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mcat environment

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by spanky, Dec 30, 2001.

  1. spanky

    spanky Member 7+ Year Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    For all of you experienced MCAT takers, this will probably seem like a strange question. How conducive was the environment to taking the test? I often take tests in my college environment next to people who are eating their lunch or breakfast and rattling wrappers. I have even sat next to students who talk to themselves during the tests. One person cursed under their breath repeatedly and another person read the questions out loud and did math computations out loud.
    Do they allow this kind of stuff in the MCAT?
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  3. KyGrlDr2B

    KyGrlDr2B 7+ Year Member

    Oct 15, 2001
    Well, there is no food allowed in the testing rooms (my room allowed food but we had to put it away during the test) so you wont have to worry about rattling candy wrappers. And the environment was pretty much quiet except for maybe a person shaking their leg NONSTOP and the sound of the papers. Although I could see one girl out of the corner of my eye get done with the verbal section about 20 mins early and it drove me CRAZY because i was still on passage, like, 6. I'd say if people are muttering under their breath, the proctors might tell them to stop and if that doesn't happen, speak to a proctor during the break and ask them to hush the person.
  4. shorrin

    shorrin the ninth doctor 7+ Year Member

    Dec 21, 2001
    the tardis

    I have had the worst test taking environments for my last two tests. The first in april was in a large auditorium filled w/100+ people. It was well over 80degrees in the room and the proctors were nazi's from hell. That being said, my friend took her test at UofC in a small cool lecture hall where they provided juice, bagels and donuts for the test takers... I wanted to puke.

    The second test in august I still had the large auditorium but UofC this time. Though I still had nazi proctor who would not allow us to place our timers on the desk top...can you believe it?

    No one, however, talked at all...
    Be prepared for anything I guess...
  5. gooseHC

    gooseHC Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Oct 21, 2001
    I got to take it at my school in a normal classroom and didn't find it much different except maybe it was quieter. but food and any other distractions usually are kept to a minimum by the proctors...
    but i found my self in another world taking the test so that a war could be going on inside the room and I wouldn't be fazed....
    but I guess everyone has their own testing strategy/habits....
  6. Jessica

    Jessica Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Sep 7, 2001
    I took my test at UCI and they let us have water and gum (very annoying considering that the person behind me was chomping like a cow from 8 am-5pm).... at least no one talked. I have heard of some lax proctors allowing people to snack during the test (rumor or not?? I don't know)
  7. Amy B

    Amy B I miss my son so much Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    My April testing experience...
    The proctor had no control and didn't care. I watched people continue to fill in bubbles after time was called.

    They were using timers that would beep throughout the whole test. One guys timer beeped every 20 minutes. When I complained to the proctor, he told me , '"Well just block him out. You can't be in control of the people around you, so you should learn to ignore things."

    I was having a severe crisis at home at the time, but I also believe the testing envirnoment added to my low score.

    August testing environment....
    The proctor I had was so much better. He was in control. He would not allow anyone to bother anyone else in the room. A girl 5 rows away from me (all the way on the other side of the room) was chewing her gum with her mouth open. Every few seconds she would make a small bubble and pop it.
    I raised my hand and told the proctor it was bothering me. He watched her for 1 minute and then told her if she did it again she would be asked to leave. He told her to throw away the gum. I was very thankful to him.

    I scored much better in August, raising my score by 5 whole points.

    It was cold both times, so I brought a jacket.

    Take my advice if people are bothering you, stick up for your rights and speak to the proctor. Don't allow anything to break your concentration. Good luck!!!!!!!!!!!!
  8. E'01

    E'01 1K Member 7+ Year Member

    Jun 26, 2001
  9. kutastha

    kutastha 2K Member Physician 10+ Year Member

    Jun 24, 2001
    Some advice from a professional MCAT taker...

    First off, ask around and see what spots are best for MCATs. My first time around was at UCI and in a cramped room of about 150 people (oddly, the same room I had my summer course in). With so many people, the day took forever as they checked us in before each section. It was also hell just having that many people in the room. Plus, the seats had those little fold-up desks. Hell for trying to take an MCAT. My score was abysmal (my insulin pump needle falling out didn't help matters).

    Therefore, I had to take it a second time. I spoke to some friends and heard about Chapman College (now University). I even made the trek from San Diego and it was well-worth it. There were only about 20 people and we had desks that extended through the whole room - therefore, space was not an issue. With so few people, the day ran smoothly. I went up 5 points too.

    I had to take it again, and opted for Chapman again over USC. It was just as pleasant an experience (if you can call taking the MCAT pleasant). I was able to bring food in since I was diabetic - they just took my word for it. The proctors even asked how my blood sugar was at the end of the day. Weird. This environment was fantastic - we did have our share of gloaters at the beginning - "yeah, I did fantastic on all the princeton review diags and blah blah" but you have to zone these things out. They pretty much clam up after the Verbal when they realize this one really counts. If I had to take it a fourth time, it'd never be at a huge auditorium. Too much chaos for a day that you should be relaxed. I went up another two points this time and I guarantee the environment helped immensely.

    Oh, and take some B-vitamins the night before. Good luck.

