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MCAT

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by NNPham, 05.12.14.

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  1. NNPham

    NNPham 2+ Year Member

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    Do you guys think I can work part time while studying for the MCAT? Is that possible and would that be a good thing to do?
     
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  3. vanillabear55

    vanillabear55 just keep swimming 7+ Year Member

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    What would you be doing part time?

    It definitely is possible, just as someone working 'part-time' in research right now, I'm struggling to do both. I wish I could have time off to just focus on one, but it is what it is, need to pay bills too :/
     
  4. Goro

    Goro 5+ Year Member

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    Only you can answer this. On the whole, we do expect you to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time.

     
  5. Pythagorean

    Pythagorean We're all on our way out. Act accordingly. 2+ Year Member

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    Preparing for the MCAT in itself is a part time job.
     
  6. NNPham

    NNPham 2+ Year Member

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    I'm thinking about working as a pharm-tech part time. Hopefully 10-15 hours if possible.
     
  7. Chillbo Baggins

    Chillbo Baggins HEYYEYAAEYAAAEY 2+ Year Member

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    You have to make the call based on your study habits and how much you need to study.

    For me, the last few weeks before taking it, I worked 30-40 hours a week, but read my MCAT study book exclusively during my breaks and when I got home.
     
  8. lmn

    lmn 2+ Year Member

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    This completely depends on you, and none of us know you so we honestly can't provide any useful insight. Plenty of people can work part-time or even full-time and study/prepare adequately and do well, others need to be done nothing else so that they can focus enough to do well. Some even can spend months solely preparing for the MCAT and still do poorly due to poor techniques, commitment, or lack of discipline. This is something you can honestly only answer yourself, take a look through the material or take a practice test and see how you sit now and see if you can handle the amount of studying you will need to do with work.
     
  9. mehc012

    mehc012 Big Damn Hero 2+ Year Member

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    It is definitely possible.
    I suppose it's probably not ideal, so I'm not sure what you mean by 'a good thing to do'. If it negatively impacts your performance, it is not a good thing to do. If you can pull it off, it's not a bad thing to do. How would I know which camp you're in?
    Some people pull off stellar MCATs working fulltime or more. Some do poorly with 4mo off to study. Most are somewhere in between.
     
  10. WillburCobb

    WillburCobb I am the pull out king Banned Account on Hold 5+ Year Member

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    As others have said it's largely contingent on you. FWIW I was working 25-30hrs/week while studying for it. I made a strict study schedule based in how I best learn/study and built in some wiggle room for if I got behind. I did fine. Just know your own limits and habits.
     
  11. mehc012

    mehc012 Big Damn Hero 2+ Year Member

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    I'm working 40ish hours right now at 2 jobs...personally, I turned the SN2ed schedule into a set number of 'blocks'. I currently have 109d until my exam and 75 blocks left, leaving me 34 break days or so. Of course, I work on a lot of those days, but I also have full days off where I can bust through more than one 'block'.
     
  12. WillburCobb

    WillburCobb I am the pull out king Banned Account on Hold 5+ Year Member

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    Yeah I used a block type schedule and based it around my work schedule. There are some things I would've tweaked and done differently, but overall I'd give myself an 85-90% on the plan I developed. Solid, but room for improvement; you just never know until after the fact.
     
  13. ridethecliche

    ridethecliche Meep Meep Meep 5+ Year Member

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    There are people that actually study full time for the MCAT? Wowza...
     
  14. mehc012

    mehc012 Big Damn Hero 2+ Year Member

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    I'm trying to figure out how to include a bunch of extra resources I got my hands on for cheap...
     
  15. bonnie12

    bonnie12 2+ Year Member

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    Well there are quite a few people who take the MCAT after college or have to pay their bills...

    I am working full time and studying for the MCAT. It is difficult but doable.
     
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  16. Chillbo Baggins

    Chillbo Baggins HEYYEYAAEYAAAEY 2+ Year Member

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    I wouldn't be able to do that; I know I'd have burned out. But it works for some people, so more power to 'em!
     
