I am new around here. I’m a 44 year old female who has recently decided to finally do it! By “it” of course I mean apply to med school. I have been a family nurse practitioner (aka advanced practice rn), since 1995 (with a few years off to raise my family). I have always dreamed of going to med school, but like many of you, didn’t have the proper guidance years ago. I am currently taking pre-calc to brush up on my math which I know will be required for physics. I am also going to need to repeat Bio, Gen Chem and Organic (my grades are too old). My question is…between work and family, I barely have time to study for pre-calc. What is the best study strategy for the MCAT since I will probably be taking it right after Org I and Physics I?
I took the MCAT as I was finishing the second semester of o-chem and physics… since I had lots of family obligations, I did NOT attempt to work during the two-semester stretch that included both semesters of o-chem and physics, an additional bio class, and MCAT prep. I know people who’ve done it, but I certainly felt like I devoted all my available time to studying for one thing or another. I’m not implying that you can’t work and do school at the same time, 'cause lots of people do. I just want to caution that what worked for me may not be adequate for someone who’s being pulled in even more directions.
Anyway, you need to treat MCAT study as the equivalent of your o-chem or physics - at least a 4-credit course w/ lab in terms of time. My strategy was to FIRST pay attention to my coursework, because you can always change your MCAT date or retake, but you can’t undo a grade. I found that really being sure to do well in class did serve to some extent as MCAT prep; I wasn’t reviewing o-chem and physics, I was learning them! So the material was fresh in my mind. I took Kaplan as a way of keeping on schedule and getting extra practice tests (I also did practice tests at home). All in all, I thought taking the MCAT while completing o-chem and physics worked out OK.
Now you have the option of scheduling a little after the semester ends, which I certainly would’ve preferred. I actually had an o-chem exam scheduled for the day BEFORE the MCAT; my professor took pity on me and several others and let us take it on Monday but that wasn’t so great either!
Conclusion: it’s do-able IF you give yourself the time to devote to it, and that’s the challenge.
I took a summer Princeton Review course immediately after the 2d semester of o-chem and then the Mcat the week after the course ended. I did nothing else that summer-- the course met five nights a week plus an entire MCAT every Saturday all day. The intensity REALLY helped-- I exceeded my goals and felt really overtrained. Princeton Review is just an amazing prep class: I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Im taking Princeton Review right now, and they are great!
The CBT is another story. Im having a really hard time doing well on my practice tests.
I was wondering how many hours not including class time did you study?
Any good strategies for staying focused?
Any good strategies for staying focused?
This is a really individual question. You know in your heart what is the big distractor. So go to a physical place where there is none. If it’s the Internet, head out to a place with no Internet. If it’s book, newspapers, or TV put a physical barrier between yourself and these things.
And take breaks but TIME THEM.
I like to listen to Mandarin Chinese pop music while I study. I don’t understand the language well enough to be distracted by the lyrics, but the tunes tend to be either up-tempo and fairly undistracting, or soothing/mindless. I used to listen to a lot of commercial-free internet radio stations, but those are getting tougher to find, so my wife helped me find a few CDs that I enjoy.
I find that chewing gum during pratice tests helps me not lose track of time… helps me pace myself.
These are just suggestions. They work for me, but I offer no guarantees for anybody else.
- T_Forsythe Said:
Maybe Rich could help you with the Mandarin ;). I actually do the same thing - I've been listening to a Finnish quartet lately, for the same reasons.
I wouldn't expect to find much along the lines of internet radio. New RIAA/FCC regulations are expected to put most of them out of business as of 2006 (sic).
WoW!!! I just heard about the internet radio thing today!! Can the Government regulate something else???..no tax revenue??? whats the deal?? The next thing to go is the all american happy meal. shame shame.