How many hours while studying for MCAT?

I’m looking for a consensus… how many hours is “ok” to take while you’re studying for the MCAT. I am currently signed up for 17 hours next semester…
Any suggestions?

17 hours is too many IMHO. You should treat MCAT preparation as at least a 4-credit course, or MORE.

What classes are you taking? If you have 17 hours of science that may be really hard to do. If you have a gym class and a pottery class, you might be okay…

Right now I’m signed up for Physics II, Gen Chem II, Anat and Phys, Computer Science Required elective, and I’m TAing a BIO lab. The Anat/Phys is lecture only (no lab)…
What do you think???

Wow! That’s a lot by itself. If you think you can do it, I think you should go for it. BUT, you need be REALLY disciplined with your time next semester. MCAT study time can be incorporated into your life if you schedule everything from sex to showers.
I can share with you what happened to me last spring when I was studying. I worked backwards from the date of the exam. The night before I planned not to study, but just relax and focus. I scheduled myself 6 practice exams (basically, one every 2 0r 3 weeks). Every night and I mean everynight, I read 2 or 3 topics from a subject and did practice passages rom both VR and the stuff I was reading. One to two hours per night.
The rest of my life consisted of Org II + lab. One 20 hour/week job and one 30 hour/week job. Guitar lessons on Mondays and Dance rehearsal on Tuesdays. Plus, trying to start the local NC OPM chapter. I even went to the gym MWF mornings before class at 5:30 am
Well, it lasted for about 2 months, before I nearly jumped off of the highest building on campus. I quit my 30 hour/week job …and that helped tremendously!
I spent my Sunday’s preparing my meals for the entire week. I had to pencil in “quality” time with David.
That high powered stretch of time, was easily tipped off balance. So the moral is, you can do it, but be careful!! The smallest trigger really can set you back.
I am sure you will do what is best for you. Let us know what you decide.

You’re taking GenChem II - have you done organic?
Doing Physics II and GenChem II will actually help save you some MCAT prep time in that those are topics you need to review - you’ll be killing two birds with one stone. I did this during my MCAT semester with Physics II and OChem II and it really helped.
When in doubt, you MUST devote your time to classes, however. You can always decide to defer the MCAT or take it again (I know, no one wants to contemplate it, but…). But once a grade is on your transcript, there’s no re-do or deferring it. So just keep that in mind - you could end up putting yourself in a situation where you’re having to make some tough choices. I gotta say, I’d try to ditch one of those courses if I were you, but I’m not

Thanks for the tips gals!!!
I’ve taken Org II (well, am taking now)… so yeah, physics II and gen chem II are the “last” of the MCAT courses that I need (I think)…
Do you have any advice on which class to drop? Anat/Phys or Computer Science?
Thanks again!

I would drop computer science. A&P will actually help you on the MCAT whereas comp sci will not. Even if you need the comp sci class for your degree, remember that you will have that year while you are applying to take those types of classes.

However, I have to say that when I took Anat/Phys in college, I remember having to put in a LOT of hours (labs, quizes, etc…). The thing is that a lot of time is necessary to MEMORIZE everything in these courses. So, take it only if you’ve got a lot of extra time to devote to it (also because these courses are extremely interesting, you are likely to spend more time here).
…and, that’s just my advice. good luck!

Hi there,
That’s a ton of hours while trying to review for the MCAT. The problem is that you have no “wiggle” room in your schedule if an emergency comes up or if you start to have difficulty in one of your classes and need extra time to prepare.
Don’t forget that you need to have a balanced life. It is better to take an extra year and do very well than try to rush. I was well into my 40’s before I started medical school so you have plenty of time to do well. In the long term scheme of things, one year extra to do well versus not doing well enough to get into medical school will have a profound effect on what you have accomplished up to this point. I don’t think that anyone will say that they had “too much” study time when it comes to the pre-med classes and the MCAT.
Good luck and take care of yourself both mentally and physically.

How did you take Organic II without taking Gen Chem II first? At my school gen chem I and II are required before Organic I and II.

I took 12 credits both semesters before the MCAT. It was rough with family and illness/death of grandmother during april, but somehow I survived. However I would never encourage someone to take 17 credits and study for the MCAT unless they were a genius and never had to study for any classes. Don’t risk blowing your GPA.

I’m not sure what the answer is for the original poster, but I saw that a few people asked about why gen chem II was being taken after orgo. Just wanted to note that not all schools have the gen chem I & II and then orgo I & II schedule. At my undergrad (I didn’t take the courses there, but had plenty of friends that did) gen chem was a one semester course followed by two of orgo. For those people that were applying to med school, etc., they followed the two semesters of orgo with a semester of inorganic to meet the four semesters of chem required. I’m not sure why my school did it this way, but I’m sure they had their reasons (apparently they used to have the “traditional” progression, but changed it to gen, orgo I, orgo II, inorganic starting with my class).

There is a lunatic in my OChem class who got a waiver and is taking OChem I and Gen Chem I AT THE SAME TIME.
They’re very different, really.
But you wouldn’t catch ME doing it!


This is a bit off topic, but is that a Habs emblem? Well, I know it is, but is that what you intend? Don’t meet too many Habs fans these days.


Sure is, Steve… I’m a huge Canadiens fan, which doesn’t make me terribly popular here in Boston, but what can ya do, it’s in my blood! I found the “happy fan” on their website, wonder how long it took for someone to think of turning the symbol sideways to make a happy face.

Geez, you’re like a Christian in the Lions Den.
I haven’t spoken to another Habs fan in over a decade. Nice to see that emblem out in the world. Take care of yourself and try not to get eaten.