How OPMs Study for the MCAT? (Courses worth it?)

I’ve been looking into the Princeton/Kaplan review courses but may not be able to attend since one night is during the weekdays. I’ve found out about another course “The Oxford Review”. Has anyone else ever heard of this?
It’s been about 7 years since I took the basic sciences in undergrad. I did study most of the basic medical sciences in chiropractic school and think that most of the topics studied for the MCAT don’t neccessarly add to understanding such things as microbiology, pathology, anatomy etc. So serveral years later I find myself forced to re-study material that is not too appealing and on limited time since I work 60 hours/week. I’m sure that many of you feel similar so I’m looking for some suggestions from those that have completed the exam and have some perspective to add.
I’ve read the Princeton review book once and find my memory coming back very slowly. Is 8 weeks of studying 1 night a week good enough for this exam if I am rusty? It sounds like it is time to focus on doing exam questions. Perhaps some of you can give me a good idea of the avg time that people are investing in studying for this test. Thanks everyone.

I am probably on the extreme side of things by spending four hours per day about 5-6 times per week. Some weeks more some less but I average about 30 hours per week for MCAT. This is to include taking practices exams which are loooong. I do not think that studying one night per week is enough, but that is just me. Maybe you are really smart and have photographic memory. From my understanding most folks start about three months out, meaning now for the April MCAT and put in about 15-20 hours per week. If I was you, I would take one practice exam (V or higher from the aamc) and see how you do. You may be surprised and not really need to study that much, then you are good to go. If on the other hand you do not score too hot, then start carving out some time during the weekends or at night if you plan on taking the april mcat. If not wait until Aug. Just my 0.2…

I was going to say pretty much the same thing - start by taking a practice exam and gauge your study needs from your performance. You ARE familiar with this material - as you say, it’s coming back to you and you recognize it - so it may be that you’ll need to study somewhat less than the “average” person. But I agree with efex that for most people, one night a week wouldn’t be enough. The practice test will determine if it’s enough for you.
I was finishing my prereqs when I took the MCAT, and in terms of time spent studying, I’d liken it to a tough four-credit lab course - probably ten hours a week.
You can do this - it may actually not be THAT helpful for you to find out how others are prepping because each of us arrives at the MCAT using a different path. Your path through chiro school is definitely different from those of us who’ve just done the undergrad prereqs, for example.
You also asked about prep courses. I like to say that I took a prep course just to keep me honest - I paid Kaplan about $1300 to babysit me, essentially, and make me stick to a schedule, because I’m a professionala procrastinator. I felt the classes were just so-so, but the review books and other materials were excellent, and the practice exams were KEY to doing well. If you’ve got the self-discipline to stick to a schedule on your own, and can set up your own practice exams (do SEVERAL!), you probably don’t need a course. And if you’re really pressed for time, as it sounds like you are, you may not want to devote hours each week to sitting in a group setting when you could probably get a lot out of individual study. (but if you sign up for a prep course, you could still do the prep yourself but with their voluminous and very good materials, so that’s another option)
Sorry I can’t comment on Oxford, I haven’t heard of that one. Good luck!

I might also recommend spending a bit less and trying out AAMC’s test review sections for $70 between now and test time. It is a whole lot cheaper and you get complete answers to what you need.
ExamKrackers also has CD’s for about $110 online (DoubleDiscount…click the link) and they cover every topic ON the MCAT.
Good luck. blink.gif

I use the old MCAT exams(from AAMC) to “study” and for the questions I get wrong, I refer to my textbooks for details on the subject. I then retake the exam a week later to make sure I really understand how to do the problem and have not just memorized the answer. I think this is working very well for me because in addition to relearning material, I’m also practing my timing for the MCAT.

be careful of retaking questions or exams you’ve already done once - it can give you a false sense of security. Incorporating it as part of your study regimen is fine; just be cautious about it and definitely don’t “score” a re-taken exam 'cause you won’t get a number you can feel sure of, okay?

