Anybody here take the MCAT?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Masood Ali, Dec 9, 2002.

  1. Masood Ali

    Masood Ali Supporting Actor

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    I've already read about the test in detail on the AAMC website, and I've also done some preliminary research on tips/preparation information on the web.

    Does anyone here have any experience with the test? Any suggestions on preparation materials (I've heard good things about two companies: The Princeton Review, and ExamKrackers)?

    Also, there is the April 26th and the August 16th test dates. The former date is around midterm time during my spring term, by which date I will have already completed my biology, organic chemistry, physics, and calculus sequences. The latter would be about a month and a half before my senior year starts. Is there an advantage to taking the earlier MCAT as opposed to the later one?

    Any other stories about the test, format, personal experiences? I'm curious and anxious about taking it; seeing as how most American medical schools weight it evenly with your GPA during the admissions process (Canadian schools don't give it as much weight).
     
  2. LDfan

    LDfan Supporting Actor

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    Hi Masood,
    I was a bio major and considered taking the mcat but never got around to it. In my research though I came across a forum dedicated to the medical field for students, kinda like the HTF for pre-med folks [​IMG]
    Take a look at the forum, there is a lot of info and pointers for getting into med school and the mcat.
    http://www.studentdoctor.net/
    Jeff
     
  3. Leila Dougan

    Leila Dougan Screenwriter

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    My advice:
    Use the review books to review, but don't rely on their practice tests. I've found some books gave me mostly 14-15s while others gave me 9-10s. The only tests that seemed accurate were the offical tests from AMCAS. They are a little pricy, but considering they are real tests from past years, they are worth it.
    Some people swear by organizations like Kaplan, but I personally feel it's too much money for what it is. If you have the $1000, go ahead, but I don't personally feel it offers anything you can't do on your own. If you are lazy and procrastinate and aren't motivated enough to study on your own, Kaplan will push you to study. If you're motivated though and have no problem sitting down for an hour or two a day, then don't bother. If you know someone who took a course like Kaplan, see if you can get some of their materials to use. The flash cards are nice, as are a few workbooks. The best studying I got was using my old text books. I just reread them all, cover to cover.
    Since you're taking the test before your senior year, you might want to try taking it in April. I've found most schools choose their early admission students very early, and if you took the August test there's a chance your scores won't come back in time. I've had friends accepted as early as the August/September the year before, and as some as late as July (1 month before school starts). You just want to avoid having half the class chosen before your scores even make it to the school. Of course that's not to say you won't get accepted at all if you wait until August to test, I just think it won't be such a mad rush if you take it in April.
    See if you can talk to some students who go to the school you want to attend. Each school operates on a slightly different schedule and if you know ahead of time whether they are an "early" or "late" accepting school, you'll have a better idea of when to test.
    Just my 2 cents, of course. I had always planned on taking the MCAT but changed my mind. My boyfriend (at the time) did test, though and we studied together. He's now in medical school and I changed field completely. [​IMG]
     
  4. Tom Fynan

    Tom Fynan Stunt Coordinator

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    Masood,

    For what it's worth, I took the MCATs in 1981. I don't know how much they've changed, but I thought they were fairly simple back then. I think how much you need to study depends on how well you do on standardized tests. If you do well on these type of tests, you will do well on the MCAT, and I would not invest a lot of time or money in studying. Reviewing text books may be enough. If you don't "test well" then you might want to take a review course.

    American medical schools are putting less emphasis on the MCATs. At least we are at Yale Medical School, where I'm on the faculty.

    I would take the test on the earlier date. That way if you don't do well you can take it again.

    Good luck,

    Tom Fynan
     
  5. Joseph S

    Joseph S Cinematographer

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    Take the April Exam.

    The scores for August don't come in until the very end of October. It makes filling out all the applications and secondaries next to impossible. Get it done with as soon as possible. If you have Kaplan or Princeton Review at your school then take it if only for the 5 test-like practice runs.

    Spend some time on Verbal, it isn't that difficult but time is short. Learn to get the point quickly and know where to look back for the data. The written portion is a sham. As long as you write to fit the format, you'll ace it. Deviate from that and either expect a great score or major deductions. Whether your examples are fact, fiction, or other doesn't matter. The format of the response does!!

    The score matters when you don't hit the cutoff. Usually it's a sliding scale based on your GPA. It also matters if you ace it. Scoring in the high 30s will get you in most anywhere with a decent GPA. Breaking 30 or all 9s will get you in somewhere. Apply to schools in your state and the state of your undergrad, private schools that accept many from your college, and private schools you have an interest in.

    Good luck.
     
  6. Masood Ali

    Masood Ali Supporting Actor

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    Thanks for the advice guys. I'll go ahead and register for the April test date, which gives me about 135 days to prepare. I'm pretty good at standardized tests; I took the SAT cold turkey and did well on it.

    For now, I'll begin by going over my textbooks and purchasing TPR and EK preparation materials. I'll buy the AMCAS tests and do a timed practice run about a month before the test date to see where I stand. To be honest, I don't know if I have the time (I'm taking 19 credits/term this year) or the money for the Kaplan or TPR courses.

    My GPA will be a B+ by the time my applications go out at the end of this school year, probably an A- by the time I graduate in 2004. The only med-school in Oregon I was interested in applying to is OHSU, but a friend of mine who started his first term of med-school this year tried them and found them oddly selective (he had a 3.9 GPA with a 41 on his MCAT). He ended up at Einstein in NY, a school that I'll try for as well (I have many relatives in the area).
     

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