Halcyon32

2+ Year Member
Aug 30, 2015
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Pre-Medical
Hey guys, I heard around here that studying for 3 or 4 months tops is the way to go for the MCAT. Can anyone tell me why that is? I have been studying for the past 2 months and am not even halfway done with the material for any subject. I plan on taking the MCAT during summer/fall of 2017 and figured if I get a headstart now on my studying and keep repeating the material, reviewing notes, updating notes as I do more practice problems, studying flashcards etc. I will have a great shot at getting 520+ which is my goal. Is this a wise plan to achieve my goal or should I take the MCAT earlier (in the 2016 testing months)
What do you guys think?
 

Neuroplasticity

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Jul 27, 2015
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I can think of a few reasons people do not study for more than 4 months: many people can't afford financially to spend 40+ hours a week MCAT studying for a year, 3 months of focused studying is enough for people to reach their desired score, and there are probably better ways to spend a year to improve you application because of this curve:
 
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Halcyon32

2+ Year Member
Aug 30, 2015
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Pre-Medical
I can think of a few reasons people do not study for more than 4 months: many people can't afford financially to spend 40+ hours a week MCAT studying for a year, 3 months of focused studying is enough for people to reach their desired score, and there are probably better ways to spend a year to improve you application because of this curve:
Well I don't work at all and won't be working over the next 2 years so it will be just my classes and ECs. Currently I'm not even at uni b/c I'm overseas so I have a freeze on my student account and will start again in the spring 2016. But like I said I have been studying for 2 months and am not even halfway done with the material. And that's considering the fact that i haven't even started psych/soc studying. But to be fair I more than 2 whole days one some topics b/c I read from EK then watch all khan academy videos relating to the topic I just read, then i read princeton chapters on the topic and then EK again, this time taking notes. Despite this, I still do abysmally on most of the EK 30 minute exams which is pretty demoralizing, especially when i read of people who study for 3 months and do great on the exam
 

Neuroplasticity

2+ Year Member
Jul 27, 2015
102
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I was responding to the reasons the population does not mostly study >4 months, not your individual case. Certainly not everyone can get 520+ after 4 months of studying, and I think this depends on how you did in pre-req classes and the quality of your teaching (crystallized intelligence), and your lifelong environment's level of intellectual stimulation (fluid intelligence).
 
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Halcyon32

2+ Year Member
Aug 30, 2015
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I got all As in the prereq classes I already took but that was at a community college which I went to for 1 year. As far as quality of teaching, I have nothing to compare it to yet as I don't start at uni until the spring. but you do raise some good points!
 

Chimichica

Sweet brutality, of course!
5+ Year Member
Nov 12, 2013
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Well, I think most people on SDN are fresh grads or in their last year or so that accounts for the 3-4 month timeline. If u aren't a nontrad or if you don't have other non negotiable responsibilities (ex. job, Kids, debt, bills), then 4 months should be sufficient for review and practice. However, you still have to take that with a grain of salt. If you are a slow reader, bad test taker, or just aren't doing that well on the material, then you may need longer. I did 4 mon th s while working FT and didn't do well, so now I'm working part time. Although, since I am not limiting myself to a time frame I go at a much slower pace. I say I am giving my self a year this time but it's totally fluid based on my personal needs. Honestly I think, 3 months of loose content review and 3-4 months of solid weak spot review and practice problems is a good formula. Put it this way, there's no need to rush things if u aren't hitting your mark. The test is too expensive (not just monetarily, it's physically and emotionally expensive) to rush thru and not get the score u want.

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Halcyon32

2+ Year Member
Aug 30, 2015
332
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Pre-Medical
Well, I think most people on SDN are fresh grads or in their last year or so that accounts for the 3-4 month timeline. If u aren't a nontrad or if you don't have other non negotiable responsibilities (ex. job, Kids, debt, bills), then 4 months should be sufficient for review and practice. However, you still have to take that with a grain of salt. If you are a slow reader, bad test taker, or just aren't doing that well on the material, then you may need longer. I did 4 mon th s while working FT and didn't do well, so now I'm working part time. Although, since I am not limiting myself to a time frame I go at a much slower pace. I say I am giving my self a year this time but it's totally fluid based on my personal needs. Honestly I think, 3 months of loose content review and 3-4 months of solid weak spot review and practice problems is a good formula. Put it this way, there's no need to rush things if u aren't hitting your mark. The test is too expensive (not just monetarily, it's physically and emotionally expensive) to rush thru and not get the score u want.

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Yeah, like I mentioned I'm not doing so great on the 30 minute exams I'm taking despite the thoroughness of content study I do for each topic. I feel like I'm definitely gonna need more than 4 months. Hopefully i'll be ready for the 2016 testing dates! Also what exactly is a nontrad?
 

Chimichica

Sweet brutality, of course!
5+ Year Member
Nov 12, 2013
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Non tradional student. It's someone who either had another career and is switching to medicine or someone who took a few years off to do other things instead of going directly to medical school. There is a non trad section for SDN

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Halcyon32

2+ Year Member
Aug 30, 2015
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Non tradional student. It's someone who either had another career and is switching to medicine or someone who took a few years off to do other things instead of going directly to medical school. There is a non trad section for SDN

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Oh I see, yeah i'm not a nontrad. Also thanks for your study advice!
 

nomdeplume1234

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Mar 18, 2015
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Pre-Medical
this makes me think of the following story I read once

"The new Jewish bride is making her first big dinner for her husband and tries her hand at her mother's brisket recipe, cutting off the ends of the roast the way her mother always did. Hubby thinks the meat is delicious, but says, "Why do you cut off the ends — that's the best part!" She answers, "That's the way my mother always made it."

The next week, they go to the old bubbie's house, and she prepares the famous brisket recipe, again cutting off the ends. The young bride is sure she must be missing some vital information, so she askes her grandma why she cut off the ends. Grandma says, "Dahlink, that's the only way it will fit in the pan!"
 
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Halcyon32

2+ Year Member
Aug 30, 2015
332
176
Status
Pre-Medical
this makes me think of the following story I read once

"The new Jewish bride is making her first big dinner for her husband and tries her hand at her mother's brisket recipe, cutting off the ends of the roast the way her mother always did. Hubby thinks the meat is delicious, but says, "Why do you cut off the ends — that's the best part!" She answers, "That's the way my mother always made it."

The next week, they go to the old bubbie's house, and she prepares the famous brisket recipe, again cutting off the ends. The young bride is sure she must be missing some vital information, so she askes her grandma why she cut off the ends. Grandma says, "Dahlink, that's the only way it will fit in the pan!"
So you're saying I shouldn't pay heed to methods of other people and go with my own strategy? Sounds good to me!