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Timing for pre-writing Secondaries [AMCAS]

costodoro

New Member
Apr 16, 2020
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Hi SDN,

Taking my MCAT June 28th, feeling a bit crunched but determined not to push it back. As a result, it will be pretty tough for me to pre-write secondaries throughout June. I was thinking of pre-writing them throughout the 2 weeks until score release, but others have told me that I'll need at least a month. Any thoughts on when I should start pre-writing, balancing MCAT work with pre-writing, and when I should be submitting secondaries? Was hoping to submit them all by July 21st (a week after score release), but that is starting to look less plausible. Thanks!
 

HouseJC

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Hello there!

I'm in a similar predicament as you, but for me, I'm a PhD student (research thesis), so the lab will re-open by the time secondaries are received and due. So, for me, I'm pre-writing all the secondaries that I can theoretically get and then take the time remaining to edit/revise. My only concern is that my brain will tell me to be lazy since I have so much time, so it is key to fight temptation.

For you, it is hard as studying MCAT is a full-time job. How's your endurance in studying? Perhaps study from morning to dinner and then work on your secondaries from dinner to sleep? I don't know how your brain works, but for me, my brain gets into a rut if it is too monotonous. Or study full time on Monday-Friday, write a mock FL on Saturday, chill at night (relaxing to pre-write secondaries) and do a mix-mash on Sunday? Just thinking out loud here.

As for your secondaries, there is no deadline to submit them (unless school specified). Typical turn around is 2 weeks, although some on SDN say 2 days. But I say it's not how fast you write secondaries, it's the quality of the essays written. Also, you can't submit your secondaries until you receive them (some schools do screens, so not sure what your stats are).

Either way, it's going to be a grind. Keep pushing my friend and we'll get there!
 
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KnightDoc

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Hi SDN,

Taking my MCAT June 28th, feeling a bit crunched but determined not to push it back. As a result, it will be pretty tough for me to pre-write secondaries throughout June. I was thinking of pre-writing them throughout the 2 weeks until score release, but others have told me that I'll need at least a month. Any thoughts on when I should start pre-writing, balancing MCAT work with pre-writing, and when I should be submitting secondaries? Was hoping to submit them all by July 21st (a week after score release), but that is starting to look less plausible. Thanks!
I don't know you, but I'm BEGGING you not to spend any time at all on this until 6/29!!!!!!!!!! People come on SDN and just become hyper neurotic when they see what everyone else is doing. You will be FINE if your secondaries are in by the end of August. Your primary isn't going anywhere until 7/10. Your secondaries will start coming in shortly thereafter, and you will have at least 6 weeks after that time, and a full two months from 6/29, to still be "on time."

PLEASE do not squander one second of MCAT study time, or MCAT study break time, thinking about this. You have nothing to gain and everything to lose if you think getting your secondaries in by 7/21 instead of 8/21 is more important than spending every productive moment between now and 6/28 getting ready for the MCAT.
 
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TheDataKing

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May 16, 2018
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Hi SDN,

Taking my MCAT June 28th, feeling a bit crunched but determined not to push it back. As a result, it will be pretty tough for me to pre-write secondaries throughout June. I was thinking of pre-writing them throughout the 2 weeks until score release, but others have told me that I'll need at least a month. Any thoughts on when I should start pre-writing, balancing MCAT work with pre-writing, and when I should be submitting secondaries? Was hoping to submit them all by July 21st (a week after score release), but that is starting to look less plausible. Thanks!
You could take some downtime to start thinking about ideas for the major secondary questions:
1) adversity (non-academic) 2) diversity (what will you contribute) 3) why our school? (often v similar across schools and you can figure out what to change in each essay to tailor it toward each school)

Otherwise, I'd start writing them after June 28 as that will give you a solid month of "pre-writing" before you get your secondaries. Then you can submit them as the secondaries start getting sent to you July 21st onward.
 
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costodoro

New Member
Apr 16, 2020
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1
@HouseJC Good luck to you too, friend. MCAT's going decently, but it's a lot of work and I'm having trouble staying on my own schedule. Some personal stuff came up recently, so I've just got to gauge what the daily workload will be like for the next month.

@KnightDoc @TheDataKing Thank you for the feedback! I'll definitely start thinking about ideas for the general secondary prompts maybe when I'm on a break or not studying, but I am leaning towards not starting them until after my MCAT and having that be my priority for the next month.

I've been hearing a lot of people suggest they be submitted Day 1, which really got me nervous because in my case that's starting to seem impossible. I'm definitely in the camp of quality > speed though, so I'll probably take the advice here and try to submit end of July/early August (ideally), thank you!
 
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