Tips for MCAT studying while working full time

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JAK2-STAT3

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Hi all,

For those who worked full time while studying and could only study for 2-3 hours during the day (not including full days for FLs), how did you manage those couple of hours? Did you one day of C/P, one day of PS, etc? Or a little bit of everything each day?

Some background:

I'm just starting to study for the MCAT, with the goal of taking it ~February 2022. I'm assuming I'll be working full time while studying, with possibly taking a week or so off as the test approaches. I got a 509 (126/130/125/128) on the half-length Blueprint diagnostic and a 508 (126/127/128/128) on Blueprint FL1. Both of these were taken with virtually zero content review.

I now need to start content review and was planning on doing mainly Khan Academy + rewriting concepts in my own words afterwards + Miledown Anki decks. I was also planning on printing out parts of the AAMC "What's on the MCAT" PDF and marking off concepts that I've gone through to keep track of my progress. For FLs I'm planning on using Blueprint for now and the AAMC FLs as the exam day approaches. I would love to hear anyone's critiques of this plan.

I'm also still looking into best sources of Qbanks for initial studying (I figured I'd do the AAMC ones later), so if anyone has suggestions on that I'd welcome them.

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I think the biggest piece of advice I have is when you have limited time to prep due to working full time, you want to maximize the efficacy of the time that you have. For me, that meant getting up at 3:30 and studying from 4-7 before work. This worked for me because I realized I was too fried to take in new material after work. You want to emphasize active learning strategies, think more problem solving, concept mapping, flash card work than reading books or watching videos. Anki can be a useful tool but keep in mind that the MCAT is a reasoning and reading test that emphasizes understanding and applying broad concepts as opposed to fact recall. The resources you outline, KA and anki are a start, but you need additional passage based practice. I recommend TBR, UWorld, Blueprint, and AAMC materials. In terms of going through content review, I’m a fan of rotating subjects as it helps build interdisciplinary connections that you will see on the MCAT.
 
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I think the biggest piece of advice I have is when you have limited time to prep due to working full time, you want to maximize the efficacy of the time that you have. For me, that meant getting up at 3:30 and studying from 4-7 before work. This worked for me because I realized I was too fried to take in new material after work. You want to emphasize active learning strategies, think more problem solving, concept mapping, flash card work than reading books or watching videos. Anki can be a useful tool but keep in mind that the MCAT is a reasoning and reading test that emphasizes understanding and applying broad concepts as opposed to fact recall. The resources you outline, KA and anki are a start, but you need additional passage based practice. I recommend TBR, UWorld, Blueprint, and AAMC materials. In terms of going through content review, I’m a fan of rotating subjects as it helps build interdisciplinary connections that you will see on the MCAT.
Thank you for taking the time to respond! I am about 2 weeks into content review and am starting to establish a sustainable (for me) rhythm, which includes 1 Kaplan chapter/day (rotating subjects each day) including their practice questions at the end of each chapter, as well as 2-3 Khan Academy passages that seem relevant to that chapter. I've been supplementing with Anki on other topics so that I get a review of other sections each day.

Question: Do you recommend buying the 6 month version of Uworld and using it throughout content review (defined by getting through Kaplan books), or waiting to use it until after content review?

I am planning on buying the 10 Blueprint FLs and the AAMC bundle, but for the latter I figured I'd wait until I'm further along in content review.
 
Thank you for taking the time to respond! I am about 2 weeks into content review and am starting to establish a sustainable (for me) rhythm, which includes 1 Kaplan chapter/day (rotating subjects each day) including their practice questions at the end of each chapter, as well as 2-3 Khan Academy passages that seem relevant to that chapter. I've been supplementing with Anki on other topics so that I get a review of other sections each day.

Question: Do you recommend buying the 6 month version of Uworld and using it throughout content review (defined by getting through Kaplan books), or waiting to use it until after content review?

I am planning on buying the 10 Blueprint FLs and the AAMC bundle, but for the latter I figured I'd wait until I'm further along in content review.
I think it really depend on what your study schedule is and what your timeline looks like. If you're planning on taking the test in March, I would advise against using paid resources at this point as it is unlikely to yield significant benefits in 7 or 8 months. Generally speaking, I am not a big fan of extended preparation times as most of my students, and myself, tend to forgot a lot of the information that we reviewed earlier on. Doing content review without practice questions is not an effective use of time especially with Kaplan as their 15 end of chapter questions tend to focus on random fact recall which is not representative of the MCAT. In one sense, using UWorld while going through Kaplan would be beneficial as it would give you high quality practice passage. My concern would be that you could easily complete content review and UWorld with 5-6 months remaining before your test date. That being said, I usually recommend that people use Kaplan 1+ months out from the MCAT for timed practice. Basic schedule outline would be as follows:

Day 1 - 45: content review with practice passage questions (I like TBR but other resources are fine as long as they emphasize passage based practice and concepts)
Day 46 - 90: solidification and test practice: 6-7 FL practice MCAT exams with simulated mcat sections using UWorld
Day 91 - 120: AAMC practice: all AAMC resources - FL exams at 1 week intervals, section bank, and question packs.
 
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