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Prepping for MCAT

Discussion in 'MCAT: Medical College Admissions Test' started by docss26, Dec 13, 2005.

  1. docss26

    Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    So im a freshman in college and a lot of pre meds have told me that its never too early to start prepping for the mcat.

    So i go into barns and noble today and check out some mcat prep books and man i didnt know what the hell i was looking at. How do u prepare for stuff youve never learned before? I know ill eventually get to it, but what r your recommendations on how i can start to prep for it?

    Thanks
    :thumbup:
     
  2. chandelantern

    chandelantern MSI at Mayo in August!
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    The section that is most difficult to study for in a short amount of time is the verbal section. The sciences you will learn in classes and then study hard before the test, but verbal can be difficult for many science majors. It is a good idea to start reading a lot of material (boring stuff especially) and critically analyzing it. You can maybe pick up an MCAT prep book for the verbal section and do some of those exams so you get a feel for the material early, or you can just read journals and thoughty-newspapers.
     
  3. IDforMe

    IDforMe Not recovered...
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    I would second this. Don't worry about the rest of it. It will be covered in your basic science classes and in upper level (depending on your major) electives. If you understand the material in these courses and put in some study time for material specific to the MCAT before you take it, you will do fine.
     
  4. docss26

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    souunds good
     
  5. Chris127

    Chris127 Senior Member
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    Entering high school, my teacher told me a a kid she taught a few years ago who started prepping for the ACT his freshman year in high school. Of course, the kid didnt know how to to do any of the math, but he practiced verbal and sci reasoning consistently until he took the exam. He got a 34. That compares to about a 1490 on the SAT.

    So now, as a freshman, once finals finish up, I am going to start reviewing verbal reasoning. I am going to develop a habit of whenever I have a minutesto spare, just grab a practice test and see what I make. This can only be beneficial for me, as not only will I learn the structure of the passages though, I will start to see questions repeat themselves, as in what 'type' of questions are asked.
     
  6. werd

    werd Senior Member
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    the best way to prep for the mcats right now is to learn the materials in the relevant courses... it's like studying for the mcats and upping your gpa at the same time :idea:
     
  7. masterMood

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    Don't worry about studying for mcats now focus on e.c.s and boosting your transcript. If you're of reasonable intelligence you can do very well on the mcat in less than a year as long as you work hard and you understand everything you did in your pre-reqs.

    I second the idea to read a lot of material that is difficult/dry/boring and try to read it quickly while understanding it and critically analyzing it.

    Also, about the freshman who started studying for the ACT since freshmen year, i really don't think you need to begin studyign as a freshman. And besides, he only got a 34 on his ACTs. Again, it's nice but nto that impressive. Look at me 1180 on psat, 1250 first time on sat 2nd time 1450 on sat all in one year.
     
  8. OW415

    OW415 Junior Member

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    Any recommendations for a source of difficult/boring/dry text? I'm starting undergraduate next year so might as well get a move on.
     
  9. If you are a freshman, don't worry about prep stuff now. Pay attention and work hard in chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, biology. Learn the course material for the sake of learning the material (as opposed to passing your exams) and you will find yourself in a very strong position when it comes time to think about prep courses/books/etc. Special prep stuff isn't really necessary if you are a strong undergraduate student who has taken the proper courses..... but everyone seems to do it these days.
     
  10. DrBowtie

    DrBowtie Final Countdown
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    I agree with the above.
    The MCAT won't be relevant if you are bulling all B's in your pre-reqs.
     
  11. TX515

    TX515 Senior Member
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    Well said. Don't make the mistake and think admissions is all about the MCAT. A good score matters, but take the time to volunteer and become involved in health care. Don't be afraid to take pre-req classes. Take the opportunity to take upper level classes. Don't overload yourself with so many courses you have to struggle memorizing material the night before a test only to pass the test and forget the material. If you learn the material in your pre-req classes and strengthen your knowledge base with upper level classes (namely biochemisty), prepping for the MCAT will come much easier for you.
     
  12. nekrogg

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    you must study 10 hours a day 3 years before your mcats or they wont let you into any medical school :laugh:
     
  13. gary5

    gary5 Senior Member
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    This is great advice.
     
  14. Camillekc

    Camillekc Senior Member
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    You don't have to read boring stuff, which you'll probably lose interest in.You'll get enough of that on the MCAT. I would suggest reading novels (although not so flaky ones) and magazines like the new yorker just to improve your reading. If you want to do boring stuff, do practice verbal sections, and then at least you'll get an idea of the questions too.

    But trust me on the reading- it's interesting, you'll learn something, you'll do better in your classes and the MCAT, and it's cheaper than the movies.
     
  15. Phil Anthropist

    Phil Anthropist SDN Moderator
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    Moving to the MCAT forum
     
  16. McGillGrad

    McGillGrad Building Mind and Body
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    Just try to learn the concepts and see how they fit in to the big picture.

    And try to read academic texts often. The newspaper will not do because it is often no higher than highschool level writing.
     
  17. shantster

    shantster Eye protection!
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    Unless you start reading something like the Wall Street Journal. It was recommended to us from a past graduate who said that he just ordered a trial subscription of it and then critically read the articles he accumulated that way.
     
