tintin007

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This is a new thread for Non trad:
Share how your MCAT preparation is going on. What all difficulties you are facing and how you are trying to over come them.

I am taking TPR prep course. I doing well in Phy/chem., but my bio is taking a big hit.
Also after so many years away from school, I am used to typing and finding it hard to write essays. I work full time and study around 2-4hrs/day apart from the prep classes.

Good luck
:love:
 

medicomel

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tintin007 said:
This is a new thread for Non trad:
Share how your MCAT preparation is going on. What all difficulties you are facing and how you are trying to over come them.

I am taking TPR prep course. I doing well in Phy/chem., but my bio is taking a big hit.
Also after so many years away from school, I am used to typing and finding it hard to write essays. I work full time and study around 2-4hrs/day apart from the prep classes.

Good luck
:love:
Hey there,

I'm working 50 hrs/wk and taking a Kaplan course. I'm keeping up with the review notes, and as many subject and topical tests as I can. My main problem is staying awake past 10pm! If I don't go to sleep, there's no way in hell I'd be able to function for the next day.

Like you, I'm doing about 3-4 hrs per weekday, and about 8-10hrs for the weekend. It just doesn't feel like it's enough!
 

Tiagao

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I don't know how on earth you manage that. I am struggling to get an average of an hour/weekday and 5 hours/weekend in. Although the weekend schedule is changing for more time. With work, school and my family I am always like :eek: how am I going to keep this up. I can't wait until I actually get into school and can cut work out of the week to add more time for studying. Unfortunately, we have to smoke the MCAT to get there. Anyway, best of :luck: to you guys.
 

medicomel

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Thanks! Being a city commuter, I log in 1.5 hours on the train daily. Coupled with a half hour either during my morning workout, or during lunch, it's not too much of a stretch to squeeze in an hour when I get home from work.

It's doable, but you have to take advantage of idle time. It's dorky, but if you have to wait somewhere, pull out your notes or your flashcards. Good luck to everybody.

What are we going to do with ourselves with all this extra time left after the MCAT??? ;)
 

Tiagao

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chicagomel said:
Thanks! Being a city commuter, I log in 1.5 hours on the train daily. Coupled with a half hour either during my morning workout, or during lunch, it's not too much of a stretch to squeeze in an hour when I get home from work.

It's doable, but you have to take advantage of idle time. It's dorky, but if you have to wait somewhere, pull out your notes or your flashcards. Good luck to everybody.

What are we going to do with ourselves with all this extra time left after the MCAT??? ;)

That's Great advice! Thanks. As for after the MCAT, I think I'll finally be able to play with the kids.
 

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I know how you all feel. It's been 10 years since my last chemistry or physics class. I made the decision to pursue med school 7 months ago, and now I'll take the MCAT in April. It's going well, but I don't think I'll be ready until the week before the exam!

I work full time too, and I'm sure that I'm not the only one with a demanding, professional career (not just a job, though at times I wish). It's a juggle, but WTF, it's worth it. Good luck you guys.
 

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Let me just say I feel everyone's pain. I work full time as well (only on friday, saturday and sunday) and classes during the week, however I feel for everyone who has all that plus kids.
 

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chicagomel said:
Hey there,

I'm working 50 hrs/wk and taking a Kaplan course. I'm keeping up with the review notes, and as many subject and topical tests as I can. My main problem is staying awake past 10pm! If I don't go to sleep, there's no way in hell I'd be able to function for the next day.

Like you, I'm doing about 3-4 hrs per weekday, and about 8-10hrs for the weekend. It just doesn't feel like it's enough!

I am in the same boat as you and I commute as well. I cannot stay awake after 10pm either. I decided not to take the April test but the August though to get more time.
 

