OnMyWayThere

OMS-III
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Apr 2, 2003
2,023
2
The best coast (west coast)
Status
Did anybody who took the MCAT previously feel a lot of fatigue during the Verbal section?

I find myself wanting to take a nap after the 4th passage and my scoring shows it. I go from nearly no mistakes to marks all over it on the second half.

If anyone has advice on how to deal with this and stay "alert", please advise.
 

Mr Reddly

Snowglobe!
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Jan 14, 2004
900
2
Still trying
Visit site
Status
After every practice test, I would go home and fall asleep immediately. Usually, I would crash until the next morning.

The only advise is to take more tests to get the stamina.
 
About the Ads

Brickhouse

7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Oct 10, 2003
4,173
9
43
LA2DC and back again...
Status
Resident [Any Field]
I didn't have to sleep, I had to pee. Bad. But I made it through, and I got an "A". :)
 

dtreese

Caramel Gollum
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Apr 23, 2001
20,482
5
45
KY, The Jelly State
Visit site
Status
Medical Student
Have a little caffeine, but not so much that you get jittery. Take a few seconds between passages to just let your mind wander a little -- you're getting bored. VR can do that to you. Part of the MCAT is that it's an endurance test. Train for it. Do VR passages until your eyes pop out of your head. Then test day will seem easy.
 

MrTee

Senior Member
15+ Year Member
Oct 14, 2003
337
2
Visit site
Status
Try some DMAE, you can get it from GNC or online at a lot of places. When taken on an empty stomach, it has a noticeable effect of enhancing my concentration without the diuretic effect of caffeine. I don't know if it's placebo or not, but it works for me when I feel blah about studying.

The stuff makes me *feel* better while I study, but it doesn't actually enhance performance as far as getting more questions correct. I didn't use it on the MCAT because I didn't feel the need (when you're taking the real thing, you'll feel a little more nervous and alert than during a practice run) and I didn't feel it would help my score.

Also, ensure your diet doesn't contain lots of carbs, or total calories in your meal prior to your test. This will cause food coma, which isn't a good thing. Alternatively, if you're eating nothing before tests, you might be crashing from low blood sugar. A small snack with fat and protein like string cheese between sections is a good choice.
 

Neuronix

Total nerd
Staff member
Administrator
15+ Year Member
Mar 14, 2002
13,567
3,439
the beach
Status
Attending Physician
What I did was get up every day starting 2 weeks before the MCAT by 7AM and I was in the library doing practice verbal passages by 8AM. This way I got used to getting up early and doing MCAT work.
 

rewindthemovie

Senior Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Mar 27, 2004
171
0
34
st. louis
Status
I drank two Red Bulls (they taste like ****) before I took the ACT and it definitely helped me on the verbal section. I know the ACT is a bit different from the MCAT. Nonetheless, there are ingredients in Red Bull that increase concentration.
 

there_is_no

Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Feb 24, 2004
26
1
Visit site
Status
this is going to sound extremely dumb to some people but you can try it if it works for you. i agree with the whole low carbs thing during the test day, you will probably end up crashing because of it, but that means you have to load up on carbs the day before the test so that you have enough glycogen reserve to make it through the next day. also for keeping up your awareness, i don't really like caffeine at all. first it makes me jittery, then there's that low that comes after its use and finally you'll end up having to take a bathroom break at the wrong time which is the absolute worst concentration breaker i know. so alternatively, i would take peppermints to the exam. i dunno if i'm dreaming this up, but i thought someone had studied them and showed that they temporarily raise your IQ, but then i tried googling for that study, but couldn't find it. but at the very least, it perks you up because it hits a few pain receptors which are linked to your awareness centers. plus i don't think it has the same ill effects as caffeine does. hope that helps, maybe that's hokey diet advice, but you know, pretty much all of it seems that way these days.
 

rewindthemovie

Senior Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Mar 27, 2004
171
0
34
st. louis
Status
Originally posted by there_is_no
this is going to sound extremely dumb to some people but you can try it if it works for you. i agree with the whole low carbs thing during the test day, you will probably end up crashing because of it, but that means you have to load up on carbs the day before the test so that you have enough glycogen reserve to make it through the next day. also for keeping up your awareness, i don't really like caffeine at all. first it makes me jittery, then there's that low that comes after its use and finally you'll end up having to take a bathroom break at the wrong time which is the absolute worst concentration breaker i know. so alternatively, i would take peppermints to the exam. i dunno if i'm dreaming this up, but i thought someone had studied them and showed that they temporarily raise your IQ, but then i tried googling for that study, but couldn't find it. but at the very least, it perks you up because it hits a few pain receptors which are linked to your awareness centers. plus i don't think it has the same ill effects as caffeine does. hope that helps, maybe that's hokey diet advice, but you know, pretty much all of it seems that way these days.
you're completely right in your assumption. I remember a teacher telling me this and seeing the study (do a google search and you'll be able to find it). I took a whole bag of peppermints to the SAT :D
 

oldman

Senior Citizen
Gold Donor
15+ Year Member
Feb 3, 2002
4,657
40
Hospital
Status
Attending Physician
hide candy in your pocket (unwrapped). pop it in for instant brain fuel.
 

Brickhouse

7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Oct 10, 2003
4,173
9
43
LA2DC and back again...
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Originally posted by MrTee


Also, ensure your diet doesn't contain lots of carbs, or total calories in your meal prior to your test. This will cause food coma, which isn't a good thing.
Yeah but carbs use water to metabolize and without 'em, all that water gonna come rushing out right into your bladder and then you'll have my experience!
 
