Studying, MCAT, and keeping old info fresh

I’m trying to figure out how to best spend my time between now and the MCAT/Application cycle next spring. I’m pretty stoked about being on the <12 mo to apply timeline, but I also know 12 months goes by fast. (Yeah – all of you past the pre-med stage can laugh now. . .I am barely started).

Anyway. I have a pretty full schedule for summer and fall. I will take Chem II in the summer and Organic I and A&P in the fall. I plan to take only Orgo II in spring to have time to study for the MCAT then.

I figure fall will be super-intense with two memorization-heavy courses. Do you think there is any advantage to using the time between semesters now and in August to start learning Organic and/or A&P to make fall a little easier? Or should I get a jump on reviewing old Physics for the MCAT? (It’s the only class I won’t have a recent course for, but I did do mechanical design engineering for 8 yrs, so I think I can get away with not retaking it.)

What about reviewing old material during the (already jam-packed) semester? I feel like the smart person would probably squeeze in ~ 4 hrs (or more) of chem, bio, and physics per week, just to keep the concepts fresh in the brain for the MCAT. Is that just nuts? Should I just focus on getting A’s in my courses and wait until I’m “formally” studying for the MCAT (beginning in December 2009) to review old material? What have the rest of you done or plan to do?


I think that the best think you can do is to make sure that you’ll learn whatever you’re studying at school. If you really understand the concepts, when the time to review for the MCAT comes, it will all come back to you.

I would also suggest picking up some sort of Verbal Reasoning book in the fall and do few passages a week. This way you won’t need to worry about this part in the spring, and you’ll be able to focus on the sciences.

Hope it helps,


The thing that helped me best with Verbal was to read each passage like it was a conversation, always looking for the point of the discussion, raised my score 5-6 points on the average. I believe it is the same technique espoused by the EK folks.