shareesh

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i haven't taken my mcat yet, but plan to in jan (one of the first computer based tests). However, i'm a bit scared because i was talking to a good friend who told me that it is nearly impossible. these graduate classes are so rigorous and time consuming, especially if your goals are high. Are some of you in the same boat? how are you factoring in mcat studying in your schedule that includes studying/class/research/clinical volunteer? Past students--how did you do it? do you recommend becoming part-time, talking less courses, etc. – or waiting till summer to take it?
 

relentless11

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shareesh said:
i haven't taken my mcats yet, but plan to in jan (one of the first computer based tests). However, i'm a bit scared because i was talking to a good friend who told me that it is nearly impossible. these graduate classes are so rigorous and time consuming, especially if your goals are high. Are some of you in the same boat? how are you factor in mcat studying in your schedule that includes studying/class/research/clinical volunteer? Past students--how did you do it? do you recommend becoming part-time, talking less classes, etc. – or waiting till summer to take the mcats?
Just FYI, its the MCAT not MCATs. Common mistake:). Anyway, are you a masters or PhD student? If you are PhD, then take it after your qualifying exam since you aren't required to take classes anymore. First off, classes are as rigorous and difficult as YOU make them. I've gone through our med schools systemic pathology course, and it was indeed rigorous, but I still had time to do research and many other things including studying for other classes. Regardless though, its all about time management, and being efficient with what you do, and thats something you have to gauge on your own.

I just finished my first year as a PhD student, and have already completed my required and elective courses. Therefore by the end of this year I will take my qualifying exam, which will free up study time to take the MCAT next year (I'm thinking May). Of course, I will be working on my PhD thesis, and taking additional classes to improve my application. In terms of clinical volunteering, thats easy. The ED is open 24/7, get some random shift thats once a week from 12am-4am or something to give you time during the day to do research, and what not. Or just do it on weekends if that time doesn't sit well with you.

I would not recommend going part-time, and I'm not even sure grad schools allow part-time status for long periods. Being part-time will show up on your AMCAS app, and med schools will wonder why you reduced your graded courseload, and the reason of "studying for the MCAT" is not really acceptable. If you don't feel you are ready then yes take it over the summer.

For me, I'm just taking 1-2 classes throughout next year (+research units to be full-time), and these will be 8 or 9am classes. This allows me to work on my PhD thesis, study for class, and study for the MCAT from 10am-11pm. Allowing me to go to bed by midnight, sleep for 7-8 hours and do it again the next day. Combine that with weekends, its PLENTY of time. I have asked our director of admissions about how they look at having 6-8 units of classes and then 8 units of research. He said they don't care considering I'm doing a PhD..given that people sometimes finish in 4-5 years!

Its entirely possible to do well in all of these aspects. Being first year PhD student, I had 3-4 classes per quarter plus seminars, and then did research in the afternoon to evening while maintaining a 4.0 GPA. Since my required classes are done, I will just reduce the course load and replace it with MCAT studying time. Nothing big about that. Ultimately, it will come down to how efficient you are at studying, and how effective you are at time management when all things are considered. One thing is for certain, I have become 10x more efficient since undergrad. Good luck!
 
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shareesh

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relentless11 thank you for your advice :) I'll be doing a masters in medical science in the east coast.

perhaps not become part-time--just take 2-3 classes when students take 4 classes in the fall? and then make up for the missing class in the summer? I would like to take my mcat during the academic school year so I won’t be set back on time applying to medical school next year.

i just don't know what to expect except that these classes are very rigorous--and i am a bit nervous because i don't want to mess up this time around. i did not do well in ochem and intro bio my freshmen year. But my grades improved the beginning of my sophomore year. I guess i fear trying to keep up or beat the competition of grad school and the mcat itself.

I'm just so amazed by all the people on sdn -- of how they might not have done so well as an undergrad, struggled, excelled in the various postbacc/master programs, beat some of the odds, and accomplished their goal of getting into medical school. I know how important it is getting a high mcat score...but i was told that it’s very hard to excel on taking two vital factors med schools look at simultaneously: graduate classes and mcat. I just want to get more perspective from students that did it or advise against it.
 
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relentless11

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shareesh said:
relentless11 thank you for your advice :) I'll be doing a masters in medical science in the east coast.

perhaps not become part-time--just take 2-3 classes when students take 4 classes in the fall? and then make up for the missing class in the summer? I would like to take my mcat during the academic school year so I won’t be set back on time applying to medical school next year.

i just don't know what to expect except that these classes are very rigorous--and i am a bit nervous because i don't want to mess up this time around. i did not do well in ochem and intro bio my freshmen year. But my grades improved the beginning of my sophomore year. I guess i fear trying to keep up or beat the competition of grad school and the mcat itself.