  10. Kodos02

    Kodos02 Junior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 15, 2001
    wow shorrin, that environment you mentioned sounds remarkably like the one I had when I took it. You wouldn't be talking about the Med Science building at U of I would you? If you are, yeah, that room was way too hot and the proctors weren't too nice. On the plus side, the desks were nice and big. In response to the topic, understanding the sites available and choosing the best one is key according to myself. Stuff happens and you just gotta "block out the bad and harness the good."
  11. shorrin

    shorrin the ninth doctor 7+ Year Member

    Dec 21, 2001
    the tardis
    Hi kodos2

    I tested in april at IIT (illinois institute of technology). We had the small fold down desk chairs which were so tough to put testbook and scantron on. I hope you did well anyway :) .

    Gee you know, maybe the mcat is standardized but the testing environment sure isn't and since it contributes so highly to the test takers mental state it sure should be.

    Anyway, anyone from illinois who is planning to take the test, please stay away from IIT. U of C is a very nice testing site.
  12. imtiaz

    imtiaz i cant translate stupid Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Jul 26, 2000
    New York, NY
    I took the April 2000 test at IIT, it really does suck. I got a 21 on that test, but I wouldn't say the site had everything to do with it. Anyhow, I was going to take it again at IIT but MCAT changed my site to the Chicago City Colleges main office in downtown near the sears tower. That site was much better, we had big tables to take our tests on and it was a lot more relaxed. I went up 10 points, but again the site had nothing to do with it. Like the poster above me, I say stay far far away from IIT. It's a sucky place to take the MCAT.
  13. buglady

    buglady We need more cowbell 10+ Year Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Evergreen State
    I just thought I'd add my MCAT taking experience from yucky land...

    I took my test in a cramped community college classroom, which just happened to be adjacent to another classroom which was also in "session". This neighboring classroom wasn't an MCAT classroom, so it was a very noisy classroom. The professor kept on rolling the blackboard back and forth and the students laughed, loudly and frequently. This went on for the majority of physical science section. I did terrible on this part...perhaps it was because I was in the very back of the classroom, next to all the noise?

    My proctors were way too lax...I was actually hoping for some NAZI-esque proctors, to keep things running smoothly and on time. They ignored the food, the timers on people's desks and whiteout during the writing samples (not that it bothers me, but when the hell would you have the time to use white out?). Oh yeah, and did I mention the cell phone ringing during bio? It was utterly fantastic. There weren't enough left handed desks, either, for all of the lefties. To top the great time I was having, the work-release workers were outside picking up garbage and making noises. WE also had a few lawnmowers going on right in front of our classroom. THe proctors finally closed the door after 20 minutes. It all was very obnoxious.

    My friend had a silent testing room and the proctors made everyone put their phones, pagers, calculators, etc in the front of the classroom. She got done way earlier than me....and she tested at the same place as I did. It sucked.

    There aren't too many options in the Sacramento area. Unless I go to the Bay Area, then I'm stuck at the same testing center.....hooray for me.

    My advice: be prepared for anything--jackhammers, tornadoes, a marching band (someone on this board had some band practicing the day of the MCAT, I forget who, though), and any other obnoxious nosie. Be focused!
  14. rikkitikki

    rikkitikki Member 10+ Year Member

    Sep 27, 2000
    If there are real problems with the envirnoment you can request a retake at no extra cost- except for aggravation and anxiery of course. THis happened a couple of years ago when proctors were ill and exam didn;t start until later things were disorganized etc/
  15. EMTgirl

    EMTgirl Member 7+ Year Member

    Oct 30, 2001
    buglady...i think we took the mcat at the same place. AR community college?? i actually enjoyed that experience more than taking it at a bigger school because you are not crammed in a classroom with a million other people who are stressing out.
    my advice to any mcat taker:
    1. bring a jacket or sweatshirt because the rooms are always cold
    2. don't drink too much water before/during the test because it sucks if you have to do an entire section while having to pee
    3. don't talk to everyone before/after the sections about how they think they did or what test section they had and if it was easy, etc. people lie all the time to make themselves seem smart. just find a quiet spot and spend the breaks trying to relax and focus on the next section.
    4. bring your own timer and pace yourself, pretending like the real mcat is just another practice test that you have taken a million times
    5. GO OUT AND CELEBRATE ONCE IT IS OVER! the mcat is a piece of crap and you deserve some drinks once you have conquered it!
    good luck!
  16. Mary Jane Watson

    Mary Jane Watson Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Oct 13, 2001
    Betwixt and between
    The room and desks were nice where I took it in August (Univ. of Ala. -Birm). BUT, it was bid day for the sororities and they were screaming outside throughout the verbal section. The proctors were at least concerned, even though there wasn't much anyone could do about it.
  17. Dr. Don

    Dr. Don Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Dec 15, 2001
    Los Angeles
    Ok, check this out...I went to UCLA as an undergrad and if you are a bruin or plan to take the MCAT in the Los Angeles Area...DO NOT TAKE IT AT UCLA. they take the exams in this chemistry halls or physics halls (Young and Kinsey if you are familiar with it) and they suck people. There's no space to do anything!!! I took my MCAT at USC...and although the trojans suck...their MCAT location was great. No noise whatsoever, except for the usual (page turning, etc). Nobody was allowed to eat inside the room. I got a whole table just for me and there was plenty of space for me to extend my legs during the exam. The way I look at it...this is about an 8 hour gotta take it somewhere where you can be comfortable....anyways I might retake the MCAT in april so you know where I'll be taking it....

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