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MCAT after 2 years of Undergrad ?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by limit, Jul 24, 2000.

  1. limit

    limit Molesting my inner-child 10+ Year Member

    Jun 21, 2000
    New York City
    By the end of my sophomore year, I will have finished all of the pre-med requirements, and those classes that are needed to take the MCAT test. Rather than waiting another year and take classes like biochem, microbio, genetics, physical chem, physiology, which are no-doubt good and beneficial classes, but not "mandatory," would it be a better idea just to take the MCAT ?

    Being peaked and ready to take the test by the end of sophomore year (May), I could study seriously for a few months and take the August test.

    If I do well on that test, would it be reasonable not to take it over next year during the application process, or do med schools want a very recent score ?

    Are my ideas completely rediculous ? I'm open to all comments... I was just thinking that the application process could be taken step by step. And getting the MCAT step over with before the start of junior year, so I can focus on other things, and going into junior year with the confidence of a good MCAT score. Obviously doing bad would mean I'd have to re-prepare for he MCAT and all, but what do you guys think ? Reasonable idea or am I missing a key piece of information that would prevent my from making this mistake ?
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  3. GeoLeoX

    GeoLeoX Ancient 10+ Year Member

    Jun 27, 2000
    Take a look at some practice exams, they'll give you a good idea of what you're up against. The goal should be to take the test once and do very well on it. If you don't think that taking biochem (on the test) and other biological science classes will improve your score (which, in my opinion they will), then go ahead and take it.

    IMHO you don't need to rush to take the test. The scientific concepts will be reinforced in your mind when you see how they are manifest in nature (Look at me! I'm a philosopher!). Seriously, though I think that your time at this point would be better spent on concentrating on doing well in school and starting to get medically-relevant experience such as volunteering in a clinic or doing research, or doing some extracurricular things you might enjoy. Research medical schools that you are interested in. Take the MCAT in April of your junior year. If even after all that prep you still don't do well you can take it again in August.

    Hope this helps,

  4. steeltoe

    steeltoe Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jul 24, 2000
    Boston, MA
    If you are ready, that is the best thing you can do! I did it, and am completely happy I did. Spring of Junior year is very difficult b/c of classes an all that extra work. And then no doubt you have read the problems with summer of the year that you are also applying to med school. Sophomore year summer is ideal granted that you are ready. luck
  5. Arti

    Arti Member 10+ Year Member

    Jul 11, 2000

    If you indeed completed ALL of your premed requirements for the end of the sophomore year, than by all means study hard for the MCATs and take them. But you have to understand that this is the test that is really designed to be taken only once, because it is a giant pain in the ass. Don't plan to retake it your junior spring and study your ass off for it if you decide to take it next year August. This does not mean that you should not do any medically related volunteer/research/work next summer but do study hard. Make sure you understand dead on all the concepts and do the practice tests to prepare yourself.


  6. MikeS 78

    MikeS 78 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    May 29, 2000
    east coast
    I took it during my freshman year of college and hadnt had organic chem, physics and only one semester of biology and I got a 36 (12v 13P 11B) I just knew that I had to focus my studies on MCAT related material as opposed to studying broadly and thus saved alot of time.....don't micromanage and worry too much.....the mcat is more about perserverence than preparation.....I would take it in august and study allsummer
  7. deziballer

    deziballer Member 10+ Year Member

    Jul 14, 2000
    Chapel Hill, NC
    Just a little note based on my experience-I found physiology to be perhaps the most useful class for the biology part of the test. In fact, I rescheduled my plan to take the MCAT in August just to take physiology over the summer and I am really glad I made that decision. I know different people work differently, but i really think if you found the time to fit this class into your schedule your sophomore year, it would help a lot. Genetics and biochem helped me some, but not to the extent that I'd put off takin the test to take those courses.
    Otherwise, taking the test in august is an excellent idea, because if you do well you have your entire junior year to do some really substantial extracurricular stuff (EMT, heavy duty research, semester abroad, whatever-there's a wealth of opportunities out there).
  8. Cameron

    Cameron Senior Member 15+ Year Member

    Nov 3, 1999
    Kansas City
    I was in a similar situation and decided to take the August MCAT before my Junior year. I had completed all of the normal requirements. However, I did take physiology in the spring before taking the MCAT. As deziballer mentioned, it is a great course for the MCAT. My Bio score jumped 3 points (on practice tests) after taking the physiology course.

