UseUrHeadFred

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This is detailed stuff about my MCAT day. No specific questions are included. This is more about what to expect on test day. I just got home about twenty minutes ago, so I figured I'd post it while I still remembered.

Originally, my admission ticked said we were going to take the test in a really crappy auditorium, but our group was large enough that we got bumped up to two larger, super-nice auditoriums. They sent us a letter via UPS telling us about the location change.

After eating a hearty breakfast, I arrived at the testing center at around 7:40 am, all the other premeds were hanging around. Two of the proctors came out and told us that we'd be split into two groups by last name and to go to the bathroom while we still had a chance, since once we line up, that's it.

I was pretty far ahead in line. They took my ticket, checked my ID, took a thumbprint and told me my seat number. We had to check our bags at the door. Incidentally, I had an excellent seat, right under a skylight without anyone nearby (I was at the back of the room). The room was comfortable, no extraneous noises or heating/cooling problems. Huge clock on the wall, so my watch was useless.

After sitting for an eternity waiting for the people to finally get organized, we were read directions by the proctor regarding the exam and prepared for the PS. The process of filling out Scantron sheets was never so drawn out. Seriously. You can't go ahead of the proctor, and you're constantly held back from completing the paperwork by the slowest people in the room. You do the same thing for every section, by the end of the day you're pretty good at filling out the same boxes with the same information.

Finally, at around 8:50 we started PS. The exam itself is just like the practice exams. Don't stress, you're not going to get anything that involves some huge equation. For example, instead of memorizing the Doppler equation, just understand that if a sound is coming towards you how the wavelength will change. Know your basic laws, that's it. Definitions - what is pressure? Not complicated, just tricky.

We had a 10 minute break. Yes, the breaks really are 10 minutes. Well, maybe 12 because of some slow guy who has to be told to get his butt into the room. But you get the idea.

VR was the same excruciating Scantron process. If they had the scantron thing down to where it only took the two minutes it should take, then the MCAT would be over by 2 PM. Most of the day is not spent actually taking the exam, just filling out Scantrons. And they aren't even complicated Scantrons, people are just slow.

Finally, a lunch break, around 12:45. The other half of the group (we were separated by last name, remember?) were way behind us. I was going to meet up with my friend for lunch, but he was in the other group, so I just went and got food myself. He was just getting out by the time I returned. Maybe they had the REALLY tricky Scantron sheets!

The writing sample was like a vacation compared to the other sections. No worries about this section. If you speak English, can punctuate and spell, you'll feel pretty good about this one.

We had another 10 minute break, and then the BS. We filled out the paperwork, wich was almost involuntary by now, and the timer started around 3:25. Once again, no super complicated stuff. As far as organic goes, memorizing reactions will not get you very far. Just understand the nomenclature, the basics (Sn, E) and definitions (isomers, chirality, etc.). Biology was all about graph interpretation, BASIC genetics, and physiology. When somebody tells you that it's about concepts, believe them. Rote memorization can get a few of the problems, but not most of them. It's more about applying the stuff you have learned.

After BS, you think the paperwork is done? Oh, no. Time to fill out another Scantron sheet. This time it was all about YOU! How you prepared, how many practice MCATs, etc. This one only takes about 15 minutes. (There goes 15 minutes of my life. I'll never get that back again.)

And then, that was it. "You are dismissed." I came home, and here I am.

Actually, it wasn't that bad. The hardest part was not eating my own leg doing all the paperwork. So my advice to you, if you have never taken the MCAT before and are going to take it in August, don't stress the details. Hit the concepts that people would expect a person who took science in college to know. Practice MCATs do help, but I think once you've done three or four, you pretty much know what to expect.

Good luck to you guys. As for me, I'M FREEE!!! FREEEEEEE!
 

shock827

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Thats nice that you started PS actually before 9. And wtf did it take 15 minutes to fill in the survey, it was around 6 questions.
 

UseUrHeadFred

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It took me about 45 seconds to fill out the actual survey. The proctor would not let us move ahead on the name, SSN, birth date stuff. Everyone had to be caught up. I imagine if you had people who were pretty fast at following the instructions, it would probably take all of 2 minutes. But one or two people in my group seemed to be sadists.
 
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UseUrHeadFred

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Oh yeah, one other thing. When you're done with a section, and have to go potty really bad, they have to individually collect each booklet and Scantron. Then, whilst your bladder is preparing to rupture, they have to actually count the pages of each booklet to make sure noone tore out a page to sell to PR for big bucks. Man, after PS, I had to go like never before, and I was thinking to myself, "Count faster!!!"
 
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Blade28

During my test (a while ago), I had to use the bathroom about 10 minutes into the first section (verbal). Couldn't hold it. Was gone for 5 minutes. :(
 

liverotcod

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Great post, UseUrHeadFred. Similar experience for me, except that we had a weird room situation. I had gone to check out the seemingly very small room listed on my admission ticket like the anal premed I am, but come to find out we split into 5 or 6 groups by last name and took it 5 floors away in small classrooms. It was a little surprising, but at least the seats were more comfortable than I had anticipated in the original room.
 

