should I take a review course?

ok - this is my situation. i will be finishing the last of my pre-reqs during the spring 2003 semester (the last physics, the last organic chem and zo). i am planning on taking the april 2003 MCAT. i was thinking of taking a review course, but fear i will not have enough info under my belt from the courses i will be enrolled in to do well in the review course. should i just study on my own? the pre-med advisor at my school says it will work in my favor that i will have recently had that info, but i don't know how to handle my prep for the MCAT. any comments/suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!!

I am in a similar situation. But I will be completing my prereqs in Summer 2003! I have already started doing some self study, and spoke to a lot of people about it - A lot of them picked up valuable pointers in a review course, so I'll probably take one too, but not now. I figure that the review course before the April MCAT would work well for me.

Okay this is just some info so you two can see what lies ahead. I have two very very bright friends who thought they would take the April MCAT. They were both taking 12 semester hours mostly science classes with lab and signed up for TPR review course. Neither one of them took the April MCAT, they will be taking the August MCAT instead. They said that the amount of work they had to do for the classes and get A's in them for they are both non-trad, and the work for TPR was just too much for them. Of course they were also working, tutoring, etc. So keep in mind that you still have to or should pull A's in those classes you are taking plus going to TPR and studying for the MCAT and kids or jobs. Some people do this and do it well, but many taking 12 semester hours of hard sciences (orgo, physics, zoology) is pretty intense just by itself, if on top of that you are studying for the MCAT and going to the review sessions…so be really careful.

Maybe my plans are premature… Maybe I'll end up postponing my MCAT too. Too many things, too little time.

I think you have to treat the MCAT as a hard science course and plan your workload accordingly - if you think you can carry 12 units and do well - then take 8 units+ MCAT study - unless your loans require you to take a full load every term. in that case - take an elective that you can breeze in for some of those required units.

i am glad i asked the question, but hoping the answer was going to be different. i ALWAYS seem to want to cram as much into as little time as possible. i am just afraid if i wait to take it for the first time until august and don't do well, i will miss out on acceptance for the next year and be forced to wait another whole year. geeze. this at times seems sooo overwhelming. if i wait and take it in august, how will that affect my application process? will i just send the applications out without the scores and then send the scores without knowing how well i did? it seems like such a gamble to take it for the first time in august, but i want to do well on it the first time and NOT have to take it again - if that's possible. i am learning in this process there are no pat answers for anything. UGH!!!

I'm in exactly the same siutation. I'm very interested in people's perspective as to the realtive mertis of when to take the MCAT.
I will be taking a full year (3 quarters) of Orgo and Bio this year. So by the time the april MCAT comes around I will not have finished. I would like to take a review course as well. So the question is, it it better to take it once in August and do well or twice and risk doing poorly in April? What are people's thoughts?

Ok folks here is the deal, and by no means am I the “know-all” person on this matter but here is my input anyways (he he). Do not even think about taking the MCAT twice, you should take it only if you are ready for it. Taking the MCAT twice is not something that adcom’s like to see and some schools average the two etc.; now if you study your behind off and take it and do poorly then of course retake (and this is understandable (sp?)). But going on the basis of “well I will see how I do and if it is not a good score I will retake” is poor thinking (IMHO). Study your a$$ off in your pre-req classes, learn the material to know it and not just to get an A, understand the “concepts” do not just plug and chug, try to do as many problems (if the class requires so like physics) as you can, and you should be fine. Taking an MCAT course is good for some folks but others did not (LisaS) and did awesome, so it depends on you. I will be taking an MCAT course next year for the April MCAT but this is because I am super anal retentive and if I did not take it I would always wonder “what if”. I also want the material that they give and the tests so to me it will be worth it. That said I will be taking a super light load of classes that semester probably less than 12 with maybe two science classes in there. Now to me that is a light load because I usually take 18+ hours per semester and I am able to pull A’s, and this is with tutoring, volunteering, kids, teaching aerobics, etc. I have seen and proven to myself that I can do this type of insanness (sp?). Other people that may have never attempted or done so many hours may not be able to pull a full load plus the MCAT. Now I told you the story of my friends and they are like me, yet they had to postpone the MCAT so maybe I will also be on the same boat. So if I was someone that needed desperately to get A’s (due to low ugrad gpa) and kick rear in the MCAT (to prove myself to adcoms), I would probably take the August MCAT and spend my whole summer focusing entirely on the MCAt with a review course and on my own. This will free up your spring semester to study really hard to earn those A’s and learn the material well, and beef up your ec’s. Is this the best way for everyone? no, will it guarantee that you do well on the MCAT? no. It all boils down to what your strength and weaknesses are, not one person on this board really knows what is best for you but yourself. I think that we all (deep down) know what is best, but sometimes we just have to get it from someone else and it may not be what we want to hear. Remember and I know this has been said many many times, this is not a race but a marathon, it is about endurance and perseverance not necessarily speed. We already are non-trads one year or two or even three will not change that fact, if you cannot get everything done in one year so what! take some more time and make this an awesome first time application. Good luck to all of us!

