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What did you do for MCAT preparation?|
|I did not take a course, but I was given some Kaplan books from a friend. I studied all of those and took a bunch of practice tests. I studied pretty much 8-9 hours a day, from May to September.|
Rita Arons at Creighton University School of Medicine (MD), class of 2019.
Pre-med: University of Arizona, Developmental Biology degree. Answer posted 11/20/2014
|I did not take a prep course. I bought all the AAMC exams and did them over and over again until I could get every question right. If I didn't understand a concept, I would find out more using the Internet.|
Jennifer Hsu at University of North Texas Health Science Center - Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine at Ft Worth (UNTHSC-TCOM) (DO), class of 2018.
Pre-med: University of Texas at Austin, B.B.A. Management Info Systems degree. Answer posted 3/29/2014
|I took classes at the Princeton Review. I studied for 9
Months. I took 19 pre-tests. Lots of hours!|
Taylor Y Stauffer at Emory University School of Medicine (MD), class of 2016.
Pre-med: Edgewood College, Biology degree. Answer posted 3/25/2014
|I am not a good example for MCAT studying. I crammed as much as I could to do well. As it came closer I let my obsessive side take over and just added constant studying to my previous education, which closely matched the content (my electives were basically "super premed/MCAT").|
Jacob Aurens at Stanford University School of Medicine (MD), class of 2016.
Pre-med: Princeton University, B.A. Philosophy degree. Answer posted 9/3/2013
|Examcrackers and Kaplan subject books are amazing honestly.
Please, do not waste your money on a course that costs 2000 dollars unless you have 0 motivation to study (which does happen, but it shouldn't take over your goal to get to med school).
To do the best of the MCAT, I would recommend studying about 5-6 hours a day going over material that you are weak in and doing a 1000 practice questions. There's a 1001 questions in MCAT Biology, Physics, Verbal, and Chemistry that I found very useful.
The most important resource is the AAMC practice tests. Use them very wisely and treat them as real tests.|
Johnny Walker at Northern Ontario School of Medicine (MD), class of 2015.
Pre-med: University of Akron, Biology degree. Answer posted 8/2/2013
|No MCAT taken in Ghana.|
Mawuena Corsy-Dewu at (MD), class of 2017.
Pre-med: University of Ghana, Biological science degree. Answer posted 5/24/2013
|I took a 3 week class in december and then my MCAT in April. I used Exam Krackers book set.
I wish I would have taken it in January so that I would have my whole holiday break to prepare instead of trying to study for both classes and MCAT.|
Jessica Smith at Lincoln Memorial University - DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine (LMU-DCOM) (DO), class of 2013.
Pre-med: Ohio University, Pre-Proffesional Biology degree. Answer posted 1/16/2009
|I could write a whole book about my MCAT preperation. The MCAT is the biggest obstacle for a lot of med school applicants and was certainly a big obstacle for me to overcome. I used evrything you can think of, I studied for 7 months. I used Kaplan, Princeton, the Exam Kraker books, Gold Standard and the AAMC practice tests. I scored an 18 on my Kaplan diagnostic so you can imagine how much of a hill I had to climb. I started off doing about 4 hours a day with the 1001 Exam Kraker books and simply reviewing the material during the fall semester while taking a full course load. At the end of that semester, those 4 hours a day turned into 10 hours a day during winter break going through all of Kaplans material. When the spring semester started I started combining my Kaplan usage with the princeton, Gold Standard and AAMC material and simply took practice test after practice test. I took about 35-40 practice test during that semester: All the Kaplans, some princetons, some Gold standards and of course AAMC tests which I saved for last. The AAMC tests are your best friends when preparing for the MCAT. They provide you with the most realistic score to expect after test day so I would save them for last. I was able to raise my diagnostic scores exponentially after all this hard work. I was averaging anything between 28 to 34 a couple weeks before my test.|
Iggy at State University of New York Upstate Medical University College of Medicine (MD), class of 2013.
