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using timers for the mcat

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Jalopycat, Jul 22, 2001.

  1. Jalopycat

    Jalopycat 10+ Year Member

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    Apr 20, 2001
    Are noiseless timers allowed on MCAT day? I tend to do a lot better on the practice exams when I have a count down timer in front of me as opposed to looking at a watch.

    If they are allowed, what brands have a noiseless alarm or how do you disengage the noise element?
     
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  3. kris

    kris Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    Feb 24, 2001
    Noiseless timers are allowed, at least when I took it, and I'm guessing those rules haven't changed.

    I bought a cheap sports timer, like what coaches wear around their necks, at a sporting goods store. I was just lucky enough to find one that I could disable the noise option on. Or maybe it didn't make any noise at all--honestly I don't recall.

    Either way, chime-free timers are available.
     
  4. joojoobeware

    joojoobeware Member 7+ Year Member

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    May 8, 2001
    Arlington, VA
    Yes, you only can use timers that don't beep. My suggestion to you is buy any timer. One that makes noise or not...If you get one that makes noise, you can simply make it a noiseless timer by opening up (just need a small scewdriver) and cut the wire that is attached to some piece of metal...should be the back plate or something (uses it to amplify the noise). Once you cut it, you're done...it should now be a noiseless one. I did it with a timer i got from radioshack.
     
  5. Barton

    Barton Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    Jun 28, 2001
    Minneapolis, MN
    I took the April MCAT, and the dude next to me had a timer. It went off (beeping) in the middle of the VR section. The proctor took it away. It was disruptive. A diving watch is good. Set the markers to when time's up, and just check it every now and again.
     
  6. Hopkins2010

    Hopkins2010 Banned Banned

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    Baltimore, Maryland
    Didnt you just cut the chassis ground wire feeding the speaker?
     
  7. joojoobeware

    joojoobeware Member 7+ Year Member

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    May 8, 2001
    Arlington, VA
    I'm no electrical engineer, but it might have been the ground wire. All i know is that it made my noisy timer into a mouse. The only way i could hear the time beeping was if i put the timer to my ear. And still I could barely hear it.
     
  8. Amy B

    Amy B I miss my son so much Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    Aug 7, 2000
    Virginia
    You are lucky the proctor took the beeping timer away in your MCAT. The guy in my room had one that beeped every half hour and the proctor would not do anything about it.

    He told me "Learn to drown things out."

    I didn't know what I could do. I am retaking it in August, so does anyone have any suggestions as to what to do during the test if the proctor isn't doing his job?
    :mad: :confused: :mad: :confused:
     
  9. Hopkins2010

    Hopkins2010 Banned Banned

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    Nov 5, 1999
    Baltimore, Maryland
    Oh ok that makes sense. With the ground connection exposed to air and isolated from the cathode, there was probably still a voltage drop across the terminals, but it was so much less than with the anode connected to the metal chassis that the sound amplitude decreased significantly.

    I never even thought about a using a muted timer for the MCAT, it might have come in handy.

    Jalopy,

    If you look around and cant find a muted timer, dont waste your time just buy a normal timer and modify it as joojoo suggested.
     
  10. Jalopycat

    Jalopycat 10+ Year Member

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    Apr 20, 2001
    Damn, I just cut the wrong wire...
     
  11. Hopkins2010

    Hopkins2010 Banned Banned

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    Nov 5, 1999
    Baltimore, Maryland
    5....4....3....2....1.... BOOM!!!!!

    Are you taking the August MCAT and applying this year jalopycat?

    If you are, consider yourself fortunate relatively speaking to previous year August MCAT takers.
     
  12. pre-hawkdoc

    pre-hawkdoc Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    Apr 22, 2001
    Iowa
    i actually had a watch that beeped, but only when i first started the clock. i could make it not beep on the hour, but, being even less of an electrical engineer than most of you, could not disable the feature that made it beep when the timer was started. my solution was to start the watch about five seconds before the start of the official clock. luckily, the proctors and people in my room were cool with that (obviously, i wouldn't have argued had someone complained, although it would've been pretty picky).
     
  13. sandflea

    sandflea Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    Jun 23, 2001
    alternatively, instead of trying to find a timer that doesn't beep, many timers will allow you to count up, instead of setting a time and counting down. so you would just hit the start button and it will just keep counting the seconds until you shut it off, rather than entering, say, 20 minutes and having the counter count down to 0 when the beep will go off. this is what i did, and it was still extremely useful for me to pace myself on the verbal section of the MCAT.
     
  14. jordews

    jordews Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    Jun 26, 2001
    Nashville, TN
    Hey baylor,
    We were having this discussion the other day in the chat room, and I'm interested to hear your take on it. You said that august mcat'ers this year should feel more fortunate over previous august mcat'ers, and I agree (partially because im reaking in august) but nearly everyone I talked to in the chat said that they though august mcat'ers were even more screwed this year than in previous years. Their reasoning was that the process is being pushed back even more this year, and the august mcat'ers will still be looked at last, but this year they will just get looked at really really late instead of semi-late as in previous years. I tend to disagree. i worked at an undergraduate admissions office, and if med schools do it the same way we did it, everyone gets a file, and once its complete it gets reviewed. Based on this I would think that august mcat'ers are just getting jammed more in the mix this year than in previous, meaning fewer spots will have been given out before our apps get consideration. What do you think on this? Im interested to get everyones opinion, and their reasoning behind it. thanks.
     
