When should i take the MCAT?...

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El Tiburon
10+ Year Member
Aug 12, 2011
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Alright here's my situation...

I'm in my second year of my undergrad but last year I went to a branch campus of my university. Since the branch was very small (only about 2k that go there) and isn't meant for people to get degrees (only degrees that you can get from there are english and history), they only offered one chemistry class a quarter. With that being said, i'm just starting to take my chem's. Now i'll be on pace to get done with my OChems by the end of next year. Based on my current knowledge, it would be a good idea to have taken your Ochems before taking the MCAT... But if im taking my first MCAT by the summer of the application cycle, i would basically only have one attempt at it before i send my applications...

Should i start my Ochem this up coming summer along with studying for my MCAT throughout the summer/fall, take more Ochem in the fall, then take the test in the winter (giving me time for another attempt in necessary)? Or should i plan on applying for the cycle at the end of my fourth year? For all i know, I might just be ill informed about the whole MCAT/application process which could be why im asking this question...

I don't have much of a problem having a year off; I'll continue volunteering and working as an EMT. However, i would MUCH rather go straight from my undergrad in to med school.

Thanks for the advice/clarification!

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Take organic chemistry before taking the MCAT. It will make everything MUCH easier. You will end up sacrificing either lots of time or several points on the final test if you try to teach yourself organic chemistry. I doubt even MCAT prep classes will help because they assume a basic working knowledge before organic chemistry. And if you aren't opposed for a year off, then its a no brainer. An extra year can certainly work to your advantage.MCAT scores are nothing to fool around with. Having to take the exam a 2nd time is a BIG pain in terms of time and money and it just plain doesn't look good to med schools. Do yourself a favor and prepare as best you can.

If you are still unsure, I would recommend going to a book store and picking up an MCAT question book. Flip to the orgo section and see how the question look. If your reaction is "this doesn't seem too bad," well then maybe you could give it a shot. But if it looks at all intimidating, I would recommend taking the class beforehand.
I took the MCAT on 5/26 this year, and that seemed to work out well. I had finished up Physics II and Organic II about two weeks prior to my exam. I ended up with a 35 and still had plenty of time to retake if I needed to.

Thus far I have 5 interviews and am still waiting to hear from 7 schools. So, as long as you do it before July you are probably not in awful shape. I think the earliest date of submit AMCAS is June 5th? So, Ideally you want your scores by then so you can submit that day. I had mine about 3 weeks later and it was fine though.