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  17. ridethecliche

    ridethecliche Meep Meep Meep 5+ Year Member

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    I don't think you actually understood what I said. Read it again.

    I was wondering if people actually study full time for the MCAT while doing little else. Sounds like a colossal waste of time. I can't believe that people couldn't spend a 10-20 hrs a week doing things like volunteering or working part time while studying. If anything, it would help me study.

    And yeah, I worked full time when I took the MCAT. I had to retake it too. I've certainly done easier things in my life, but it wasn't all that bad...
     
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  18. bonnie12

    bonnie12 2+ Year Member

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    Ha sorry responded to your message on the bus using my phone!
     
  19. lmn

    lmn 2+ Year Member

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    The OP was asking about working, if they aren't working at a paid/unpaid job/internship while studying, then they are "studying full-time". This doesn't mean they are studying 9-5 every day of the week and doing nothing else, but volunteering/etc isn't work.
     
  20. mizzu

    mizzu Banned Banned Account on Hold

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    I honestly don't think studying mcat full time is a smart idea. Maybe that is just me since I like to procrastinate.

    I worked a full time job and prepared, there are plenty of hours in a day for that. I also didn't find the MCAT to be a cram-friendly test.

    2 hours of studying a night and that was the most I could take before getting exhausted by the verbal - I ONLY practice verbal. (I don't have a concentration problem)
     
  21. lumpyduster

    lumpyduster 2+ Year Member

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    I'm working 50 hr/wk right now and study 4-5 hours a day (more on weekends). I'm already getting a little burnt out and I haven't even started my summer class yet. We can do it, it just sucks!
     
  22. Pholaffle

    Pholaffle 2+ Year Member

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    I intend to start studying the spring semester of my senior year during which I'll be doing a clinical practicum for my major which I expect to be at least a 36 hr/week commitment (12 credit hour class). Don't know what the implications of the new MCAT model will be for studying but lets hope I won't need more than that one semester
     
  23. nvlorenzai

    nvlorenzai

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    I'm thinking about working as a pharm-tech part time. [​IMG]
     
  24. ciestar

    ciestar 2+ Year Member

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    I was working as a pharmacy tech full time and tried to study at the same time. I couldn't do it. I'm working 10-15 hours a week now and it's much more manageable. FWIW.
     
  25. ridethecliche

    ridethecliche Meep Meep Meep 5+ Year Member

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    Your definition of work is interesting. Unpaid or internship counts as work, but volunteering isn't work.

    Okay then.

    You need to budget some time for fun and shenanigans. I did much better when I retook the MCAT, mostly because I planned out the study schedule in such a way that I could go out and have fun if something came up and I had mandatory off days once in a while.

    I was MUCH less miserable and my scores reflected that.
     
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  26. lmn

    lmn 2+ Year Member

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    Ya unfortunately most of the world does count volunteering as "work"...
     
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  27. ridethecliche

    ridethecliche Meep Meep Meep 5+ Year Member

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    I mean that was all a non-sequitor anyway. My point was that studying full time for the MCAT and not doing anything else at all is ridiculous. In terms of work/volunteer, the point was that you should be able to do something else with your time. I figured that this was either someone on summer vacation or a recent grad asking, so the point was not to leave a hole on the resume because an adcomm will laugh at you if you tell them that all you did over summer was study for the MCAT.

    Does that make more sense?
     
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  28. Leslie_Knope

    Leslie_Knope

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    You know yourself best. I could not afford to stop working. So, I worked full time, volunteered four hours per week, and kept up on my research project (about 2-8 hrs. per week) while I studied for the MCAT. Also I was six months pregnant when I took the MCAT. It worked out well, but it was very hard.
     
  29. EngineerPreMD

    EngineerPreMD 2+ Year Member

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    Damn, respect. I'm about to be working full time, ~4 hours volunteering per week, and maybe some clinical stuff, and on top of that doing the MCAT. It worries me, but it's good to know people can do it. But... SIX MONTHS PREGNANT?! You must be some sort of super woman.
     
