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I appreciate your time and tips,

Briefly - I am a non-traditional pre-med and graduated with a bachelors in respiratory therapy in 2019. I have since been working weekends as a respiratory therapist. It has been several years since I have taken any of the prerequisites other than chemistry and organic, which I just took last fall.

Due to several factors, I only have this short time between now and May 20 to get ready. I decided to take AAMC FL1 to determine where I stand, and my scores were C/P 126, CARS 128, B/B 123, P/S 125 for a 502 total score. I enrolled in a Kaplan course to provide myself structure, but I have also given myself a lot of free time over the next month to study and want to know how I could best spend that time to prepare. What advice would you offer me in that regard?

Thank you in advance!!
 
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GreenDuck12

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Its impossible to predict but imo it’s too little time for the vast majority of test takers to be in a position to perform their best on test day. Given that it has been several years since your prereqs also goes against you. If you had just finished a 1 year program with all prereqs then maybe it would be feasible. Do you really feel you can adequately review concepts and content from a full year each of general chemistry, biology, physics, organic chemistry, as well as a semester of biochemistry? In one month? While practicing standardized test taking strategies and building endurance for a 7 hour exam?
 

Dr.Meowz

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It took me 7 years to figure out how to do ok on the mcat. from bottom 10 percentile to 85 percentile. Not spectacular but hehe from where i came from, im pretty happy.


Did you use anki premade cards? thats the magic sauce that made 3 months of studying outdo 7 years of prior studying.
 
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MadMax2018

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You're in for an uphill battle given the time constraints you have. Will you be studying full time? If not, be prepared not to do as well as you could have had you given yourself adequate time to study.
 
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Its impossible to predict but imo it’s too little time for the vast majority of test takers to be in a position to perform their best on test day. Given that it has been several years since your prereqs also goes against you. If you had just finished a 1 year program with all prereqs then maybe it would be feasible. Do you really feel you can adequately review concepts and content from a full year each of general chemistry, biology, physics, organic chemistry, as well as a semester of biochemistry? In one month? While practicing standardized test taking strategies and building endurance for a 7 hour exam?
I agree that it is far too much work to accomplish between now and my test date to perform my best. I am hoping that the score I get, one somewhere between a 502 and the best score I am capable of, will be enough. Given that I had done almost zero studying prior to the FL1, I am thinking I could increase the score significantly prior to test date even though it is so close.
Regardless of what I hope or how little time I have, I need to work with what I got. Would it be best to put far more emphasis on the areas I was especially weak, such as B/B? Or would it be better to cover as many topics as I can, though less thoroughly?
 
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It took me 7 years to figure out how to do ok on the mcat. from bottom 10 percentile to 85 percentile. Not spectacular but hehe from where i came from, im pretty happy.


Did you use anki premade cards? thats the magic sauce that made 3 months of studying outdo 7 years of prior studying.
85th percentile in such a smart group is spectacular in my book!
I don't have Anki at the moment, although I have heard good things about it. I think I will give it a try, and maybe it'll be the magic sauce for me too! Did you use Anki for a particular subject, or for everything?
 
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You're in for an uphill battle given the time constraints you have. Will you be studying full time? If not, be prepared not to do as well as you could have had you given yourself adequate time to study.
Luckily I have a clear schedule during the week for the next month and a half, although I will be working on the weekends. I have started studying in 3 hour blocks twice a day during the week, but have realized I may need to increase that quite a bit haha. Would you recommend I focus on my weak areas, or spread out my studying given how much content there is? On one hand I would hate to miss easy points in a section like P/S, on the other I am very unhappy with how low my B/B score was in comparison to the others.
 

MadMax2018

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What state are you in? Are you applying only MD or DO as well? If you insist on taking it, here is what I suggest.
You did well in CARS which is usually the section many ppl find hard to bring up. So that's good! You should brush up on P/S since you could probably do much better in that section and it should be one of the easiest sections to improve on. Then do abbreviated content review for the Science sections. Make sure to start taking some more practice exams a few weeks out. Good luck!
 
