SDN members see fewer ads and full resolution images. Join our non-profit community!

Time spent studying for MCAT

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by DrewFromVA, Oct 24, 2001.

  1. DrewFromVA

    DrewFromVA Member 10+ Year Member

    Dec 28, 2000
    Norfolk, VA.
    I'll be taking the MCAT next year and I was hoping some of you could give me a rough estimate of how much time you spent studying for it and how you did on it? I guess I just want to get an idea of what I'm up againts in regards to study time in the coming months. Thanks!
  2. SDN Members don't see this ad. About the ads.
  3. wes c. adle

    wes c. adle Member 7+ Year Member

    Oct 21, 2001
    Syracuse, NY
    I would strongly suggest taking the August MCAT, when you have no other coursework to worry about. I managed to work part time this summer and study the rest, and I was happy with my scores (I improved them from when I took them while still in school). However, I know friends that took them during the school year and did fine. I guess it all depends on the individual in question. Best of luck.
  4. strider

    strider Member 10+ Year Member

    Jun 6, 2000
    portland, or
    I had been out of school for 10 years, so had forgotten everything. I studied for 2 hours a day for 15 months. I was very happy with the score I received.

    Cheers, strider
  5. BCgirl

    BCgirl Member 7+ Year Member

    Jun 15, 2001
    I would also suggest taking the August MCAT unless you're applying (in the US) the same year you're taking it.

    Anyway, I'll tell you how I studied. Here's some background info: I'm a chemistry major at a small, "not well known for it's science program" university in Canada (reputation doesn't matter much here). I just took the Aug MCAT after my second year. I had finished intro bio, gen chem, physics (all first year), a year of physiology, one semester of cell bio, and organic I and II. So I don't think you need a whole bunch of upper level sciences courses to do well no the MCAT. I did very well in all my courses, so I had a pretty strong science background heading into the test.

    This summer I did organic research full time (min 40hrs per week). Working full time and studying for the MCAT did not make for a very enjoyable summer, but it was definitely worth it :) I studied using PR hyperlearning materials bought off ebay, I wrote AAMC I and III-V, I also used the big red Kaplan book and the thinner red Kaplan workbook that I bought at a bookstore. I studied a little bit in May, but I didn't actually start to get into it hard core until about the middle of June. Then I tried to study about 2-3 hours a few nights a week after work and then a little bit on Sat and all day Sunday. I had a week off in July and the week off before the test. Those weeks were basically totally devoted to the MCAT. I reviewed the sciences with the PR and Kaplan review books and then did a TON of passages and all the section tests and full lengths that I could.

    I think the key is to doing as many passages and practice tests (under test day conditions) as you can. Otherwise, you won't know what the test is really like.

    I felt really good coming out of the exam and I got my scores yesterday (11VR, 12PS, 13BS, Q). So, you can definitely do well without doing a course or anything if you can get motivated to study.

    Good luck!! :)
  6. Coalboy

    Coalboy Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Oct 14, 2001
    East Providence, RI
    15 months? Now that's dedication.
  7. lake show

    lake show Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    May 7, 2001
    i've been out of school for 2 years, was working a full time 8-5:30 schedule, studied at the local library after work, usually about 3-4 hours a day for 3 months. satisfied with my score too. i had to relearn a lot of the orgo, physics and chem info, but even the minimal time to study worked out well.
  8. Scooby Doo

    Scooby Doo IEatShavedPussyCats 10+ Year Member

    Jul 9, 2001
    8-12 hours a day for roughly 2 1/2 to 3 weeks straight worked out fairly well for me...I took a prep course in spring...and then studied (crammed) before the august test.
  9. UCMonkey

    UCMonkey Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Aug 26, 2001
    Cincinnati, OH
    I agree with everyone who said the Aug MCAT is better - no classes to worry about and the chance to retake it in April if you do poorly. Personally, I took a Kaplan class, the last one that started before the MCAT, so for me it was 2-4 hours in class 3-4 days a week and a 6-hour practice test every Saturday. I also spent a couple hours before each class doing the "required" reading. This all lasted about 7 weeks. I didn't do very much of the extra stuff that Kaplan has available because I was working during the day.

