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Question for MCAT Study Plan.

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by PomiliaAnthony13, Aug 5, 2015.

  1. PomiliaAnthony13

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    Salve,

    I will be taking the MCAT during the Summer of 2016. I have been informed by various sources that I should develop a 200-300 hour study agenda, 3 months prior to taking the test. Seems reasonable; however, I think that it'd be more effective if I were to plan out a 1000 hour, year-long study course. After balanced calculations, it'd result in a 52 week program; consisting of 3.85 study hours per day for 5 days out of each week. I'd, of course, set-up an accumulative evaluation for the remaining 3 months prior to the MCAT.

    Would you agree that this an authentic conception? Or am I being too pessimistic?

    I just want to assure myself that I will produce a 40+ score...

    Ciao.
     
    #1 PomiliaAnthony13, Aug 5, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2015
  2. The problem with studying over a period of time that long is that you won't remember what you studied in the earlier days when you finish your study plan. There's a reason people usually study for 3 months, it's because you won't forget much from day 1 to day 90.
     
  3. rememberthetitans

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    Realistically, if you're in undergrad right now it's probably unlikely that you'll be able to devote nearly 4 hours each day to MCAT along with your other coursework and activities. Personally, I studied about 6 hours per day for a little less than 5 weeks over the summer and I thought it worked out really well because I didn't feel like I forgot too much and I didn't get burned out or lose motivation towards the end. Granted, I was really fortunate to be able to take a month off of work to study. Even if 5 weeks is too short for you though, I think a year is definitely too long.
     
  4. Doctor Dream

    Doctor Dream Eating the 5 pancakes
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    I agree with everyone else that that sounds like a lot. Don't be under the impression that more hours = better score. You obviously know yourself better than us, but most people like the 3 months because it's enough time to fit in content review and practice exams without feeling burned out or forgetting material. I definitely fall in to the 3 month category.
     
  5. NotASerialKiller

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    Eh... using your full name, crazy study schedule, claiming you want 40+... either a troll or an extremely naive poster.

    If the latter, everyone studies differently, if you need to make a study plan that is that specific go ahead but that's certainly not the standard. And like others have stated, you can't ace the MCAT just by memorizing the study material better than others, it's a critical thinking test.

    If the former, ciao bella!
     
  6. ATL.F.Doc

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    Mind sharing your score, if you have it?
     
  7. rememberthetitans

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    Between 517-521 (for anonymity's sake)
     
  8. ATL.F.Doc

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    What study materials did you use? How many practice tests?
     
  9. gannicus89

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    That seems like overkill. I think three-four months of studying and practicing is enough to do well on the MCAT.
     
  10. Lucca

    Lucca Will Walk Rope for Sandwich
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    A poster on the MCAT forum had a similarly protracted plan that worked really for them but this may not work for you. I think long-form plans like this are better for people who retain information very well (don't have to repeat content review after 2 months because they forgot everything) and want to focus on practicing. Practice is really make-or-break for this exam since it's longer than what we might be used to. I would add that it's extremely unrealistic that you will have 4 hours a day in undergrad to work on the MCAT on top of everything else without burning out instantly and possibly doing worse in your classes.

    Also: Never use your real name or likeness on the internet it's a bad idea.
     
  11. Cotterpin

    Cotterpin Gluconeogenesis Evangelion
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    If you're going to study over a really long period of time, I recommend making Anki flashcards as you study and reviewing them regularly so that all that stuff you covered at the beginning gets refreshed at appropriate intervals.
     
  12. raiderette

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    I studied from my holiday break in December until my test date in May. I was in physics and biochem at the same time, so I tailored my studying to reinforce the classroom learning whenever I could. Still, I dedicated several months to studying, with the last month or so studying every moment I wasn't in the lab. I found in doing practice tests that I had forgotten much of what I studied in December, yet the content review was easier when I reviewed before the test. If you are going to dedicate a year to it, identify your weak areas, then truly study them at your own pace in the beginning. Spend the next semester with content review and taking practice tests. The problem that you will face with the new MCAT is that you will find that you run out of material to test yourself. One big advantage to waiting for the practice tests is that prep companies did not do a great job creating realistic materials. Hopefully they will be better next year.
     
