tws1994

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Aug 17, 2015
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Hello,

I am a premed student (last year of undergrad) who plans on taking the MCAT in April. I plan on investing a couple hours a week into studying this fall semester to help get my brain adjusted to the different topics, and then because I will only have 5 credits in the spring, I think I can realistically devote 30 or more hours a week in the spring semester to studying from early January to mid April. As a senior I know there will be lots of social pressures to go out and have fun with my friends. I'm worried about caving into these pressures but I'm even more worried about their repercussions. I've had friends who have studied for the MCAT and been successful, but they essentially locked themselves in a room for the 3-4 months and never saw the light of day. Not having studied for the test before, I am wondering if anyone else has found a way to successfully balance their social life with their studying. For example, if I don't have classes Monday Wednesday or Friday, why wouldn't I be able to spend time with friends on a Thursday night after 6 hours of studying if I know I can be awake and alert by 10AM the next day and able to devote another 6-8 hours of studying that Friday?


Thanks for the advice.
 

Doctor Strange

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Dude, I had a social life during studying for Step 1. It's all about setting a schedule and sticking to it. In fact, I would argue that scheduling in free time will help you greatly. Studying becomes very ineffective very quickly if you burn out and don't touch base with your normal self and social life.
 
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Lannister

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Dude. 30 hours a week for an entire semester? Not necessary.
I took 15 credits while studying for the MCAT. I did maybe 15-18 hours of studying a week max, and I got a 4.0 and 91st percentile, and had plenty of time to relax and have fun with my friends.
 
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691622

you kind of answered your own question with your last sentence.

everyone is different, just because someone studied X amount of time doesn't mean you need to do the same. You say you are a senior so by now you should know how to study effectively and what works for you.

if you want to blackout with your friends and have fun then you should, we can't tell you what you can or can't do. MCAT is going to take up a good chunk of your time, so make a schedule, mix and match prep material according to threads you read on here (don't post a new thread on what to use to study pls) and have fun, college goes by quick.
 
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tws1994

2+ Year Member
Aug 17, 2015
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I'm glad I'm not crazy for thinking I will be able to have a bit of free/fun time built in with my studying. I guess I've been surrounded by people (2 of my closest friends) who have spent ALL of their time eating, studying, and sleeping, and after a while it can start to worry you that that is the only way to go about it. Thanks to everyone who has replied.
 
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KAS01

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Jul 31, 2013
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I am taking 12 credits fall 15' semester and 4 credits spring 16'. I plan on taking MCAT in April or May. I also will be working part time 10-20 hours a week. I will study for MCAT for 3 months starting winter break. There is always room for social life. As stated previously, as long as you stick to a disciplined schedule.
 
May 7, 2015
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Partying? I would advise against it, inevitably too distracting.
Just a low-key couple of hours a week with buddies? Doable. Just don't get sucked into the FB/texting stuff.
I found my performance spiked on practice exams when I started locking myself away and studying for 8 hrs+ a day about a month before my test date.
 
Aug 17, 2015
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Take the diagnostics. Patch up your weaknesses. Go through what you don't know. Go through it again.

I don't think it's necessary to spend 30 hours/week studying. In fact, I don't see how this is possible with a heavy courseload and ECs.

Be reasonable. Make a schedule for yourself, and stick to it (as others have said).
 
D

deleted407021

A lot of what you hear on SDN in terms of study schedules are overkill or exaggerations. I've spent more time these past few weeks with my GF than I've spent with my books, and I'm scoring fairly well on practice exams. YRMV
 

GrapesofRath

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A lot of what you hear on SDN in terms of study schedules are overkill or exaggerations. I've spent more time these past few weeks with my GF than I've spent with my books, and I'm scoring fairly well on practice exams. YRMV
+1

Saying you studied 12 hours a day as part of your schedule but in reality only actually studying for 5 while you were at the library or wherever doesn't mean you are actually putting in a 12 hour day or 60 hour week.

Many people at top schools got top MCAT scores with prepration that didn't span more than a few weeks. It is entirely variable; you don't get credit for how many hours you spend preparing.
 

TheShowGoesOn

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Mar 8, 2015
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Find out what works for you. Not everybody can lock themselves in a dungeon and "study" for 12 hours a day.

People have different study habits and learning potential. In my opinion, those that say they study for 12+ hours a day, for the MCAT, must not have the best study methods or they're studying 30 minutes worth of every hour (texting, FB, and other distractions) and counting the entirety as 12 hours.

If you've got some time before MCAT, take it slow. Test the waters with some basic content, you'll know after reading a few booklets what you need to focus more time on- once you've got a schedule adjust it as you see fit. Practice exams will give you a good idea of where you stand. There is no right/wrong when it comes to hours studied/day...

Best of wishes!
 

tyrsa

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I did well on the MCAT, and studied for it while working full time. My work (research) was extremely demanding, so I studied for the MCAT for several months. I did not go out while studying, because working and studying took all of my time, so no, I did not have a social life. But I do like studying all day, I truly do enjoy it. I actually enjoy it a lot more than going out. I would go see a movie once in a while when I was really tired though. However in hindsight, going running more regularly would have helped me blow off steam.
After the MCAT I did catch up with all of my friends and family, it was an awesome reward after all that studying.

Best of luck to you!
 

futuremdforme

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May 12, 2013
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I did well on the MCAT, and studied for it while working full time. My work (research) was extremely demanding, so I studied for the MCAT for several months. I did not go out while studying, because working and studying took all of my time, so no, I did not have a social life. But I do like studying all day, I truly do enjoy it. I actually enjoy it a lot more than going out. I would go see a movie once in a while when I was really tired though. However in hindsight, going running more regularly would have helped me blow off steam.
After the MCAT I did catch up with all of my friends and family, it was an awesome reward after all that studying.

Best of luck to you!
I also studied for the MCAT while working full time. It meant seriously hampering my social life but guess what -- now I get to be a doctor! I was able to see friends on weekends (after studying...) and the effort I put in was absolutely worth it because it meant I got into my first choice school. I did prioritize exercise, but it was fast in-and-out fitness vs long workouts.

I think I did ~15 hours/week for 3 months and ~25 hrs/week for a month and a half maybe?
 

md-2020

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I also studied for the MCAT while working full time. It meant seriously hampering my social life but guess what -- now I get to be a doctor! I was able to see friends on weekends (after studying...) and the effort I put in was absolutely worth it because it meant I got into my first choice school. I did prioritize exercise, but it was fast in-and-out fitness vs long workouts.
That's really all you need anyways....if you're getting blasted every day of the week chances are you need an intervention.

Congrats on the acceptance!
 

FutureOncologist

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I made a 36 by studying 12 hours/week while taking a heavy course load, volunteering, and spending time with friends. The MCAT subforum, from what I have seen, is neurotic and will obsess over the smallest things (e.g. "What the f**k I made a 31 last week and then I made a 31 again... I'm thinking of just applying to DO, if they'll even let me in.")
 

Lucca

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Make a good schedule and include free time and all will be well. The only problem with the new MCAT is that the diagnostic exams don't seem to be entirely reliable as of yet from the scores reported on the MCAT forum and from the disparities I've noticed in the AAMC material compared with TPR and TBR. My suggestion is just to ensure you know both the content and the testing strategy behind any practice question you do and that's what you need to set yourself up for success. Time isn't necessarily the critical factor, it's more a matter of focusing your study on what best suits you.
 
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