MCAT while completing prereqs

I am planning to take the April 2005 MCAT. At that time I will be in orgo 2 and physics 2. These courses will not be completed until May. For those of you who have done it, how is it taking MCAT in April while completing prereqs? Because of work commiments and driving 1.5 hours each way to attend classes, I can not complete the courses until May 2005. I would appreciate any feedback. I know many of the formal post bacc programs are not complete until May, but the students sit for the April MCAT. So I am hoping this is not a big deal.

Hi, That is what happened when I took the MCAT. It is a common thing to have a small amount left in those classes after you take the MCAT. Rest assured most of everything you will need will be taught to you before April. The things we had after the MCAT wouldn’t have been needed for the MCAT. Hope this eases your mind a bit.

Apropos of taking the MCAT prior to completing one’s pre-med coursework, I am considering a fairly concentrated 15-month course of study which would conclude with a two-month summer course in physics, ending on the very day of the August MCAT. (The schedule I’m thinking about is: summer Chemistry, fall/spring Organic and Biology, and summer Physics.)
People in this forum have said that it’s quite worthwhile to take the practice MCAT a few times and even take a Kaplan course or something similar. Given that I will have just completed the four prerequisite science courses, I would hope that the knowledge will be fresh enough in my mind without Kaplan. Or, I could start a Kaplan course between sessions in June, and maybe take a practice exam or two on some free weekend (hah!) during the physics course.
I believe that because of my liberal arts background, the English/verbal section of the MCAT will be straightforward; indeed, I found the verbal section of the practice exam rather simple. So, the science sections will present me with the most challenge, with physics probably being the hardest, but I’ll have a head full of physics going into the exam.
My goal is simply to save a year and avoid having to wait until the spring to take the MCAT. I could add Physics to my fall/spring workload, thus freeing up the summer for MCAT preparation, but I’m worried about doing well in the life science courses. I don’t want to rush through the pre-med curriculum, nor do I want to waste time. Does this plan make sense or am I being completely unrealistic?

the ramp-up of prerequisite courses immediately prior to the MCAT will be good preparation in one sense - the information will be fresh in your mind. However, this is ENTIRELY different from being ready for the MCAT. The test challenges you to synthesize what you know and apply it to unfamiliar passages and situations. Whether you take a prep course or not, definitely plan on multiple practice tests. It is inconceivable to me to think of taking the MCAT without lots of practice tests under your belt. There is no other test like it!

Shirl, I did exactly what you’re proposing and had no problems. I was taking Kaplan and was glad to get the review of hmmmm optics and a few other physics topics that we hadn’t yet covered.
I say this every chance I get - if you are doing this, be sure to continue to put your classwork first. You can always postpone or re-take an MCAT, as horrible as that might be to consider. But you only get one shot at your grade for a class and it HAS to be a good grade. Don’t anyone make the mistake of getting sucked into MCAT prep to the detriment of your classes.

Thanks for your thoughts on MCAT and for your many other useful contributions to this website. I have gone from despairing that I was over the hill a few months ago to starting to believe that this is an achievable goal, largely thanks to the support I have found here.

At least invest in the practice actual previously given MCATs that AAMC offers online. They were great and the scores I got on them were almost identical to my actual score.

Taking physics during the summer AND studying for the MCAT will be very difficult indeed. Physics is time consuming and needs a lot of time input, to boot during the summer they will be hauling arse so beware my friend. You must get extremely good grades for grades do not go away and your MCAT time/practice may be left out. I would really encourate OPM’ers to take their time, guess what? medical school will always be there. But if you mess up it amounts to more time and $$$$ this process is very expensive. There is no need to rush and lose your mind over this. I was also like you thinking OMG I have to get in at the age of 37 instead of 38! well one year means nothing so it is better to prepare yourself and give a glowing picture of your abilities than trying to rush and possibly not giving a good impression…of course if you are some kind of science guru that needs minimal time and effort to ace science classes please accept my apologies.

Haha! nope I’m no science guru. My brain is a bit funny actually; I can excel in some concepts and totally miss others. I’m worried I may not do too well in these science courses. But like others who have posted here, if I can do well in the first course it will boost my confidence for the others. I’m trying to decide whether it’s worth trying to take Org Chem, Bio, and Physics all in the same school year, plus associated discussion sections and labs. It appears to be possible schedule-wise but maybe not a good idea from a scholastic point of view.

If the August MCAT is out of the question, it makes me wonder whether I should bother with the summer physics program. Maybe I should put it off until the regular school year, do it in a more leisurely fashion over two semesters, and take the April '06 MCAT, with the option to also do the August '06 MCAT if necessary. I hate that I’m putting off the option of applying to medical school by a whole year, but maybe that’s the prudent approach. I am 45 so med school matriculation would be at age 52 instead of 51. I guess that’s not such a big difference, but still I feel a sense of impatience.


Terry we all have that sense of I have to do it now! but it is better to take your time and do it well versus haul arse and possibly (not saying that you would) not do too hot. Because as non-trads we have “matured” we should know better than when we were let’s say 20 and plan things accordingly.

I took the MCAT previous to taking Org II or Phys II and did fairly well.
The biggest aid was a set of MCAT specific study books (NOT general bio/chem/phys books) and as many practice tests as I could get my hands on.
If I could pass on only one bit of advice, it would be take alot of practice exams.

I took Bio, Ochem and Physics all at the same time. Additionally, I did supplemental instruction for Chem, this paid my afterschool care bill for my three kids and gave me snack money. It also kept the Chem fresh! Very nice arrangement I think! I took the April MCAT before the classes finished in May. I studied for the MCAT when I could. The only practice MCAT I took was the one included in the big Kaplan MCAT book. I was scared on MCAT day when people in line were discussing how they’d taken practice MCATS every Saturday for the past 6 weeks. I got 4.0 in my classes and a competitive score on the MCAT, though not stunning. I’ve been accepted to 2 med schools so far.
But, there are issues I would have liked to change, and would’ve easily gotten a better score which would make it more likely for me to get into some more prestigious med schools.
Some of my classes did NOT cover some MCAT essential information. THere were items in the MCAT review books that I just didn’t have time to grasp and learn. (BIO never covered basic anatomy/physiology, Physics never covered optics). I did have A/P years before in my Vet Tech days, so reviewing it was part of my MCAT studies, but it wasn’t fresh from classes. I would do some of that study over again, the missing pieces did add up, and were the difference between a competitive score and a stellar one.
On the other hand, I was very glad the stuff was fresh in my mind. I really wanted to be done with it, not drag MCAT review through to August.
I can’t imagine taking Chem or Physics during summer, if you don’t have a science background. It’s so compressed, and some of that stuff, Physics especially really needs time to steep in the brain. Summer versions of these things are not for the neophyte, they’re for people who need a refresher. Make doubly sure the classes are really the same as the regular semester versions, and call the professor and talk it over first. They are the best source to help you decide if you can/should go that route.

Thanks for the personal insight and advice. That is what is one of the many great things about OPM, learning from others that have gone before. I’ll be sure and post how it goes.