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EMT2ER-DOC said:
I am in the same boat as you and I commute as well. I cannot stay awake after 10pm either. I decided not to take the April test but the August though to get more time.
I don't have much of a commute, but i'm working 40 hrs/wk and taking Ochem lecture and lab :rolleyes: luckily i have some time at work to study. i have to be at work at 7 am, so yeah, 10 pm is IT. i want to laugh out loud when my Ochem professor tells everyone to "go home and study this tonight", when our class starts at 5:30 pm and usually goes until 9:45. i'm like, well... by the time i get home, it will already be 15 mins past my bedtime.

i'm also taking the august test. i don't plan on taking kaplan or tpr because i realized i don't learn in class, i just daydream. i get much more done studying on my own. and my brother bequeathed me his MCAT materials, so i already have a bunch of practice tests and review books...

anyway, nice to hear that some people are working and studying as well! i don't know how those with family do it. good luck everyone! :luck:
 

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Hey all - keep up the hard work! I'm in the same boat. I work about 45 hours/week, and try to get in about 20 hrs/week studying <taking Kaplan class, I include the 6 hours of class time/week in that 20 hr estimation>. It's definately a time drainer, but will be worth it when we kick butt on the MCAT! Good luck to everyone.
 

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Okay, my SDN posting cherry has been poppped...I suppose I am considered a non-trad (BS in '03), I have been working for a little over a year now post graduation as Research & Development director at a quaint little aerosol manufacturing company. I have since decided to venture back to what I was going after during those wonderful college years...med school, and with that, the MCAT (again). First time around was 25Q (in April '03), not exactly what I was looking for. At any rate, now that I'm past all the intro BS, I too (even only being out of school for just over a year) am feelin overloaded by the studying.

I am hoping that I can ease some of your stress by reminding you that the MCAT is what I would approximate as being 70% thought process, 30% direct knowledge. So, by my math if you can remember half of the science knowledge, you should be on your way to still have the potential to get about 85% of the questions correct which would be plenty to get you in!

Hopefully this is a little assurance, but hey, if nothing else, thanks to all you SDNers for supplying this wonderful site!
 

NontradICUdoc

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TwoLegacies said:
I don't have much of a commute, but i'm working 40 hrs/wk and taking Ochem lecture and lab :rolleyes: luckily i have some time at work to study. i have to be at work at 7 am, so yeah, 10 pm is IT. i want to laugh out loud when my Ochem professor tells everyone to "go home and study this tonight", when our class starts at 5:30 pm and usually goes until 9:45. i'm like, well... by the time i get home, it will already be 15 mins past my bedtime.

i'm also taking the august test. i don't plan on taking kaplan or tpr because i realized i don't learn in class, i just daydream. i get much more done studying on my own. and my brother bequeathed me his MCAT materials, so i already have a bunch of practice tests and review books...

anyway, nice to hear that some people are working and studying as well! i don't know how those with family do it. good luck everyone! :luck:

I am taking the online Kaplan course and I feel that not only best suits my schedule but I also get the benefit of the lectures and the tests and the help.
 
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tintin007

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Also, pay attention to your health, get good sleep and try working out at gym at least twice a week. Do not burn out.
 

Lebesgue

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I was in a similar situation. You need to clear your schedule, apart from work, for about 2 months prior to the exam. It's just something you'll have to do. It takes work, and work takes time.

Take a Kaplan course but don't spend too much time in their class. I found some use from their test banks, and would recommend it if you have time. The bottom line is: you need to take practice full length exams. Take one on a Tuesday, then spend the next two days figuring out why you got the right ones right and the wrong ones wrong (this is the most important thing you can do!). Then take their formal full length on Saturday, and do the same thing. Try to knock out about 10 exams by the time you hit the actual test. Use the exams to study from and to figure out your weaknesses. You don't have time to go through your old text books and the Kaplan books are a good high yeild reference. I recommend doing all the AAMC 1-6 (that was the latest when I took them), and Kaplan tests 1-5, don't worry about 7 and above since they are way too computationally difficult. I was a math major (grad school as well) and laughed at some of their answers, one was a full page of computations. You'll never see that on the real test.

DO NOT take the test in April if you're not ready. You can take it in August and do just fine. Don't listen to the line of reasoning that some people give, "take it in April and if you don't do well, take it in August". I have heard from committees and administrators that it is better to take it once and do well than twice with a low score.

