cbrons

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Hey guys,
As Study time for the spring MCAT season nears, this tends to be a popular topic to discuss. So please come back and let us know what you decided when you make your study schedules. :)

-V

So here goes... first, I plan on taking the MCAT May 28th (I have a small fear this is a little late, as I know my GPA and sGPA will not be stellar but should be competitive for all the schools I want to apply to... mostly state schools). My ECs are stellar (in my opinion, you can view them and post if you want) but they also take up time. I decided this past summer to take 3 classes, it was a very rough summer but I knew that working hard would free up some time for the upcoming spring semester so I could take 3 classes and focus on MCAT. I am taking my 2nd semester of physics and my 2nd semester of inorganic chem as well as a psych class (my major).

My school is in a rural area in Illinois and its a huge party school (in my opinion).. I live with 4 other guys and 2 dogs.. lets just say they don't exactly have the same priorities as I do as far as grades are concerned. So I decided to prepare for the MCAT with the following schedule:

- during the week, I have little time (I'm the VP of the NAACP, do student government, and am in the research lab pretty much everyday) and I also have to focus on my school work. I am hoping to do about 2-3 hours of studying every Wednesday night when my house is empty because my roommates are at the bar (I made sure I have Thursdays off... so school work will not be a problem). I think I am going to use this time to do my biology reading.. I have EK bio, so I read each section twice then go back and do the problems within the chapter then check my answers. If I don't get them all correct, I'll take a look at some of my bio textbooks to hammer down/review the whole concept. Then I'll take the 30 minute tests (timed) and write my answers on a sheet of paper. I'll give the answers to someone to grade, not to tell me which questions I got incorrect, but to tell me how many questions I got incorrect. Again, if I don't get them all correct on the 30 minute exam, I'll re-read the chapter then try the test all over again (under timed conditions). After I take it the second time, I'll ask the same person to grade it but mark which questions I got incorrect. I'll do more review, and see if I can get the correct answer. If I get all correct the second time I will move on. If I miss a few the 2nd time around, I'll review the concepts the contained within the question and review the answers in the back... then I'll move on to the next section.

- I decided that with all the distractions here at school, I'm going to go home every other weekend and use Friday night and all of Saturday to review the physics portion of PS (which is my weakest portion). I will be using Berkeley Review. My plan is to read 2 sections beforehand, attempt the questions on Friday night and spend all day Saturday reviewing the concepts either on my own or with a tutor here in my area

- On weekends I am still at school, I'm going to give myself some time to have fun Saturday night but will spend Friday at my bosses house away from campus reviewing the chemistry material. I'll spend early Saturday (because I won't be hungover) through Saturday evening focused on chemistry review.

- as far as verbal goes, I'll take a few verbal practice sessions under timed conditions and see how I fare. I'm not worried about this because I've been a casual reader since I was five years old (I can read things very quickly, can retain things very well, possess an expansive vocabularyj and have above-average critical thinking skills). If there is much more to verbal than this, let me know. I feel as though verbal reasoning is something I can handle because many of my lower division honors English classes involve literary critiques, which I was always very good at.

So what do you think?
 

Marjan Islam

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Wow, from what I got from your post, I feel like the plan is a bit disjointed. Are you studying only on Wed. night, and every other Friday/Sat.? That might not be enough, in my opinion. MCAT to me requires consistent studying, everyday, atleast an hour, but def. more on more relaxed days. I don't know how well you fare with long-term retention, but best of luck to you man. I saw your EC list, and yes, it's definitely stellar. I have a friend who is something like that, and I've been trying to convince him that time for MCAT is far far more important than EC's.

The point I made was: after a certain degree, it doesn't matter how good your EC's are, the rest of your application needs to be met. It's kind of like getting a 39, or a 45 on the MCAT when you're applying for a state school. A 39 with solid EC's is far better than a 45 with nothing. If you breach the cut off significantly, you'll be fine, and need to focus on other areas.

Also, as for re-taking the 30 min. exams. I don't know if that'll be very beneficial. Remember, making a mistake and getting something wrong is a great thing: it gives you the opportunity to study what you got wrong, and make sure you don't make the same mistake on test day. Review what you missed AFTER you see what it is. Your time seems limited, so make the best out of it!

My advice would be to clear up your schedule a bit, putting MCAT in top priority over the massive wealth of EC you seem to have, and study at the local library if your house is too rowdy. Especially a few months closer to test day. Good luck man!
 

scaredoflife

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I agree with Marjan, be consistent in studying especially closer to test time. You want that consistency because it will help to retain more information and think faster. And as far as study places can you do libraries or even cafes? If you get overwhelmed as time progress knock out some EC's that you are doing until the test is done. goodluck mate.
 

cbrons

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Wow, from what I got from your post, I feel like the plan is a bit disjointed. Are you studying only on Wed. night, and every other Friday/Sat.? That might not be enough, in my opinion. MCAT to me requires consistent studying, everyday, atleast an hour, but def. more on more relaxed days. I don't know how well you fare with long-term retention, but best of luck to you man. I saw your EC list, and yes, it's definitely stellar. I have a friend who is something like that, and I've been trying to convince him that time for MCAT is far far more important than EC's.

The point I made was: after a certain degree, it doesn't matter how good your EC's are, the rest of your application needs to be met. It's kind of like getting a 39, or a 45 on the MCAT when you're applying for a state school. A 39 with solid EC's is far better than a 45 with nothing. If you breach the cut off significantly, you'll be fine, and need to focus on other areas.

Also, as for re-taking the 30 min. exams. I don't know if that'll be very beneficial. Remember, making a mistake and getting something wrong is a great thing: it gives you the opportunity to study what you got wrong, and make sure you don't make the same mistake on test day. Review what you missed AFTER you see what it is. Your time seems limited, so make the best out of it!

My advice would be to clear up your schedule a bit, putting MCAT in top priority over the massive wealth of EC you seem to have, and study at the local library if your house is too rowdy. Especially a few months closer to test day. Good luck man!

I agree with Marjan, be consistent in studying especially closer to test time. You want that consistency because it will help to retain more information and think faster. And as far as study places can you do libraries or even cafes? If you get overwhelmed as time progress knock out some EC's that you are doing until the test is done. goodluck mate.

Thanks a lot. Actually the library here closes at 9 on Fridays and Saturdays :(... Thats why I need to leave town every other weekend just to maintain focus on my work because I cannot study in my house when theres a hundred people downstairs and dogs are barking like theres no tomorrow.
 
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scaredoflife

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Well it looks like you have thought through every corner of your ways to study and thats great. Just study and study, I don't know if you wrote this but a great method is to go through the AAMC test. Then whatever questions you get wrong write them down and the actual answer and it helps to get you in that mode of covering everything. That sucks the libraries close at 9:00pm.
 
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