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MCAT and a Heavy School Workload Don’t Mix: Stop rushing to take the MCAT

Discussion in 'MCAT: Medical College Admissions Test' started by SN2ed, Feb 11, 2009.

  1. SN2ed

    Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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    There have been far too many threads of late with people rushing to take the MCAT with a full course-load. Attempting to take the MCAT with a heavy school workload is not a good idea. What usually happens is that the person gets a sub-par GPA and MCAT. Thus, they are locked into retaking the MCAT through both a poor first attempt and now because their GPA is lowered. Why does this happen? You simply only have so many hours in a day. Taking even 10 hours a week for MCAT studying takes 10 hours a week out of studying for your classes. While this may seem obvious, it's something that people can forget when the MCAT is looming up ahead. Sadly, 10 hours a week for the MCAT isn't even enough for the vast majority of people.

    Another problem with studying for the MCAT while in school is burnout. You hear about burnout all the time when people study non-stop for the MCAT. Combining school and the MCAT increases the chance of burnout. Again, the reason behind this isn't complex, it is just overlooked. Let's look at a hypothetical school day of someone aiming for 3 hours of MCAT studying a day.


    9:00 am – 12:00 am: Classes


    12:00am – 1:00 pm: Lunch


    1:00 pm – 3:00 pm: Classes


    3:00 pm – 6:00 pm: MCAT


    6:00 pm – 7:00 pm: Dinner


    7:00 pm – 10:00 pm or later: School work


    Notice anything? There are only breaks for food and some free time after one's school work is done. Considering that this schedule doesn't calculate lab time, tests, or papers, I think it is fairly obvious that your brain is working in studying/class mode almost the entire day. That is precisely the situation people get into while studying for the MCAT non-stop that leads to burnout.


    In response to the above, people normally post two responses. I'll go into both of these frequent points.


    1. I'll just study a few hours a week for the MCAT, but study over a long period of time (6+ months).


    By the time your test date comes around you'd have forgotten the material you studied and taking practice problems wouldn't help because they were completed so far in advance. You need concentrated studying, not something dragged out over 6+ months. Additionally, only studying a few hours a week limits the amount of practice tests one can complete. One practice test is around 5 hours, plus the time needed to thoroughly analyze your results (should be at least 4 hours). Now think about how many practice tests are necessary for proper preparation.


    Another way to look at this is through one's own schooling. In college, a person usually studies various subjects for 10+ hours each subject (time includes homework + class), every week. Image if, at the end of your school year (Sept – Dec + Feb – May = 8 months), you were given a cumulative final. Could you have gotten away without additional studying time? I think most people would have to study like mad to prepare for the test. Although the situation isn't the exactly same for the MCAT, I hope you get the general idea.


    2. Isn't this the same as being in school while holding a part time job? There are many students who do that and are fine.
    What about non-trads who study for the MCAT along with their job?

    Not really. Most jobs are not study oriented. In other words, you aren't studying during that time. I think this mixes up one's day such that their brain isn't in study mode the entire time. Even if the part time job is tutoring, that still isn't the same. In that case, your job focuses more on helping students understand the material and not on you studying the material.
    Again, the problem isn't the time limits involved, it's the amount of hours studying that causes burnout. For instance, the chance of burnout would be lower for someone working 9-5 on top of studying for the MCAT than someone going to school full time and trying to study for the MCAT.

    People, you do NOT need to take the MCAT during your school year. If your school workload is too much, then take the MCAT during your summer break. Should you be unable to do that, then wait until after your senior year. The common rebuttal to this statement is that you won't be able to apply early enough. What that person forgets is that taking the MCAT does not force you to apply the same year. Most schools accept MCAT scores that are three years old. Taking the MCAT one year and applying EARLY the next, still leaves one with another reapplication before needing to retake the MCAT. Furthermore, the extra year can be used to strengthen your application with better ECs. The goal is to take the MCAT once and give it everything you've got. So, STOP RUSHING TO TAKE THE MCAT.
     
    #1 SN2ed, Feb 11, 2009
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2009
  2. marele86

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    I agree. Good stuff to think about.

    I'm taking the MCAT on 3/28 and I started studying in July, but I don't remember anything I studied before November. (I remember STUDYING it.. That's all.)
    Also, I haven't had a weekend free of studying since summer vacation. I studied all of winter break, and I'll do the same for spring break.

