I studied for about 4 weeks with Exam Krackers material. Not sure if it really helped or not. I ran out of time with both the Physical Sciences and Biological Sciences section. I don’t feel very confident with my answers. Glad I took it just to see how bad it was–I was surprised to find that the content was not hideous, but doable. There just wasn’t enough time!!!
4 weeks is just not enough time, especially if you ran out of time. If you have to retake, spend more time with practice tests and timing and doing practice problems.
I didn’t run out of time, but I sure wish I did more practice problems.
While most recommendations around here differ from this approach, perhaps this is what’s best for you. Do you plan to take the MCAT again? If so, what’s your anticipated study plan?
Hey, I took the MCATs this past Friday as well. I walked away with an OK feeling but I am not sure if it was more of a feeling of being content with my performance or happy that the MCAT exam was over (because no matter how many practice exams you take, you always feel drained afterwards). Regarding your question about retaking it, I am seriously considering it but probably not August’s.
We get our scores back in Mid-July and I don’t think a month is really enough time to get prepared. I am going to take the time I have now to work on my primary application for medical school. When I am done with that, I probably will begin to review old notes to prepare to take the MCATs again.
When people say they studied for 4 weeks, it’s generally not rigorous studying, especially if they’re a non-trad and have families and jobs. The poster said they ran out of time, so they obviously need to spend time working on that, which can take up to a few practice tests to hone, and I would discourage someone from doing more than one practice test per day.
Also “taking it just to see how bad it was” is never a good idea. Scores don’t go away and this is an exam you only want to take once. We all know the spiel on this. Doing more practice problems will help tremendously vs. flipping through the general ideas on the MCAT.
I’m not sure recommendations DO differ from learning not to run out of time and doing practice problems (and tests). Anyone disagree that these are important pieces to doing well on the MCAT?
I am not sure if I need to retake or not. My scores come out on or about 7/6 and I’ll know then. If I need to retake, I’ll be working on practice problems galore in my weak areas and probably retake in August if possible. For the MCAT I took on 5/31, I started studying in Sep-Oct and hopefully that was enough time. I just know I didn’t do as many practice problems as I should have. Spent more time with reading over material and AO.
I finished early on all sections so timing is not an issue for me.
Meg, I agree that key MCAT recommendations include 1) time management and 2) practice tests. Of course the FIRST thing is to have the foundation in the sciences that you need in order to understand what you’re practicing… I have known a few people to do months, literally, of practice tests but I think I would poke my eyeballs out with a sharp stick if I did that.
An additional recommendation that I will confess I did NOT do is, go back and work through all the answers you got wrong on practice tests. I wasn’t nearly as vigilant at this as I could’ve been; I’ve known people to be really compulsive about it and they were folks who ended up doing well, so I think it’s good advice.
I also agree that you should never take the test just to see how you do. If you are really curious, you can take practice tests - some of them, at least, are very high quality and very similar to the real MCAT. My experience with Kaplan was that their practice tests were a little different from the real thing, but the scoring of them was right on - so when my last Kaplan test gave me a 30, I hoped and prayed that I was good to go (and I was - my final score was just a smidge higher in both total and individual scores).
I agree with Mary and the previous poster. Practice problems and being familiar with the problems are both important for time management. I am certainly no expert (I only had seconds to a couple minutes left over on the MCAT) but I found the more familiar you are with a section, the faster you get through it. I didn’t take the KAPLAN full length exams but I did take their subject tests and discretes and they are great if you want to build your knowledge. They carried over very well to the practice AAMC exams and actually were a bit more challenging. From my point of view, I do a lot better being overprepared than just having the gist or main idea of a certain concept.