You need to choose the prep style that best fits how you learn best. If you're a very disciplined person who does not need the competitive & structured environment of a formal prep course, go for it on your own. For me, as I am not the most self-disciplined person in the world, I needed that environment. Plus, in my opinion, for more valuable than the actual topical instruction was the intense familiarity you gain from the formal prep courses, namely TPR & Kaplan – of all of the prep course, those are the only two I feel comfortable endorsing as they are all I have experience with.
You should already be familiar with the actual material to be tested thru your pre-req courses. If you are counting on the prep course people to teach you the information, you are barking up the wrong tree!!! The intent of the prep courses is to provide a thorough review of the information, make you intensely familiar with the exam under testing conditions and teach you some extremely valuable test taking strategies. For me, the strategies and the familiarity were the absolutely most critical benefits & in that order!!! Those same strategies can be carried with you to medical school. They yielded massive dividends for me!
One huge point I feel compelled to make here, I make this point virtually every time I make a comment on MCAT prep/strategies – DO NOT PREPARE FOR THE MACT AS THOUGH IT WERE PURELY A FACTUAL RECALL EXAM!!! Yes, there is a significant component of recall, esp for the physics sections. However, the EMPHASIS, BY DESIGN, is on READING COMPREHENSION. This means that to excel on the MCAT, you must be able to GLEAN the pertinent information from the passage (they will provide extraneous info galore), INTEGRATE that with your own knowledge and DISCERN the MOST CORRECT answer from the choices provided to you. Again, the emphasis is on your ability to read & extract the info you need from a significant amount of chaff and apply it to a novel situation. Filling your head to the brim with factoids is far lower yield that is honing the skills of reading comprehension and application.
You will have to have both abilities, but be aware that as science majors, reading comprehension & application are not skills embedded in our educations…at least most of us are science-related majors. This is where those of you with more liberal arts oriented educations have the upper hand!! A liberal arts styled education emphasizes reading comprehension & application from day one. For we science folks, our texts are info-dense and laid right out there in front of you…extraction & application skils are not necessary to find the pertinent info…hell, it's all pertinent.
For me, those skills were deificient and my prep course taught me how to teach myself better.

I decided that the review course was neccessary. I've read the material through once but wouldn't say it was nearly as familiar as when I was in undergrad 8+ years ago! I figure why write the exam unless I attempt to do well. I would agree with OMD, in that the instruction isn't the strong point of the course. The structure and practise should really help. (We shall see in April!).

A couple of years ago, I was 6 years out of undergrad and I studied for the MCAT with review books and old tests. While I felt comfortable with my preparation, I was not confident. My lack of confidence showed on test day. Less than a week before I took the MCAT, my sister suffered life threatening injuries in a fall. The distraction of family drama coupled with my lack of confidence - well, I did average when I sat for the MCAT. Had I prepared enough to feel confident, I dare say the family drama wouldn't have been such a distraction on test day.
So, now that I'm headed into a retake of the MCAT, I decided to do something different. I signed up for the classroom Kaplan course. As Mary mentioned it's a great babysitter. I am given specific assignments to complete on specific concepts. This helps keep me on track with timing and effort invested. I am not disappointed in having spent the money or the time for the classroom course. However, knowing what I know now, I'd sign up only for the online review stuff. The online stuff that Kaplan offers has been fantastic in reinforcing concepts and keeping me on schedule. While the classroom setting helps, it comes at a cost in my time invested in attending. The classroom simply gives me a place to go to get questions answered, as well as another view point about the concepts being studied, both important if I have specific questions that need to be answered.
When I took the MCAT a couple of years ago, I didn't think I could afford a prep class, didn't think it would have much more to offer me that I couldn't get from review books and couldn't find the time to fit it into my schedule. Now that I am preparing to retake the MCAT, I realize the cost of having to retake, as well as the cost and thought of having to reapply to medical school, makes the prep class worth every bit I've spent. Also, the time I'm putting into the prep class is more efficient and more focused than when I studied on my own. This time, I decided to take a prep class because I didn't want to be left wondering what if.
Good Luck
– Rachel