    That said, I actually have ~4 or 5 hours of free time each day, but my situation is damned rare:

    1. I quit volunteering as of this semester. I also don't have a job (I live on student loans), and don't do research. I seriously have NOTHING on my calendar except studying and hanging out with my boyfriend and friends.

    2. Last semester, I took *only* classes that would prep me for MCAT Bio. (I'm a late switch to a Bio-heavy major and needed to take them all at once so I could graduate on time): Genetics, Cell Bio, Physiology, and Organic Chemistry. In essence, all of my school studying = studying for the Bio portion of the MCAT. Just 12 credits total.

    3. This semester, I'm again only taking 12 credits, all biology. And 2 of my classes have nothing graded or due until the final in May.

    4. Took almost all of the prereqs just last year.

    5. My science GPA is a heavy 4.0, so if my gamble doesn't pay off and I get a B or two, it'll be fine.

    The point is, my situation is odd and probably not even advantageous in the long run. First, I'm sure adcoms will consider the fact that I took only 12 hours each semester and took a semester off of volunteering. (I just don't care, because I'm cynical and I bet that they will look at my GPA and MCAT first.)
    Second, I'm taking a gamble on the 2 classes where all that matters is the final. I'm not studying for them much yet, because I'd rather use the time for the MCAT - but as soon as the MCAT is done, I'll be playing catch-up. That'll suck.

    I do think it's working out for me, and 12 hours is technically full-time, but I can not imagine doing this while taking 15 hours of class and having outside obligations to volunteering, research, or a job. :eek: I know people do it, but I would go crazy.
     
    Loveneko likes this.
  3. Katatonic

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    I agree to a certain point for sure. I'm going to school full time, working part-time and now doing research the other half of that part-time. So, right now I'm trying to squeeze in about an hour a day of MCAT stuff, sometimes less. However, I'd rather do what I can and see how prepared I am so as not to delay my application a year. And if that happens, it's alright, because an extra year will only make my application that much stronger next cycle.
     
  4. cfx

    cfx
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    This is definitely a helpful post. As of a few weeks ago, I was planning on taking it beginning of May. I made this decision without being remotely realistic. When I sat down and considered the sheer number of man-hours I'd have to devote to studying during the week to be prepared come May, I realized it was way beyond what I'd be able to do. Essentially, even though only taking 13 credits (3 very demanding classes), I figured I would only be able to put in ~5-6 hours of MCAT studying, at most. Virtually my entire day is filled with class, my entire evening filled with reading/homework/studying (and an hour or so of doing absolutely nothing, for my own sanity), leaving me one day with a 5-6 hr. chunk of time which, to be honest, would be highly valuable time to devote to keeping up with schoolwork, errands, life...

    Long story short, I've given up on the pointless sense of urgency that I MUST apply to attend as soon as I graduate, so will plan on giving myself the summer (and perhaps a few hours/week in the last few months of this semester) to have time to make sure I do well.
     
  5. luxaeterna

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    I agree. I initially tried to study during school, but it just wasn't working...I was doing worse in school and wasn't getting anywhere with the MCAT either. I put it off until the summer and spent 2 months studying, and it all paid off.
     
  6. 229141

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    May 28th here..busy as hell these days. If I am not ready I will postpone it til June..quality over quantity
     
  7. uddin002

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    Over the summer, I have to work full time, and I opt to volunteer as well. Studying significantly for the MCAT when you have 50+ hours/week of commitments is not easy.

    I can't imagine doing most of my studying during the school year. I also can't imagine doing most of my studying during the summer, and I imagine this is the same for a lot of other students who depend on full time summer employment to pay for part/all of their college.

    And that's why my full time winter break occupation was studying for the MCATs.
     
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  8. 229141

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    Yeah, I am going crazy LOL!
     
  9. Rubisco

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    You make some good points. One thing i wonder, however, is that if hypothetically I take MCAT in march (along with the thousands of other students who have heavy work load such as I), would the curves for each section be a factor to weigh out the difference whether I take it in summer or during spring? Put simply, if i would be taking it in summer, im pretty sure my peers will be putting 40+ hours of studying just like me and the curve might be a little tight because everyone comes in to take it well-prepared. But if im taking MCAT during the heavy courseload of spring just like my peers, wouldn't the curve be more forgiving of a few questions (hence easier curve)?
     