About the Ads

Flack Pinku

U lookin at my glasses??
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Jun 5, 2002
2,033
0
Vacationing
Status
:sleep:

Sleep during the verbal section is common. Though I'd call it boredom. Take it easy, and just try to stay awake... :)
 

exmike

NOR * CAL
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
May 19, 2003
4,206
11
42
Bay Area
Status
Fellow [Any Field]
try provigil.
 

dentate_gyrus

Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Dec 14, 2003
92
0
Visit site
Status
all this advice on what combination of foods to ingest is pretty much nonsense. worrying about this seems like a way to avoid more constructive work. My essential advice is as follows:

1) don't get food poisoning in the days leading up to or on the day of the MCAT. Make your own food.

2) get used to reading really boring dense prose EVERY DAY early in the AM for 1.5 hours straight (read harpers, the economist, nytimes or wall street journal), underlining the text and everything. Verbal is the only thing everyone needs to work on every day.

3) i was so full of adrenalin during the first two sections that caffeine would have stopped my heart. Sleep was not an issue even though i did not sleep the night before (anxious). If you go taking supplements it will have deleterious effects.

4) eat a good lunch. Make it yourself as per #1, that way nobody can poison you to hurt your performance.

5) someone will do much worse than you, take solice in this.
 

camstah

running thru dandelions
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
May 5, 2003
928
0
Los Angleeez
Visit site
Status
here's something i recommended to a friend of mine, and i guess it worked for her.....go get a magazine called Harper's...not Harper's Bazaar, just plain Harper's....the articles in it are REALLY dense, and it helps keep you current with issues that you can talk about during your interview......it helped her verbal score quite a bit, because instead of using quite as much brain power as she used to just trying to read through the passages, she thought they were much easier to understand, and it didn't take as much effort.....also, she started to think some of them were actually interesting......all of which helped her focus come test day (this was her third MCAT too....her score improved a lot on the verbal).........

my trick was too take some bite size snickers in with me and a cup of coffee, then just have a few sips right before the test started (and no water that morning!) and pop a snickers or two......also, before i start actually reading the passages, i just stopped for about five seconds to collect myself, then moved on to the next passage......it helps with verbal tiredness....and the Harper's thing helps A LOT too.......
 

BaseballFan

Senior Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Jan 26, 2004
108
0
Visit site
Status
Originally posted by OnMyWayThere
Did anybody who took the MCAT previously feel a lot of fatigue during the Verbal section?

I find myself wanting to take a nap after the 4th passage and my scoring shows it. I go from nearly no mistakes to marks all over it on the second half.

If anyone has advice on how to deal with this and stay "alert", please advise.
I don't think I know anyone who DIDN'T feel fatigued by the time they reached the middle of the verbal section.

Sadly, the MCAT is testing how well you perform under tough conditions.

I agree with camstah, read dense passages for practice.

Good Luck!
 

TheRussian

Life Size Mirror
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Mar 19, 2004
488
1
Boston, MA
Visit site
Status
Training for the MCAT is like training for the marathon. The first few times you do it, you can't get past the 5th mile or the 4th passage. Keep taking them until you build up enough endurance so that you not only finish the test but have enough energy to do 50 jumping jacks after you get out of there. Trust me, you're gonna want to celebrate once that miserable experience is over.
 

Please!

Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Jan 10, 2004
101
0
Visit site
Status
I found that I wasn't actually sleepy during the verbal section, my eyes were just tired. I would suggest bringing some Visine drops or some saline solution to the test. You won't believe how much that will help to refresh you!!! Good luck!!
 

Fumoffu

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Mar 25, 2004
194
0
Visit site
Status
I fell asleep during my physical sciences section for almost 30 seconds...yes fell asleep. The last passage of verbal I didn't even read and guessed.

It was not a wise idea to goto sleep at 4 am the night before...

NYC blackout and other duties screwed me over. Got a 32 though.
 

uclacrewdude

the uclacrewdude abides
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Jul 27, 2003
9,796
5
39
maddox.xmission.net
Status
Resident [Any Field]
eat a good balanced lunch, but not a big one. limit your caffiene intake to like a coke or something. do something cool during your break, like take a walk or read a paper, something to take your mind off things and conserve your mental endurance. bring h2o into the test with you, and sip a little any time you feel woozy.
 

OnMyWayThere

OMS-III
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Apr 2, 2003
2,023
2
The best coast (west coast)
Status
Is it a bad idea to drink one of those energy drinks with caffeine and taurine before the test and during the break? they are helping me on practice tests (I haven't tried w/o it).

I wonder if it's hurting my score :confused:
 

felipe5

Fingerpickin' Good
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Sep 30, 2002
1,230
4
Status
Resident [Any Field]
I think the suggestions thus far have been great........I would definately have a good breakfast going into the test. Something with some protein and some carbs would do you good (ie eggs and toast), along with a cup of coffee would do the trick. I have a feeling that you will be really pumped up for this exam, regardless of how much sleep you get.....like a previous poster stated, the adrenaline will be definately be flowing. I don't it was sleepiness that hit me during the verbal, I think I just got kinda spacey....i swear my verbal was way worse than any practice section I took

:horns:
 

Mr Reddly

Snowglobe!
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Jan 14, 2004
900
2
Still trying
Visit site
Status
Originally posted by there_is_no
this is going to sound extremely dumb to some people but you
Awesome! A matrix fan!!! Love the way you combined the name and avatar!!!
 
About the Ads