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MCAT retake advice

JSizzle20

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Hi guys,
So the first time I took the MCAT, I was working full time while in school full-time, so to prep I used winter break and all my vacation time to cram for 21 days and take it. I got a 509, applied to med school this cycle, and am now on 4 WLs which most likely I wont get off of.

I'm gonna reapply next cycle (2021-2022) and obviously retake my MCAT. To those people who have been studying properly I could use your advice:

Option 1) Work full-time in research while also studying for the MCAT week nights and all day weekends. Do this for about 6ish months then take.
Option 2) Work part-time 3 days a week, and use the other 4 days of my week solely to MCAT prep all day. Do this for 3 months then take. Then I would find a full time job after and just work until applying.

What do people think is a better plan?
 
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JSizzle20

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Before offering advice on either plan, can you describe how you prepared for your first MCAT attempt and how you envision your second attempt being different? Also what is the breakdown of your MCAT score?
Yes! my score breakdown was 127/126/127/129.

To prepare I took next step practice exams 1-6, AAMC question banks basically all AAMC provided materials, AAMC FL 1/2/3, Jack Westin for CARS, and the 80ish page Kaplan psych sociology study guide. I basically used the first 7 days to practice CARS on jack Westin and memorize the psych/soc study guide. once that was done I just cranked out next step practice full lengths, AAMC practice materials, and the AAMC full lengths for 14 days then took the exam. then id review what I got wrong and do quick review on the content I was getting wrong. definitely a horrible study schedule but cramming was all I could do.

Going forward I plan to buy the all Kaplan study books and do thorough content review for as long as needed. Im rlly in no rush since I plan to apply a year from now. after months of content review id start full lengths, practice questions. I dont plan to take until im getting 518+ on my practice aamc full lengths.
 
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GreenDuck12

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Yikes, that was an abbreviated study schedule! Given that, and that you scored in the top 20% of test takers, a longer period of review and practice should yield better results.

I worked full-time while studying for the MCAT and it was a challenge. I found that by the end of the day, I was too fried for the studying that I did for it to stick. I found that I needed to figure out how to fit studying in around why work schedule. For me, that meant studying from 3:30-7:30 AM each day. Because of my experience, I generally advocate for working part time while preparing for the MCAT for a couple reasons:
1. We tend to forget things that we review early on. This means that we have to review things over and over again.
2. Burnout is real. With longer study schedules it is much easier to take days off at a time. The MCAT is like training for a marathon, in that you want to make sure you are consistently working towards your goal each day. The more days you take off, the more things you forget, and the more you have to review later on.

If I had the two options you outlined above, I would absolutely go with the part time work with a few days off per week to study. That being said, if you need to work full-time, it is absolutely possible to make that work.
 
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JSizzle20

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thank you! my biggest fear was burnout but studying early morning like you described might work out too! my brain seems to work best in the morning as opposed to the night anyway. def gonna consider it further but your input helped a lot. thanks!!
 
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jmu29

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Apr 2, 2020
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Hi guys,
So the first time I took the MCAT, I was working full time while in school full-time, so to prep I used winter break and all my vacation time to cram for 21 days and take it. I got a 509, applied to med school this cycle, and am now on 4 WLs which most likely I wont get off of.

I'm gonna reapply next cycle (2021-2022) and obviously retake my MCAT. To those people who have been studying properly I could use your advice:

Option 1) Work full-time in research while also studying for the MCAT week nights and all day weekends. Do this for about 6ish months then take.
Option 2) Work part-time 3 days a week, and use the other 4 days of my week solely to MCAT prep all day. Do this for 3 months then take. Then I would find a full time job after and just work until applying.

What do people think is a better plan?
Hey, first time on here. Just made my account because I had some questions myself and came across this thread. So I am kind of in the same shoes as you. Only I took the MCAT last year and did awful. I had 2 kids with my fiancé while I was in college full-time, working full-time, researching full-time, and trying to study for the MCAT. I just started studying again in March. No shame ... I got a 491 last year which I shouldn't have even taken because my highest AAMC practice was a 498 and I barely studied (maybe 2 weeks of actually studying and no content review), I was hoping for a miracle. So this year I actually decided to study and I am in the 513 range right now so I am doing much better. Still not exactly where I want to be but 22 point increase is pretty nice. Heres what I did:
1) I study from about 7AM - 4PM eat dinner and then study from 6-10/11PM.
2) the first 2 months I did NOTHING except content review. I took every college notebook I had, reviewed my notes, and re-wrote summaries about 20-30 pages for each class and then I reviewed the practice AAMC tests from last year
3) once I felt more confident with the basic knowledge, I started taking the AAMC FL test but one section at a time (since you can reset the test). I would skip to which ever section I wanted to take and take just that section
4) EVERYONE says it and I didn't want to believe it but it probably helped the most: spend MORE time reviewing the sections/FL tests than you spend actually taking it. right/wrong doesn't matter review every single question. know why you got it right, why you got it wrong, and if you see an answer choice that you don't know look it up and master it
5) now that I am in the range of where I want to be on each section I am going to start taking FL and reviewing them and then touching up on where I am going wrong either by looking back on my notes or just taking notes from the answer explanations.

Also, lets be real, mcat studying sucks and it can be super overwhelming. In order to stay sane you have to enjoy yourself a little bit. Long breaks of not studying can definitely mess you up but if your feeling tired one day or want to hangout with family or friends it will definitely help you and keep your stress levels down. Good luck!
 
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MedSchoolTutors

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I would probably go with the first plan just because consistency is one of the most important things for the MCAT, so it wouldn't be great not to study for 3 days a week. Constant review and practice is key to succeeding on the MCAT.

Kevin W, MCAT Tutor
Med School Tutors
 
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