Scared out of my mind?!?!?!

Ok here is my deal. I am 40…almost. Married 7 children 13 and under. Work full time, wife is very supportive. I am listening to Examkrackers everyday. Kaplan MCAT book as much as I can since Nov. of last year. This is my Second shot at the MCAT my last one was in 1994. I didn’t do great but I didn’t do bad.

I am just looking for whatever help is available at this point. In truth the Topic says it all.

I do have the website for e-mcat will do practice tests there. How often or the schedule for taking the MCAT. I know it is not all day now which is great. I slept for 2 days afterwards. Right now I just feel too old to join others in this torture. But there have been older but their children are out of the house too.

I think if I can get through this hurdle, I can make it through Medical School. Once I get in at least.

Any help in this area would be Extremely appreciated.

Oh yeah. If it helps My degree was in Biological Sciences with a Masters in Natural Sciences. I work in computers all day right now and on the side when I can.

I used ExamKrackers books and the 10-week study schedule from their Web site. I think it is very important to take at least four full-length practice tests and spend the next day going over the answers, right and wrong, to see if you understood both the questions and the science. The practice tests will make the biggest difference in your performance over the next few weeks. Hang in there, keep studying, and take practice tests!

I agree with samenewme-- the 10-week EK plan was very helpful. I worked through their basic 5-book series, listened to the AudioOsmosis lectures, and took the full-length practice tests as recommended. Good luck!

EK helped build my confidence too. And, I concur with samenewme that you need to take practice tests if only for the endurance factor. Here’s the deal, the MCAT will suck. It just does. I have met exactly one person who claims to have left feeling good about her performance. I slept a long time afterwards just like you. But, fear is not your friend. Do your preparation. Then, go take your test with the confidence that you have done your time in hell.

Practice under examination conditions until you are bored doing it - that was my TPR instructor’s advice many years ago!

I give everyone the advice that our own OMD gave me. Do not think of the MCAT as a beast. This is negative thinking. And negative thinking puts blocks in your mind resulting in negative results. Rather think of the MCAT as the key to the unlocking the door to medical school.

Since you put a positive tag to it, your brain will be more apt to receive the information and remember it (we block out bad things and remember good ones). In addition, when you are reviewing quizzes and tests, do not just review the ones that you got wrong. But also look at the ones that you answered correctly and make sure that you answered it correctly for the right reasons.

Finally, remember how to get to Carnegie Hall?

Practice, Practice, Practice.

I wholeheartedly agree with Gabe on this. Truthfully the MCAT is “the great equalizer” – your age, background, and GPA do not have to affect how you do on the MCAT. So it provides you with a great opportunity to show that you can be just as good as your competition. It’s only an obstacle if you let it be - I preferred to see it as the doorway to my next great adventure, which in hindsight it certainly was!


I fully concur with gabe, mary, and the rest as said previously. Maybe I should finally write a presentation or piece and call it “MCAT is not a four letter word.” Not only is the MCAT your friend, it may be your best friend in all this. Why? A recent survey of medical school admissions officers found that about 75% rank MCAT as either the first or second factor in evaluating candidates. That same stat holds for GPA as well. Since many of us have older and less than stellar GPAs that, no matter how post-bacc we do, those grades follow us. Therefore, MCAT is your BEST opportunity to be evaluated highly by an adcom.

I agree also. I’ll never forget the note I got from Mary before my MCAT. It was basically what she said above–you’re studied and prepared, now you get to show them what you can do! I actually danced in my chair between blocks, I was so excited. And I also did it on purpose because happy people think better.

Oh yes. I actually had a soundtrack that I played on the way to the test site and a collection of visuals in my mind that showed that I had ROCKED THE HOUSE. I really counted on those visual images to pump me up.


Thanks everyone. I am going to stop whining and go get some cheese and drink it. Then I am going study some more and kick the MCAT in the behind.

So now that I have such great motivators. Ok now for the slow people what do I do about taking the test?

When can I take it now?

I will find out how to sign up for it. But I am still abit lost on this when and how often can you take it??

Whoa, Nelly! Looking back at what you originally wrote, I see an MCAT in 1994 and old college and graduate coursework… before you go jumping into the MCAT, have you got your application package all ready to go?