  18. QuikClot

    QuikClot Senior Member
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    I'd second what many people have said about core courses, and add: you have something many of us would kill for; a chance to tackle med school without a couple crappy-GPA years that turn a GPA of 3.9 into a labor of Sisyphus. (To see what I mean, assign yourself a freshman GPA of 3.0 and see how long it would take you to get to a 3.9. Brrrrrr. Moving on.)

    You also have the time to set yourself up for a 36+ MCAT. Here's what I would advise:

    *Cancel your cable. Read, read, read. Read everything you've ever wanted to read -- everything that remotely interests you. Novels, magazines, newspapers, old textbooks, the dictionary. Whatever, as long as it's rich and challenging.

    The other posters are right; you should chose texts that are challenging, but hold some interest. Here's why; your reading skills are like your muscles; they grow when challenged. Repetition is only part of the process -- the other part is forcing your brain to learn new ways to take in the text.

    It needs to be interesting because looking at words is not reading. When people "work" at a text, they look at one sentence after another, and if they undesrstand each sentence they think they are reading. This is not reading. Reading is all about making connections. Connections to what you know. Connections to what you've felt and experienced. Connections to other parts of the text. If you aren't making connections as you read (sometimes you have to power through for a while before you start) you aren't reading -- not in any way that will help you on the MCAT.

    * Take classes in philosophy, literature (upper division, serious prof.s only -- ask around), literary criticism, and history. The MCAT is a reading test. You can cram content, but you cannot fake the ability to quickly read and analyze text, filling in lacune and examine implications and counterarguments. It takes years to learn that -- that's the reason why English majors outperform science geeks on the MCAT.

    *Take a prep class when you get closer. Still.

    I hope this helps.
     
  19. xylem29

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    Actually - english majors do not outperform science geeks on the mcat - I don't know where you got that info from - on the contrary...as the saying goes..."everything that you know, we know...but some of the things we know...you don't" ---> the really top notch science people have way higher intellectual capacities and IQ's IMHO because not only can they comprehend and read higher level literature - they have the logic and problem solving skills that is required in the sciences. Humanities ppl "just can't get" the concepts or consider science "dry" b/c they think its all about memorizing but I'll tell you that science is not about memorizing - all the analytical and critical thinking involved in the liberal arts - the science people can do and more.
     
  20. DrBowtie

    DrBowtie Final Countdown
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  21. McGillGrad

    McGillGrad Building Mind and Body
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    Can I get a woot woot for other BA's...lol
     
  22. xylem29

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    Damn. Don't I feel like a jacka**! But the true scientist in me will say that these crude statistics have no significance and doesn't really disprove what I said.
     
  23. MollyMalone

    MollyMalone I'm a Score Quadruplet
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    :laugh: :laugh: As if.

    While I certainly don't think that any major necessarily provides an advantage, I do think that being able to do well in humanities AND in the sciences is overall a better indicator of MCAT success than good performance in one or the other.

    I am a "humanities" person, I suppose, as an English major. I "get" the sciences, as evidenced by my 3.89 BCPM GPA, which includes upper divison coursework... I do not consider the sciences too "dry" and I'll thank you for not pigeon-holing me into some bizarre category of your own imagining.

    The MCAT tests scientific reasoning, reading comprehension, and verbal ability. In order to achieve the highest scores, you must be well-rounded. To say that humanities people just don't get it is completely unfounded, IMHO. I will pit my intellectual capacity against yours any time, any place.
     
  24. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
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    In my experience, humanities majors DO outperform other students. Physical science majors would come next. Pre-med majors (we do have a major called "pre-med" at this university, unfortunately) do the worst as a group, although some students of course do very well. This is in keeping with the AAMC trends that Brett linked.

    Here's some more food for thought: I was actually a double major in natural sciences and Spanish, and I earned both a liberal arts degree (BA) and a physical science degree (MS in chemistry). Lorelei, who also earned a 43 on the MCAT, was also a double major in humanities and science (her majors were German and computer science.) She and I are only two examples, and I don't know about the background of anyone else who scored a 43 on the test, but it's an interesting coincidence that the two of us were both double majors in foreign language and physical science, don't you think? I think that TheDarkSide is correct about the need to be well-rounded academically, which also explains why she did so well on the exam herself. :)
     
  25. xylem29

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    yes - well rounded is what I was refering to when I said top notch science majors. Plus, you are just an individual and would not be considered (by me) merely a humanities person b/c a top notch science major can also excel in humanties - which means you guys are the same. Which makes my argument circular and now I'm sounding dumb.

    hey - anyway, u are a special type of humanities - someone who was gunning for med. Most humanities do not gun for med. Hence if you look at the stats - the majority of matriculants in med are from life science backrounds with an increasing number from engineering. Good number from non sci backrounds too but they certainly do not make up the majority even though they outperform on the mcat.

    It's easy to see why most humanities outperform the science group but you should take a look at the stats for how many humanities ppl actually write the mcat vs those from the sciences. Double majors don't count or should be considered to be from both camps.
     

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