  30. Leslie_Knope

    Leslie_Knope

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    You are too kind. Now if only I felt comfortable mentioning pregnancy/motherhood on my primary application. Also my pre-requisites were 8+ years old. Don't know how I did it, but I did.

    Anyway, just go for it. The MCAT is a beast, yes, but a tameable one. :)
     
  31. tantacles

    tantacles Lifetime Donor SDN Moderator 7+ Year Member

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    Definitely possible. Many students take the MCAT while they're still finishing up their undergraduate degrees, so I imagine that you could study for the MCAT while working part time with few issues.
     
  32. Ismet

    Ismet PGY-fun SDN Administrator 5+ Year Member

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    Moving to MCAT discussions
     
  33. Rhino1000

    Rhino1000 2+ Year Member

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    So you worked full time when you studied for the MCAT, ended up doing poorly, and are also snidely remarking to people how they better be able to handle work and the MCAT at the same time (the snide remarks comment refers to a later post of yours)? That's idiotic.

    Your MCAT is the most important part of your application, by far. It's not a "colossal waste of time" to proportionately distribute time to reflect that. Your example, ironically, proves it.
     
  34. Rhino1000

    Rhino1000 2+ Year Member

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    Goro, you are an Adcom if I remember correctly, but that doesn't make all of your posts correct. If that same person that you are referring to ended up scoring 3-4 points lower on the MCAT because they couldn't spend an extra 15 hours per week on studying, then I am pretty sure that would affect even YOUR opinion on their competence, when evaluating their application, more than the the "extracurricular hole" would. For example, a person that scored a 31 versus a 35 (or even a 34).
     
  35. Goro

    Goro 5+ Year Member

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    If an applicant can only do one thing at a time, like study for MCAT, then how would said applicant handle medical school, where s/he will be taking an MCAT every 1-5 weeks?



     
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  36. Rhino1000

    Rhino1000 2+ Year Member

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    It's true, applicants need to be able to handle a heavy workload. Consider two identical people, one is studying for the MCAT very hard, emulating, say, a 55 hour/week workload? This person handled just as large a workload as the other identical student who studies 40 hours per week and volunteers 15. It's somewhat weird to assume that the one who is devoting less of his time to academic work is necessarily working harder. In other words, it's hard to assume that the one can handle a heavier workload than the other. It's also beyond the scope of this thread to assume that studying habits for one of the biggest tests of a wannabe physician's life can be easily compared to the studying habits of that same person in medical school; in other words, just because they recognized the importance of the MCAT, and treated it as a top priority for a few months, that doesn't mean they will treat every test in medical school as a priority over having extracurriculars going for years at a time.

    I have a question for you: do you think the average Adcom would accept a person with a 31 MCAT, with no 3 month break in their extracurriculars over a person with a 35 (34 also might work in this example) MCAT with a 3 month break? Or at least, a 3 month period with 15 hours per week less extracurriculars (All else being the same)? This assumes that studying an additional 15 hours per week for 3 months would secure you 3-4 points on the MCAT (this seems somewhat likely to me).
     
  37. Goro

    Goro 5+ Year Member

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    Personally, I don't consider MCAT prep to be "working" in the same sense as someone taking, say, 15 credit hrs, while also volunteering in the local ER. We expect you to be able to do multiple things at once.


    Consider two identical people, one is studying for the MCAT very hard, emulating, say, a 55 hour/week workload? This person handled just as large a workload as the other identical student who studies 40 hours per week and volunteers 15. It's somewhat weird to assume that the one who is devoting less of his time to academic work is necessarily working harder.


    This is a really silly hypothetical. No Adcom has access to this granular level of information, and it's not a zero-sum game. We'd accept both candidates (on MCAT score) at my school, but Cornell wouldn't.

