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MCAT schedule with a full-time position

pioneer22

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Hi,
I recently graduated and will begin a full-time position this June. I want to take the MCAT this year sometime to apply next year and was wondering if anyone had experience preparing for MCAT while working full-time....1) did you have a schedule that worked...2)is there an optimum time frame (ie. 3 months v 5 months, etc)?

Thanks!
 
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lumya

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I studied for the MCAT while working full time (I took it in 2018 and I'm planning re-take in June). The first time, I took the test in March 2018 and started studying the previous June. I did content review until December. I then took a full-length practice test every single Saturday leading up to my test date to get accustomed to the length. It really sucked because I was working 8 hours day, going home and studying for 2-3 hours each night and weekends were eaten up by practice tests and test review. This time around, I did something similar, although there's sort of been a lull for practice tests since my exam was originally in April but not rescheduled. I also didn't have to do as much content review this time around (although I'm working more so time-wise it still sucks).

It's definitely doable, but you should make your schedule based on how much content review you need. After you are pretty confident on the content, I'd recommend doing a lot of practice questions and take at least the AAMC official full length practice tests (there's 4). CARS is the hardest section to "study" for since it's for reading comprehension. I'd recommend you just read a lot the year leading up to your test. I read a lot of newspapers, especially sections for things I wasn't really familiar with (for me it was sports and fashion).
 
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JimKimSlim

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I took the MCAT while working full time, except that I did my content review while in school for 3-4 months. I started working full-time right after graduation, and it sucked. On weekdays after coming back home at 6, I made dinner and did practice problems every night and reviewed my Anki deck before going to sleep. Every Saturday, I took the entire day, taking all 10 of Altius practice exams and AAMC FL’s. On Sundays, however, I would take the entire day off for myself and relaxed my brain. Repeated this cycle for 3 months. It’ll suck, but trust me that it’ll be over eventually. Also, start doing CARS practice as early as you can, and try to establish a consistent sleep schedule. Those will help. I wish the best of luck.
 
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pioneer22

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I took the MCAT while working full time, except that I did my content review while in school for 3-4 months. I started working full-time right after graduation, and it sucked. On weekdays after coming back home at 6, I made dinner and did practice problems every night and reviewed my Anki deck before going to sleep. Every Saturday, I took the entire day, taking all 10 of Altius practice exams and AAMC FL’s. On Sundays, however, I would take the entire day off for myself and relaxed my brain. Repeated this cycle for 3 months. It’ll suck, but trust me that it’ll be over eventually. Also, start doing CARS practice as early as you can, and try to establish a consistent sleep schedule. Those will help. I wish the best of luck.

Do you have the anki cards to share, by chance? How much content review did you do compared to practice tests? During the week what was your schedule - ie. 2 hours content review, 1 hour practice?

Thanks
 
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paimei42

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I spent about 5-6 months studying around 2-3 hours everyday/everyother day after my 9-5 job. Read most of the kaplan mcat books in a month ish and then did practice problems for the rest of the time, starting the AAMC materials about a month and a half before the test date. During the last month I took a couple Wednesdays off to do practice tests so I wasnt killing myself doing two practice tests in a row on the weekends.
 
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2020NonTrad

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I took the MCAT while working full-time. I took it in January and took the week before the exam off. I also took 2 days off/week from work 3 of the weeks in December for full-time studying. I went in December knowing that I had to have all of my content down, so I spent the months leading up to December doing a lot of review with Khan Academy and TPR books. I'd also listen to Khan Academy videos during my commute. I was in biochem and cell/molecular biology at the time, and both of those classes were very helpful for prepping as well. I started reviewing TPR books and Khan Academy in August and I started dabbling into UWorld around October, hit it harder in November, and really hit it hard in December. I only did AAMC practice tests, and did 1 per week in December and the beginning of January. I took the last full-length 5 days before the real thing. I did all of the section banks toward the end of December.

As for how I timed my days:

If I was working, I'd do some basic review during breaks (QBanks of MCAT Question of the Day).
If it was a full-time study day, I'd usually do 45 minutes of practice (UWorld or Section Banks) followed by 15 minutes of break. If I identified an area where my content knowledge was weak, I'd spend 30 or so minutes reviewing the topic on TPR or Khan Academy. I'd normally take an hour break half-way through the day and I'd get as much exercise in as I could. I am all about very regular breaks when studying.
If it was a practice-exam day, I'd wake up, eat a small breakfast, and then start the exam. I did them all under real-conditions, only taking the allowed breaks, never pausing, and locking the phone away. After the exam, I'd relax for a couple of hours and then start review of all the questions I got right or wrong.
 
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chemistry hahgdgjjhdf

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I’m in a very similar situation as I work 40 hours per week essentially. What I do is I make sure to at least do 3 CARS passages a day and at least 2 hours of studying/review everyday. This means I will either write more content down or spend two hours studying what I have already been over before. I also take Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday off so that I can study 5+ hours on those days with at least an hour of practice (UWorld, AAMC packs) or for doing practice exams. It sucks but I feel that it will pay off later. The hard part is doing all this while fixing your personal statement and writing your activity list lol. My biggest advice is to get enough sleep. I am going to bed at 10 pm and definitely feel rested throughout the day, even though I start work at 6 am!
 
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PlsLetMeIn21

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It's really hard to study for this when you have other things going on like school, work, or research. No matter what, you have to put 600 hours in. Doing it over five or six months equates to 25 hours a week, which should fit around a 40-hour work week if you have no life. Welcome to MCAT world.
 
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JimKimSlim

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Do you have the anki cards to share, by chance? How much content review did you do compared to practice tests? During the week what was your schedule - ie. 2 hours content review, 1 hour practice?

Thanks
I wouldn't recommend using my Anki deck because I have explanations to some of the AAMC FL’s, and you want to take those blank. Overall, 40:60, but while I was working full time, I focused more on practice problems than content review (about 70:30). I would say 2 hours on practice problems and 1 hour on content review because I did most of my content review while I was in school before tackling practice problems.
 
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