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I know there is going to be a selection bias - but I'd still be interested in those who self-studied for the MCAT. Did you do well? What was your overall experience like?
 

StudyLater

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A lot of things other than just selection bias makes anecdotal evidence borderline meaningless.

I hate statistics. Not the study of it, which is pretty cool, just the concept and the presumptuousness.
 
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tenblackalps

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520, for 10 weeks I self studied the Kaplan 7 book set, supplemented with EK for gen chem (my weakness) and Khan Academy for bio/psych/soc. I enjoyed self studying and think I studied harder and more efficiently than if I had taken a course.
 
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520, for 10 weeks I self studied the Kaplan 7 book set, supplemented with EK for gen chem (my weakness) and Khan Academy for bio/psych/soc. I enjoyed self studying and think I studied harder and more efficiently than if I had taken a course.
That's a great score, congratulations! I'm definitely more comfortable self-studying so I'm just glad to hear some anecdotes about others who have done it successfully!
 
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Cotterpin

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I self-studied for a little under two months using the Kaplan book set and doing like 6 or 7 full length practice exams and I got a 517.
 
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On the old MCAT I self studied and got a 32, then a 35 if that makes you feel any better.
 

tenblackalps

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That's a great score, congratulations! I'm definitely more comfortable self-studying so I'm just glad to hear some anecdotes about others who have done it successfully!
Thank you! Yes it is very doable and as long as you are motivated, I would suggest it as the preferred method compared to a course. By self studying you have to think more for yourself, and this forces you to be more active at identifying your weaknesses so you can focus on improving them.
 
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SteyrFWB

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Just curious.

For people who self-studied and scored high, are you from a high-power college or normal state university?

Your high score is from self-study or more from a high power college prep?
 

Cotterpin

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Just curious.

For people who self-studied and scored high, are you from a high-power college or normal state university?

Your high score is from self-study or more from a high power college prep?
I'm not sure what you mean. I didn't score extremely high, but I did pretty well. I went to an Ivy, but I have no idea if I would have done as well if I had gone to a "normal state university.". Mostly because I don't know how the classes are different at state universities. If state universities focus on critical thinking and reading scientific papers, then there's probably no difference.
 

y123

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I self studied. Got a 39. Finished EK and 75% of TBR.
 

tenblackalps

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Just curious.

For people who self-studied and scored high, are you from a high-power college or normal state university?

Your high score is from self-study or more from a high power college prep?
State university, not sure it makes much of a difference to be honest, my school is quite rigorous (at least in my field of study). Some people refer to it as one of the "public ivies." :shrug:
 
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bearintraining

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522: 132/130/132/128. I self-studied with EK. Supplemented Psych/Soc with Khan (not enough unfortunately). Total studying time was about 2.5 months which was while I was working.
 

bartzx3

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522: 132/130/132/128. I self-studied with EK. Supplemented Psych/Soc with Khan (not enough unfortunately). Total studying time was about 2.5 months which was while I was working.
Either you are lying or very gifted intellectually. You story doesn't really add up. It took most people 3 months to study for the old exam. I would stay for the new exam, it will take people 4 months of prep time without any other commitments. But you claim to have been working also. Again, your story does not add up.
 
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LuluLovesMe

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Just curious.

For people who self-studied and scored high, are you from a high-power college or normal state university?

Your high score is from self-study or more from a high power college prep?
Has nothing to do with what school you went to. Everything to do with your abilities and mostly your determination.
 
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LuluLovesMe

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Either you are lying or very gifted intellectually. You story doesn't really add up. It took most people 3 months to study for the old exam. I would stay for the new exam, it will take people 4 months of prep time without any other commitments. But you claim to have been working also. Again, your story does not add up.
I believe him. I studied 3 weeks for the old exam and scored about the same percentile he did on the new one.
 
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Jun 19, 2015
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Either you are lying or very gifted intellectually. You story doesn't really add up. It took most people 3 months to study for the old exam. I would stay for the new exam, it will take people 4 months of prep time without any other commitments. But you claim to have been working also. Again, your story does not add up.
What could he gain from lying on an anonymous forum?
 

bearintraining

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Either you are lying or very gifted intellectually. You story doesn't really add up. It took most people 3 months to study for the old exam. I would stay for the new exam, it will take people 4 months of prep time without any other commitments. But you claim to have been working also. Again, your story does not add up.
Really?
If it wasn't for the fact that I don't care to have people know my real identity, I'd point you to my linkedin page. I'm a postdoctoral fellow.. I can't afford to just take months off to study for it. And although I'm not stupid, I would not call myself "gifted intellectually".
The fact of the matter is that the subject matter on the exam is *not* that difficult..but there is a huge amount of it. I think this is one of the key differences between the old and new MCAT. The old MCAT asked more obtuse questions and rewarded you for memorizing a ton of information, whereas the new one seems more conceptual and applying your ability to analyze and synthesize. This is probably partly why I think I did better than the last time I wrote the exam (33 in 2011).

