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Feb 1, 2021
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Hello people! I am a freshman at a CC right now, I will be going to a uni next semester. By the time I transfer, I will have the following classes completed:

Gen chem 1
Gen chem 2
Gen bio 1
Calc
Two english classes and some other classes that don't matter as much

I was looking at my schedule and wondering when it is wise to start preparing for the MCAT? I am planning on taking gen bio 2 and orgo 1 and 2, but I can't take biochem without finishing orgo 2 first. I'd prefer if I was able to not have to take a gap year but I am not completely opposed to the idea. At this point, is it absolutely impossible without a gap year? What classes are the most necessary before taking the MCAT?

Thanks for reading :)
 
Dec 15, 2020
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Sounds like you could take Biochem the fall of your junior year, which means you could in theory take the MCAT in early spring for that application cycle if you were really committed to not having a gap year. That entirely depends on how your coursework goes though and how you are doing with the material and applying it to the MCAT. You could always get a jump start on the biochem in the summer between sophomore and junior year to help. If you need a gap year to better prep for the MCAT though, that's absolutley reasonable. Its a challenging test that does give a good amount of weight to your app, plus anything you do in that gap year (reserach, volunteering, real-world experience) is only going to help your app.

I would review the gen chem/bio material you learned this past year and do some MCAT style questions on them over the summer to give you a better idea of what the test is like and how long/hard you'll need to study. You'll want to take physics next year, since that is an important course. I would recommend a pysch/sociology course as well since that's 1/4th the test, but that's material you could self-teach yourself if you had to. I don't recall any med schools I applied to that required a course in those disciplines, but something to keep in mind.

For the CARS section, I would highly recommend getting into the habit of reading, everyday, topics in various disciplines like ethics, sociology, art and history, etc. I wish I had done this way earlier to get used to reading that style of text and breaking it down quickly. There are also useful sites that have free passages/questions everyday that would at least get you more comfortable with the passage/question style.

Best of luck!
 
Feb 1, 2021
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Sounds like you could take Biochem the fall of your junior year, which means you could in theory take the MCAT in early spring for that application cycle if you were really committed to not having a gap year. That entirely depends on how your coursework goes though and how you are doing with the material and applying it to the MCAT. You could always get a jump start on the biochem in the summer between sophomore and junior year to help. If you need a gap year to better prep for the MCAT though, that's absolutley reasonable. Its a challenging test that does give a good amount of weight to your app, plus anything you do in that gap year (reserach, volunteering, real-world experience) is only going to help your app.

I would review the gen chem/bio material you learned this past year and do some MCAT style questions on them over the summer to give you a better idea of what the test is like and how long/hard you'll need to study. You'll want to take physics next year, since that is an important course. I would recommend a pysch/sociology course as well since that's 1/4th the test, but that's material you could self-teach yourself if you had to. I don't recall any med schools I applied to that required a course in those disciplines, but something to keep in mind.

For the CARS section, I would highly recommend getting into the habit of reading, everyday, topics in various disciplines like ethics, sociology, art and history, etc. I wish I had done this way earlier to get used to reading that style of text and breaking it down quickly. There are also useful sites that have free passages/questions everyday that would at least get you more comfortable with the passage/question style.

Best of luck!
Hey thanks for the reply. I am confused on why people take the MCAT summer after sophmore year, doesn't that just give them less time to review? Also, does taking it during spring of junior year make my application any different? Can I still submit very early if I plan to take it then? I am a little confused with the schedule because I don't know if I want to start physics next year because of me taking gen bio 1 along with orgo, for the first semester. What do you think about starting physics 1 second semester and then physics two along with biochem?
 
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Dec 15, 2020
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Hey thanks for the reply. I am confused on why people take the MCAT summer after sophmore year, doesn't that just give them less time to review? Also, does taking it during spring of junior year make my application any different? Can I still submit very early if I plan to take it then? I am a little confused with the schedule because I don't know if I want to start physics next year because of me taking gen bio 1 along with orgo, for the first semester. What do you think about starting physics 1 second semester and then physics two along with biochem?
Sorry if that was confusing, I meant taking the test in the spring of your junior year after you've taken biochem. Most people will take the MCAT in their junior year in the winter-spring time since the application cycle beings in the summer between junior-senior year. Ive seen some people take the MCAT in the December-January time frame so they get their scores back early and know if they need to retake it before the application cycle opens. Ideally, you'll need to complete all your bio, chem, organic, biochem, physics and pysch coursework by the middle of your junior year if you want to take the MCAT that spring.

If its available, yeah you could take physics 1 second semester sophmore year, then physics 2 and biochem in first semester of junior year. Above everything else, take the MCAT when you're ready and comfortable though. If you can use the summer between your sophmore and junior year to review/study the bio/chem/organic/psych, it will really help.
 

mmchick

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If you're planning to acquire all the clinical hours, leadership ECs, formative experiences that support how you're ready for med school ON TOP of aceing all your classes, then you should plan to take MCAT in spring semester of junior year with an application during the summer before your senior year.

