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New MCAT Study Schedule

Discussion in 'Re-Applicants [ MD / DO ]' started by 1uhbedoc, Mar 10, 2019.

  1. 1uhbedoc

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    Ok guys, re-applicant here, dreading another cycle of this insanity. I'm still waiting to here back from a few schools on how I can improve my application but I've left voicemails and had no response (I'm sure they're slammed busy). However I figured I throw out some things from my past cycle and get some other opinions on here.

    - cGPA 3.68 sGPA 3.92 I have around 220 hours on my transcript so I know my cumulative GPA isn't budging.
    - 2018 MCAT 501 (126/122/126/127)
    - Clinical Hours: ~ 10,000 as a nurse
    - Volunteer Hours: ~ 200 mostly with a non-profit organization for kid's athletics
    - Shadowing: None, however I worked as an anesthesia technician at a pediatric hospital for 3 years where I worked exclusively with a myriad of physicians. I worked on every floor, every OR, etc ~ 5,000 hours
    - LOR: I feel like they were strong. I had one from a director of nursing that was my boss for 3 years, one from a physician at the hospital and then the pre-med committee letter from my university.
    - Personal Statement: I feel as though it was strong. I had at least 10 people read it and I edited it probably 15 times.
    - Application was submitted in August (seems late but I'm mainly trying to stay at my state school which doesn't start accepting people until all applications are submitted in November so it's rather pointless to rush the process).
    - Interview: I believe I absolutely killed it. I had them laughing and we were just having a normal conversation the entire time. I think they asked me all of 3 questions. I was professional but personable, explained every answer with stories and details. Don't know how it could have gone wrong. The interviewers even told me "we don't sit on the admissions committee but if we did, you'd have our full support."

    Clearly my MCAT score is poor, let's face it. CARS was the death of me and quite frankly, when I received my score, I was stunned. I felt comfortable about the exam. I used kaplan review books and khan academy for content review, studied probably around 200 hours. For questions, I did all of uworld twice and free questions here and there from prep companies. I took Kaplan's free FL exam and the 3 FL offered by AAMC in addition to all AAMC practice questions. All in all, I studied about 6 weeks. First FL was a 494, 2nd was a 502, 3rd was a 507 and 4th was a 508. I figured on exam day I would score 505-510 but somehow the cards weren't in my favor.

    This go around I've already developed a study schedule for round two, taking the exam May 31st (I'd prefer to take it earlier so I can submit application earlier this year and apply broadly but I work full time and I clearly need to study longer than I did last year). I plan on purchasing 6 FL exams from Next Step Test Prep as well as their question bank. I'll also redo uworld's question bank as well. I'm not sure how I feel about redoing AAMC material since I went through all of it twice (I don't want too much "I've seen this question" material). As far as content, I plan on sticking to kaplan books and khan academy due to financial restrictions as I feel like I had most of the main content down, just need to delve a little further into finer details. I plan on doing ~ 700 practice questions week one with 4 hours of content review/day Monday - Friday, then week two I'll do ~300 practice questions per week with a FL on Thursday (review the exam the next day), maybe 3 hours of content review/day. I'll alternate this schedule back and forth for 10 weeks which will bring my total study time up around 150 hours. All in all it should be ~5300 practice questions total with around 200 hours of content review. Additionally I've yet to figure out what I'll do for CARS specifically. Maybe just do like 4 passages every single day?

    Any one used Next Step Test Prep? How would you say it compares to uworld or AAMC? I'm continuing to volunteer with the non-profit but it's probably ~10 hours/month and unfortunately I'm in a position where I've just had to work 50+ hours a week so my free time just doesn't allow for research and volunteer, etc. That said, I don't see my extracurriculars changing all that much for next cycle and I'm not sure if I should redo my letters of recommendation or resubmit the ones I had?

    Thanks to everyone for the read, any advice is appreciated.
     