  13. PomiliaAnthony13

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    Everybody,

    Thank you for your multiple responses and various opinions.
     
    #13 PomiliaAnthony13, Aug 6, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2015
  14. goldy490

    goldy490 Membership Revoked
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    You can study every day for a decade and it won't guarantee you a 40 or above...at that level (+99th percentile), things like innate intelligence and luck become just as important as preparation. You'd be far better served to aim for a realistic score (maybe above the 90-95th percentile?) and put that 4 hours a day to developing the leadership, community service, or clinical experience sections of your application. Also you are aware the scale changed and a "40" itself no longer exists, right?

    PS. like people said above, dont use your name or picture...adcoms look at this site and you dont want them finding you on here.
     
  15. GrapesofRath

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    There are MD's who have been practicing for years gone through the rigor of medical school and residency for whom if you allowed them to study for a month or two still wouldn't automatically just produce a 40+ score. At that kind of level of score one or two simple carless mistakes is everything.

    Take a practice test(one of the old AAMC ones) and see how it goes. Where are your strengths and weaknesses? If your weakness is in content knowledge don't spend an entire year memorizing content true. However, if your weakness is in reading comprehension and reasoning abilities the way the MCAT asks of you then it is in your best interest to start "preparing" for the test by building up those skills.

    The efficacy of reading outside passages to improve mcat reading comprehension is always debated but one of the main complaints is there is not enough time to really build up reading comprehension skills in 2 months of prep or so. That is true. But it becomes a more feasible task(if your goals are realistic) if you have 1-1.5 years of prep and continuously build up your reading comprehension skills by actively reading everyday. Many people recommend things like the Economist and that's fine but what you really want to do is read abstract passages in subjects you aren't comfortable with and which can be fair game on the MCAT. Reading anything dense you can about art, foreign cultures and traditions is one good idea to do with this. The more comfortable you are reading passages on things like these, the more you can build up some relative understanding of terminology and practice actively thinking about it and almost visualizing what you read, the less frazzled you'll be on test day when the AACM throws one of their infamous passages designed to throw people off their game(if you want a good example AAMC Practice Test 5 on Piccasso will show you this). For me the visualizing what I read techinque is something that really worked well and this became a lot easier for me after reading a bunch of passages on art, history and tradition even if whatever the AAMC throws about art or history isn't close to a specific subject I ever read about. It's not particularly high yield by itself. But improving reading comprehension if you are weak at isn't something where there are high yield techniques of improving it necessairly. You just have to be persistent and see what works for you.

    As for the sciences, I really do recommend regardless of what your strengths and weaknesses are actively reading scientific publications in relevant fields such as biochem, genetics, physiology etc. The more comfortable you are reading about how techniques are used and how experiments are designed, you will be much better off on test day. Also extracting relevant info from scientific papers is a skill in itself and that is really something you need for this MCAT. You are going to be asked to interpret blots, PCR data, charts, stain data and the like on this new test; you want more familiarization with it beyond what you read in a Kaplan book.

    At the end of the day like I said this is all about realizing your strengths and weaknesses. For thsi purpose an old AAMC test can be rather useful(the style of the MCAT questioning really hasn't changed as much as people think). If you find your weaknesses in reading comprehension, analysis skills and reasoning ability at the level demanded by the AAMC, the sooner you prep the better off you'll be. And as a general reminder preparing for the mcat and reading all these books often isn't about memorizing. It's about being familiar with every topic possible and having some background info and being comfortable with it so that when the AAMC throws a big passage on a topic on test day and asks you to analyze data you can comprehend what they are throwing at you faster by being familiar with the topic and have a better idea of how to interpret what they are telling you and what and what isn't a reasonable conclusion.
     

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