I'm just so amazed by all the people on sdn -- of how they might not have done so well as an undergrad, struggled, excelled in the various postbacc/master programs, beat some of the odds, and accomplished their goal of getting into medical school. I know how important it is getting a high mcat score...but i was told that it’s very hard to excel on taking two vital factors med schools look at simultaneously: graduate classes and mcat. I just want to get more perspective from students that did it or advise against it.
Well you have a while so see how life goes in the fall, and then gauge it from there since the MCAT is offered many times next year due to the new computer-based format. Think of this as an exercise in improving your study habits before going to med school. :D

Also are your classes offered that frequently?..so that you can make up a class in the summer? Our classes are offered once a year and in some occassions offered once every OTHER year. So make sure everything works out for your schedule. Anyway, see how it goes this fall, and endeavor to find the best way for you to study and manage other projects at the same time.

Lastly, are these classes medical school classes or actual graduate classes. It has been advised to me by our med school that grad level classes are weighted less compared to upper division undergrad classes. However doing well in med level classes is great. But standard graduate level classes may not provide the same effect as med or upper division undergrad level coursework. Which I think is stupid, but thats what my school and several others say. Be sure you look into that as well.
 

alohadolphin15

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about the grad classes being weighed less than upper div undergrad classes... i heard the same thing. i guess it's because the "feel" and structure of most grad classes (at least the grad classes that i've been in) are WAY different from those of the upper div undergrad classes... the 1st yr med school classes seem to be more similar to those "big lecture hall powerpoint based classes" that are the style of undergrad classes. basically, rather than critically analyze journal articles in a small group discussion of a grad class, you'd be sitting in a lecture hall furiously taking notes and memorizing volumes of material in a med school class. I suppose adcom wants to see that you can excel in this type of environment and that's why upper div undergrad classes weigh more

oh well, sucks for us grad school pre-med people. but don't worry, by the time we're done with grad school we'll be more than qualilfied!!!!! :D hehe, gotta stay positive


just wanted to give a big hug to shareesh. i'm doing a master's program too, and am also planning to take the mcat at the same time. the more i think about it the more i'm like... "what'd i get myself into!" writing my thesis and making a defense, studying for and taking the mcat, while doing PHENOMENAL in class... sounds pretty crazy and overwhelming.

Along the lines of what was said earlier about upper div classes looking better for med school, I decided to take some upper div undergrad bio classes while completing my master's degree requirements. This makes it difficult b/c I won't be able to do what relentless11 suggested: to get all the requirements out of the way and reduce courseload in order to leave room for mcat studying. Afterall, my program is only 2 years which doesn't leave me a lot of time to take as many classes as I can. and belleve me, i need to take A LOT of classes in order to help my crappy GPA. I don't know if you're in the same situation as me, but i do know that these next 2 years are gonna be way packed! nonetheless, i agree with what said earlier... we'll just have to go with the flow and by the end of it all we'll be so good at time management that by the time med school school comes... it'll be a cake walk :p (hahaha... or maybe not :p )

relentless11 said:
Well you have a while so see how life goes in the fall, and then gauge it from there since the MCAT is offered many times next year due to the new computer-based format. Think of this as an exercise in improving your study habits before going to med school. :D

Also are your classes offered that frequently?..so that you can make up a class in the summer? Our classes are offered once a year and in some occassions offered once every OTHER year. So make sure everything works out for your schedule. Anyway, see how it goes this fall, and endeavor to find the best way for you to study and manage other projects at the same time.

Lastly, are these classes medical school classes or actual graduate classes. It has been advised to me by our med school that grad level classes are weighted less compared to upper division undergrad classes. However doing well in med level classes is great. But standard graduate level classes may not provide the same effect as med or upper division undergrad level coursework. Which I think is stupid, but thats what my school and several others say. Be sure you look into that as well.
 

stoicist

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I took the MCAT while getting a Masters. It was overwhelming to even think about doing both at the same time. But I ended up with a 35+ and a 3.7 GPA that semester, so it's definitely possible.

I found a lot of my biology courses actually helped me learn concepts for the MCAT, you should use that to your advantage. If your anatomy class is on the cardiovascular system, study the cardiovascular material in the BS section of the MCAT, that way you are more efficient with your time. Get together with some of your classmates and form a study group if it helps to study with someone else. Schedule your MCAT study time as if it were another class You just need to find what works for you and stick to it. Definitely schedule in some fun to keep your sanity. Just tip the balance to the studying side rather than the fun.

In the end, it's really comes down to how much effort you put in. I basically had no life, all I did was volunteer and study. Honestly, I was miserable in grad school but I am really happy with my results. Remember, you can always have fun after the MCAT and grad school but this might be your last shot in improving your med school application. Don't waste it.

Best of luck!
 

drjds

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I'm having the same problem as the person who started this thread. I am doing a biomed. post-bacc. program and I am trying to find a good way to employ studying for the MCAT. Any suggestions?
 
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