Do all of the exam including the writing portions on the Saturday (there will be some people in your class that want to get out early for some reason or another and will skip the writing portion). Take the day off before the exam and see a movie, there is nothing you will gain by studying the day before. Also, don't take a full length within a week of the exam. You will need time to review high yeild items and relax before the exam.

I took their initial exam and scored 15 without preparing at all, clearly not good enough for any med school. Taking practice tests will help you learn how they ask questions, which is more important that learning some obscure O-chem concept. I knew I wouldn't be ready by April so I took it in August. By the time my August test was coming up, I was batting 29s and 30s. My actual exam was 31 - 11V/10P/10B/Q.

I would recommend getting in the habit doing the verbal section in order, and not skipping around. There are many methods you will hear about. I thought the Kaplan method was worthless. Just get in the habit of pounding out each story and doing the questions in order. Skipping around makes no sense since you're going to have to read all of them anyway. You just have to get in the habit of getting "into" a story even if you can't stand the subject. Believe me, you will need that skill in med school. Do them in order, no reading the questions first, then "skimming the paragraphs" (whatever that means, again more time wasted since you're not retaining anything). Timing is crucial, and the more tests you take the more you will get used to how fast you need to go. I finally found a happy medium between speed and retention, and it worked.

Did taking it in August hurt me? No, in fact my application didn't hit the streets till December due to some AAMC blunder. I had two acceptances, and 4 waitlists, one at a top 4 school...

That's all I can say about that. But I'm now studying for Step I of the USMLE, and everyone who has crushed that exam that I have spoken with says that doing questions is the key to success. I'm going to do that for Step I, and I suggest you do that for the MCAT.

Take advice with a bucket of salt, including mine... You need to find what works for you, but I can't stress enough how important practice exams are.

PM me if you have any specific questions.

Good luck. :D



tintin007 said:
This is a new thread for Non trad:
Share how your MCAT preparation is going on. What all difficulties you are facing and how you are trying to over come them.

I am taking TPR prep course. I doing well in Phy/chem., but my bio is taking a big hit.
Also after so many years away from school, I am used to typing and finding it hard to write essays. I work full time and study around 2-4hrs/day apart from the prep classes.

Good luck
:love:
 

Lebesgue

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This is also very important, which I forgot to mention.

Take care of yourself!

:)

tintin007 said:
Also, pay attention to your health, get good sleep and try working out at gym at least twice a week. Do not burn out.
 

TwoLegacies

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lebesgue,

wow. thanks for all the advice! i don't think i can afford to take the kaplan course (after computing just how much money it will cost to apply to school), but i do have several practice tests waiting for me.

i'm reviewing material right now before taking practice tests, because i only have so many tests. i don't want to waste one before i know what the hell i'm doing in physics, where my knowledge is shaky at best. but i will take your advice and focus on practice q's as soon as i can.

good luck with Step 1!

other non-trads,
keep up the work. i hope you are doing well! i'm in a motivational slump this week after several ochem labs gone wrong. :( MCAT studying has fallen by the wayside.
 

TwoLegacies

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EMT2ER-DOC said:
I am taking the online Kaplan course and I feel that not only best suits my schedule but I also get the benefit of the lectures and the tests and the help.
Do the lectures focus more on material, or test strategies? Helpwise... do you ask questions by email or something?
 

Lebesgue

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TwoLegacies said:
lebesgue,

wow. thanks for all the advice! i don't think i can afford to take the kaplan course (after computing just how much money it will cost to apply to school), but i do have several practice tests waiting for me.

i'm reviewing material right now before taking practice tests, because i only have so many tests. i don't want to waste one before i know what the hell i'm doing in physics, where my knowledge is shaky at best. but i will take your advice and focus on practice q's as soon as i can.

good luck with Step 1!

other non-trads,
keep up the work. i hope you are doing well! i'm in a motivational slump this week after several ochem labs gone wrong. :( MCAT studying has fallen by the wayside.
$1200 was well worth the money. It's different taking exams in structured environments than on your own. You need access to a lot of exams, and that is what Kaplan does for you. I don't work for them :) , but I had success with it, and I know I wouldn't have done nearly as well on my own. Taking full length tests under timed conditions and then learning from them will be the best use of your time.