Pre-med: University of Maryland- College Park, Biology and American Studies degree. Answer posted 1/4/2009
|I took several MCAT pratice tests, I also took a MCAT Course with Kaplan.|
James Tolbert at Harvard Medical School (MD), class of 2009.
Pre-med: Harvard University, B.S. Chemistry & Biology degree. Answer posted 10/23/2008
|No class, couldnt afford it. Got a couple of big huge Kaplan books from the local library and GOT DOWN!!!! I studied for about 6 grueling months at about 20 hours a week. Also purchased many questions books like ExamKrackers and tested myself constantly....you MUST test yourself constantly!!!!|
Yusuf Ali at University of Maryland School of Medicine (MD), class of 2012.
Pre-med: Morgan State University, Biology degree. Answer posted 6/13/2008
|I took the mid-April MCAT my junior year. I started a rigorous, but flexible study schedule over winter break. It was simple, 20 hours a week, any way I could get it done. If you have the disciple to stick to a study regimen, then I highly recommend studying on your own rather than taking an overpriced MCAT course. Buy the tests online and just do questions, questions, and more questions. MCAT courses are more for those who need motivation to practice, they don't offer anything special that you couldn't figure out on your own.|
Sandro Corti at UMDNJ--New Jersey Medical School (), class of .
Pre-med: Answer posted 3/24/2008
|I was in the hospital at the end of January and on bed rest part of February, so I was unable to take an MCAT class. It did give me a lot of time to read through Kaplan's materials and study on my own. It was difficult to split time studying for the MCAT and for the classes I was currently taking however.|
Lynn at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) (DO), class of 2010.
Pre-med: Cedar Crest, Genetic Engineering degree. Answer posted 6/19/2006
|[where]: princeton review --> i heard kaplan had better resources, but PR had more realistic practice tests. i think PR books are the best. alotta friends took kaplan and complained they thought they were doing well (based on practice mcat scores) -- only to be let down later when they took the real one.
i loved how accurate PR was in predicting my score.
[when / how / how much]: everyday as much as possible. i studied at barnes and noble everyday (you have starbucks right there inside, magazines to relax your mind, and tables to study)|
Sarah Tran at University of North Texas Health Science Center - Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine at Ft Worth (UNTHSC-TCOM) (DO), class of 2012.
Pre-med: Houston Baptist University, BS degree. Answer posted 1/23/2008
|No MCAT here|
Emily Lehman at University of Sydney Faculty of Medicine (Internat), class of 2014.
Pre-med: none, none degree. Answer posted 12/21/2007
|I just planned on taking this exam I wasnt very prepared. All I did for the exam was to understand the concepts of questions and answers.|
STEPHEN BROSNAHAN at University of Utah School of Medicine (MD), class of 2013.
Pre-med: Communication, Pschycology degree. Answer posted 9/29/2007
|I got Kaplan books and parked myself in the library or at my desk after work every day for 3-4 hours. On weekends, it'd be more like 6-8 each day. This went on for about three months total. If there had been a prep course available in my area, I would have taken it. I'm lucky I was able to land so many acceptances with that score, but it just goes to show - there's more to med school admission than the MCAT!|
Sarah Levin at Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine of Midwestern University (AZCOM) (DO), class of 2011.
Pre-med: Wesleyan University, Neuroscience & Behavior degree. Answer posted 11/26/2006
|I suck at standardized tests. I studied diligently for the MCAT for 2 years,did Kaplan...the WORKS, yet only scored a 26 (13 pts was due to the VR section which I didn't do a lick of prep for!!). All I can recommend is to do your best (vague, I know), but realize that med schools aren't solely basing admission on MCAT scores. I got in!!!|
Maria Reyes at University of Utah School of Medicine (MD), class of 2009.
Pre-med: university of utah & westminster college (2nd BS), psychology & biology degree. Answer posted 5/10/2007
|I took the Princeton Review...much better than Kaplan. The review material they provided was excellent.|
George Dunham at St George's University School of Medicine (Caribbean), class of 2010.