  10. 229141

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    This is a GOOD point and I'm also wondering this
     
  11. SN2ed

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    Never depend on the curve helping you out. While the test is curved, the curve barely moves from test to test. It's also a bad idea to hope that others do poorly. Don't go into the test unprepared with the idea others are as well. You stand a much better chance of scoring low because you went in when you weren't ready, than the curve actually helping you.
     
    #11 SN2ed, Feb 14, 2009
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2009
  12. Rubisco

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    First off, I agree that hoping others will do poorly is bad idea. However, you are taking extremes by assuming all spring and fall test takers are rushing to take it. There are some that do rush , yes, but completely discouraging people to not take at all by pointing out schedules and difficulty would be an ambitious assertion on your part to speak for our behalf. Yes I am taking it spring but that's because I will be ready and not rushing. And the only reason that I mention the curve is not to solely depend on it, but to make a point that aamc is somewhat aware of what students will be taking it, whether they are in school or not.

    But of course the moral of the story is, as you and I agree, take it when you're ready.
     
  13. SN2ed

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    Rubisco: That is a good point. My thread is aimed more at the people who post new threads going, "My school workload is killing me. How did you guys study for the MCAT while in school?" or "I only have 2 hours of study time per day max because of school. What's a good study schedule?" Plus, for the people on SDN, rushing is usually a problem. Whenever I read posts about people needing to retake, a solid proportion tried to cram for the MCAT while taking a heavy school schedule.
     
  14. hopefullkid

    hopefullkid Sirfukalot
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    This seems to be my exact dilema. Either I can take it by May and probably score in the lower 30's or take in later in the summer and score higher. Everyone I talk to seems to point out the advantage of sending out the application early w/ MCAT score (I will be applying this year) but I would rather wait. What do you guys suggest I do? and what would be the ultimate latest that you guys think I should take it?

    Thanks!!!
     
    #14 hopefullkid, Feb 14, 2009
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2009
  15. fizzle

    fizzle New Member
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    You're forgetting the significant portion of folks who take time off after undergrad to take the MCAT and apply. Not all of these folks are busy working, either; I know quite a few people who are taking it easy during their gap year or two, just studying for the MCAT and taking a few classes or working part-time.

    Two points about this group of people:

    1. They'll most likely take the MCAT around the March-to-June period because this is right before applications are due, giving them the maximum time to both study and submit their applications in June ASAP.

    2. Many of them will also have the same mindset as you, thinking that since they're competing with undergrads who are spending the year studying for courses, the curve will be easier.
     
  16. rocketbooster

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    good post. this happened to me last year. I was taking 23 hours (of which 17 were bio credits) while starting to study for the MCAT in late January for April 5th. I got a 4.0 that semester, which was awesome for my GPA, but my MCAT sucked. I only had time to review physics and didn't touch ochem, general chem, and bio.

    Now where am I? I started studying for the MCAT again a few weeks ago. I'm doing hardcore content review because that is what improves your score. Face it, people, doing practice test after practice test stops boosting your score after the first few tests. It only takes a few FLs to get the timing and format of the test down. You really only improve substantially by going back to the basics and studying the content hardcore.

    Now, I may not even need to retake the MCAT. I'm waiting till mid-March for the final decision on my one interview I received. If I get in, awesome. If I don't get in, I have to retake the MCAT around late April/early May. At least I have a backup plan in case the worst happens, which is what I'm expecting to be honest.

    The truth is schools only care about your GPA number, not too much what that GPA comprised of, and your MCAT score. The MCAT score is the most important part of your application. Don't mess it up.
     
  17. 229141

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    Guys I am signed up for May 28th...if I moved it to June 18th would this hurt me much in terms of applying on time? I thought I saw that May 28th was the latest you should take it (only if you are prepared of course..)
     
  18. Anotherface

    Anotherface Needs to get off ***
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    Good advice. I tried cramming everything in last spring semester. A month into the year I realized it would be best to put back the MCAT.
     
  19. Katatonic

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    As far as I've heard that's false, taking it June 18 is no big deal. In fact, you could even take it a bit later like July if need be because you don't have to have your MCAT score when you submit your AMCAS. I think the reason May 28 is so popular is because you'll have your scores right around the time AMCAS opens up so you can decide whether to apply at all.
     
