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Hello. I am applying for med school next summer (2016) and I am taking a full courseload next semester (comp. anat., bio chem, virology, immunology and maybe one more). I have some time this semester to study, but it looks like they only offer test dates in like April. So I'm thinking if i study really hard i'll just be rusty by then. Option 2 is to take the mcat on Sept 23. Ive taken all my pre-reqs, and I went to a really hard school, so I feel like I could bust my ass and do it. I have all the berkeley mcat books, and im' going to get one for the new psych section. I know there's a pretty good chance I'll have to retake it if i flop, but i also see value in getting over the fear of taking the mcat. Even if i do poorly, it won't be like a huuuuge battle to prepare and retake. What do you guys think?
 
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Jan 3, 2013
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Ok. I really want to have my application in on the first day that they will accept it. So should I just take it really close to that date? Or do you think schools don't like to see you pushing deadlines?
 

Goro

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Why on earth would you take a career-deciding, high stakes exam if you weren't ready for it???


The bolded mentality is of concern. We're allergic to poor choice makers.



Hello. I am applying for med school next summer (2016) and I am taking a full courseload next semester (comp. anat., bio chem, virology, immunology and maybe one more). I have some time this semester to study, but it looks like they only offer test dates in like April. So I'm thinking if i study really hard i'll just be rusty by then. Option 2 is to take the mcat on Sept 23. Ive taken all my pre-reqs, and I went to a really hard school, so I feel like I could bust my ass and do it. I have all the berkeley mcat books, and im' going to get one for the new psych section. I know there's a pretty good chance I'll have to retake it if i flop, but i also see value in getting over the fear of taking the mcat. Even if i do poorly, it won't be like a huuuuge battle to prepare and retake. What do you guys think?
 

Nucleophile1

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May 12, 2015
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Do not take the MCAT unless you are ready. Even if it means waiting an extra cycle to apply, it will be worth it in the long run.
 
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No need to be rude Goro. I'm just trying to think this through. Cramming for the MCAT is not unheard of.
 
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I guess I could take it in July. But then my scores won't be released until August, which is a little later than I wanted. The likelihood of the lateness of my application being a problem is much smaller than the likelihood that I'd have to retake it if i took it too soon. So. I guess my application won't be ideal but it'll be stronger.
 

GrapesofRath

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No need to be rude Goro. I'm just trying to think this through. Cramming for the MCAT is not unheard of.
The fact that is the perspective of someone involved in admissions should tell you something. Even if it isn't a poor decision in your mind, it'll come across as one and that's the only thing that matters for you.

There is literally no point in cramming for the MCAT now. You have from January-May next year to take it. Why wouldn't you use that time to study as opposed to the alternative of winging it now? If you're that opposed to studying and think you can ace it without studying just take it next year using that approach(the odds of it working aren't great but its your call).

If you really see that much value in fear of taking the MCAT the AAMC has released an official practice test and is coming out with another one soon. That can be a good harmless guide of where you stand where doing poorly has no repercussions.
 

Goro

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I'm just informing you of how Adcoms approach applicants who do these types of things. I have one colleague who would reject you outright for this type of thinking.

Based upon the posts I've seen over 4 years on SDN, cramming for the MCAT usually leads to disaster. Most people here tend to post that they score (much to their surprise) several points worse than their practice exams.

Do not take this process lightly.


No need to be rude Goro. I'm just trying to think this through. Cramming for the MCAT is not unheard of.
 
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The fact that is the perspective of someone involved in admissions should tell you something. Even if it isn't a poor decision in your mind, it'll come across as one and that's the only thing that matters for you.

There is literally no point in cramming for the MCAT now. You have from January-May next year to take it. Why wouldn't you use that time to study as opposed to the alternative of winging it now? If you're that opposed to studying and think you can ace it without studying just take it next year using that approach(the odds of it working aren't great but its your call).
I would be devoting 8+ hours a day until then studying. I'm not "opposed to studying"; I'm just concerned that I'll be so busy with my classes next semester that MCAT prep will be pushed to the side, in which case I'd be cramming then or cramming now. The advantage of taking it in the summer will be that I will have just finished a bunch of classes that definitely mesh with my MCAT prep.
 

Munty

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I had a similar situation to you, I took it June of this year and am applying this cycle. I started some studying in the spring semester (5-10 hours a week, which is doable with even a busy course load). Then as soon as I took my finals I started studying full time for the MCAT, 40-50 hours a week. I felt adequately prepared for the MCAT and ended up scoring very well. But I too was worried I would be late in the cycle since my scores came out 3 weeks after the first applications went to the schools. I submitted on the first day anyway knowing they probably wouldn't look at it until my scores came in. Now I have interview invites for half the schools I applied to already, 3 of them offered me an interview on the first day of interviews for their schools.

So I would say wait until summer to take it, July is a little late, but June turned out very well for me. But you are the best judge of your own schedule and abilities, and this is just my own personal account.
 
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The_Bird

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I would be devoting 8+ hours a day until then studying. I'm not "opposed to studying"; I'm just concerned that I'll be so busy with my classes next semester that MCAT prep will be pushed to the side, in which case I'd be cramming then or cramming now. The advantage of taking it in the summer will be that I will have just finished a bunch of classes that definitely mesh with my MCAT prep.
Upper division classes don't really apply to what the MCAT tests, except perhaps with the psychology section (but only a bit).

This is first and foremost a critical thinking and verbal analysis skills test which requires you to apply basic science principles to interdisciplinary, passage based problems. Therefore, practice, practice, practice is much more high yield than upper division science coursework. This isn't a test of complex science concepts, but complex science problems.
 
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Doug Underhill

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I "aced" the MCAT by respecting the exam and preparing adequately. Since I had a full-time job and had been several years removed from undergrad, I studied over a period of six months. Cramming is a bad idea.
 
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