aye

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I had a very bad experience the first time i took the mcats. hence, i'm retaking it again this april. here are some tips you should remember if you're taking it for the first time. any second timers out there, feel free to add to this list!

1. get watch that has a timer and doesn't beep and start using that NOW for your practice tests, so you can get used to it. i used a fancy lab timer when i was taking my practice tests but it wasn't allowed in the testing center. so i had to find a watch the night before and didn't know how to use it when i was actually taking the real thing. :laugh:

2. Two weeks before the test, start waking up at 6 in the morning so your body will get used to waking up early. Try to simulate the actual times during the day when you are doing your practice exams. this is especially important to those who study at night and are used to waking up at noon. (me)

3. Speaking of sleep....Get to bed at 10 pm (maybe even 9) the night before and do what you gotta do to fall asleep. You will be nervous and won't be able to fall asleep for a few hours. I went to bed at midnight and couldn't get to sleep until like 4am. so i only had two hours of sleep coming into it. I'm going to try to take Nyquil in a couple of weeks to see if that helps me sleep.

These are just common sense things you should look out for. but then again, alot of us premeds lack that :p
 

sunnyjohn

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I agree with the Nyquil trick...

I used to do that in high school the night before my O levels and A levels and in college during finals...

Worked like a charm and without leaving me drowy the next day like sleeping pills... No hangover either!!!
 

SanDiegoSOD

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I've found that Nyquil makes it very difficult for me to get up in the morning. Don't try it for the first time on April 15th, first make sure it doesnt mess you up.
 

diosa428

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Just a warning about the Nyquil thing - I actually got "addicted" to it last semester - I have a hard time sleeping and was taking it every night. Eventually (after taking it for about a week?) I couldn't sleep without it, or it would take me hours and hours to fall asleep. I even got to the point where I would have to take 2 doses to fall asleep. Really, really bad. I stopped taking it and now if I take it b/c i have a cold I seem to wake up with a sore throat in the morning (due to the cold or the Nyquil? Not sure). I'm sure it won't matter if you take it for one night, but I wouldn't suggest taking it every night for several weeks prior to the MCAT (or ever). Just my .02
 

Tinker Creek

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SanDiegoSOD said:
I've found that Nyquil makes it very difficult for me to get up in the morning. Don't try it for the first time on April 15th, first make sure it doesnt mess you up.
You mean April 16th... or the 17th for sunday takers.
 

QofQuimica

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I would also advise caution about the Nyquil idea. Nyquil has four active ingredients in it, one of which is an antihistamine, and that is what makes you sleepy. Antihistamines work like a charm for many people to get to sleep, but they often also cause people to be groggy and sluggish, and if you read the warning label on these drugs you'll see that they tell you not to operate heavy machinery while taking them....like, oh, say, A CAR. Probably not the best state of mind to be in for the MCAT either. Many other drugs should not be taken along with Nyquil, including anti-depressants, tylenol (acetaminophen) and alcohol. So if you're planning to do this, think it over, and be very careful.

The important thing is that you rest the night before the MCAT. Try to do something that will help you relax....NOT like sitting there wringing your hands about how you can't fall asleep. Take a bubble bath, treat yourself to a massage, read something boring. If you can't fall asleep, don't stress over it. You won't bomb the test over missing one night's worth of sleep, but you might do badly if you get yourself all freaked out about it. Think positively.

Good luck to all of the April test-takers. :luck:
 

musiclink213

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my advice for falling asleep before the exam? lavendar. Go to bath and body and buy the lavendar aromatheraphy pillow mist, and just spray it on your pillows and sheets. The smell makes you so sleepy, you have a peaceful sleep, and wake up feeling refreshed. I love it. Plus, it makes your sheets smell nice.
 

Tinker Creek

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Nyquil makes me dizzy. I'd say it's as bad as Chlor-Trimeton (although ct is an allergy medicine) The after effects of Nyquil is worse than getting only 3 hrs of sleep.

I had an allergy the day before my first practice test, so I took one c-t and the next day I was only able to concentrate for the first 20 minutes, after which I was fighting the urge to put my head on the desk and doze off. They're both evil.

Non drowsy? Yeah right! :thumbdown:
 

myodana

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my advice on falling asleep? go to sleep at your normal time. if you go to bed super early you'll just stress out about the test and keep yourself from going to sleep. do something fun the night before - back in august, i ate sushi, drank a beer, and watched the olympics opening ceremonies the night before the exam :) good luck!
 

