Taking summer off to study?

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5+ Year Member
Apr 26, 2018
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Hi all,

I am planning to take the MCAT at the end of my summer break (3 months) and am aiming for MD programs. Would anyone recommend taking the entire summer off to study for the MCAT? I was initially planning on doing research for ~30 hours/week for 2 months, but I was wondering if I am underestimating the difficulty of the MCAT and should spend that time studying instead. For reference, I've taken courses already (biochem, orgo, physics, psych + soc).

Thanks in advance!

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If you can afford to take the summer off to study, I would. Maybe try to volunteer on the side for a few hours a week, so med schools can at least see that you did something during that time.

I took 4 months off to study and volunteered ~5-10 hours a week at a local clinic and it was 100% worth it. In the end, as annoying as it is, your MCAT score really matters, so doing everything you can to study for it is definitely worth it.
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If you can, I say go for it. Volly stuff can be placed easily elsewhere in your schedule and research can be done during semesters. The MCAT is the big sword that must be pulled out of the stone and if you can, I say give yourself a block of time to dedicate solely to it.

David D, MD - USMLE and MCAT Tutors
Med School Tutors
I think the answer to your question really comes down to what type of person you are. Will you motivate yourself and push through the studying when you don't have anything else to do that day? Or will you do better when you use the momentum from research/class/volunteering to dive into MCAT prep? I always found my grades dropped when I didn't have other things to go on. Maybe you won't feel the same way. If that's the case, then please use the time wisely and practice for all section of the MCAT! Good luck!
I would say its possible to study while doing 30+ hour research. I work 50+ hours/week and finished preparing for the test in 4 months, finishing it with AAMC FL4 score = 518 the weekend before test day. You just gotta stick to the plan and don’t skip a day (specifically cars).
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