EDIT: Just to add: I struggled immensely with organic chemistry..both in university and for the old MCAT. The new MCAT got rid of all of the irrelevant things that you don't need to know and that made it easier *for me* at least. This is why I really enjoyed the EK materials -- they were straightforward and to the point and didn't focus on minutiae that is, at most, going to score you one or two points. The only major downside is their horrible Psych/Soc section that is basically only about half the topics covered.

EDIT2: BTW. I applied to a single (Canadian) school last cycle. I had an II but not accepted. So, by the time I found out it was already late April. Up until that point I had no intention of rewriting, but now I have to if I wanted to apply this cycle. I didn't have more time to prepare for it given the situation unless I was willing to wait another year, which I'm not.
 
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xc_stallion92

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517, so I did pretty well, but not anything extraordinary. Didn't do a ton of studying specifically for the test. I have the 7 book Kaplan set and I skimmed through at least a few chapters of most of the books. I took one of the Kaplan practice tests as well as the official AAMC practice. Total time spent on dedicated, MCAT-specific content review probably <20 hours. I planned on doing more, but I took the exam this past May and hadn't had much time during my final undergrad semester to dedicate to studying for the test.

What I think helped me the most was taking a biochem course the semester before the test that really kicked my butt, as well as having just taken both semesters of intro physics. I feel like those two are by far the most important sciences for the new test, and having a solid, fundamental understanding of them really, really helps. I was a psych major so all of the stuff in that section was pretty routine, and I've always been good at CARS.

I agree entirely with @bearintraining about the new exam vs. the old one. I never took the old one but from what I've seen, the 2015 is much more about how good you are at taking tests.
 

dushash

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Scores and prep time are only tip of an iceberg. Most important part is how well person was prepared by prereqs/previous experience/cources etc. in the first place. For someone who is prepared well - prep time could be minimal and he will score in high 520+. bearintraining already was pretty good in 2011 (scored 33) so this is no surprise he scored well on new test with 2,5 months of prep.
Anyway, one user saw only tip of an iceberg and already made conclusions, another only gave tip of an iceberg info and also was surprised that first user didn't believe him. You guys both need to improve your deductive abilities and critical reasoning skills (kidding).
 
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StudyLater

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Has nothing to do with what school you went to. Everything to do with your abilities and mostly your determination.
Yeah but if we could get statistically significant data saying that college power correlates positively with self-study score then the two would be correlated.

That's just math, bro.
 

tenblackalps

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Either you are lying or very gifted intellectually. You story doesn't really add up. It took most people 3 months to study for the old exam. I would stay for the new exam, it will take people 4 months of prep time without any other commitments. But you claim to have been working also. Again, your story does not add up.
4 months is overkill for the new test imo, I studied for 10 weeks which seemed to be the perfect amount. I also worked at the same time.
 

bartzx3

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Really?
If it wasn't for the fact that I don't care to have people know my real identity, I'd point you to my linkedin page. I'm a postdoctoral fellow.. I can't afford to just take months off to study for it. And although I'm not stupid, I would not call myself "gifted intellectually".
The fact of the matter is that the subject matter on the exam is *not* that difficult..but there is a huge amount of it. I think this is one of the key differences between the old and new MCAT. The old MCAT asked more obtuse questions and rewarded you for memorizing a ton of information, whereas the new one seems more conceptual and applying your ability to analyze and synthesize. This is probably partly why I think I did better than the last time I wrote the exam (33 in 2011).

EDIT: Just to add: I struggled immensely with organic chemistry..both in university and for the old MCAT. The new MCAT got rid of all of the irrelevant things that you don't need to know and that made it easier *for me* at least. This is why I really enjoyed the EK materials -- they were straightforward and to the point and didn't focus on minutiae that is, at most, going to score you one or two points. The only major downside is their horrible Psych/Soc section that is basically only about half the topics covered.

