Planning ahead - study for MCAT for 1yr or gap year?

Hello everyone!

I’m a 36 year old non-trad and I hope to be ready to apply by 2024, so that I can matriculate right after I graduate with my bachelor’s in 2025. I’m planning ahead as much as possible and would love your thoughts.

I’ll most likely be taking a full course load (12-15 credits) and working part time (15-20hrs/week) by the time I take the MCAT and apply so would it make sense to start prepping for the MCAT a year ahead (early 2023)?

I know a lot of people say more than 6 months is too much, but I also have 3 kids. All 3 will be high school juniors by the time I apply and although they don’t need me as much as they did when they were younger, I know I’ll need to make time to start touring universities with them on top of everything else I have to do for myself and our family. I don’t have the luxury of being able to not work while I study, so studying 20+ hours a week for the MCAT just doesn’t seem realistic for me. But would less than 10 hours a week for a year be enough?

The other option of course is to wait until my last year or until I graduate to take the MCAT but then that adds even more time and at my age, I feel the clock ticking.

Let me know if I’m crazy for planning for a year of studying or if I should plan to take a gap year or two instead?

I’ll add that with my life experiences, I know that life can happen and get in the way of my plans so even though I’m planning this far in advance I know that I have to be flexible. Even though I feel like I’m running out time, I won’t take the MCAT or apply until I know I’m ready. I’ve waited this long to chase my dreams so another year or two won’t kill me (hopefully lol).

If you read this far, thanks so much!

Is there anyway you can take the MCAT during a summer when you may have more time? I know studying for over a year can be detrimental because you may not remember stuff by the time you have to take the MCAT.

I’ll be taking summer classes, too, so it’s kind of the same difference.

Yea I’m worried about that with studying over a long period of time.

I see. You should also be thinking about making sure you have most of your pre-reqs completed as well. So additionally, I’d make sure you have those done before you take the MCAT.