    #1 1uhbedoc, Mar 10, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2019
  2. lalalaaaaaa

    7+ Year Member

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    looks like you have a solid plan. really just try to figure out why you didn't do well the first time, and change that. if something isn't working, change it. but if you're putting in this much time, you should be able to improve. make sure you take the practice exams under exam-like conditions to get a good sense of where you will score and to track your improvement. also don't burn yourself out. this is a pretty ambitious plan. make sure you are working out, eating well, and taking rest days. this is a super important skill in medical school too .
     
  3. fyang0414

    2+ Year Member

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    I did NextStep for my most recent prep for the MCAT and I think it helped a lot. I was working full time and only had about 3 months, and they seems to have the most condensed version of the material. I did that with Khan Academy and I guess this cycle it was good enough :p

    You have a very solid plan but I would recommend doing a bit more self reflection into what worked/didn't work and see what you can do differently. For example, for me, I did a lot of CARS passages a day but this most recent time around, I did less (maybe like 2 medium-hard passages) and really looked into them. That's my example since CARS was your weakest point on your MCAT.

    For LoR's, I reused the ones I had but got a couple of new ones. If your work situation or volunteer situation hasn't changed and you have letters from those, you should be fine. I tried to make sure that I had strong letters for each of my "most significant" activities on AMCAS, not sure how much of an impact that had but I feel like it solidified why I thought those were my most significant activities.
     
  4. OP
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    1uhbedoc

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    "Burnt out" is an understatement. I spent 15 semesters in undergrad full time, all while working a full time job. I did all three FL from AAMC under timed conditions, quiet environment, etc. I'm not sure how in the world I ended up with only a 501. I do well on exams, no anxiety, really good test taking strategies, etc. It is quite an ambitious plan but I feel as though I adequately prepared for the last one but I suppose not well enough. I currently work about 50-55 hours a week so studying has been slow thus far. I'm hoping once April rolls around I can go back to just 12 hours shifts on the weekends to leave M-F open for dedicated study which is what I did last time. I definitely need to get back in the gym haha, thanks for the response.
     
  5. OP
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    1uhbedoc

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    Yea, I'm kinda torn about my LORs. I read one of them (old boss of 3 years, per her request) and it was astounding. Can't speak about the others, but upon initial inquiry, the people stated they would be able to write me a strong letter and gave me full support so I can't imagine they said anything negative. I don't have any new EC this year (as soon as the MCAT and interview was over I had to go back to working ~70 hours a week to get caught up on bills; I'm not sure how much sympathy they will have for me regarding that but hell, I'm no superhuman and let's be honest, most ECs we do for them to check off boxes. I have continued to volunteer with a non-profit I've been with for a while but I'd say it's ~10 hours/month). As far as self-reflection, the only thing I'd say wasn't beneficial was anki (good for basic memorization obviously but I didn't get much from it compared to practice questions and FL exams). CARS however is definitely something I'm working to improve and I haven't nailed down a strategy for it yet. I've tried the notes thing, skimming, read first/last sentences, etc. I'm a very good critical thinker but reading ambiguous philosophical fluff doesn't sit well with me and I'm not sure it ever will. Oh well, I'm just going to keep trying; that's all I can do. Thanks for the response!
     
  6. fyang0414

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    This phrase actually speaks to me immensly since I felt the same way in my earlier attempts at the MCAT. The passages I enjoyed reading I did well on and those I didn't (the ambiguous philisophical fluff) I didn't do well on at all. Not only did they take me longer but I got more questions wrong.

    I know you said you may never enjoy those pieces but for me, I started reading more and tried to train myself to start liking (or rather stop disliking) topics that I typically had no interest in. CARS eventualy became my favorite section haha. That + practice that I thoguht worked for me bumped my CARS score up about 4 points. That's just my experience of course, but I figured maybe sharing my experience with you will help!

    Best of luck, I'm sure you'll figure out a way and do great!
     
  7. OP
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    1uhbedoc

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    Thanks for the response! I'm not sure what I'll do for CARS this go around. I haven't been reading much the past year since I was kinda burnt out and have been working full time. I thought about Jack Weston but don't have the funds. I'm trying to figure out a schedule where I can do 4-6 passages Monday - Friday for 8-10 weeks and hopefully that helps. It definitely hurt my MCAT quite a bit.
     

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