That goes without saying I have to add my pitch for taking at least a gap year - the average age of medical students is rising with it around 24 these days and a lot of that is attributable to adcom's increasing desire for 'somewhat adjusted adults' that have experienced real-world as it lends to one's ability to really nail down that they want to commit to medicine & there isn't anything else in the world they could be happier with instead. On top of that, a gap year allows you to ease the pressure of having to crunch all I mentioned above^ on top of getting straight A's in undergrad + a 510+ MCAT. This is not to mention, allows you to pursue extra ECs (in clinical hours or research) which only help your chances for admission + increases your chance for 'top tier' schools were that of interest to you. Once you enroll in medical school, you're clocked in, really, for working straight through for the rest of your life. You'll be in preclinical classrooms, then intensive clerkships, then intensive residency, then working FT as an attending. There aren't breaks to take off and enjoy a low pressure life for a couple years to really learn about yourself/do things without much responsibility while you enjoy your early 20s.

Maybe you know you want nothing else in life than to be a doctor and work. That's totally cool. Just thought I'd throw in a pitch for gap years as I think they're incredibly important in personal development and for one's internal peace/happiness.
 
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Feb 1, 2021
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If you're planning to acquire all the clinical hours, leadership ECs, formative experiences that support how you're ready for med school ON TOP of aceing all your classes, then you should plan to take MCAT in spring semester of junior year with an application during the summer before your senior year.

That goes without saying I have to add my pitch for taking at least a gap year - the average age of medical students is rising with it around 24 these days and a lot of that is attributable to adcom's increasing desire for 'somewhat adjusted adults' that have experienced real-world as it lends to one's ability to really nail down that they want to commit to medicine & there isn't anything else in the world they could be happier with instead. On top of that, a gap year allows you to ease the pressure of having to crunch all I mentioned above^ on top of getting straight A's in undergrad + a 510+ MCAT. This is not to mention, allows you to pursue extra ECs (in clinical hours or research) which only help your chances for admission + increases your chance for 'top tier' schools were that of interest to you. Once you enroll in medical school, you're clocked in, really, for working straight through for the rest of your life. You'll be in preclinical classrooms, then intensive clerkships, then intensive residency, then working FT as an attending. There aren't breaks to take off and enjoy a low pressure life for a couple years to really learn about yourself/do things without much responsibility while you enjoy your early 20s.

Maybe you know you want nothing else in life than to be a doctor and work. That's totally cool. Just thought I'd throw in a pitch for gap years as I think they're incredibly important in personal development and for one's internal peace/happiness.
That is true, I haven't considered the benefits of a gap year. I'm not sure if I even qualify for top tier schools right off the bat because I am taking some prereqs at my CC right now but I would like to have the best application I can have the first time I apply. I am not completely opposed to a gap year, take some time off school and build more ECs, but I just want the freedom to do what I want and not be forced to take a gap year. I appreciate the reply and let me know what you think!
 
Dec 15, 2020
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If you're planning to acquire all the clinical hours, leadership ECs, formative experiences that support how you're ready for med school ON TOP of aceing all your classes, then you should plan to take MCAT in spring semester of junior year with an application during the summer before your senior year.

That goes without saying I have to add my pitch for taking at least a gap year - the average age of medical students is rising with it around 24 these days and a lot of that is attributable to adcom's increasing desire for 'somewhat adjusted adults' that have experienced real-world as it lends to one's ability to really nail down that they want to commit to medicine & there isn't anything else in the world they could be happier with instead. On top of that, a gap year allows you to ease the pressure of having to crunch all I mentioned above^ on top of getting straight A's in undergrad + a 510+ MCAT. This is not to mention, allows you to pursue extra ECs (in clinical hours or research) which only help your chances for admission + increases your chance for 'top tier' schools were that of interest to you. Once you enroll in medical school, you're clocked in, really, for working straight through for the rest of your life. You'll be in preclinical classrooms, then intensive clerkships, then intensive residency, then working FT as an attending. There aren't breaks to take off and enjoy a low pressure life for a couple years to really learn about yourself/do things without much responsibility while you enjoy your early 20s.

Maybe you know you want nothing else in life than to be a doctor and work. That's totally cool. Just thought I'd throw in a pitch for gap years as I think they're incredibly important in personal development and for one's internal peace/happiness.
As a non-traditional whose been out of school for 10 years now going back, completely agree with everything here. I had some really unique experiences this past decade that absolutely helped me get in this cycle
 
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As a non-traditional whose been out of school for 10 years now going back, completely agree with everything here. I had some really unique experiences this past decade that absolutely helped me get in this cycle
This might be a vague question, but what are some experiences that someone can have that can be beneficial? As of now, the only EC's I have are being a licensed CNA and 1000 hours building batteries in a factory. I am a freshman but I still feel like I'm lacking quite a bit.
 