You don’t just jump into this test. You take it when you are ready to apply - that means that you’ve already lined up your letters of recommendation, you’ve done your recent coursework, and you’ve done something (volunteering, shadowing or other) that has helped you to discern that this is what you really want to do. In other words, you can’t just really really really want to be a doctor - you need to have subjected that desire to some serious second thoughts and circumstance that helped you to say, yes, by golly, that’s what I want to do.

Do you have a time line? People taking the MCAT this September have most likely already submitted all their applications, but there will be other people taking it in anticipation of applying next year.

Also, don’t take it just to see how you’ll do on the real thing. The MCAT is not a test to be taken lightly, the way my high schoolers figured they could take SATs over again if they were disappointed. You are shooting for a score that will help to get you in. Good luck!


Hi Mary - you also bring up an important question for me…

how early can one ask for recommendation letters?

am only beginning my post-bac journey with thinking of taking the MCAT in 2010…but have a few individuals in mind from past work experience for letters of recommendation.

should I ask them already? or wait until I am actually filling out the AMCAS and close to taking the MCAT?

(or can they send them in sealed envelopes to me?)

No, you can’t handle your LORs so they shouldn’t be sent to you. You will need to keep to a minimum LORs from previous employers, not because they are bad – you might get some great LORs – but because med schools are really looking for verification of your academic credentials. As you go ahead into your post-bacc, be sure to cultivate good relationships with your professors, and let them know before you finish with their classes that you’d like to be in touch with them for a LOR.

Others on here have written about letter services, and I hope will respond. I am blanking on the name of one of the services.

You’ll also need to find out if you will have access to the pre-med committee at the school where you do your post-bacc. If so, any LORs are sent to the committee, which then compiles them into a summary LOR. A good committee letter will quote directly from the various individual LORs; some also attach the individual letters to the committee letter.

If you do a search here you will probably come up with information about the portfolio services that exist.

The name of the LOR managing service I used was Interfolio, just Google it.

It worked great. Was easy for my letter writers to use, and then I had full control of where and when my letters went, but was able to maintain confidentialty. A lot of schools are in Interfolio’s database of addresses.

I went this route becuase I opted against a committee letter, mainly because they where clueless and didn’t think that waiting until late September would effect my application In the end I had all primary and seconday apps in before the end of August!

Now I’ve finished my first 10 med school credits (early start in summer school And the full first semester begins in 3 weeks.

dear Mary and “formerartist” - thanks so for your replies.

This takes a huge burden off my chest as I did have a meeting with a pre-med counselor (more on that in a bit) & Mary’s advice on concentrating more on post-bacc course profs for LORs makes sense.

Mary you are also right in giving the slow and steady advice earlier. It is almost crucial to chart out a plan of action. I had a general POA but my confidence got better when I went in to meet the premed advisor.

  1. she was wonderful and extremely supportive,

  2. gave some very good advice on which classes to take based on past background and

  3. DID mention how the premed faculty have good relations with med school adcom committees (i.e. they can endorse a strong (even non traditional!) premed student wholeheartedly and it carries some weight.

    Other useful info I’d like to share is:

    I already had a bit of science background from not too long ago, so she gave good advice not to take general chemistry. Waste of time & the gen chem concepts I can manage studying myself for the MCAT or with a good MCAT prep course.

    Also, she also suggested that I take a few advanced biology courses (since i have a BS & MS degrees in science) to show my competence instead of blindly retaking classes from my past to get better grades.

    She recommended a Histology course which a lot of their students who made it to Med School are glad that they took.

    Will also enroll in

    O Chem I & II (taking w/out labs),

    Physics I & II (hopefully w/out labs also as had them in Undergrad),


    Comparative Anatomy

    (recommended more than the Anatomy+Physiology combo class,

    Physiology (as a separate class),

    & 1 Advanced topics Bio class

    (Will then take an MCAT Prep course to fill in chinks)

    “Bigdaddy” - a lot of times the premed committee faculty can also set you up with shadowing or internship opportunities within hospitals or with physicians in town - so am planning to do that for a couple of hours a week also while I take these post-bacc courses.

    If theres anything I’ve learned from old premeds is that:

  4. do your research on here on planning your first draft of post bacc study

  5. visit a premed advisor confident and unabashed (i know some people had bad experiences on here but shop around if it doesn’t go well the first time, if theres anything we are we’re RESILIENT!).

  6. share your POA with them and get feedback & tweaking

  7. take it slow and steady gut with a calculated intent towards perfection!

    Good Luck!