  20. BWSTW

    BWSTW The B's be ballin'
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    I agree with the OP. I was planning on taking the MCAT in April or May and apply early, but after a bad semester last fall, and a lot of contemplating, I decided to hold off till after I graduate. I work full time and take about 13 - 15 credits a semester, and I realized that I barely have enough time to study for my classes let alone the MCAT. I figured that med school isn't going anywhere. I can put the MCAT off another year, study hard to get my science GPA up where it needs to be and graduate. Then focus on shadowing/volunteering and the MCAT without any distractions. It is a hard decision, but if you feel you are not prepared, then it is the right decision.
     
  21. mdformeplz

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    Hey marele86, just curious to see how the MCAT went?
     
  22. SN2ed

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    You should send marele86 a pm. You'll probably get a faster response that way.
     
  23. BennieBlanco

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    This is a workable schedule. I wouldn't even call it brutal. Maybe difficult but workable. We are awake for 16 hrs not only 12 or 13. Some are awake for 17 hours. So if your day is starting at 9am it should end around 12:30am not 10pm.

    New rule: You can't call a schedule brutal if a 10 year old in India making soccer balls works more than you.

    First off, I have 16 units (all science) and I don't spend 5 hours per day in school. 2 hrs MWF and 4 hrs on T TH, plus 2-3 hr lab. So at max 3-3.5 hrs per day on average. If you are diligent and focused in your work, you can finish school work in under 4 hrs per day (again, if done every work day. you can't do nothing for one week then catch up). I also shadow and volunteer, which I am leaving out of this equation for the sake of simplicity..

    Note: this is all assuming taking sundays off, completely. Maybe not on test week though. so 3 sundays off per month.

    So:

    class 3-3.5 hr
    homework 3-4 hr

    This is 8 hours max. This is easy. You should be able to get a 4.0 (at least 3.5) with this effort.

    I guess an exception is if you are a physics major or something like that, then school may take more effort. Non physics/math majors who spend 12 hrs studying likely have not worked hard 6 days a week, they likely have procrastinated some of the work load until exam time. OR they study inefficiently or in a group that wastes productivity time.

    add 7-8 hrs of sleep: 15 hrs

    This leaves 9 hrs for health (exercise and nutrition) and the MCAT, you obviously have travel time to (1 hr).

    I've taken 1-2 breaks/naps etc mid-day and still been able to do class/homework/5 hrs of MCAT. I am a nontrad and have had more difficult schedules than this. I don't work more than 12 hrs per day

    Work:
    8 hrs school
    4-5 hrs MCAT

    12-13 hrs

    I've had 14 hour days in sales. Much harder to constantly face rejection in sales over and over and over than it is having a person talk to you and/or read a book.

    With all this said, I probably wouldn't have had the motivation/discipline/consistency to keep this schedule 1st time around in school. It is too easy to take it easy for the week or two after exams, then ramp back up to prepare for exams.

    The most common response I hear, "what do you do for fun?" or something like this. My response, #1 this is a busy schedule and isn't to be for 10 year periods of time. This is a 4 month period. Like when a farmer has spring or harvest, he works sunrise to sunset, he works hard during this small window. It is ok to have a brief intense work period in life. #2 I still get about 8-10 hrs of social time per week. This is sufficient for me. I don't need to hang out 20+ hrs per week. Some people need to socialize 4 hrs everyday, I don't. Social time is for the one day off per week (Sunday for me) and Friday/Saturday nights. That is it. M-Fri until 7pm is hustling time, it isn't play time. I guess if you need more playtime M-F then you shouldn't study MCAT during the semester.

    The smartest way to make this schedule work is to work hard early, then take a 2-3 hr break (nap or whatever), then work hard again until late. Winston Churchill followed this schedule.
     
  24. Arsenophilia

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    I know how much everybody loves anecdotal evidence, but...I feel like sharing my experience with studying for the MCAT and taking classes.

    I took the MCAT Sept 12th. I studied for it throughout the summer using EK, but I was also taking 3 upper div Biology classes (Genetics, Mam Phys, Metabolic Biochem). I managed to pull A's in the classes and study for the MCAT throughout the summer. In fact, I was being silly and thought I could take the MCAT at a later date (sometime at the end of Sept) and two weeks before the 12th found out that it was the last day to take it (thank you SDN). My schedule for the MCAT was pushed up two weeks, giving me little time to start FLs. During the last two weeks I spent about half a week studying for my metabolic final and the rest of the time I took practice tests (before this I had just been doing content review). I did about 1 test/day until the last Thursday before my Saturday test. I did 5 Kaplan FL's and AAMC #3.9.10 (my ass was broke). I also managed to squeeze some 101 EK in there. At the end I was averaging 38. :xf: for the 13th.