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This might be a vague question, but what are some experiences that someone can have that can be beneficial? As of now, the only EC's I have are being a licensed CNA and 1000 hours building batteries in a factory. I am a freshman but I still feel like I'm lacking quite a bit.
I was able to get a different graduate level degree, work in a professional setting for a few years, active in a few volunteering experiences that led to leadership roles and a few hundred hours, more research time with publications, developed hobbies that I really enjoy (this is important!). Studying for the MCAT was also easier since even though I was working, I had no class load or really any other big responsibilities/pressure
 

Goro

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Hello people! I am a freshman at a CC right now, I will be going to a uni next semester. By the time I transfer, I will have the following classes completed:

Gen chem 1
Gen chem 2
Gen bio 1
Calc
Two english classes and some other classes that don't matter as much

I was looking at my schedule and wondering when it is wise to start preparing for the MCAT? I am planning on taking gen bio 2 and orgo 1 and 2, but I can't take biochem without finishing orgo 2 first. I'd prefer if I was able to not have to take a gap year but I am not completely opposed to the idea. At this point, is it absolutely impossible without a gap year? What classes are the most necessary before taking the MCAT?

Thanks for reading :)
You're just a freshman. You haven't even taken Physics, Biochem or a full year of Biology.

Thus, don't start thinking about MCAT until your junior year.

And you take the exam when you're 100% ready for it.
 
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mmchick

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This might be a vague question, but what are some experiences that someone can have that can be beneficial? As of now, the only EC's I have are being a licensed CNA and 1000 hours building batteries in a factory. I am a freshman but I still feel like I'm lacking quite a bit.
So this is an incredible distinction to make - I would only recommend someone directly matriculate if they're able to somehow glean the clinical ECs needed + volunteer + leadership ECs, etc. for a well-rounded app while also completing college/being a FT student. To me, that sounds incredibly challenging, though some people are definitely able to do it.

I'd add to Grogu to say gap year(s) could look like anything you want it to. You could literally do whatever you've been wanting to (professionally, volunteer, etc) while adding to your application if you were to do simply productive things you're passionate about. Getting more clinical experience during this time + possible research only helps immensely as well. Double bonus if the thing you're passionate about falls into one or both of those categories. Gap year(s) are time to just enjoy life and do things you like to do. Pursue a job you're curious about, a project you're interested in, go on adventures, etc. The whole point is to do things you really enjoy and experience a bit of life before committing to such an arduous profession at already a young age.
 
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You're just a freshman. You haven't even taken Physics, Biochem or a full year of Biology.

Thus, don't start thinking about MCAT until your junior year.

And you take the exam when you're 100% ready for it.
You don't think it would be wise to start preparing in my sophmore year? I don't want to leave too much on my plate in my junior year.
 

KnightDoc

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You don't think it would be wise to start preparing in my sophmore year? I don't want to leave too much on my plate in my junior year.
What test have you EVER successfully prepared for more than a year in advance? There is no way you are going to retain enough material to make it worth your while, and burnout is a real risk. Depending on how good you are, how efficient you are, and how much time you have available, 3-4 months preparation is the sweet spot for most people.
 
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So this is an incredible distinction to make - I would only recommend someone directly matriculate if they're able to somehow glean the clinical ECs needed + volunteer + leadership ECs, etc. for a well-rounded app while also completing college/being a FT student. To me, that sounds incredibly challenging, though some people are definitely able to do it.

I'd add to Grogu to say gap year(s) could look like anything you want it to. You could literally do whatever you've been wanting to (professionally, volunteer, etc) while adding to your application if you were to do simply productive things you're passionate about. Getting more clinical experience during this time + possible research only helps immensely as well. Double bonus if the thing you're passionate about falls into one or both of those categories. Gap year(s) are time to just enjoy life and do things you like to do. Pursue a job you're curious about, a project you're interested in, go on adventures, etc. The whole point is to do things you really enjoy and experience a bit of life before committing to such an arduous profession at already a young age.
That makes sense. Even thinking about having to complete all of those little prerequisites before med school in a 4-year time crunch is super stressful. I appreciate the incite.
 
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What test have you EVER successfully prepared for more than a year in advance? There is no way you are going to retain enough material to make it worth your while, and burnout is a real risk. Depending on how good you are, how efficient you are, and how much time you have available, 3-4 months preparation is the sweet spot for most people.
I haven't thought about that. Is preparing while in an academic year normal? I feel like it can be overwhelming to prepare during school.
 

KnightDoc

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I haven't thought about that. Is preparing while in an academic year normal? I feel like it can be overwhelming to prepare during school.
In a very real sense, everything you do in every subject that is tested is a form of preparation. Beyond that, sure, unless you are wealthy and can afford to do nothing but study during a summer or gap year, you will be preparing during school or while working and participating in ECs.

It is overwhelming. That's why you need to pace yourself and work efficiently over a few short months, rather than dragging it out over an extended period of time. In any event, there tends to be a point of diminishing returns, usually after 3 or 4 months, assuming you have a decent substantive foundation when you begin.
 
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