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Nserc And Mcat?


Algernon

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Is it realistic to hold an NSERC USRA and successfully prepare for the new MCAT in one summer? I would likely be writing the MCAT at the very beginning of September before the school year starts and my USRA would end in late August. Obviously I'd also study as much as possible during the period of the USRA but I'm curious as to whether people who have written the new MCAT believe that it's doable to achieve a high score while holding a USRA.

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I've written the old MCAT while holding a NSERC, so my contribution here may not be as valid as someone who may have written the new MCAT. I think it depends on how strong you are in sciences. If you can get away with only briefly reviewing the basics and doing sample passages and problems, it's very doable.

 

When I wrote the MCAT, I didn't very minimal preparation for my science section and focused all of my time on VR. I also lived on campus while I worked because 2 hours a day spent on commuting was cutting in my VR time and making me very tired when I got home.

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Hi! I held an NSERC, started studying in May and wrote the old MCAT in August, and it worked out. It depends on a combination of factors: you should write a (free, if possible) AAMC example MCAT to see how much improvement you'll need. You'll also want to get a sense of how flexible your NSERC supervisor is, and whether you can get away with studying during your downtime at the lab. I didn't need much improvement, and my supervisor was flexible, so that helped a lot. If you find out you need a lot of improvement and your supervisor isn't OK with you studying during downtime, it might be tough.

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Hi, I didn't have an NSERC but ended up getting a publication through working with a PhD student for a summer. I strongly regret writing my MCAT that year because I would literally 9-5 in the laboratory and then end up home dead tired. Let me summarize my schedule

 

730am: wake up

900am: arrive

500pm: leave

520pm: arrive home and cook

600pm: finish eating and rest for a bit longer

630pm: start studying

1000pm: gym

1200am: sleep

 

Repeat. I was only raking about 3 hours given the study breaks and I couldn't skip the gym. Health > all (and we as future medical professionals should be holding this theory on the pedestal). 

 

My friends who could study 8 hours a day scored 30+ while I landed a 29. I studied 3.5 months. I also have 4 other friends who were in different labs and had a very similar schedule (minus the gym) and they all ended less than 30.

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Hi, I didn't have an NSERC but ended up getting a publication through working with a PhD student for a summer. I strongly regret writing my MCAT that year because I would literally 9-5 in the laboratory and then end up home dead tired. Let me summarize my schedule

 

730am: wake up

900am: arrive

500pm: leave

520pm: arrive home and cook

600pm: finish eating and rest for a bit longer

630pm: start studying

1000pm: gym

1200am: sleep

 

Repeat. I was only raking about 3 hours given the study breaks and I couldn't skip the gym. Health > all (and we as future medical professionals should be holding this theory on the pedestal). 

 

My friends who could study 8 hours a day scored 30+ while I landed a 29. I studied 3.5 months. I also have 4 other friends who were in different labs and had a very similar schedule (minus the gym) and they all ended less than 30.

 

 

You don't need to study 8 hours a day to get 30+ on the MCAT.... most people i know spend less than 1 month of half those hours and still score fine. Everyone knows their own abilities and requirements.

To the OP: 

 

I would say though, that you may benefit from being able to dedicate whatever time you feel fit, without having to worry about all your other commitments. Perhaps see if you can schedule it such that you have a dedicated 2 or 3 week span after your NSERC is up to focus on the MCAT? While lightly studying as you can during the week, and more concentrated on weekends during NSERC. I don't know how strict the timeline commitments are for NSERC (16 weeks still?) 

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Totally doable, I'm by no means naturally gifted at this kind of thing and scored >30 while doing NSERC and volunteering on weekends.

Just find what works.

Personally, I'm a  morning person (and I went to the lab at 9am), so I'd study from 6:30-8:30 in the morning because I was more productive than after work when I was tired. Then I just did a couple more hours at night! and Still got to play intermurals and (mildy) enjoy my summer

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OP, I should have mentioned that you know yourself better than anyone here. UBC2012 is right, you don't need 8+ hours but some do. For example, if you're not in science, you're gonna be dedicating a lot more time learning concepts versus the biomed student who's covered physics/chem/bio/orgo. Also, don't forget that it's a standardized test. These are more about technique, less so about knowledge. It's being able to think a certain way versus being able to memorize an equation. Some people are brilliant in taking these, then there are others, like me, who need lots of time to sit down and practice endlessly with trial and error and find what kind of mindset/thinking style works. You'll see what I mean when you try the verbal or the new CARs  :confused:  section.

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Yeah I agree with flip-flopped. You just need to be motivated and you can score 30+. I wrote this past summer while working full time, doing thesis work, volunteering and training for XC and I pulled off a 31. Set a schedule with a bit of flexibility, do at least 4 practice tests (AAMC ones, their the best in my opinion) and focus on topics that you do consistently poor in. 

Personally I'm a late night guy so I was studying from ~7pm to 11pm and occasionally at work when it was slow :)

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