    Things to take away:
    1. I know, I know. This is just one example. But this is my experience with double dipping. Doesn't work for everybody.
    2. I wasn't working, I spent less than 6 hours a week in lab and I didn't party every night. That usually helps manage doing both at the same time.
    3. It helps to take classes that are important for the MCAT while studying for it. I was fresh out of ochem, physics and biology so i was at the top of my game. In fact, I had 2 passages on the kidneys which thanks to mam phys I finally understood.

    Doesn't work most of the time, but if you can free up your schedule enough you can probably do it.
     
  25. 3 point 14

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    I am doing the school/mcat thing this semester. I am taking the test Jan 30th, and my school ends for 1 month in mid-Dec so I have a whole month of just mcat prep. My current schedule for the semester looks like this:

    m/w: 8-850 class, 10-2pm research, 4-7pm work, 8-12pm homework w/1 hr mcat studying

    t/th: 8-12 class, 1-3pm hw, 3-5pm work, 6-9pm mcat Kaplan online, 10-12pm studying or mcat

    f:8-8:50 class, 10-2pm research, 3-6 or 7 hw, then break and go out!

    sa: 11-1pm work, ~6hrs of hw

    sun: 4hrs of volunteer at hospital, 6 hrs of hw or mcat

    I am taking organic chem, linear algebra, neurophysiology, and a 3 unit research course.

    Work: ~12 hrs
    MCAT: ~12-14 hrs
    Research: ~10-12 hrs
    School: ~11hrs, ~15-20 hrs studying
    Volunteer: 4 hrs
    total week: up to 60 hrs of stuff, allowing plenty of time for gym/sleep and a bit of relaxing :D

    Best of luck to all.

    edit: I'd like to note that I was freaking out about studying while in school and being able to have a decent life outside of the pre-med. After writing down the minimum that I need, it's clear that there are more hours in the day then you would expect. I suggest everyone to get out a piece of paper and do the same if you are worrying.
     
  26. BennieBlanco

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    Word.

    I think there is a misconception that school requires more than 35-40 hrs per week. I think it starts there. Maybe physics majors require 40-50 but any major other than that shouldn't.
     
  27. BennieBlanco

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    success story. Nice work! :thumbup:
     
  28. Vihsadas

    Vihsadas No summer
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    We get this same type of logic concerning the curve every year, and every year I feel compelled to debunk these myths. :p I thought the same thing too when I started studying, but then I learned how the MCAT curve were really generated. The fact of the matter is that each MCAT version is more or less curved BEFORE you take the test. The reason there are experimental passages and questions is so that the AAMC can develop a testing curve for those questions, and verify that the curve for those experimental questions fits their criteria BEFORE those questions are given as "real" questions. In fact, the questions on your MCAT that will be scored (not the experimental ones) have actually already been given on many years of previous MCAT exams. This means that the curve that will apply to your testing dates is generated from a continuously building data pool based on test-takers from many years in the past. So, the effect of one individual test date, or even one testing year on the curve for a specific test version is not all that significant. So whether you take it in March, or August, regardless of how many of those test takers had heavy or light schedules, your curve will not vary significantly! There are previous threads on this topic that I am too lazy to locate right now, but you can feel free to search for them. The point is that "strategy" about when to take your MCAT based on how prepared you think other students will be is not applicable. The only criteria you need to be worried about is making sure that you take the MCAT when you are as prepared as you possibly can be.

    As I look back at when I scheduled my MCAT (early september), you can be sure that I have absolutely zero regrets as to spending the majority of the summer to prepare for it. Guys, the MCAT is important. It is SO important that it is worth delaying your application by one full year if it means you'll have a significantly higher score. All other things being equal, the difference in your application strength if you have a 30-31 versus a 36-37 is huge. You could open a lot more doors for yourself (again, given that the rest of your app is very strong). If you don't think you can be ready to apply this year and smash the MCAT in half, then simply do not take it yet! Give yourself a chance to really prepare and kick it's butt! It'll be worth it in the end if you prepare properly. :)
     
  29. ucsfstudents

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    OP made some really good points. Take your time and do well on the test! Plan to take it only once!
     
  30. Doodl3s

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    100% agreed. After taking the MCAT in the summer, I now have a more or less free junior year. AND had a whole summer to relax (if you can call it that) while studying for the MCAT. Best decision I've ever made.

