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Hey everyone!

I recently graduated from a nursing program in Ontario and have decided that I want to write the MCAT this August. The problem is that my nursing program barely covered any of the prerequisite courses that are important for the MCAT - I have two sems of psych/soc, one sem of human biochemistry, and perhaps some physiology- and microbiology-related stuff covered by a couple of my other classes. But I have zero chem, organic chem and physics prereqs. I really can’t afford to take these courses and am hoping I can self study this info with Khan Academy and Kaplan. Just wondering if anyone has done something similar or has any advice for going this route? Thanks in advance!

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I was in almost the reverse of your situation (chem but no biochem/physics/upper level bio) and did alright as well (high 510 range), so it's definitely possible to take the test without prereqs and do well. The section I was the weakest one in prereqs (C/P) was my lowest score, while the one I had taken the most classes in (P/S) was my highest, so do bear that in mind when studying to focus on your weak areas more. 

I only studied for ~1 month, but did some low intensity studying prior to that using JW Cars and listening to the Khan academy videos when commuting, doing low-intensity mindless work, etc... My 1 month burst was mainly UWorld+a little Kaplan+a little Princeton Review. OF these, the most useful resource was definitely UWorld. Write a 3rd party diagnostic and see where you're at and then plan from there. If your starting score is already halfway there you won't need 5 months.

From that diagnostic, focus on your weakest section (for me, C/P) and up your content review in that area before digging into UWorld. Remember, the test is a problem-solving/critical analysis test, not a "who can remember every paragraph of the textbook?" test, so a lack of prereqs isn't going to hurt you as much if you have strong critical reasoning skills.

I know a (now) lawyer who was a law student at the time and wrote an old MCAT practice test for fun and scored ~30 with a business degree background (About a 509 now) so don't worry to much.   

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14 hours ago, MedicineLCS said:

I was in almost the reverse of your situation (chem but no biochem/physics/upper level bio) and did alright as well (high 510 range), so it's definitely possible to take the test without prereqs and do well. The section I was the weakest one in prereqs (C/P) was my lowest score, while the one I had taken the most classes in (P/S) was my highest, so do bear that in mind when studying to focus on your weak areas more. 

I only studied for ~1 month, but did some low intensity studying prior to that using JW Cars and listening to the Khan academy videos when commuting, doing low-intensity mindless work, etc... My 1 month burst was mainly UWorld+a little Kaplan+a little Princeton Review. OF these, the most useful resource was definitely UWorld. Write a 3rd party diagnostic and see where you're at and then plan from there. If your starting score is already halfway there you won't need 5 months.

From that diagnostic, focus on your weakest section (for me, C/P) and up your content review in that area before digging into UWorld. Remember, the test is a problem-solving/critical analysis test, not a "who can remember every paragraph of the textbook?" test, so a lack of prereqs isn't going to hurt you as much if you have strong critical reasoning skills.

I know a (now) lawyer who was a law student at the time and wrote an old MCAT practice test for fun and scored ~30 with a business degree background (About a 509 now) so don't worry to much.   

Thanks for your advice, I'm definitely feeling a bit more encouraged now! Although I have a feeling my starting score is going to be pretty low... I never even took physics in high school so I am going to have to start from scratch.

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On 1/26/2020 at 10:34 PM, queenofdragons said:

@Nik- Thanks for your response and congrats on your score! if you don’t mind me asking, how long did you study for? I am planning on 5-6 months and hoping that will be enough for self study? Do you have any other advice? I really appreciate it! 

I did a soft start, beginning my casual studies in December 2017 (making a schedule, taking my time on the easy initial topic areas) while working full-time. When my schedule went to part-time in January 2018, I studied full-time (7 honest hours of studying x 5 days per week) up until my exam on April 21, 2018. The last two weeks were used for the AAMC online resource package while everything before that was content review. You can ask me anything you want to know in particular.

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On 1/28/2020 at 5:11 PM, Nik- said:

I did a soft start, beginning my casual studies in December 2017 (making a schedule, taking my time on the easy initial topic areas) while working full-time. When my schedule went to part-time in January 2018, I studied full-time (7 honest hours of studying x 5 days per week) up until my exam on April 21, 2018. The last two weeks were used for the AAMC online resource package while everything before that was content review. You can ask me anything you want to know in particular.

Thanks so much for your help, it's much appreciated! If you don't mind me asking as well, what resources do you recommend using to learn the hard sciences, especially chem/physics? That's definitely going to be the most difficult for me. I'm surprised you were able to study and do well without prereqs in under 5 months, it certainly makes me feel better knowing that it's doable! 

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On 1/30/2020 at 2:23 PM, queenofdragons said:

Thanks so much for your help, it's much appreciated! If you don't mind me asking as well, what resources do you recommend using to learn the hard sciences, especially chem/physics? That's definitely going to be the most difficult for me. I'm surprised you were able to study and do well without prereqs in under 5 months, it certainly makes me feel better knowing that it's doable! 

I used the princeton review textbooks from 2015 because someone let me use them for free. If you buy your own then I'm sure the newer resources would be even better since 2015 was when the exam changed and I felt like the company included way too much info for certain topics like physics. After that I used the AAMC practice question banks. This was where 99% of the studying took place.

The following were minor supplements so don't focus on these too much. I didn't even remember doing them until you made me think about it. I did dabble a little with "the berkeley review" CARS prep because I found it for free online and it was at the same difficulty as the hardest passages in the princeton review stuff. This was just a very minor supplement and I only did it when I was really in the mood for it (~10 passages in total). The same goes for uworld. Uworld is a really good resource as I am sure you've already heard (it's the best and only thing I used for the nclex) but I only used it infrequently while I had the free trial to solidify some concepts I had trouble grasping (like organic chemistry). I used the khan academy free stuff on my breaks at work. It wasn't really useful but served mostly as a confidence booster since the questions were very easy. I really tried to keep the costs to a minimum.

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On 2/1/2020 at 12:15 AM, Nik- said:

I used the princeton review textbooks from 2015 because someone let me use them for free. If you buy your own then I'm sure the newer resources would be even better since 2015 was when the exam changed and I felt like the company included way too much info for certain topics like physics. After that I used the AAMC practice question banks. This was where 99% of the studying took place.

The following were minor supplements so don't focus on these too much. I didn't even remember doing them until you made me think about it. I did dabble a little with "the berkeley review" CARS prep because I found it for free online and it was at the same difficulty as the hardest passages in the princeton review stuff. This was just a very minor supplement and I only did it when I was really in the mood for it (~10 passages in total). The same goes for uworld. Uworld is a really good resource as I am sure you've already heard (it's the best and only thing I used for the nclex) but I only used it infrequently while I had the free trial to solidify some concepts I had trouble grasping (like organic chemistry). I used the khan academy free stuff on my breaks at work. It wasn't really useful but served mostly as a confidence booster since the questions were very easy. I really tried to keep the costs to a minimum.

Thank you so much! Yes uworld is the best haha I am using it to study for the nclex right now...

I’ll definitely check out those other resources. I really appreciate your advice, you’ve been so helpful! All the best! 

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