MCAT Study Tips

Okay guys, those of you that scored 30+ can you please share how you studied. I would like to know if possible:
a) how many hours per day (average) did you study to include how many days per week did you study
b) when did you start reviewing? three months prior, six months, two months, one month
c) how many practice exams did you do (timed) and where did you get these exams from TPR, AAMC, Kaplan, etc.
d) when did you start taking practice exams? from the getgo or did you first review and then take practice exams, or did you start off with practice exams and then review material based on how you scored on the practice exams, etc.
e) what did you start off reviewing, the most recent course or the one you took eons ago, or did you start with the easiest or hardest.
f) If you took practice exams where did you take these? in the library, at home, coffee shop. Did you actually use scantron sheets? What day of the week did you take these and how many per week? one per week on Sat like the real deal or two per week and what days, etc.
Okay that is it for now, sorry to bug you guys but I am trying to set up some type of study long distance marathon here and any feedback will be appreciated. I keep wondering if more practice exams is better like 20 or more, or is it best to do one per week starting in January (that comes out to about 12 practice exams from Jan-Apr) or is two per week better, or should I start in October with one exam per week, you get the picture, I am freaking out already!!!

a) I studied 4-5 hours a day, 3-4 times per week. This does not include my Kaplan class/test time.
b) I started studying when my Kaplan class started - January 19. I didn't study one bit before that.
c) I took Kaplan and had 5 timed full-length tests. I also took AAMC III, IV, and V (not timed, I think).
d) I followed the Kaplan plan for doing practice items. There were actually more items in the Kaplan library than they had listed in their recommendations, so I started adding section tests and AAMC items about halfway through the class (say 6 weeks before the test).
e) I just went in the order of the Kaplan class. We had three classes a week - one VR, one PS, one BS. So, it would be for example: VR strategies, then gen chem, then organic chem. The next week would be writing sample, then physics I, then bio. Etc… I gave away my Kaplan stuff, but you could probably get a syllabus from someone.
f) With Kaplan, there were five full-length tests under test conditions at a local university. We had them on Saturdays. I was lucky that Kaplan had given copies of all the library materials to the local unversity and I studied in the library there in the evenings. It's a small school, and they let me use a private office to study. I took a couple of practice exams (AAMC and some online tests) at home.
I did every single item in the Kaplan library. I definitely got my money's worth. I took the prep course because it had been so long since I had some of my prereqs (~12 years on some) plus I really need the structure of a syllabus and having a fixed schedule.
I did really well, but I put a lot into it. I'm also a good test-taker. I actually kind of enjoy it in a way.
Hope this helps!

Thanks Spacecadet, when you say that you did all the material in the Kaplan library do you mean practice exams or more problem sets on top of the practice exams? if you did more practice sets where they like the MCAT or not? if they were not like the MCAT do you think that this helped? I keep hearing that if you problems (like the ones in our gen chem book and organic, physics) that are not passage based like MCAT that this will not be as helpful as doing MCAt type passages. My question is there are only so many mock exams to do, so to get your hands on more MCAT type passages where do you get these from?

a) 8 hours per day once a week (although not every week) taking a practice exam and reviewing it, plus 30 minutes per day reading on some topic (again, took many, many days off)
b) begin studying in November for the April test. But took breaks from studying now and again.
c) I took as many practice exams as I could get my hands on which included AAMC I-V, Kaplan book, Peterson's book, REA book, Baron's book, Princeton Review book, Berkeley book, ARCO books, etc. Most were borrowed from the library. I bought others on e-bay (ensuring beforehand that there was no writing). I also used LSAT, GMAT, GRE, OAT, VCAT test prep books to practice reading comprehension.
d) Started with practice exams and then reviewed where I was lacking
e) Reviewed initially at the beginning of the Kaplan practice book. But then started skipping around and using text books as the practice exams revealed the areas where I was lacking
f) Took practice exams and studied always at home (my one- room log cabin in Alaska…nice, quiet, and peaceful). But always timed and I just wrote the answers (A,B,C, etc.) on a piece of paper. I left the answer sheets in the review books intact as they were either library books, or I was going to resell them or donate them when I was done.

I just typed a long reply and then had it disappear when I tried to send it, a frustrating experience. Anyways, here's the gist of what I wrote about.
-I studied an average of 25 hours a week, starting about 3 months out from the MCAT. Before starting, I had the goal of totalling 300 hours, which I reached. Some weeks, of course, were low (10-15 hrs) and some high (35-40 hrs), but overall I averaged 25 hours a week.
-I took plenty of practice tests (maybe 15 or so) but I let science review take precendence over taking too many tests, which I've seen some people do. It doesn't make sense to keep on taking more tests, if you're making the same mistakes over and over and over.
-You want to review the science material to the point where you feel you have a pretty good grasp of it, both in terms of understanding and memorization of relevant detail. The science sections (physical and biological sciences) are the most amenable to improvement, since they are largely knowledge based.
–Conversely, the verbal section is the slowest to improve for most people, since we have all been reading for 20+ years by the time we take the MCAT. Therefore, start preparing early for this section by taking verbal practice tests. You can take verbal tests apart from the other sections, especially when you are first starting your review.
-AAMC puts out the best tests. They are actual MCAT tests from previous years. Kaplan, Princeton, and a few other companies also put out tests, but they are not as good as the AAMC ones in simulating the real MCAT. Note, though, that this upcoming MCAT will have somewhat less O Chem.
-I spent the most time on my weakest sections and areas of knowledge. Doing this allowed me to bring up my score the most. I think we have a tendency to dwell on our strongest areas (or the ones we find most interesting) but the MCAT doesn't give a damn about our personal preferences.

I ended up scoring a 36 (V11, P13, B12), which I was happy about, since it allowed me to get into Columbia's med school. Hope there are no silly typos in this post, since I was typing in a hurry. Gotta go. Feel free to email me at