not leave much room for studying.

    I did not get accepted anywhere this cycle of admissions, and am currently becoming less optimistic about my position on waitlists. I'm considering studying for the MCAT again, but I'm not sure if it's worth it because there's such little time to study. Did anyone out there find success in a similar situation? If so, how?
     
    IamAiminghigh likes this.
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  3. Dr. Stalker

    Dr. Stalker 2+ Year Member

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    Sep 11, 2014
    Itchy and Scratchy Land
    You're in a very difficult position, sorry to hear about the unsuccessful cycle thus far.

    Its usually strongly suggested you don't work full time while balancing MCAT studying. Is there anyway you can not work for 2 months or perhaps switch to part time hours and study all summer to take a September MCAT?
     
  4. PolypFiction

    PolypFiction

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    Jun 10, 2017
    Thanks for the suggestion! Unfortunately I don't see that as a possibility as I need both the money and health insurance that comes with being a full time employee.
     
  5. Dr. Stalker

    Dr. Stalker 2+ Year Member

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    Ah ok, then let me elaborate.

    As a warning, this isn't going to be easy.

    I'd aim to do 2 hours of studying per weeknight, and take friday night off. Saturday and Sunday you'll need to study 8 solid hours. I suggest 7am to 3pm, so this way you can have time to run errands, hit the gym, and be an attentive boyfriend lol.

    In those 2 hours per night, aim for MASSIVE content learning. It won't be easy, but push yourself to just blast through chapters and learn content as quickly and efficiently as possibly. By that, I mean don't aim to learn, for example, all the glycolysis intermediates, enzymes, and regulation in those 2 hours per weeknight - aim to get the gist of glycolysis (Glucose --> Pyruvate, net 2 ATP, create 2 NADH). By doing this strategy, you'll also learn the art of skimming, which is absolutely pertinent for the new MCAT given the passages are dense AF and you need to learn to read, analyze, and interpret quickly.

    Come Saturday/Sunday, be prepared for hell. At this time, you're going to want to attack questions and now, dive into IMPORTANT details (all glycolysis enzymes, intermediates, and regulation) for more extended learning. This is where you'll want to learn in depth important topics and do questions. Doing questions is the only way to gauge yourself. I vividly recall studying one particular kaplan physics topic super indepth (like 4 hours to read the chapter) only to do questions/study the MCAT and realize this topic shows up like, 1% of the time.

    For content review, I'd suggest you use the NextStep MCAT books. Purchase the 4 content review books, 4 strategy and practice books, MCAT 108 verbal book, and the MCAT Qbook. You'll also need to spend some cash on the AAMC official materials. If you want more information on that and specifically what to purchase, inbox me. Those NS books for content are super indepth, don't get absorbed. Just read the chapters and do the questions and section test at the end of them. Don't be discouraged by your scores, use it as an opportunity to learn, and be thankful you made those mistakes now vs. on the actual MCAT.

    I would suggest you do this all summer and take a September MCAT. You can decide if you want to apply super late (for MD) or on time for DO at that point. Additionally, you can opt for a gap year and apply June 2018.
     
    iizjoshyboii likes this.
  6. PolypFiction

    PolypFiction

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    Jun 10, 2017
    Wow that's very helpful! I realize if I'm going to take it again it will be a serious time/energy commitment. Like you said, it's probably most important to learn the general picture of each of the concepts rather than stress the tiny details. Thanks for taking the time to offer your suggestions!
     
  7. Dr. Stalker

    Dr. Stalker 2+ Year Member

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    Itchy and Scratchy Land
    No problem mate. If possible, try to find some online study guides.

    I can't post the link because it breaks the ToS, but if you were to look on Google for Khan Academy psy/soc notes, you'll be greatly rewarded ;).

    Certain details ARE necessary (i.e. all intermediates in metabolism), but other concepts are general. If I were to swap one amino acid out but wanted to maintain overall protein function, what amino acid could I switch in? No textbook or MCAT book will ever tell you, you'll have to think about the individual amino acid properties and figure it out from there.

    What study books and materials are you using?
     
    FutureNeurologist2025 likes this.
  8. PolypFiction

    PolypFiction

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    Jun 10, 2017
    I've got the ExamKrackers set that I used last year, and will probably use again. Also my friend has lent me his Kaplan book from a couple years ago, but still for the new MCAT. I'll definitely check out the Khan Academy for psych.
     
  9. AnonymousDoctorGuyPerson

    AnonymousDoctorGuyPerson

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    Last edited: Jul 23, 2017
  10. Justin Woodbury

    Justin Woodbury

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    Aug 20, 2017
    That's rough! Unfortunately, time is always against us on this stuff. Especially when it comes to trying to lead a life of balance. In order for great things to happen sometimes there must be a sacrifice though. Keep at it and stay positive!!
     
    tutorthepeople likes this.
  11. IamAiminghigh

    IamAiminghigh

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    Check this website called StudyPal.co and see if you can find a study partner nearby who is preparing for the same exam. It would help you maintaining a Study schedule which is the need of the hour. You can meet some of your study partners nearby and get help with alternative resources also.
     
  12. AnonymousDoctorGuyPerson

    AnonymousDoctorGuyPerson

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    Responded thinking this was a thread I started, woops.
     
  13. Bexa8778

    Bexa8778

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    Apr 1, 2017
    I would suggest you doing more practice problems from EK 1001 books to get comfortable with the content whenever till allows. Start from the high yield and gradually work your way up to the low yield. That being said, it does not mean that you should neglect the low yield. Every test is different. Some say they had more yield concepts, some say that they had high yield mostly. Take the advice of people with a grain of salt about not studying certain topics.
     
  14. tutorthepeople

    tutorthepeople Customized tutoring and test prep Exhibitor 2+ Year Member

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    Great tips above! "Especially when it comes to trying to lead a life of balance. In order for great things to happen sometimes there must be a sacrifice though"
    If you are going to commit to studying for the MCAT again, it will definitely require some sacrifice. Short-term sacrifice for a long-term reward. When do you plan to start studying again?
     
  15. WaffleSyrup

    WaffleSyrup

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    Oct 5, 2017

    In addition to the good suggestions above, I recommend having a conversation with your partner and asking them if they are willing to make some sacrifices too. Being an attentive boyfriend often takes a lot of time and energy.
    Letting your partner know that you love them, but will have to be less available in order to reach this goal can free up some extra time for your studies. Mention that this a temporary situation that will hopefully improve both of your futures and that this is something important to you. Hopefully, your partner will not only give you more time to study but will offer more support to help you along the way.

    Also don't worry about your scores or get discouraged. This is the time to make your mistakes and learn, rather than during the real MCAT.
     

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