    However, the latter candidate, who needed more time to get ready, while s/he might be in better med school, will more likely have trouble handling the curriculum.




    I have a question for you: do you think the average Adcom would accept a person with a 31 MCAT, with no 3 month break in their extracurriculars over a person with a 35 (34 also might work in this example) MCAT with a 3 month break? Or at least, a 3 month period with 15 hours per week less extracurriculars (All else being the same)? This assumes that studying an additional 15 hours per week for 3 months would secure you 3-4 points on the MCAT (this seems somewhat likely to me).

     
  38. Rhino1000

    Rhino1000 2+ Year Member

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    This indicates that you would be more likely to look favorably upon the applicant with 3-4 points less on the MCAT.

    This indicates that you might agree that students would be better equipped to focus on the MCAT

    This doesn't make a lot of sense. They didn't need more time to get ready; they simply decided to use their time in a different way. They could have spent their time doing the same exact activities as their identical self (well, their clone). They simply decided that Adcoms would be more likely to look favourably upon a superior MCAT score than the other options. If you mean that the Adcoms would perceive that the applicant needed more time to get ready, then do you think that that perception would hurt the applicant more than the improved MCAT would help him/her? Nonetheless, we are considering the effect of the applicant's time spent during their summer on their chances of acceptance, rather than theoretical performance in medical school, after all.

    Like you said, the MCAT score is actually a prerequisite for even being considered for acceptance at many schools - it's that important. You also said that your school would accept either applicant, likely. You didn't really state anything to support that that applicant would be more effective to sacrifice their MCAT study time for other endeavors, other than a speculation that the one would have a tougher time handling the curriculum, which doesn't seem to make a lot of sense.

    It seems to me that you somewhat agree that the applicant would better pressed to study for the MCAT that extra 15 hours per week.
     
    Last edited: 05.14.14
  39. lmn

    lmn 2+ Year Member

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    You are missing the name of the game here, to be accepted nowadays you need BOTH a good mcat score and strong, continuous EC's. You can complain all day long that it isn't fair that someone has to work and that's why they got a 30 vs a 35, but end of the day all that matters is that they didn't get as strong of a score, but end of day with how many applicants there are, the number counts and maybe that person should've started studying earlier or adjusted differently to get the best score they could and maintained w.e EC they were involved in.

    It is pretty wishful thinking and useless theoretical thinking to pretend two applicants are 100% the same besides study time for the MCAT and scores. In the real world there are going to be many different factors differentiating candidates, and even if not, a 30 vs a 35 is a big difference in scoring/demonstrated ability to succeed academically. The person that worked may be able to reach a 35 theoretically, but have they shown that? No.
     
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  40. Leslie_Knope

    Leslie_Knope

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    There is such a thing as diminishing returns. More studying time is not necessarily better.
     
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  41. Rhino1000

    Rhino1000 2+ Year Member

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    Well said.
     
  42. Rhino1000

    Rhino1000 2+ Year Member

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    A person who scored a 31 who could score 34 or 35 has not reached the point of diminishing returns. Also, when it comes to the MCAT, a 3 point gain pretty much never has a significant point of diminishing returns. I would bet that even a 45 MCAT would be looked at more favourably upon than a 42 MCAT. It might be less of a difference than a 34 versus a 31, but this is irrelevant. The 34 versus 31 is the situation that is relevant to the majority of applicants.
     
  43. Leslie_Knope

    Leslie_Knope

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    No, my point is that for some people more study time does not equal a higher score. In that case, they experience diminished return (no score improvement) for their increased studying.
     
  44. Rhino1000

    Rhino1000 2+ Year Member

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    Ah yes. I think it is unlikely for someone not to benefit from 15 hours of extra studying per week. For a peripheral example, in an easy major, or even in a difficult major, someone is likely to start doing better on their class exams if they start studying 15 hours per week more. Bottom line is that it is safe to assume that an extra 15 hours per week will most likely improve your score; this assumes that you are spending this 15 hours per week studying in an organized fashion.
     