  15. kutastha

    kutastha 2K Member Physician 10+ Year Member

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    Jun 24, 2001
    Hey dew,

    I'm curious about this as well, so I'm going to start a thread. My opinion goes with those in the chat room. everything's going to be pushed back I think. They'll look at you before the MCAT, keep you in consideration, then probably still won't come back til later. Plus, realize your scores still won't be in til October!

    Andrew

     
  16. jordews

    jordews Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    Jun 26, 2001
    Nashville, TN
    yah andrew, I think they had a thread going about this a little while ago, but not too many people posted. i want to get some serious opinions about this, and not just some "I think this", "I think that". i want substance! hehe Maybe gower would know something. he seems to be in with someone in the whole admissions process. Oh well, start up a thread and i'll post on there.
     
  17. coop

    coop Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    i did the same as joojoobee, got a radio shack timer, opened it up, and (having dropped out of engineering after just one semester) i just cut both of the wires that were attached to the part that looked like a bell and made noise. very easy, packed it back up and used it just fine. my mcat day had peoples timers going off near the end of scetions but the proctors didn't do much, sent out a warning and never followed thru with the threats, good luck
     
  18. scubadiva

    scubadiva postwhore 7+ Year Member

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    Hey Amy Beth,
    I understand your frustration with noise. What I do to drain out noise is use foam earplugs. They're really efficient at draining out noise, just be sure you pay attention to the proctor since it might drain out whatever that person is saying. Or then again, you could just keep a pair of earplugs handy just in case you need to use them, hopefully you won't need them. Good luck on the MCAT :)
     
  19. Hopkins2010

    Hopkins2010 Banned Banned

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    Nov 5, 1999
    Baltimore, Maryland
    \

    Exactly coop. Although I am a EE you dont need any of that knowledge to do what was described on the previous page. Didnt you guys learn basic circuit theory in your physics 2 course? Heck you really dont even need that either :D
     
  20. Jamier2

    Jamier2 SDN Hillbilly Moderator Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Mar 22, 2001
    Kentucky
    Here's an even easier, and much less expensive, approach. It worked flawlessly for me, and I'll assume that, since you can operate a timer, you can read a clock.

    I just looked at the clock when a section was started. If the section allowed 100 minutes, I just noted what time it would be one hour and forty minutes later. When I checked the clock, it was obvious how much time I had left.

    Our test center had a clock on the front wall in plain view, but maybe not every center has this luxury. If not, I would think a wristwatch would suffice nicely. :D
     
  21. grasshopper

    grasshopper Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    Jul 12, 2001
    This is from way back up this thread . .

    Amy Beth--isn't there some recourse given in the MCAT book for calling AAMC or reporting it somehow if your test taking situation is disruptive? I took it last August, and I thought I remembered something about that . . .anybody know?
     
  22. applicant2002

    applicant2002 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    I did the same thing. I bought a timer and cut it open and cut the wires for the sound!!
     
  23. kris

    kris Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    Feb 24, 2001
    Hmmm. Unless the rules have changed, earplugs are not allowed. If you have long hair, maybe you can get around this rule (or perhaps if your proctors aren't enforcing the rules).
     
  24. jordews

    jordews Senior Member 7+ Year Member

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    Jun 26, 2001
    Nashville, TN
    why would earplugs not be allowed? Just curious. The only thing I can think of is that you wouldnt be able to hear the proctor say when time is up, but I dont think they would ban earplugs just for this.
     
  25. Amy B

    Amy B I miss my son so much Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    Virginia
    I have short hair so I couldn't wear ear plugs. I also question the rule against ear plugs. The clock in our room was behind us so we would have to turn around and look at it. Didn't want the proctor to think I was cheating so I never looked at it. I did bring my watch and set it on my desk so I could periodically glance at it.

    Here is something I tried. To keep myself from panicking about finishing during the last 10 minutes, I wrote down the time I had to finish but I subtracted 10 minutes. I had a slight mental time cushion. I finished every section before the guy gave us our ten minute warning, which allowed me the chance to go over my scan tron to make sure I didn't skip any bubbles and verify my answers with the ones I had circled in the booklet.

    I did this because during tests I start to panic as I watch the last minutes of a test come to a close. I always get frantic at the end.

    It is just like people who put their watches and clocks ahead of the correct time so they aren't late for things.
    :p :p :p
     
  26. Another option if you have a great beeping timer that you would like to remain a beeping timer after the MCAT:

    Set the time for 1 hour more than the allowed time. So if you 100 minutes for a section, set the timer to go off after 2 hours and 40 minutes. Whe you look at the timer you can quickly mentally correct the hour difference. If your timer reads only in minutes, add 100 minutes instead and do the same thing.

    In my MCAT section, during breaks everyone was beeping and clicking their timers. So I think it's okay to have a noisy timer as long as it isn't noisy during the actually timed testing portion.
     

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