Pre-med: Wake Forest University, Biology degree. Answer posted 5/2/2007
|I made the personal mistake of using Kaplan for my preparation and expecting to much of|
Chad Hall at The Edward Via Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) (DO), class of 2009.
Pre-med: Utah Valley State, Biology degree. Answer posted 3/7/2007
|I prepared with the Columbia Review at the University of Miami.|
Brian Wolf at University of Miami Miller School of Medicine (MD), class of 2011.
Pre-med: University of Miami 07, B.A Psychology degree. Answer posted 7/8/2006
|Kaplan preview...too expensive, but worth it because it only took one try.|
Aaron Beck at Medical College of Wisconsin (MD), class of 2009.
Pre-med: Concordia University Wisconsin, General Biology degree. Answer posted 1/3/2006
|Got a hold of some Kaplan books. Read them. Tons of practice tests. Used them to focus where to study more. I think practice tests and focused study are the key.|
Zack Gangwer at Arizona Podiatric Medicine Program (AZPod) at Midwestern University (Podiatry), class of 2011.
Pre-med: Weber State University, Microbiology/Clinical Laboratory Science degree. Answer posted 12/29/2006
|I took a Kaplan prep course where I was living. It lasted about 3 months and really kept me on task.|
Brian Dix at College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery (Podiatry), class of 2011.
Pre-med: South Dakota State University, BS Biology degree. Answer posted 12/20/2006
|Kaplan Course, but not worth the money. The course is expensive, but does help with time management and provids somewhat accurate sample tests.|
Joel Hallam at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine - Georgia Campus (GA-PCOM) (DO), class of 2011.
Pre-med: Indiana State Univeristy, Chemistry degree. Answer posted 12/20/2006
|kaplan, ithaca, 2005, studied, alot|
Paul Nielsen at New York Medical College (MD), class of 2010.
Pre-med: Cornell, Human Biology, Health, and Society degree. Answer posted 10/11/2006
Doug Christensen at Des Moines University - College of Osteopathic Medicine (DMU-COM) (Podiatry), class of 2011.
Pre-med: Loras, BA Secondary Education degree. Answer posted 10/10/2006
|I took a Princeton prep course which was about $1200. It was really helpful considering most of the courses were freshman level. The verbal section was the most helpful because the only way you can practice for that is by reading passages. Tutors offered great test taking tips. However, the real preparation was taking practice tests to build up stamina and work on speed. The biggest thing I learned is that the MCAT is a massive English proficiency test that tests nothing about your scientific or medical aptitude. Believe me when I tell you that all the answers are there in the test itself...you just have to figure out how to eliminate wrong ones. I seriously think anyone who hasn't taken a science course will do well. Of course taking those pre-med courses won't hurt.|
Chris Cruz at University of Texas Medical School at Houston (MD), class of 2010.
Pre-med: Texas A&M University, Biomedical Science degree. Answer posted 5/20/2006
|Timing is Important!
The MCAT is only offered twice a year, once in April and once in August. Registration is about 5 weeks before the test. You can register online or mail in your materials. The test costs money (presently $175). Also, i needed to travel to take the test, which added the expense of transportation and a hotel visit. This is important: it takes practically forever (seems that way at least) to get your scores after the test, so don't put off taking the test until the last minute! I know some academic advisors will caution you to wait until you have taken all of the related coursework (e.g., physics, organic, biochem) before taking the test. Well... ideally you would take those courses as a sophomore and junior to free up your senior year for interviewing. Even if you haven't taken the courses, you will probably delay entrance to medical school by a year if you don't take the MCAT early enough. Don't assume that the medical school will cut you any slack for either low scores or missing coursework; they won't. Applications are competitive.
Practice Makes Perfect.....
