Aug 2, 2017
27
6
Status
Pre-Medical
Kind of a weird story here, but I didn't decide on premed until my sophomore year so I ended up starting gen chem as a sophomore, meaning I won't complete the second half of biochem (as well as the second half of physics) until fall of my senior year. I understand that biochem is fairly important to the MCAT so taking the test without part of the class would put me at a significant disadvantage, as might studying for and taking the test during my senior year (while classes are in session). But taking the MCAT in the summer after my graduation would mean I'd have to take a full two years off (one gap year and one for applying), which I would prefer not to do.

I'm kind of kicking myself right now but at the same time I just didn't know I wanted to do premed when I came to college. Wondering what your general thoughts on my situation are, and maybe what you would do.

One solution I thought of is taking the MCAT early summer after graduation and just submitting primaries in August? Not sure how important it is to submit primaries early though.

Thanks everyone!
 

timephone

2+ Year Member
Aug 22, 2015
165
135
Status
Pre-Medical
Kind of a weird story here, but I didn't decide on premed until my sophomore year so I ended up starting gen chem as a sophomore, meaning I won't complete the second half of biochem (as well as the second half of physics) until fall of my senior year. I understand that biochem is fairly important to the MCAT so taking the test without part of the class would put me at a significant disadvantage, as might studying for and taking the test during my senior year (while classes are in session). But taking the MCAT in the summer after my graduation would mean I'd have to take a full two years off (one gap year and one for applying), which I would prefer not to do.

I'm kind of kicking myself right now but at the same time I just didn't know I wanted to do premed when I came to college. Wondering what your general thoughts on my situation are, and maybe what you would do.

One solution I thought of is taking the MCAT early summer after graduation and just submitting primaries in August? Not sure how important it is to submit primaries early though.

Thanks everyone!
Two of SDN's golden rules are:
1.) Don't take the MCAT until you're ready (i.e. take it one time only)
2.) Don't apply until you're ready (i.e. apply one time only)

With regard to taking the MCAT, I think you're fine taking it before the second half of biochem. My school splits biochemistry into two semesters as well; semester one covers structures and basic chemistry of biomolecules, semester two covers metabolic processes and other cycles (including Calvin). The general opinion I've heard is that first semester of biochemistry is all you need. The MCAT doesn't test you (strictly) on memorization anymore. You don't need to know all the intermediates of the citric acid cycle, but you need to know the context in detail to answer passage-based problems that relate to it (context which is generally covered in biology or can easily be self-studied). Knowing the amino acids in detail is crucial. Physics 2 is material you definitely need to know, but it's probably possible to self-study this as well, depending on how good you are with math or self-studying in general.

Regarding gap years, you shouldn't be afraid of them. There are great things you can do, for example AmeriCorps (research this if you don't know what it is). I assume you're a traditional undergrad, so approximately 21 or 22 y.o. Coming from an older applicant (30), you should cherish the time you have when you're young, healthy, and dumb. Once you enter med school, your soul will be owned by your new path. I know some med students make time to travel during their summer or winter breaks, but you may find you don't have the energy or motivation. Have the courage to take yourself out of your comfort zone (school) and experience some new weird ****.

Edit: Golden rule #3: Have your application complete with secondaries submitted by Labor Day. So you could definitely take MCAT just before summer after senior year and then apply immediately afterwards.
 

workaholic181

2+ Year Member
May 29, 2017
1,292
818
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Kind of a weird story here, but I didn't decide on premed until my sophomore year so I ended up starting gen chem as a sophomore, meaning I won't complete the second half of biochem (as well as the second half of physics) until fall of my senior year. I understand that biochem is fairly important to the MCAT so taking the test without part of the class would put me at a significant disadvantage, as might studying for and taking the test during my senior year (while classes are in session). But taking the MCAT in the summer after my graduation would mean I'd have to take a full two years off (one gap year and one for applying), which I would prefer not to do.

I'm kind of kicking myself right now but at the same time I just didn't know I wanted to do premed when I came to college. Wondering what your general thoughts on my situation are, and maybe what you would do.

One solution I thought of is taking the MCAT early summer after graduation and just submitting primaries in August? Not sure how important it is to submit primaries early though.

Thanks everyone!
I agree with the above poster concerning biochem content on the MCAT. Semester 1 stuff (A.A.s, enzyme kinetics etc) are most of what you'll likely see. It's important to know like where krebs occurs and what the inputs and outputs of the different stages of oxidative phospyhorylation are, but that's generally the extent of biochem 2 you'll see.

I took the MCAT june 30 of this year and have applied and am having been getting IIs, but in general an earlier app is preferable! And the above poster is right in his advice on testing; take the MCAT when you are ready, and apply when you have your best app. This is a marathon and not a sprint. I understand the drive to want to go right from undergrad to med school, but the fact of the matter is more and more people are taking a gap year or two. I did, and frankly working that year in healthcare taught me so much and motivated me to pursue this path. Good luck with whatever you decide.
 
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