Gutsy

2+ Year Member
Jul 29, 2015
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Hello everyone,

I've been working a very full-time job at a non-profit for the past year since graduating in 2015. My job has several special events throughout the year so I sometimes work really late nights where I come home anywhere between 10pm to 1am (maybe once every other month). I've been having a difficult time trying to study since late October of 2015 but since this past June, I've found a way to study at least 2.5 hours a day (Monday to Friday) and around 6 hours on the weekend. But there has been restructuring at my organization and some office politics that's been driving me crazy and so I feel like I'm doing 2-3 full-time jobs right now. My supervisor is trying to help reduce the tremendous stress I am going through but I'm concerned that I'm not going to be able to focus and study if this continues much longer.

I'm seriously considering resigning and studying for the MCAT full-time but concerned about financials as the city I live is expensive. I will have about 3 months rent saved up by the time I resign but need to figure out living expenses. I'm aiming to take the January 2017 exam. I've taken the old MCAT in January 2015 and did very poorly (scored 20...) so I can't screw up this time. I've already unofficially pushed back my exam twice and decided to take 3 years off instead of 2 so I don't want to delay the exam any further. I want at least 3 months to hard core study as I'm not a good standardize test taker (although my GPA is 3.9+). My other thought was asking my boss if I can take a month off in January to study and go part time starting in October. Would this be enough time?? But I really doubt she will let me with the amount of work that I do so that's why I'm trying to think of a backup plan upon resignation.

My other concern is finding a job after I finish the MCAT as I still have at least 1.5 years to go before starting med school. But just because I study full-time doesn't mean that I will do well on the exam so I'm nervous about the risk.

Has anyone else been in a similar situation where you quit your job to study? Or conversely worked and studied?

Thank you so much!!
 

futuremdforme

5+ Year Member
May 12, 2013
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If you're studying 2.5 hrs a day during the week and 6 hrs on the weekend, are you not making any progress? That is more than enough to write in January. Honestly you should be able to write in September or October with that! I would consider study strategies before quitting the job because it doesn't seem very efficient. That said, if you do need to reduce, going part-time is a better option than quitting, and a leave of absence (unpaid) where you can go back to your job would also be a reasonable option.
 
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Gutsy

Gutsy

2+ Year Member
Jul 29, 2015
288
70
Status
Medical Student
If you're studying 2.5 hrs a day during the week and 6 hrs on the weekend, are you not making any progress? That is more than enough to write in January. Honestly you should be able to write in September or October with that! I would consider study strategies before quitting the job because it doesn't seem very efficient. That said, if you do need to reduce, going part-time is a better option than quitting, and a leave of absence (unpaid) where you can go back to your job would also be a reasonable option.
I've been on and off studying for the past 6 months and I haven't seen any jump in my score :( I think it's been difficult focusing on the exam with an intense job. Exam is not offered in October and the September exam is too soon as I haven't taken biochem so I'm focusing on reviewing.
 
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Gutsy

Gutsy

2+ Year Member
Jul 29, 2015
288
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Medical Student
How much did you study for the last one? Three months of studying with nothing else going on seems crazy to me. Are you planning on doing volunteering during that time?

Sent from my XT1030 using SDN mobile
I was taking a Kaplan course throughout the fall semester in 2014 and hardcore studied for 18 days during winter break. I guess that's where I went wrong. Not giving myself adequate time to study T.T
 

futuremdforme

5+ Year Member
May 12, 2013
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I've been on and off studying for the past 6 months and I haven't seen any jump in my score :( I think it's been difficult focusing on the exam with an intense job. Exam is not offered in October and the September exam is too soon as I haven't taken biochem so I'm focusing on reviewing.
I really think it's your study methods. If you legitimately think it's your job, then quit but it's crazy not to have any improvement in your score in that time. Tutor?

Edit: I'm not saying this to be a jackass. I'm saying this because ten times zero is still zero, and I wouldn't want you to put yourself in financial difficulty without achieving the result you need.
 
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ConfusedChemist

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Aug 5, 2014
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The problem is you and your study methods, not your job. You've already put in way, way more hours than most do to get high scores. The fact you aren't improving with any amount of studying means you're doing something wrong, plain and simple.

Also, I think 6 months is too long. At that point you're forgetting things you learned before. Just focus and get through it. It's a test, based on the pre-reqs you presumably took. It's more about critical thinking than classes, but that realistically cuts down on the 'knowledge' tested.
 
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Gutsy

Gutsy

2+ Year Member
Jul 29, 2015
288
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Medical Student
The problem is you and your study methods, not your job. You've already put in way, way more hours than most do to get high scores. The fact you aren't improving with any amount of studying means you're doing something wrong, plain and simple.

Also, I think 6 months is too long. At that point you're forgetting things you learned before. Just focus and get through it. It's a test, based on the pre-reqs you presumably took. It's more about critical thinking than classes, but that realistically cuts down on the 'knowledge' tested.
Thank you for your thoughts. I don't know what I'm doing wrong. I think it may be that my studying is fragmented as I'm so tired after coming home from a long day and my hours are unpredictable. Also, I think I'm really frustrated at my job right now as I'm being piled with so much work so that's part of my mental exhaustion.
 

ace_inhibitor111

7+ Year Member
Mar 10, 2012
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A full-time job is definitely going to affect your study efficiency and how well you perform on tests. The stress alone is going to affect your concentration, and switching from the mindset of work to study takes time and can't be easily done for some people in 2.5 hours. I really don't think anyone can conclude that the problem is your study methods. You really just have to weigh the pros and cons. Are you able to live without a job for some time? What would you do if you have to retake, or if you score less than expected?

I will say that I took the gamble and quit my job to study the MCAT for 3 months and it paid off. However, my job wasn't nearly as important sounding as yours, and I had money to live off of. So there's that.
 
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futuremdforme

5+ Year Member
May 12, 2013
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I say it because I and some of my friends studied with a full time job and got above 95th percentile. I was not a 4.0 science student and my prereqs were really, really old.

Do what you want. I considered quiting before I studied but in the end was extremely happy I didn't. Obviously do what it takes for an excellent score.
 
Jan 7, 2016
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I agree with some posters above. If you took a Kaplan course *and* had 18 days to study and still got a 20, there is definitely a problem with your study strategy.

I say this not to be discouraging, but to help you triage your situation and figure out what changes you need to make. What I would hate to see you do is quit the job, continue your same study habits, and end up with a score that won't get you where you need to be. (Unless you have money saved or outside financial resources.)

It does sound like your job is more demanding than most (you mentioned it being the equivalent of 2-3 full-time jobs). Is there any way you could look for a different job? That way you'd have more time to study *and* you'd have a job for after the MCAT.

I'm not sure if I'll be able to help but I used to be an MCAT tutor, so feel free to PM me. I'm starting second year next week so won't have a ton of time, but I'd be happy to help you any way I can.