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  45. ridethecliche

    ridethecliche Meep Meep Meep 5+ Year Member

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    Your reading comprehension really is atrocious, isn't it?

    I got a 30. Is that doing poorly?

    I knew I could do better, so I retook and got a 34.

    I worked full time in both scenarios, but I studied smarter and had more of a life the second time.

    Look kid, you're trying to prove something here. I have no idea what it is, but I'm pretty sure it's wrong. If your point is that the MCAT is the most important thing in the application, then you're highly mistaken.
     
  46. Strudel19

    Strudel19 5+ Year Member

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    People study for the MCAT while working all the time. I have to work full time while studying. It's definitely doable, especially if you only work eight hour shifts

    I work, come home, eat, shower and study for about there hours and sleep. When I have a day off, I take about half the day to relax and then study hard for the rest of the day. It's doable. With a part time job it should be completely doable.
     
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  47. mehc012

    mehc012 Big Damn Hero 2+ Year Member

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    Funny...I was going to say it was far more doable if you work 10s or 12s, so you have multiple days completely free in a week!
     
  48. Rhino1000

    Rhino1000 2+ Year Member

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    Yes if you score 30, you scored poorly; you have to make up for a below average MCAT with above average other things. How is my reading comprehension atrocious?

    Note that I never said you were stupid, so I it is not as though I am surprised that you were able to retake and score higher. I will note the common wisdom that retakes are looked down upon by admissions committees; I don't really know if this is true, but it's a moot point anyway. You should have taken it more seriously the first time, and cut down on your work schedule, and you wouldn't have had to (presumably) study for the MCAT a second time, thus wasting time. Also, if you studied the same "smart way" that you did the second time, the first time, would you have scored a 34 still? Do you think the first time, in other words, did not help your score at all? If it did, then the point that you can score a 34 while working full time is slightly weakened, because you didn't simply study while working full time; you studied twice while working full time. Your example alone, then is not enough to prove that you can score well while working full time (but of course, many others before you have anecdotally proven this exact thing).

    Yes, my point is that the MCAT is the most important part of your application, at least the most important part of your application that you can influence over the period of one summer. I firmly believe this is correct
     
    Last edited: 05.15.14
  49. ridethecliche

    ridethecliche Meep Meep Meep 5+ Year Member

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    A 30 is scoring poorly? I'll tell my friends who got into good MD schools with scores in that realm that they should have retaken.

    The common wisdom is that it looks bad if you retake and don't do much better and taking it 3 times is looked down upon.

    Yeah, I studied twice while working full time a year apart. I had already decided that I wanted to spend more time working before I received my first score back so it was moot anyway. And of course my damn example isn't enough, but there are plenty of people that have worked full time while studying, some even had families (hello non-trads!). I credit my second time to using better study material (TBR vs EK) and to better study habits that TBR forced on me.

    Again, I still don't understand what you're trying to say because my freaking point is that you need to be able to handle more than just studying for 3 months straight if you want to do well in med school. Additionally, a blank summer between school years looks really really bad because you have to explain the gap. If you're not doing anything else but studying all summer, then you're doing it wrong. You've come here with a hypothesis and are trying to fit data to that view. Your post to Goro's comments referring to the difference of the two applicants 31 vs 34-35 or whatever reflects that.

    Again, I have no idea what you're trying to prove because plenty of people do well while working full time and plenty of people don't. Just like plenty of people do well on the test in general and plenty of people don't. Just based on the pure fact that more people score under 30 than above it, of course you're going to find more people that did worse if they worked full time vs those that didn't. That's just the effect of a normal distribution. The same could probably said of the people that took an entire summer off to study, except now they have a meh MCAT score and no ex-currics for that summer.

    I'm glad you believe that the MCAT is the most important part of the application given your seemingly made up data. I can't speak to it because I have no idea which hat you pulled that information out of. I can't comment on your firm beliefs as beliefs can't really be argued with.