If you haven't had the requisite courses, you may want to wait, but if you've had the courses, physics included, then jump on in and learn on the go. I had to fill in some squares over the 2 months of studying, but it all worked out, and if I had it to do over again I would do the same thing. You can waste a lot of time in old text books, notes, and in the Kaplan lectures, but the bottom line is figuring out HOW they ask the questions and ironing out your weaknesses (perhaps physics).

Also, in undergrad, if I didn't like a concept, I would blow it off and still get A's or B's. If you find a weakness in studying for the MCAT, say for instance how an electron moves through an electric field... Make that concept your best friend and don't let it go till you fully understand it.

Good luck to you!

:)
 

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From my experience, Kaplan tends to focus their lectures more on test strategy, you are supposed to learn the content on your own for the most part. That being said, my kaplan center, which i think would be your kaplan center (san diego) had office hours where you could go in and ask your teachers content questions. more often than not, you can make friends with students in your class and they can help you with content too. the best thing about kaplan was that they had SOOOO much study material, it really suited many different learning styles. Also, the fact that all of the info for the mcat is crammed into two books makes life a lot easier, you're not trying to study out of six different text books at once. people stress the importance of practice tests and problems, and i couldn't agree with them more. whether you take kaplan, princeton, EK, it is still well worth the money to have access to all of the materials these companies offer. good luck and pm me if you have any questions...
 

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hey, thanks for the advice :)

i wish i had $1500 in addition to the money it will cost to apply, but i just don't. i'm also hesitant to take a class because i already have a lot of kaplan materials, plus kaplan and amcas practice tests. that and, like i said before, i have such a short attention span in class that i just space.
i think i will probably keep reviewing on my own for now, then time a practice test at work on a saturday, when i won't have interruptions. if i feel like i'm struggling i'll sell my soul for $1500. do you think the devil deals with american dollars? probably not. damned low exchange rate.
 

Lebesgue

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Let me suggest if you do the practice exams on your own, that you get a good friend or significant other who can take an entire day out of their schedule to help you take the exam. They will be responsible for keeping time, and making sure you take breaks when they would during the real exam. You should approach it as if it were the real thing, especially if you have to train yourself not to space. The disadvantages to taking it on your own will be that you won't know what your weaknesses are, and you won't know how your writing samples are going. Kaplan does a good job telling what you have to write in your three paragraphs, and in my experience, they do a good job grading them. I suppose you could always find someone who writes well and have them look at it.

Again, take each one exactly like the real thing; same order, same breaks, same lunch break, same start and end time, etc. If they don't let you wear earplugs then don't wear them (I can't remember if they do). Take it in a quite room you at school or something. Even better, if you can find out where in your area it will be held, and take it there, you'll be even more comfortable on test day. If you know you can't take all the time necessary for that day to do the entire exam process, then postpone it.

If it comes down to it, you could get a small personal loan you could pay off over time.

Good luck and practice like the real thing.
 

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i know kaplan offers other plans that don't entail the $1500 ( :eek: ) pricetag. this might be an option for you, especially if you are weak in one area or another. something else you should check out is whether or not they'll let you sit for one of their practice full length MCATS. most prep companies will let you sit for their test for like $5. This is a good thing because it'll put you in a more formal test setting. taking practice tests is good, but sitting through a test in an uncomfortable chair with someone else in charge of timing, cell phones ringing (yes, this DID happen to me during the real MCAT), and other distractions is really good preparation.

oops, i didn't see the post before mine, but i guess echoing their statement demonstrates the importance of making the practice tests as true to the real thing as you can get it.
 

TwoLegacies

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excellent points... well, luckily i am much better at paying attention during tests. for some reason i can focus on visual things much better than audio (hence the spacing during class, but not during reading).
i can't believe a cell phone rang during your MCAT. i don't know why someone would bring it in the room in the first place.

awesome, i had no idea kaplan would let you pay per practice test. i will definitely look into that. yeah, maybe i should pay for some kind of partial instruction. i don't think i should have a problem with verbal and writing (though i'm sure a lot of people say that), but the physical sciences section will be my demise. i can handle paying for that.
 