My recommendation? Take the April test a year and a half before you plan to enter school. Unless your scores are marvelous, take the August test too. That way, if you have a summer or early fall interview you can say that you are retaking the test... shows a self-improvement goal if nothing else. The August test seems more laid-back to me. Also, I think your scores are likely to look better because the test has a lot of procrastinators or poor planners who weren't there in April, making you look better in comparison. Remember, your scores are given in relation to that of other test-takers. DO NOT wait until August the year before you plan to attend and certainly don't wait until April the spring before classes start. Your scores will take too long to arrive and the classes may be full before you get reviewed.
Take a Class or Not?
There are several excellent courses you can take to prepare for the MCAT. Among them are the Kaplan Review, Princeton Review, and Berkeley Review. The AAMC says that taking a review course has no statistical impact on your scores... I disagree with them and I'll tell you why: the reviews don't just go over the course material, they teach to the test, meaning that you focus on test-taking strategies and review only the information that may be on the exam. That said, I don't recommend everyone take a review course (I didn't). Many students tell me they aren't taking the review because of the cost involved. Wake up call! Medical school costs thousands to a hundred thousand dollars! Don't skimp on preparation, either for the test or for the interview! If you think the review will help you, then plan for the cost.
As I said, not everyone will benefit from taking a review course, but I do believe everyone will benefit from studying the text materials used for the review course (get a 'used' copy for cheap). You will get practice tests and a focused, concise study guide. Using the review texts is much more helpful than randomly scanning your biology, chemistry, and physics texts.
The possible writing sample topics may be viewed online at the MCAT website. Obviously you shouldn't practice all of them, but do look them over and practice this part of the test, timed, for a few topics. Neatness counts!
The Test Day
The big day has finally arrived! Ideally, you want to get a good night's sleep the night before (uh huh...). No matter what, try to relax. Really tense people might find studying relaxing; otherwise turn your brain off and take it easy. Make sure you locate the test center before test day. Eat breakfast! Get to the test center bright and early with pencils, pens, and erasers in hand. Food and drinks aren't allowed in the test room, but hard candy may take the edge off, especially if you have butterflies. Do not bring a calculator or anything with an alarm. Be considerate... no cell phones, pagers, etc. Don't berate yourself if you have trouble with a section. Just shrug it off and move on. It may be helpful to bring a lunch, especially if traffic is a concern. You don't want to be late for the afternoon fun and games! If you are like me, your brain will be pretty fried after the test. You'll get out around 5 pm. If travel is required, like man was plan to stay with a friend or get a hotel room, plan wisely.
tracy scott at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas Southwestern Medical School (MD), class of 2009.
Pre-med: University of Pennslyvana, Texas Tech University degree. Answer posted 8/27/2006
|studied from a mcat prep book on my own... went through the whole thing and took a few practice tests... didn't practice any of the essays but i should have|
Ehren Dueweke at Medical College of Wisconsin (MD), class of 2010.
Pre-med: Kalamazoo College, Chemistry degree. Answer posted 8/21/2006
|If the test is foreign to you, then practice, practice, practice.
And then practice some more.
The prep course was a waste of time for me, but the course materials (practice tests and books) were very helpful.|
Erik A. at Medical College of Wisconsin (MD), class of 2010.
Pre-med: University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, B.S. Computer Science degree. Answer posted 8/17/2006
|Getting a good score on the MCAT really depends on timing. For me, my timing sucked! I had just returned to school. It had been 8 years since I had taken the basic chem/bio courses and I had only taken one of the substantive courses from my major. I was very unprepared.
The only thing that saved me was taking a lot of practice tests. For a few months before the actual test, I would spend each Saturday in the library and go through a practice test.|
Bill Holmes at Medical College of Wisconsin (MD), class of 2009.
Pre-med: University of Arizona, Molecular & Cellular Bio/Anthropology degree. Answer posted 1/6/2006
|I received a scholarship to take a Kaplan MCAT prep course for free. I took that during the 2 months prior to the exam. It was a lot of work and I could not really keep up with it. Honestly I can't remember how much I studied per week. I just know that being it was summer time, I was not very motivated and did not study every day. I regret not studying more and not taking the MCAT in April instead of August. But there was no way I could have studied for the April test with my involvement in Circle K and my academic studies.|
Dana Marie Smith at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) (DO), class of 2010.