    The ability to concentrate all summer also helped me considerably. I didn't have to worry about other classes and was able to set a good study schedule for myself. I was pleased with the results. I wouldn't take it in August if you're not ready, but if you plan ahead it could be a good option for you. As you mentioned, you could always do it again if you aren't pleased with your August score.

    As for your scores being "old" -- it won't matter as long as they're not older than 2 or 3 years. Since you'd likely be applying after your Junior year, you shouldn't have a problem.

    Good luck!

    - Cameron
  9. raindodger

    raindodger Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jun 15, 2000
    UC Berkeley
    yes, but didn't you reach that point by taking a prep course?


    just an interesting observation.


  10. limit

    limit Molesting my inner-child 10+ Year Member

    Jun 21, 2000
    New York City
    Thanks guys for your insights. I guess my idea wasn't crazy after all, it just kinda came to me while looking through my sophomore schedule and noticing that I'll be pretty much done with pre-med reqs. I will indeed fit physiology into my spring schedule, and do plan to take it next august assuming all goes well according to plan.

    raindodger, interesting you pointed that out. Either way, he took the test after having some knowledge of organic, bio, and physics. And of course after a prep course you are in your best shape for the MCAT. This brings me to another question, what do you think med schools really think about this ? I know they don't penalize you for taking a prep course, but it can be a double-edged sword. On one hand you drastically improve your score, on the other, "someone" helped you do it. Do they look more favorably at people who don't take the course ? (Yes, I heard they DO ask you on interviews sometimes, and from what I understand, they also ask you on the pre-test questionairres).
    I'm thinking whether or not to take a prep course that next summer, so that's why I'm asking. Maybe it would be better to just sit on the beach with a book by yourself.
  11. ChrisSteffen

    ChrisSteffen Member 10+ Year Member

    May 26, 2000
    St. Paul, MN USA
    It wasn't just the Biology and Chem classes that helped me. I found that all of my classes helped me directly or indirectly. Invertebrate Zoo., religion, art, Developmental, etc. Classes that aren't required are still very beneficial when it comes time to have a wealth of information to draw from (writing sample). Take it when you have had sufficient time to consider yourself well-rounded.
  12. raindodger

    raindodger Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jun 15, 2000
    UC Berkeley
    limit, yes, he did take the mcat after having the knowledge required, but his post on this thread made it seem as if he scored that high of a score, without having had that knowledge or preparation, don't you agree?

    I should warn you that since you've finished all of your pre-med requirements in two years, you may not have taken humanities courses. Those are required by certain medical schools nowadays and these classes will help make you a well-rounded applicant, and will also help you on the Verbal part of the mcat, which is usually the lowest section among students who only concentrated on the sciences during their undergraduate careers.

    Best of luck to you!

  13. s-pish

    s-pish Member 10+ Year Member

    Jul 11, 2000
    Plano, TX
    I was in the same position you were in last year where I had all my pre-med requirements taken care of by the end of my sophomore year. That summer, I took a Kaplan course to prepare for the August MCAT. Definitely try to take a prep course, either Princeton Review or Kaplan, because they give you great access to practice questions and practice tests (definitely worth the $$$$).

    Another reason for taking the August MCAT is if you are taking organic chemistry your sophomore year. Organic chemistry is something that will quickly escape your memory as soon as the class is over. I ended up not taking the August MCAT last year because I was working 45+ hrs a week that summer and did not find enough time to prepare, so I just waited until April to take the test. I found out that by second semester junior year, the organic chemistry knowledge quickly evaporates, so I think I would have had an easier time taking the test in August. Plus, in the summer, you don't have to worry about your classwork.

    Hope this helps in your decision. Good luck!
  14. limit

    limit Molesting my inner-child 10+ Year Member

    Jun 21, 2000
    New York City
    I agree. About not taking enough humanities reqs, I actually have taken enough (as a result of summer classes). Actualy, it's my belief that its better than not to have have high BS and PS scores and a low(er) verbal than vice versa. Being an immigrant, a lower verbal could be somewhat more understandable. The writing though, some ADCOMS don't even know what the letters stand for, let alone give much weight to that section.
    I think you guys did a good job of helping me decide to go ahead with my plans.

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