Budgeting time for prep?

My plan has been to sit for the MCAT in spring of 2011 (which is subject to change if you saw my thread in the general forum). Since I’ve got a fairly heavy load scheduled for this next year, I’m looking for advice on how other people have budgeted their time to remain successful in coursework while studying for the MCAT.

I have my heart set out on taking a live class with The Berkeley Review, but living 90 minutes-2 hrs (depending on traffic) from their nearest location is going to be a challenge. Their course runs the same length as my spring quarter, and attending would mean commuting three days a week for those 10-ish weeks. The other live test prep courses are also the same commute for me. I’m leaning toward a live class because I’m not as solid in chem and am hoping to reinforce my knowledge a little better by sitting through a live class.

I’m considering deferring the MCAT for yet another year so that I can have some time off from school with no distractions while I study for it. Generally speaking, is that level of intensity necessary for a high score? How long did you study before the MCAT? Were you studying for it while still in full-time attendance as a premed? Any advice on how to work out time management for this would be greatly appreciated.

I did a one-year post-bacc program (didn’t need to take physics, so took two upper level science courses). I took the Kaplan course and treated it along with the studying that went along with it as the equivalent of a college course. I took O-chem II, A&P II, and microbiology along with the MCAT course that semester. Worked out well and didn’t feel overwhelmed.

Hope this helps. Good luck!!

Thank you Tara. Hearing your experience was really helpful.