Pre-med: Ithaca College, B.A. Biology degree. Answer posted 6/24/2006
|I mainly used the Kaplan review course; however, I didn't go through tons of questions. If I had to do it again, going through questions is the key.|
Andrew Doan, MD, PhD
Andrew Doan at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (MD), class of 2001.
Pre-med: Reed College, B.A. in Biology degree. Answer posted 6/11/2006
|I used the Kaplan coursebook and studied independently, 8 hours a day for two weeks. I think taking the course probably would have benefitted me more, but I got into a great school that I think I will be able to make a significant contribution at.|
Chris Hope at University of Mississippi School of Medicine (MD), class of 2010.
Pre-med: University of Southern Mississippi, Psychology degree. Answer posted 3/12/2006
|For my MCAT preparation I took the Kaplan course. Many people have said that they thought it was a waste of time and money, but for me it was great. As I mentioned above, standardized tests are not my strong point and so I felt I needed all the help that I could get. In the Kaplan course you take several full-length practice tests that are very similar to the real MCAT. This was very helpful to me. Also, I am not a very disciplined unless I have a set schedule and deadlines to keep me on tract and the Kaplan course provided me that set study schedule.|
Scott Larson at Medical College of Wisconsin (MD), class of 2009.
Pre-med: Idaho State University, Microbiology degree. Answer posted 10/23/2005
|I took the MCAT twice. April and August '05. I took a Kaplan prep course for the first MCAT. I wasn't so happy with my score. The second time I took the MCAT, I studied on my own and did better.|
Mindy Williams at Morehouse School of Medicine (MD), class of 2010.
Pre-med: University of South Alabama, BSN degree. Answer posted 5/31/2006
Robert Greenhagen at College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery (Podiatry), class of 2008.
Pre-med: Briar Cliff University, B.S. in Biology degree. Answer posted 5/30/2006
|Took the MCAT twice. Once while I was in school and once while I was out for a few years. The hardest part was having to answer questions on material that I hadn't seen in 5-6 years.
I studied mostly for two weeks with olds tests direct from MCAT website and with a princeton review book. My only problem with that was I did not have any of my undergrad books for a reference so many things were a little unclear when I took the test.|
Matt Tallar at Medical College of Wisconsin (MD), class of 2009.
Pre-med: UW-Milwaukee, Microbiology/Biotechnology degree. Answer posted 2/7/2006
|Well I took the MCAT four times. The first two times I was ignorant of the scope of the exam and did poorly. The third time I took a Kaplan course and still did not get into medical school. The last time I did a post-bac program in the midwest and here I am a rising M1.|
Y.L.Rucker at Ohio State University College of Medicine (MD), class of 2011.
Pre-med: University of Rochester, Microbiology degree. Answer posted 5/12/2006
|first time i didn't study. i took 2 practice tests. i did well. second time i took 3 practice tests. i did about the same.|
emily at University of Mississippi School of Medicine (MD), class of 2011.
Pre-med: University of Mississippi, B.S. Chemical Engineering degree. Answer posted 3/20/2006
|Princeton (great review), 2-3 months was sufficient, although the verbal was hard for me, I redid the test a few times ONLY to improve my verbal|
Dina R at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science Chicago Medical School (MD), class of 2008.
Pre-med: University of Toronto, Hon BSc degree. Answer posted 3/19/2006
|I just took tests. That was the key: practice practice practice|
Casey Lythgoe at Medical College of Wisconsin (MD), class of .
Pre-med: B.Y.U.-Hawaii, Biochemistry degree. Answer posted 10/25/2005
|I took the KAPLAN course because I was busy with school, work, research, and family and I knew I wouldn't discipline myself to study on my own. I don't think the class itself really helped me but I think the five practice tests they make you take did . If you're disciplined at studying I would just get the books and do it on your own.|
Jeff Hanson at Medical College of Wisconsin (MD), class of 2009.