    I have no idea what we're talking about here anymore and there's so much baseless hand wringing over nothing, so I'm done. What I have learned is that you're incorrigible. So kudos to you.
     
    Last edited: 05.15.14
    Czarcasm likes this.
  50. Czarcasm

    Czarcasm Hakuna matata, no worries. 2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    06.22.13
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    Location:
    Crypts of Lieberk├╝hn
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    Medical Student (Accepted)
    Gotta love some of the posters on SDN.
     
    Goro likes this.
  51. Rhino1000

    Rhino1000 2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    12.30.12
    Messages:
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    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    My posts to you indicate that I support the fact that working full time is not more beneficial to your medical school application than scoring a few points better on the MCAT, and working less. The only reason I even replied to your posts in the first place is because you were making somewhat disparaging remarks to the people who take a full-time approach to studying for the MCAT (as well as the reason stated after the quote). For example:
    "There are people that actually study full time for the MCAT? Wowza..."
    And also because of your later comments remarking on the ridiculousness of spending so much time preparing for the MCAT, while at the same time, implying that you had to retake it.

    I also have no memory of spouting off "made up data." I mentioned that it seems reasonable to me that studying 15 hours per week extra on the MCAT would probably secure you a few points on the MCAT, which was explicitly a speculation. Maybe you are contesting my claim that the MCAT studying is the most important extracurricular a person can take on for the summer in which the person is taking the MCAT?

    My whole argument is that during the summer of your MCAT (if you are taking it in the summer), as far as maximizing your chances of admission into a medical school, and assuming that you have reasonable extracurriculars otherwise, your MCAT preparation should be your number one priority. You pre-refuted this by making comments in wild disbelief that someone would prepare for the MCAT full time, by inferring that to do so is a colossal waste of time, and it is borderline ridiculous, and that you did "just fine" despite working full time, even though the fact is that you had to retake it (which, in general, in itself is speculated on SDN to be slightly looked down upon, though you don't seem to fully agree with this, taking the stance that it is only looked down upon if you don't improve much, which seems reasonable). You post-refuted my point by saying that (referring to me) "you are just coming here with a hypothesis and trying to fit data" and that (not specifically referring to me) Adcoms will scoff at you for taking a break on your extracurriculars (notably without comparing the benefits of not taking a break in your extracurriculars with the benefits of obtaining a higher MCAT score). Another one of your points was that some people study full time for the MCAT and come away with a "meh MCAT score and little to no extracurriculars." This is an interesting point, but keep in mind that many of these same people would have scored even less than "meh" on the MCAT had they prepared even less for it, thus preventing them to even have the opportunity to be considered for admission in the first place.

    You also commented that you better be able to handle more than studying if you want to succeed in medical school. This may or may not be true, but it doesn't serve much purpose in a discussion on the most beneficial activity you engage yourself in on an arbitrary summer before medical school. Adcoms will adopt people who appear to be able to succeed in medical school; they can't tell that you won't be able to succeed in medical school simply because you studied more for the MCAT (especially if doing so results in a higher score, which seems likely) and worked less, because the increased MCAT indicates a higher likelihood of doing well in medical school, yet the lack of other extracurriculars suggests the opposite; therefore adcoms have to make their best prediction about who will succeed, so it follows that it must be demonstrated whether increased extracurriculars or increased MCAT scores are better predictors of such success in admissions. You didn't give enough reasons for me to believe that extracurriculars over one summer are more important than your MCAT score, which is why I can't accept your opinion; it's not because I am dogmatic.

    Anyways, I assure you that I have no intention of commenting on your competence; a 34 MCAT is very good (especially considering that you were working full time immediately prior), and I'm sure you'll get in somewhere with such abilities. I disagree with your ideas of the importance of the MCAT (I think that in the future, before discouraging others to study for the MCAT full time, you should check the AAMC data on MCAT versus acceptance rate, just to make sure that you can be beneficent in your recommendation).
     
    Last edited: 05.15.14

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