    The problem here is that most kids are told the norm is to take it in april or may...

    I say NO. IF you have your pre-med prereqs done. I advise anyone here to take it during a summer.
     
  31. beehappy28

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    Hi, I'm new to SDN but it seems pretty cool/helpful, so I thought I'd ask-

    I'm taking the MCAT (for the second time) in April, and taking about 6 hours all of which are either human phys or organic lab...test date is 4/29...I got a 27Q the first time around studying in the summer but not using all of it..BUT I really wanna apply early. THIS YEAR.

    I'm already 2 years behind schedule for applying and really think I'm ready, assuming I ace the MCAT since my GPA is only so so...but worried about not having enough time to do well...thinking I should push it back...what to do!?!

    Thanks!
     
  32. D elegans

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    I'm not sure what your MCAT goals are but the fact is unless you feel you are totally ready to "ace" the MCAT, I would put off taking the test. Whatever you're scoring on AMCAS practice tests (hopefully you've taken a few) is likely around what you'll score on the MCAT.

    I understand your feeling of urgency, but it will be a much better application experience for you if you apply with an MCAT score you're satisfied with, even if that means that you apply a little bit later.

    Honestly, in the long run, a little more time (even an application season) won't mean that much. I am recommending everyone I know who wants to take the MCAT to block a significant amount of time off from classes and activities (naturally, in the summer) to devote to solid, continuous study. It's much better to feel prepared to take the test than to try to squeeze it in and get by.

    Hope this helps. I went through a pretty similar situation. Best of luck :luck:
     
  33. cal2012

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    SN2ed's post is a pretty good sum-up of why rushing the mcat's hard--I made pretty much every mistake possible, and the stress is UNBELIEVABLE.

    OK, so I studied for the mcat this semester, starting from winter break (during which I had a FT shadowing thing going on) and down to the 4/9/11 test.

    I had a full course load with some fairly demanding classes, 2 part time jobs totalling to 15-25 hours a week, research 8-12 hours a week, tons of volunteering and club commitments...and yeah. When you break it down, there are a lot of hours in the day, but it wasn't until I actually tried it out that I realized that it's not that simple at all. You really need time to transition between activities--I think the only reason I didn't burn out was because I would go to the library to study and end up on cracked or something for 45 minutes, just to keep me sane. And weird stuff would still happen, like "I'll just rest my eyes a little" after dinner and wake up at my desk the next morning :eek:

    Overall, it's easy to logically think that you can do all this and 24 hours in the day are a lot...but you can't really know until you try it out. I heard some Russian saying that people who are full like to talk about fasting...and yeah, that pretty much sums it up.

    Hope my near-burnout experience was helpful.
     
  34. Bayonetwork

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    Nice threadurrection cal...I can certainly add to this. I studied this semester for MCAT and had what I thought was a manageable semester load and work schedule. Needless to say I am RUINED right now. I have 2 finals left and Im scheduled for May 21st MCAT. I have done no MCAT studying in 2 weeks which would have been AAMC practice tests 7-11. I will have one week left to take 2-3 AAMCs but I have no desire AT ALL to do it...hell I dont even have an ounce of motivation to study for my cell bio final tomorrow.

    DONT MIX SCHOOL SEMESTER WITH MCAT STUDYING AND DONT RUSH THE MCAT!
     
  35. ridethecliche

    ridethecliche Meep Meep Meep
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    No offense, but this is wrong.

    I think the take away is that you can't add the MCAT prep in addition to everything else, you have to make a sacrifice somewhere. If you're doing both, you probably have to take a class or two less a semester and cut down your hours on some of the EC's.
     
    #35 ridethecliche, May 11, 2011
    Last edited: May 12, 2011
    FutureDoc2359 likes this.
  36. Bayonetwork

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    I found the days where I had class + MCAT studying to be far less "effective" than days where I worked and studied for MCAT. It was the total accumulation of academic cognitive function that decreased my effective MCAT studying time. This was lessened on work days since my head was not in an "academic" setting all day. Having part time work or some sort of EC + MCAT studying is FAR more ideal than any semester load + MCAT studying.

    Just my thoughts on the tail end of the lesson learned.
     
  37. ridethecliche

    ridethecliche Meep Meep Meep
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    Right, that's why you treat the test as a class or two. Normally when I'm taking a full courseload, I can still do a lot of fun things with friends and EC's. If you take a full courseload and ADD the mcat to that. Well then good luck.
     