EDIT2: BTW. I applied to a single (Canadian) school last cycle. I had an II but not accepted. So, by the time I found out it was already late April. Up until that point I had no intention of rewriting, but now I have to if I wanted to apply this cycle. I didn't have more time to prepare for it given the situation unless I was willing to wait another year, which I'm not.
I am happy that you were able to score well on the exam with other commitments. Just based on your score from 2011, you have a knack for the test. A 33 puts you in like the 95th ish percentile. So your method of studying won't work for your average premed such as myself. The notion that a person can study for a month or two and expect to do well, will not be a reality for most people. For most people, in order to get a score greater than the 90th percentile, it will take monthS of dedicated effort. I would know, when I take my exam in September, I would have clocked in 4 months of prep time. 3 months to learn everything (making notes + watching videos + doing pratice passages from BR) + 1 month for practice test. No way, I would ever be able to shorten it down to 2 or 3 months.
 
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Took old MCAT in January. Studied hardcore for 3 weeks by myself, averaging 16 hours per day. Scored a 39.
 

Mad Jack

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I am happy that you were able to score well on the exam with other commitments. Just based on your score from 2011, you have a knack for the test. A 33 puts you in like the 95th ish percentile. So your method of studying won't work for your average premed such as myself. The notion that a person can study for a month or two and expect to do well, will not be a reality for most people. For most people, in order to get a score greater than the 90th percentile, it will take monthS of dedicated effort. I would know, when I take my exam in September, I would have clocked in 4 months of prep time. 3 months to learn everything (making notes + watching videos + doing pratice passages from BR) + 1 month for practice test. No way, I would ever be able to shorten it down to 2 or 3 months.
I studied for three months while working full time and overtime through most of the process (40-70 hours of work/week), still got a score in the 97th percentile. It just takes hard work. I used zero videos, zero audio sources, just TBR physics, TBR chem, EK orgo, EK bio, and reading a whole lot of the WSJ, Atlantic, Slate, and the New Yorker. Went through the books cover to cover twice a piece, did an official AAMC test every seven to ten days.
 
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520, for 10 weeks I self studied the Kaplan 7 book set, supplemented with EK for gen chem (my weakness) and Khan Academy for bio/psych/soc. I enjoyed self studying and think I studied harder and more efficiently than if I had taken a course.[/QUOT
how critical was khan academy to your studying?
 

bearintraining

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I am happy that you were able to score well on the exam with other commitments. Just based on your score from 2011, you have a knack for the test. A 33 puts you in like the 95th ish percentile. So your method of studying won't work for your average premed such as myself. The notion that a person can study for a month or two and expect to do well, will not be a reality for most people. For most people, in order to get a score greater than the 90th percentile, it will take monthS of dedicated effort. I would know, when I take my exam in September, I would have clocked in 4 months of prep time. 3 months to learn everything (making notes + watching videos + doing pratice passages from BR) + 1 month for practice test. No way, I would ever be able to shorten it down to 2 or 3 months.
That is fair. Different things work for different people. All I can say is that for myself, stretching out the learning leads to more forgetting which means I have to go back and relearn stuff. For me, practicing seemed to have minimal usefulness other than to point out mistaken understanding.
 

dushash

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Guys, one more time: preparation level BEFORE one starts even studying for MCAT is vastly different for everyone, so it's at least silly to say (or brag) how one can study for 4 weeks only and pass MCAT 520+. Come on. There is no free cheese. Usually that means person already has a vast knowledge and understanding of almost all concepts (at least). Ideally if one just finished his all prereqs (biochem/psych/orgo/physics etc) and has a good content knowledge - for this person even 3 days and 1 FL (to just get an idea of exam structure) should be enough. For some nontraditional student who did his prereqs 5 years ago and remembers 10% of content - he will need at least 3-4 months of 6-8h per day and 5-10 FL's to get his score up to 520+. This is common sense and IMHO all who is replying in this thread should understand this simple logic (otherwise you wouldn't pass CARS).

P.S. All this is applicable even without going into differences in memory/intellect etc.
 

IntheClouds4ever

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State University- graduated 2.5 years ago with decent gpa

Self study with EK only for 2 months while working fulltime in hospital lab. Netted a 505 overall.
-bombed the Chem/phys portion (124)
 

bearintraining

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I think the overall conclusion here is that how well you self-study depends on how well you understand what the expectations are of the exam and what it is you *do not understand/know*. If you can suitably assess the "self-analysis" portion and execute the "rectifying" portion, you should score well, barring intellectual differences..
 
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