SanDiegoSOD

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Tinker Creek said:
You mean April 16th... or the 17th for sunday takers.

No, I mean April 15th. It wouldnt matter if you take it on the 16th, as the test would already be over with. If you took it on the 15th you might wake up drowzy the morning of the test.
 

JohnBasedow

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Rather than use nyquil, I recommend ZMA (zinc, magnesium, B6 supplement) instead. You can find it online for roughly 10 bucks for 30 shots of it. Only caveat is you need to take it on an empty stomach about 45 minutes before you want to sleep, so no bedtime snacks. You will wake up refreshed, rather than groggy like other sleep aids.
 

Tinker Creek

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SanDiegoSOD said:
No, I mean April 15th. It wouldnt matter if you take it on the 16th, as the test would already be over with. If you took it on the 15th you might wake up drowzy the morning of the test.
ah yes yes, mea culpa
 

Jezzielin

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Hey ya'll, anyone have some advice besides Nyquil? :idea:

:laugh:
 

lorelei

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The suggestions to treat yourself and take it easy are great - go see a stupid movie, take a bath, lounge outside if it's nice out, cuddle with an SO or pet if you have them... Take the day (or at least afternoon) off from work if possible.

But seriously, if you can't sleep for that one night, don't freak out. I slept probably 4 hours the night before the MCAT, partially out of nervousness and partially because I'd been sick and taken medicine that makes me sleepy for 6 hours then wide awake (at 1am). Since I'd been sleeping OK up until then, I wasn't really impaired, and the adrenaline made up for any possible sleepiness. It wasn't a problem at all.
 

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aye said:
1. get watch that has a timer and doesn't beep and start using that NOW for your practice tests, so you can get used to it. i used a fancy lab timer when i was taking my practice tests but it wasn't allowed in the testing center. so i had to find a watch the night before and didn't know how to use it when i was actually taking the real thing. :laugh:

:p
Thanks for bringing up the issue with the timer. I haven't given it much thought, but I do need to get a watch that I can use for the exam. So far I've just been using the clock on my computer monitor for practice tests. It's those small things that can really throw you off when you are already freaking out on test day!! :eek: :thumbup:
 

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Exercise real hard the day before and that night you will be tired.
 

newyorkcougar

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Here are my thoughts:

1) PACE YOURSELF!!! This is really a big issue, especially on VR. I was the only person I talked to at my administration who even finished the section. I timed EVERY question and I got a 12.

2) Most of the material is actually pretty easy so don't stress too much. Just be sure to read ALL answers and physically cross out the wrong ones. This will help you pick the right one faster and will ensure that you actually read all options before picking one.

3) There is almost no math. However, you DO have to understand how you would use math if they were to give it to you. For example, I had a couple of problems where I had to pick which formula was correctly solved for the missing variable.

4) Take as many FULL-LENGTH tests as possible. The biggest issue for me was the mental fatigue of sitting for so long. By the end of the test I didn't even care if I got into med school or not. I was misereable...as you probably will be too. Just try to build up your stamina.

5) Sleep as much as you can the night before. If you don't already know something at that point, you are not really going to be able to learn it at that point anyway.

6) Most of the information you need is in the passages so read carefully. There will be some info you need to already know, but if you can just get as much info out of the passages as possible, you will really help your score.

good luck!
 

CuttinEmUp

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thats some pretty good advice, thanks for the post !

im taking it in april and i feel far from prepared :(
 

myodana

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newyorkcougar said:
Here are my thoughts:

1) PACE YOURSELF!!! This is really a big issue, especially on VR. I was the only person I talked to at my administration who even finished the section. I timed EVERY question and I got a 12.
exactly. and this goes hand in hand with taking as MANY full lengths as possible. then you'll start to see how far you get when you're going full speed, versus when you feel like you're taking your time. for example, on my real mcat, i felt like i was racing through PS and i barely finished on time. on the other hand, i sort of strolled through BS, and i finished with about 10 minutes to spare. so you never know. (fyi, the scores for PS and BS respectively were 10 and 11)

newyorkcougar said:
2) Most of the material is actually pretty easy so don't stress too much. Just be sure to read ALL answers and physically cross out the wrong ones. This will help you pick the right one faster and will ensure that you actually read all options before picking one.
also a great point. you've got a pencil, so USE IT. circle stuff! draw big arrows to and from sections of the passage where you find useful information! cross stuff out! circle words like NOT that can easily be overlooked. cross out answers that you know are wrong so you won't be confused by them in case you have to narrow it down and go back.

good luck!