  38. BlueWolverine

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    I just finished my second year of college. I am done with all of my pre-reqs for medical school (Bio,chem,organic chem--havn't take the lab yet, and physics). I also took Calc 1 and 2. The only upper level science course that I took was toxicology. My question is, is it wise to take the MCAT this summer when I haven't really taken a lot of upper level science courses (like Biochem) that could be advantageous to me?
    The only reason why I'm taking it this year is because I'm transferring over to another university this fall, and since they only take 60 credits (I'm over 60), it would be pointless for me to take any classes this summer at my old university. So, I decided to take the MCAT this summer instead of wasting time, and take classes next summer.
     
  39. deep122

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    Definitely study and take it this summer. Upper level courses may provide a slight advantage, but it's not significant.
     
  40. bkprodigy

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    I beg to differ in that opinion. If you really nail the upper level courses, the convoluted science passages become almost walk in the park because of familiarity.

    From my experience, I could eliminate wrong choices much better based on my background knowledge from numerous advanced science courses.
     
  41. GooseWing

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    Yes but you allow yourself much more time to forget the intricacies of the topics actually being tested on. If you take it sooner rather than later, the ideas are fresher in your memory and instead of spending your time relearning material you're mastering it.
     
  42. Amrazzz

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    My life for the past 4 months. Sucked, but had to be done. 2 more weeks and I'm free.
     
  43. studmuffin

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    This guy knows whats up
     
  44. nmd33

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    Due to the importance of MCAT scores. I was considering taking a year off after I graduate with my undergrad degree to take the MCAT. I am currently a electrical engineering major and taking the required pre med courses together. I feel no matter the circumstances I will feel rushed to take the exams in the summer. I would rather take a year off, do substantial volunteer work, perhaps find a lab, and use that gap to study hard core for the exam. What do you think?
     
  45. xianxTxx

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    Very helpful pointers but my case is a little different. I am in one of the 7 year BS/MD programs and we need a mcat score of at least 28 but of course I am aiming for a much higher score (35+). But it seems like studying for the mcat during the school year is my only option?
    I am a sophomore currently taking 15hrs of upper level science classes and I plan on taking the mcat in May, which is a very bad equation, I know. But I cant take the mcat in summer coz I will be travelling abroad for 2 months; and I only have two chances to take the mcat and score...Any advice?
     
  46. Hotshy

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    I tried this last spring semester, for the mid-april test. I starting studying in January and studied all over spring break. Then it finally hit me that I was burnt out from a full course load and ECs on top of that, nothing was sticking. So I just stopped then and pushed my date back to July 16th, giving me 2.5 months of study time with no other course work to worry about. I ended up getting a 34 on the test and I'm very happy with the result. The MCAT is something you want to take only once and not worry about ever again, you want to give it a sincere and focused effort your first time around, even if that means pushing back your test.
     
  47. pfaction

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    This is literally me. I'm on rotations from 9-5, so when I get home, I have 4 hours to study--and on Mon/Weds/Sat, I have prep, leaving me two real days to study--in addition to Friday work! I'm taking MCAT April 28th, I wanted to start SN2's schedule Tuesday night, and now I have to wait until Friday (I'm off this week)....feel so screwed because I may have blown my 4 day period already! I can't take it any time in the summer because I have rotations the entire year, to delay the MCAT = one year pharmacists salary. I can't justify that. I'll have to do good on this MCAT.
     
  48. user003

    user003 lab slave

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    I'm out of school, have a full time job and I'm taking my time studying. I think I've been studying for four months now, I'm planning on taking the MCAT in March.

    If you try to do too much too fast, you will burn out.
     
  49. blahblahblagh

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    Wow, this thread was incredibly discouraging. Thanks for bumping. It's great to know that I will most likely indefinitely burn out and drown in a pool of my own tears for trying.
     
  50. Hopeful19

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    Wow the info on this forum is just so amazing. Thank you so much firstly for all this. I wish I read this BEFORE I took my mcat this summer =(

    I have a question about the 3 month study schedule for retakers. I want to study during school but I do have a full course load and a 10 hour research lab a week. It's not too bad but I have some demanding courses. I know its probably not a good idea to study during school but if I wait too long like for summer to start studying then I would be taking the MCAT in August. That is not ideal because my chances would go down a lot. Any suggestions on how this would work if I want to start studying for it now during the semester?
     

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