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MCAT advice - Take or not take?


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Hi to anyone who sees this. So I am going to do my best not to whine or complain because I know many people have had it far worse than me, but I don't know what to do and don't know how to handle this situation. So this is my second time taking the MCAT. The first time I took it, I voided it. I was foolish to think that I could manage a full time job, a prep course and study at the same time. Other may have done it, but I did not and could not. This time around, I did not go back to work and devoted the summer to just studying and taking a prep course. There have been some family issues going on in the house (fighting, yelling, etc.) which have made studying in a quiet environment difficult. Jump to the last month of prep, and my grandmother has fallen ill. This has resulted in me having to take her to the ER multiple times, doctor's appointments and physical therapists as she is physically weak. I hope I don't sound like I am complaining because I want to be there for her and help in any way I can. But it has progressed into me having to care for her throughout the day with meals and helping her around the house. My younger brother is not helpful and will not help. My parents are always at work and don't see how much I have to help her around the house. I'm getting more stressed with my test date coming up on Sept 1st and with my grandmother's health deteriorating. Again, I do not want to sound like I am complaining but I am starting to get very anxious multiple times throughout the day. I don't feel in the mindset to write the test and focus, but I am so angry with myself for a) not being able to manage and b) not doing it right the first time around. Should I not take the test this time around and wait until next summer? Or should I push through and go with it? Thank you for any input in advance.

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Your situation is definitely hard as hell so don't feel so bad about having a hard time coping with it; I honestly dont think many of us would do well on the MCAT if we were in your shoes (as you describe it)! Whether you should put it off or not will depend on how well you perform on practice tests like the FL1/FL2/FL3. If you are capable of hitting around the numbers that you are aiming for, in test conditions, then you should probably take on the MCAT. The positive news is that if you do well on the FL, chances are it will translate well into the actual test because you would have done well on the FL WHILE going through a lot of stress, and so the stress during the exam might be something that you are accustomed to already! However, if the stress just keeps on piling up and your FLs don't come out as high as you would hope, then perhaps it would be better for your overall health to reschedule the test; though trying the test and voiding it if necessary could also be a great way to try a jab at it without risking getting a bad grade.


I hope you can make it! And if you need any support for the MCAT I'd be happy to help! :D 

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Hello PreMedJen,

I am very sorry to hear about the condition of your grandmother. I think you need to feel proud of yourself for taking care of her despite your own personal circumstances. Also, you are in no means "complaining", your situation is clearly difficult but I also do think it can be manageable. I too had to re-write the MCAT this summer but I was in a different circumstance as you. However, I think we can draw some parallels and perhaps you can take some of my advice. For one thing, take a deep breath. You already have experience being an MCAT examinee, so this upcoming MCAT should not come at you with any crazy surprises. For me, when I re-took it this summer, I felt super comfortable in the exam centre and things felt great as I already experienced this setting a year ago; i really do think you can feel the same way come your exam date. In terms of time management, from what I understand your day is consumed with taking care of your grandmother? If there are any breaks in between this time period, maybe you can squeeze in some practice questions or read some content review but also being attentive to your grandmother when she needs help? In terms of evening/night studying, if your parents are home at this time maybe you can work out a compromise or a plan with them such that: "when you guys are home, maybe we can trade roles while i do some more rigorous studying on my own time" - something along those lines maybe? I hate to draw a comparison to myself because I did not experience any of these hardships this summer but I think the amount of time I had to study was very limited and I had to devise a very strategic plan so I didnt fall behind. I am a current full time masters student and only had a few hours a day to get solid studying in. Maybe you can use some of the time-management skills that I used? When I would come home, i was dead exhausted but I used my trusty espresso machine to make me a nice coffee to build up that energy again. i knew i only had a few hours so i made sure i studied "efficiently". What I mean by this is that I did a TONE of practice questions and reviewed my answers and looked up concepts I didnt understand. Compared to how i studied last year (full 12 hour days to myself) to how i studied this year (maybe a max of 4 hours/day), i felt like i gained more from this efficient style of studying. In terms of the noise in the household, I come from a crazy italian family that thinks communication involves animated high decible yelling. I too, struggled with this while studying. What I did was buy a pair of construction worker styled headphones that are basically used for concrete drilling and I wore those while I studied LOL; believe it or not I still heard my mom yelling at me to do the laundry but for the most part it worked. I also took time to go to the local library when I had the chance!

At the end of the day, I think you put in alot of effort this summer to not write your exam. I say you fight as much as you can and just go for it. Maybe use this exam as a "heck, I got nothing to lose" mentality but also dont go down without a fight. Your number one priority and responsibility should definitely be making sure your grandmother is okay, but I do think there are enough hours in the day to study normally, you just have to search for those opportunities - even if it does seem impossible. If things dont go well with your exam, its really not a big deal at all. Just regroup and try again for it. i think going through this exam a second time will  increase your chances even further to succeed at a potential 3rd re-write (if needed). just ride along and see how things go! 

Hope everything turns out well for you, keep your chin up

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Thank you both for your encouraging words. I really appreciate it. 

Sucks cause I just tried to speak with my parents about this and another fight abrubted. 

I think I will try another FL and use that to assess where I am so far. 

And you are right Angiogenesis95, I really don'the want to put this summer and my money to waste. 

Once again, thank you both. 



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