wholeheartedly

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So, it seemed like a long-time coming and then boom it's here. I have all my supplies and am trying to draft a study schedule. I've been watching for registration to open for summer test dates and now they're available.

If I was a trad student with the summer off I'd just plan on using a variation of SN2ed's plan and I think I'd be able to plan a date pretty well, but factoring in the working, screwy sleep schedule/exhaustion, a req. field experience, some volunteering and the fact that it's been 10 years since my pre-reqs I'm not sure what date to register to take the darn thing. I feel like I need to get something locked in, but not sure how long my review is going to take.

So the question is how did you other non-trads with a slew of obligations decide when to register, especially if there was quite a bit of time between your pre-reqs and tests? Was it just "I'm giving myself 4 months to study and taking it x date" or was it more "I'm going to start my content review, see how much work I need, then set my date." Obviously you won't be able to tell me when to take it, but I'd like to know what you did and how it worked for you i.e. did you finish too late and feel you had to cram at the end or did you finish early, have to cancel, reschedule, waited to see how your review went but the test dates closed, etc.

Oh, not likely I'll be able to apply this summer, much as I'd like to, so that's not an issue.
 

Erakis

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I had to juggle a great many things. I struggled through content review and was not having much success while trying to knock out a few hours while tired after a long day at work. I took two weeks vacation, and focused on questions and practice tests with targeted content review based on my weaknesses of the day's practice. I was able to significantly bring up my practice test scores using that method. I scheduled a morning test (8:00), so every morning for two weeks, I woke up at 5:45, established a routine (coffee, breakfast, shower) and took a full length AAMC practice test starting exactly at 8:00 (I only too full length every other day to prevent burn out, passage sets on off days.). I would then take about two hours rest, then review the questions I got wrong and review those subjects for about two to three hours.

At the start of the two weeks, after inconsistent and ineffective content review, I got 19 on AAMC #3. After using the more disciplined approach, being wary of getting psychological rest and sleep, I scored 31 two days before exam day, took a full veg out day, then got 33 on test day. Not spectacular, but it was the best I could do with very little time.

For me, working rest into the plan was key. The brain depletes glucose during testing, so endurance t be built by full length tests with snacks during breaks, but a period of rest before afternoon review was helpful. Also, information is consolidated into long term memory through proteomic changes during slow wave sleep, so if you are not sleeping well, you are wasting a lot of your study efforts.
 

NuttyEngDude

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hey there wholeheartedly. i was blindsided at how poor my pre-reqs covered some of the bio section so I HAD to reschedule. if i were you, i'd go through the list of topics from the aamc and make sure you know what each outline entry is, if not then add a week for that outline section to learn it for the first time. don't count that as part of your content review. then add 3 months for just content review.

an alternative is to take the sn2ed plan and just double it (2 days per chapter).
 
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OP
wholeheartedly

wholeheartedly

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Good tips, thanks folks.
 

Captain Sisko

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or, if you have faith in your ability to retain information for a good amount of time, you could do the nontrad nontrad plan and take a year to prepare. I'm at the tail end of my prep, seem to be doing ok on practices, and haven't spent more than 8 hours in any given week on mcat. for those heavy eight hour weeks, those are when I've taken practice mcats which last 3.5 hours a pop. the vast majority of weeks thus far have been on the order of 2-4 hours, if that. there is also flexibility there so i can take time for life when it happens. for example, last week i had a major biochemistry exam, so i stopped mcat cold turkey for about ten days. because I'd long since finished my content review and had taken about a dozen practice exams to that point, i wasn't that worried. different strokes for different folks, but it's an option for the working nontrad.
 

wanderedtoolong

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For me, I just had to pick a date and commit. I had done some content review in the fall and decided on a set of study materials (Examkrakers) and then just chose a date in late April so I would have my score by the time AMCAS opened and I was picking schools. Once I had the date it was much easier to work backwards and figure out exactly how much content I needed to master each week and to schedule my AAMC practice tests in a logical, non-rushed manner. Obviously it's an individual decision- I was lucky in that my work schedule was fairly regular and I didn't have a ton of obligations outside of that except for volunteering. Definitely commit to SOME sort of schedule though, and then if halfway through you're not where you want to be score wise, you can always bump your date. Also, if you don't schedule early enough, you may not get your preferred site/day/time of day. I definitely wouldn't want to be one of those people who has to travel far and stay in a hotel the night before the MCAT.

good luck!
 
OP
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wholeheartedly

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I am fortunate that this isn't a university town where a lot of people are lining up to take the MCAT. Although we might get spillover from the big University Town a bit north of here, so I definitely want something set in stone soon.

The good thing right now is my schedule is pretty regular this semester and essentially amounts to me working an avg of about 45 hours a week (work, school, & volunteering) and while my field experience counts for school credit, I don't have at home work or studying for that. I essentially have 2 full days off plus 1 post night shift sleep adjustment day every week. I feel like a total slacker right now :smuggrin: Although I still have a few house projects on the agenda...

Hopefully, I'll get it figured out and registered by the end of the week.
 
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