Pre-med: Utah State University, Biology degree. Answer posted 2/11/2006
|All I did for the MCAT was bought a MCAT review book and took as many practice exams as I could. My commitment to preparing was less than inspiring.|
Jeffrey Anderson at Medical College of Wisconsin (MD), class of 2009.
Pre-med: Bethel University, Biblical and Theological Studies degree. Answer posted 2/11/2006
|I took the Kaplan prep. class during the spring of my Junior year and then I took the test that April. The class cost over $1000 but that is just a drop in the bucket compared to what you will be spending on interviews and tuition. I feel like it truely prepared me for the test which was proven by my strong performance and the fact that I only had to take the test once. The full length practice tests were extremely helpful, as a whole I would strongly recommend taking the course.|
Gregory Thom at Medical College of Wisconsin (MD), class of 2009.
Pre-med: University of CA, San Diego, BS; Management Science degree. Answer posted 2/8/2006
|My preparation for the MCAT was minimal. I purchased the Examkrackers MCAT kit, but only went through about 5% of it. Overall I probably spent about 5 hours TOTAL studying/preparing for the MCAT. I didn't do any practice exams.
My lack of prep was mostly because I'm a procrasinator, and the actual MCAT came before my motivation did. Had I prepared more, I'm sure I would have done better. But I'm a minimalist like that. Side note: I actually sold the Examkrackers books on eBay USED for more than I paid NEW. Shop around, folks.|
Marc Biedermann at Medical College of Wisconsin (MD), class of 2009.
Pre-med: University of Wisconsin - Green Bay, BS Human Biology Health Sciences degree. Answer posted 2/6/2006
|I did not take any of the name brand test preparation classes. I took something of an informal one...I think that the best test preparation is recognizing your strengths and weaknesses. I cannot say how much traditional prep classes help, but I would highly recommend taking as many full length practice tests as you can get access to. These tests will be great indicators of content and length and allow you to get used to the timing.|
John Gannon at Medical College of Wisconsin (MD), class of .
Pre-med: UCLA/ University of Utah, biological chemistry degree. Answer posted 1/10/2006
|I didn't do much actual MCAT prep. I finished organic chemistry (summer) on a Monday, and took the MCAT on that Saturday. I spent a little bit of time going through the Kaplan book and did one full length AAMC practice test from the website. I think I was able to get away with so little prep because I had taken all of the pre-reqs in the 12 months prior to the test.|
Amy Raubenolt at Ohio State University College of Medicine (MD), class of 2010.
Pre-med: Bowling Green State University, Spanish degree. Answer posted 1/13/2006
|I bought the Kaplan MCAT book the August prior to the test and went through it once in total. I only had time for about an hour per week during the school year and some extended studying over that spring break. I also took a practice test in the book and online.|
Joe Behn at Medical College of Wisconsin (MD), class of 2009.
Pre-med: University of Wisconsin--Stevens Point, Biology degree. Answer posted 1/4/2006
|I bought a Kaplan review book and went through that several months in advance. I ended up taking that beast twice and still didn't get the score I wanted to. But, I am in my second year of medical school and have proven myself otherwise so this test is not the only thing they look at.|
Adam Mehring at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) (DO), class of 2008.
Pre-med: Grove City College, Molecular Biology degree. Answer posted 1/10/2006
|For my first MCAT, I took a Kaplan class-room course. It was a big waste of time because I didn't put enough outside studying time into it. I was taking Orgo II and Physics II at the time, so those two classes got the vast majority of my studying time. For my second MCAT, I purchased Audio Osmosis and listened to those CD's around the clock. I also purchased a bunch of practice tests. If I wasn't listening to the CD's, I was doing practice tests. I went up four points on my second MCAT score.|
Jonathan Taylor at West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) (DO), class of 2011.
