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non-trad: How long should I study for MCAT?


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(I posted this in r/MCAT to no avail... to many 'merican students who don't understand the Canadian system and are stuck on the fact that someone would try to write the MCAT without STEM background).
I have not taken any hard-science courses (aside from HS). Here is my question: How much time (hours) should I spend studying for the MCAT given that I have no science experience?
(Background: 4th year BA Honours in Philosophy, strong student. My reading comp is obviously very strong, I also have a strong psych/ soc background).
Also, here is my plan:
  1. First week of summer, begin prep-course
  2. Study 8hrs a day, 5 days a week
  3. Continue studying after prep course ends
  4. Take the test either end of July or end of Aug (by this time I should have put in around 480-640 hrs).
(Also, would you recommend studying four months and then writing the test at the end of Aug (cycle cut-off for many schools), or, instead, should I write the test after three months, wait a month and get my results back, and then have the chance to write the test again before the end of Aug if i dont like my grade?)
Thank you so much for your time and energy.
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The total number of hours that you’re planning on putting in seems reasonable and realistic - it’s hard to do more than make it your full-time job. I spent ~200-225 hours on prepping for the MCAT on evenings/weekends part-time over 11 weeks when I took it (I got a 514), although I only had to learn ~half the content completely from scratch.

That said, I can’t say for sure if that’s enough time for YOU given that you have no science experience, because it will really depend on how quickly you pick up the material. If it comes naturally to then it may take half as much time than if you really find it’s a struggle to wrap your head around the material. Or your experience will be something in the middle — it’ll take a while to get a hang of how to learn the material, but then it will start to click and go faster (at least, that’s what it was like for me when I started taking some pre-reqs and studying for the MCAT, as I also had an Arts background with no Science when I began the process of applying to med). 

I think you’re best off giving yourself as much time to study as possible and planning to only write once this year — take lots of practice exams throughout your studying under exam-like timing / conditions (the prep course will help with this) so that you’re at less risk of panicking or being surprised when you write it for real the first time. It will likely be very hard to book a seat in August with only a month notice in Canada because the seats fill up so fast and there are so few of them. And if it turns out you did poorly on the first exam you’re likely going to want more than one month to study for a retake. So you may be looking at a rewrite next year if you don’t get a score you’re happy with this year. 

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27 minutes ago, Briannaxox said:

@frenchpress what source(s) did you use to learn the material you had to learn from scratch? Does any of the study material contain enough info to learn things from scratch like that? 

I used the Kaplan books as my main study guide. For the social sciences and psychology topics, I found those books usually had enough details - a lot of that section was just memorization. For chemistry, physics and some of the biology/biochem, I often supplemented with the khan academy videos for specific topics that I needed more help understanding or that I was struggling with when I did practice exams and questions. I used many of the AAMC practice exams and question banks as well.

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11 minutes ago, Briannaxox said:

I have to learn organic chem, some physics and some biology (physiology) from scratch (I know all of biochem and chemistry). Do you think Kaplan + KA will be enough to cover everything? 

Combined with doing a lot of practice exams to actually practice applying the concepts, I found it sufficient. I also used the giant AAMC pdf of all the exam topics to check off what I’d studied and make sure I covered any gaps. 

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