An Yong

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Blade28 said:
During my test (a while ago), I had to use the bathroom about 10 minutes into the first section (verbal). Couldn't hold it. Was gone for 5 minutes. :(
Lol samething happened to me on verbal. Except I lasted till I finished the section (I don't think I ever finished verbal that quickly, I had like 8 minutes left), then went to the bathroom. In hindsight I think I should have just gone at the beginning so I could focus better throughout the test, my verbal is probably gonna be crap now but oh well. :laugh:
 

UseUrHeadFred

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Bumpity bump bump bump.

Thought you first timers would appreciate it.
 

Psycho Doctor

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Thanks so much..it's great to know what to expect but reading that makes me anxious..i guess because it makes it more real.
 

DieselPetrolGrl

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thanks u guys
i am one of those people who feels better just knowing stupid things like when is lunch..can i piss now? u get the idea
awesome read for any saturday wizzards
 

Psycho Doctor

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haha yea me too, but i'm getting the feeling that it's different depending on where you are and who your proctors are. i mean it hink it was great that his proctors told them to go to the bathroom then or they couldn't go. i know others who wanted to go when they walked into the room before the tests were distributed and they were told they couldn't leave. that sucks
 
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stinkycheese

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My two cents would be to be prepared to be in a group that is slower, like the OP's friends group. My group started PS at 9:00a, and didn't break for lunch until 12:45p, I think. It was a huge room, so counting the booklets always took lots of time. We started writing at 2:00p, I believe, and didn't leave the test until 6:15p. So be ready for a looooooong day if necessary, and bring snacks/reinforcements/gatorade for the breaks. By the time the test was over, I didn't think I'd be needing to imbibe so heavily that evening after all, I was already loopy from the longass day.
 

Psycho Doctor

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yikes, that sounds about right but it sucks! what a looong day!! I never knew they had to count booklets and pages in them. So if the find a page missing they'll just hold everyone there hostage?
 

Psycho Doctor

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UseUrHeadFred said:
Oh yeah, one other thing. When you're done with a section, and have to go potty really bad, they have to individually collect each booklet and Scantron. Then, whilst your bladder is preparing to rupture, they have to actually count the pages of each booklet to make sure noone tore out a page to sell to PR for big bucks. Man, after PS, I had to go like never before, and I was thinking to myself, "Count faster!!!"


so then it would be wise to go just before they called time to avoid that...right?
 

stinkycheese

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I imagine they would let everyone go but the offending individual (identified by the names on the booklets, of course), and they would probably have to kick him/her out of the administration unless it was clearly an accident (page ripped off without them noticing, etc).

It is a long day, but at least the last section is bio, which is usually the easiest for most peeps.
 

DrThom

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I remember our proctor wore flip flops to the test. She would walk around the room to observe us and all the time I could only hear...

flip, flop, flip, flop, flip, flop...

I could of KILLED her...but thats an automatic 5 point reduction...
 

Psycho Doctor

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lol, if you killed her who could report you and deduct the 5 points?
 

UseUrHeadFred

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I'm glad you're finding it useful.

Regarding the idea of going to the bathroom with a few minutes to go: It sounds like a great idea, but I am a very fast test taker yet I still had barely enough time to check over the ones I had left blank. Unlike the practice exams, where you can just say "screw this question", there's a lot of pressure to make sure everything is correct. I even checked to make sure that I hadn't shifted a row somewhere on my answer sheet without realizing it.

In retrospect, I did well on the test. No problems.
 

Code Brown

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To any of you who have one of those foot or pencil tappers in your room. Tell the proctor right away and they will talk to them. Believe me, this can be a real pain in the rear and such up valuable concentration time. Also, on your lunch break, make sure you kick your feet up for a while, as it can be a long day. We didn't finish until 6:30 (started lining up at 8). Make sure you bring extra food with you. Good luck!
 

Psycho Doctor

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ugh thanks but all this is making me a little (just a little :rolleyes: ) anxious right now...i just want it over with
 

DieselPetrolGrl

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im calm no espidoes today for me...just re-read this thread and am going to finish my exam crackers book then aamc tomorrow and nothing friday...lets all relax and plot the yummie PB&J sanwiches we will eat and how much fun it will be to get out and feel like we are reborn ..this time with LIVES!
 

UseUrHeadFred

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Hey August folks, how accurate did you find my description?
 

UseUrHeadFred

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I'm bumping this up again. Just read my first post and comment on any changes. I'm curious to see if it's still similar...
 

Clocks

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I had a funny proctor. Cool to see a lot of my friends there... they're all getting trashed now while I sit here attempting to pound out paper 1/3 now.

I agree bout the scrantons- I never want to see one again. :laugh:

Nice post to bump up- you were spot on with so much.
 

tank you

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the most annoying part was not the scantrons, but waiting for the proctors to count all the freakin test booklets and answer sheets. i think my proctor was ******ed cuz she took FOREVER to count them!
 

Hoberto

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On the VS section the proctor miss counted the number of scantrons three, yes THREE times!! On the fourth time, he was holding the uncounted scantrons...he licked his fingers....pulled one sheet off the pile, rubbed it to check for an additional sheet then neatly set it on the desk in front of him. Then he licked his fingers....pulled another sheet off the pile, rubbed it....set it down....it was agonizing. I don't know why another proctor didn't just rip the pile out of his hands and count them. I know I wanted to.
 
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