Pre-med: Tennessee Temple University, Biology degree. Answer posted 1/2/2006
|Took a BYU class that was on Saturdays for several weeks. It got me to study, but the April score yielded a 28, little lower than what I was shooting for. The testing conditions also involved some extenuating circumstances such as a water leak over my head dripping onto my test during the verbal reasoning portion which I attribute to my 8 score the verbal. Studied on my own for a few months, took it in August, made sure to sit in a dry area, and scored a 31. I had friends spend to cash for the Kaplan course. But in my honest opinion the only reason Kaplan MIGHT work is because you spend so much money on it, you feel motivated/obligated to study. Save yourself the grand or however absurd amount of money it is these days, buy the books for a lot less( Kaplan does have good review materials), and use the left over money for a vacation to some exotic location. We did a cruise to Alaska. A much better use of the money.|
J Chang at Medical College of Wisconsin (MD), class of 2007.
Pre-med: BYU, Neuroscience degree. Answer posted 7/28/2005
|I took a Kaplan course but did not study as much as they told us we needed to. I had already seen most of the material covered so that may have helped. I found the most helpful thing for me to do was take past exams.|
Kim Bentley at Medical College of Wisconsin (MD), class of 2009.
Pre-med: Duke, Biomedical Engineering degree. Answer posted 10/31/2005
|I took the August MCAT in 2002. My first advice would be to avoid the August MCAT at all costs. It really puts you behind on submitting your applications to schools, and I found that the earlier the applicant submitted, the better.
I spent the 2-3 months during the summer prior to the MCAT preparing for the test. I had purchased two books to review material for the test: a comprehensive review of the material and a book with practice tests and questions for each section. I did not opt for taking a review course due to monetary concerns and my personal learning style, which is geared towards teaching myself material.
I probably spent about 6-8 hours/week during the better part of that summer reviewing for the MCAT, and amped up studying the week prior to the test to about 6 hours/day. In retrospect, I may have studied harder, and would have probably spent more time on the biology section of the test, which (being a Bio major) I really ignored. I found that taking 2-3 practice tests in environments as close to those found at testing centers was useful, and also gave me an idea of where I might score. If I were to retake the test, I probably would have taken one of these practice tests every month leading up to the exam.
All told, I feel like my preparation was adequate, and I thought my score reflected my capabilities pretty well. (33R-10 Bio, 11 Physical, 12 Verbal)|
Jesse Stringer at Medical College of Wisconsin (MD), class of 2009.
Pre-med: University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Biology degree. Answer posted 8/31/2005
|I took the Kaplan course at Idaho State University. Bad choice! The course was too new to be efficient. I could have bought the Kaplan MCAT study guide book at Barnes and Nobles for a whole lot cheaper, and had better study time. The only thing that I liked about the Kaplan course it that you take, I think, 7 full length MCATs. That helped me build up my stamina for the real deal.|
Basically, when it all boiled down. I didn't put enought time into studying for the MCAT. You'll notice that my friend Christian's experience was 10-15 hours a week for MCAT prep, I probably put in 3-5 hours a week, and my score shows that. Luckily, I was accepted into a school anyways.
Eric N. Swensen at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences (KCUMB-COM) (DO), class of .
Pre-med: Idaho State University, Bachelors of Arts in Spanish degree. Answer posted 8/1/2005
|I bought the most current Kaplan Comprehensive Review book (about $50) and worked through it, studying and memorizing the key concepts again. I also worked all of the calculation and other examples and made sure I could do all of those (esp. all the Chemistry, Physics calculations). I memorized some of the formulas you need for the MCAT. Also, I purchased a package of 6 practice tests. These were the “real” practice MCAT tests on paper, so I could try them under testing conditions, which I did on 4 different Saturdays at the library. These tests were the best. I would highly recommend these. They gave me a real sense of what questions to expect and I learned how to pace myself. I got a good feel for which topics are “hot” as well. Tests put out by other test prep companies are not the same. Kaplan and other prep tests are much harder than the real test to scare you into taking their courses and so they can show that you have improved (that’s what I think anyway).|
Christian Becker at Medical College of Wisconsin (MD), class of 2009.
Pre-med: Idaho State University, Zoology degree. Answer posted 7/26/2005
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