    As far as I'm concerned, it worked: 34 O
  10. spacecadet

    spacecadet Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 2, 2001
    Houston, TX
    It had been 9 years since undergrad for me, although I had recently taken o-chem and biology courses. I took a Kaplan prep course, which started toward the end of January. I didn't study at all before the prep course. I work full time but didn't take any classes that semester. The Kaplan course was 7 hours per week, and I put in probably 10-20 additional hours per week mostly doing practice items and studying.

    I got a 24 on my initial diagnostic (I think, can't remember breakdown) and I did a whole lot better on the actual test.

    A lot of it depends on your personal style. I'm kind of a "crammer" by nature, and I tend to pick up things fast and remember them pretty well.

    If you're worried about verbal, you should start working on it a whole lot earlier. You really can't cram verbal. Start reading challenging material every day, and make yourself summarize in your head as you go along. If you want to evaluate your starting point, try taking the free practice test on the Kaplan website.
  11. Barton

    Barton Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jun 28, 2001
    Minneapolis, MN
    all of you suggesting taking the august MCAT mean the august BEFORE the app cycle, right? Cuz otherwise, I completely disagree. You get so far behind taking the august MCAT in the year you apply. By the time you're interviewing (for the most part) half the classes (if not more) are filled. It's like shooting yourself in the foot.
  12. csgirl

    csgirl Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Oct 12, 2001
    Studied about 2-4 hours a day for about 2 months. The last 3 week before the test I studied 7-9 hours a day. I was happy with my scores. I took like 15 practice tests (all the Kaplan and the PR)
  13. maphilips

    maphilips Member 7+ Year Member

    Oct 14, 2001
    My habits were similar to Scoob's but not 8-12, more like 4-6 hours per day for two weeks. I used Kaplan's books, they are perfect for this type of cramming. By the way, 2 weeks was not enough time. I got through the bio completely but only about 1/3 of the phys done. It showed in my score P9 B12.

    If you have a memory suited for cramming I recommend at least 3 weeks, if you need time to absorb things I suggest 3 months. ;)
  14. Trek

    Trek Grand Uranium Member 7+ Year Member

    Aug 23, 2001
    The Big House
    2 months of wussy preparing (ie. twice a week for two hours or some crap), then 1.5 months of pretty hardcore work (ie. 3-4 tiems a week, 3-5 hours). The grand finale was 2 weeks of unadulterated MCAT- sometimes 16 hours a day, everday up until the night before (Trek don't buy that crap about the night before for relaxing). Worked ok for me, but was mostly out of necessity- i took too many classes and had to cram for the test at the end. I would've preferred a longer time to do more sustained work. --Trek
  15. kreno

    kreno Candy Man 7+ Year Member

    Jul 7, 2001
    I studied 'bout 800 hours, total. All summer, basically. Raised my score 11 points from my initial diagnostic of 22 :)
  16. sunflower79

    sunflower79 Plays well with knives 10+ Year Member

    Mar 26, 2001
    The second time around, I was a hermit for 6 weeks this summer, 8 hrs a day more or less, just me and my prep course books. I got through all the material in 3-4 weeks, then the rest of the time it was all practice tests. I went through the harder passages twice, which helped. The week before the test I looked over the writing sample topics (they're in the MCAT announcement booklet) and sketched out some essays for practice. Ended up with a 36S. :)

    IMHO, there is way too much stuff to know that cramming is a bad idea. I would advise that you feel VERY comfortable with ALL the material at least a couple weeks before the exam. If you can manage a mind trick, set yourself a number of weeks to study, then cut it in half and try to finish all the material. That will have you working like mad from the beginning, and toward the end you'll be in a better state of mind to relax (besides, by the end you don't feel much like studying anyway) :p

Share This Page