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What state are you in? Are you applying only MD or DO as well? If you insist on taking it, here is what I suggest.
You did well in CARS which is usually the section many ppl find hard to bring up. So that's good! You should brush up on P/S since you could probably do much better in that section and it should be one of the easiest sections to improve on. Then do abbreviated content review for the Science sections. Make sure to start taking some more practice exams a few weeks out. Good luck!
I am in Missouri, and have no preference between MD and DO. And thank you, I appreciate the advice! 😃
 
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What's your target score? If you got a 502 without doing any prep, then a reasonable expectation in about 6 weeks would be around a 510, provided you put in the work.
 

KnightDoc

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I agree that it is far too much work to accomplish between now and my test date to perform my best. I am hoping that the score I get, one somewhere between a 502 and the best score I am capable of, will be enough. Given that I had done almost zero studying prior to the FL1, I am thinking I could increase the score significantly prior to test date even though it is so close.
Regardless of what I hope or how little time I have, I need to work with what I got. Would it be best to put far more emphasis on the areas I was especially weak, such as B/B? Or would it be better to cover as many topics as I can, though less thoroughly?
This is against the advice that we on SDN bounce around our echo chamber.

The MCAT is the highest stake exam you will have taken to date, exceeded only by the exams you will take in med school that will determine licensing and your future specialty. Accordingly, the best advice is to conform your test date to when you are prepared to do your best, NOT to when is convenient to fit into whatever time frame you prefer. The latter is a recipe for failure and misery.

Maybe you'll get lucky and hit the score you need to get into a school. Otherwise, you will have wasted a ton of time, effort and money as you begin a cycle of retakes and reapplications. Spend some time reading the forums and see some of the stories from people who regret taking the test before they were ready, or applying before they were ready, and then lamenting the disadvantages multiple test takers and reapplicants are subject to in what is an insanely competitive process.

Your starting point isn't terrible, but you are at a huge disadvantage as compared to current students, and you are then handicapping yourself further by only giving yourself between 1/2 and 2/3 the prep time most people have. Good luck.
 
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This is against the advice that we on SDN bounce around our echo chamber.

The MCAT is the highest stake exam you will have taken to date, exceeded only by the exams you will take in med school that will determine licensing and your future specialty. Accordingly, the best advice is to conform your test date to when you are prepared to do your best, NOT to when is convenient to fit into whatever time frame you prefer. The latter is a recipe for failure and misery.

Maybe you'll get lucky and hit the score you need to get into a school. Otherwise, you will have wasted a ton of time, effort and money as you begin a cycle of retakes and reapplications. Spend some time reading the forums and see some of the stories from people who regret taking the test before they were ready, or applying before they were ready, and then lamenting the disadvantages multiple test takers and reapplicants are subject to in what is an insanely competitive process.

Your starting point isn't terrible, but you are at a huge disadvantage as compared to current students, and you are then handicapping yourself further by only giving yourself between 1/2 and 2/3 the prep time most people have. Good luck.
I chose a May test date so that I could receive my score and be able to submit my application near the beginning of the cycle. That said, I fundamentally agree with what you're saying. It may be worth reconsidering my test date even if it means the schools I apply to won't have my full application for a little while longer. Thank you.
 

GreenDuck12

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I’m sorry you’re not quite hearing what I think you were hoping for. If you search the forums you will find one of the most common mistakes non-traditional students make is trying to rush the process in order to start medical school as quickly as possible. Time and time again folks post about a lower than anticipated MCAT score due to an abbreviated prep period and needing to recover from it. Why risk a lowernscore than you may be capable of earning? The mean score for MD programs is in the top 20% of all test takers. As an MCAT tutor, and former teacher, I always advise a more cautions and conservative approach - in my mind it is better to take the MCAT once and apply once than the alternative. This is also coming from someone who opted to delay the test. - I know how much it sucks. Applying at the beginning of the cycle, IMO, is overly hyped on Reddit and SDN. It’s better to apply with a strong application. Period.
 
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I’m sorry you’re not quite hearing what I think you were hoping for.
My primary purpose in posting was to get multiple perspectives on my first question, about how to best use the length of time mentioned. I agree, the second question looks like a "please tell me everything will work out" bait, and I'll get rid of it. The remaining AAMC FL's, which I will take closer to my test date, will be the only real evidence to suggest how I'll do.
 
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