LT2

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the cell phone thing was horrible, i actually ended up writing AMCAS a letter. in any case, if kaplan doesn't let you sit through a full length, check with princeton. and a word to the wise, don't blow off the verbal! i was in your shoes two years ago, i had a good handle on the bio, thought verbal wouldn't be too bad, and yes, the physical sciences... i focused so hard on the physical sciences, i scored really well in two sections and i bombed the verbal. if you have kaplan tests for verbal, do them. another GREAT resource for verbal is the exam krackers book. Those tests are tough, and will help you prepare for the real thing. i managed to bring my VR up 4 points using the kaplan tests and EK. The book should run you a lot less than the kaplan course (maybe $20) and it's money well spent! :)
 

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LT2 said:
the cell phone thing was horrible, i actually ended up writing AMCAS a letter. in any case, if kaplan doesn't let you sit through a full length, check with princeton. and a word to the wise, don't blow off the verbal! i was in your shoes two years ago, i had a good handle on the bio, thought verbal wouldn't be too bad, and yes, the physical sciences... i focused so hard on the physical sciences, i scored really well in two sections and i bombed the verbal. if you have kaplan tests for verbal, do them. another GREAT resource for verbal is the exam krackers book. Those tests are tough, and will help you prepare for the real thing. i managed to bring my VR up 4 points using the kaplan tests and EK. The book should run you a lot less than the kaplan course (maybe $20) and it's money well spent! :)
i'm actually looking forward to studying verbal, since it will probably be easier for me than the sciences. i had to force myself to start with physical sciences since it's my weakest area (just can't bring myself to care about the velocity of a pendulum).
i've read many stories on sdn about people blowing off verbal, as well. i'll definitely spend some time on it. :D
 

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Non trad here been out of the basic science loop like 7-8 years...Taking the mcat this april..Started off slow..But these next five weeks, i am determined to master the mcat..I am determined..good luck to all my fellow non trads.........
 

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Lebesgue said:
I was in a similar situation. You need to clear your schedule, apart from work, for about 2 months prior to the exam. It's just something you'll have to do. It takes work, and work takes time.
I have to ditto Lebesgue on this. I'm a nontrad, currently in my 4th year of medical school. At this point, I've taken the MCAT, the NBME shelf exams, and steps I and II of the USMLE. For me, the hardest of all these exams was the MCAT. This might be partly because I was a nontraditional student, and maybe also because so much was riding on the exam.

I took the April MCAT 10-15 years after completing my prereqs. What I did was take 2 bio courses in the fall for review, I also audited organic II in the spring. In addition, I studied about 40 hours a week from January through April. I used Flowers & Silvers, Kaplan's MCAT Comprehensive Review, and other resources.

But the point I want to stress is that it will likely take a major effort to do well on the exam. Especially if it's been a while since you taken your prereqs.

And if you want to use Kaplan or a similar test prep course, that's great. I used them and I think they can help keep you motivated, and help you practice test-taking skills. But if you're like me, you likely will still need to study 40 hours a week for at least 2 months, in addition to the time you spend with your test prep course.
 

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I'm taking Kaplan right now. I can't say that the lectures are doing me a whole lot of good other than keeping me motivated. What I have heard from others who have taken the course is that the most important part is the practice tests (been repeated many times in this thread, I know). My point is I don't think you are missing out on a whole lot by not taking the course. So long as you can simulate the test conditions (all you need is a timer) then you should be good to go. So, study hard and practice. BTW, I'm considering putting off taking the MCAT until August (I've signed up for April). Finding it kind of hard to work on PhD and study for MCAT. We'll see.... +pity+
 

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chicagomel said:
What are we going to do with ourselves with all this extra time left after the MCAT??? ;)
You might not want to read on, for fear of depression...






Applications. They're worse than the MCAT.