Okay I am on a roll now and I forgot to mention a couple of things. Some of you ask what do you do if you take the August MCAT as far as applications go. Well there are two schools of thought on this; some say send in the AMCAS application as soon as you can regardless of when you take the MCAT for this will ensure that at least your application has been corrected/seen by AMCAS and that the schools that you claimed will have your app before they get the MCAT score (that is all they are waiting for). Others say no, wait until you know what you have scored and then submit based on your scores. I personally feel (some adcom's have also stated this) that because many schools are on rolling admissions waiting will put you at a huged disadvantage because you do not get your august scores until october by the time amcas does their thing it could be december before the school even knows about you. Taking the august mcat places people at a slight disadvantage due to rolling admissions yet many folks due get in taking the august mcat. I think that if you are a borderline applicant you should try to take the april mcat if at all possible. If not, you can take the august mcat and apply the following year (that is always an option) instead of the year that you take the test. Anyways I hope this confuses you even more (this is a good thing for you tend to think more)…

Quote (hakioawa @ June 25 2002 1:46 pm)
I will be taking a full year (3 quarters) of Orgo and Bio this year. So by the time the april MCAT comes around I will not have finished. I would like to take a review course as well. So the question is, it it better to take it once in August and do well or twice and risk doing poorly in April? What are people's thoughts?

Then you should:
Take the review course immediately following the last class because it will enable you to properly prepare for the exam. Doing all 4 together is a recipe for disaster. You'll be too crammed to do well on anything. Slow down.
While your app won't get finalized until the 8th week following the Aug test date, you will still have time to get interviews and get into some place providing you have a competitive score, blah blah blah.
I disagree with Efex though, on the amount of scores ADCOMS like to see. If you look at any AMCAS or AACOMAS transmittal sheet, they only get 2, or a max 3 scores on the sheet from MCAT. I have been personally told from ADMCOMS that they are merely looking for a baseline score or avg.'s in the individual subsections with some variance.
Its not a test you want to take more than once if you can help it, but it WILL NOT penalize you if you do so. I have NEVER EVER heard of any school telling someone, well we didn't like your app because you took the MCAT 3 times. Plenty of people have gotten in with 3 test scores of record and not looked back.
YMMV. :cool:

Okay maybe the way I stated my opinion was not clear. What I meant to say is that adcoms probably would prefer to see one good MCAT score versus two (one being subpar and the other good) if at all possible. I never said that they would hold anything against you, but if you can take it once and do well then do so. Do not go to the test thinking that hey I can always take it again. Yeah you can take it again but why? prepare yourself accordingly and when time permits; do not try to do it all at once (orgo, physics, mcat prep etc.) for it is a recipe for failure. Yes, some people have done that and probably done well but those are in the minority. Anyways my opinion is just that an opinion by no means am I an expert, for those of you in doubt of what to do you may/should speak with a good pre-med advisor. Good luck to all!