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Mature Student - Studying Mcats While Working Full-Time


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Hi there,

 

Is anyone on this forum who applied to medical school as a mature student who can offer advice about studying for the MCATs? I'm a postdoctoral fellow working in the area of research that I would like to do clinical work in (after medical school). I have a family that I support, so I cannot take 4 months off and move home with my parents to study for the MCATs! I also work full-time, but flexible hours. I'm currently studying the MCAT material one hour per day with the hopes that I can do the test next Summer (so in about 10-12 months). I find moving through the material is going quite slow, as I am relearning material that I knew 10 years ago! The material is also so basic that I find it hard to memorize (although the flashcards/practice tests help).

 

Has anyone switched fields later in life that has tips for studying MCAT material at a slower pace? I expect to stop teaching in the Fall so that I can study 2 hours a day, but that is likely the maximum amount of time that I can spare.

 

Thanks in advance for your time/suggestions.

 

 

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I'm not in the exact same position but I am a Master's student and a TA and I am in the lab mon-fri 9am-6pm. So I do not have a ton of time to study for the MCAT. 

What I have found most useful is to use Khan Academy (free and associated with the AAMC) https://www.khanacademy.org/test-prep/mcat

they provide you with tons of videos for concepts you may not remember and they have practice passages. 

The new MCAT has moved away from pure memorization to more critical thinking skills. I have taken 3 full practice exams and found that I scored high simply because I knew how to read graphs and interpret research results- which are skills I picked in the lab. And since you have more lab experience, you'll probably find that as well. 

I would also always do at least one practice passage during your study time as the MCAT is really a skill test more than it is a knowledge test. 

Good luck!

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The new MCAT has moved away from pure memorization to more critical thinking skills. I have taken 3 full practice exams and found that I scored high simply because I knew how to read graphs and interpret research results- which are skills I picked in the lab. And since you have more lab experience, you'll probably find that as well. 

 

 

I completely agree with this! I did study bio, but nothing crazy, and I scored a 131 on the bio section. I strongly believe this was because of my lab experience (I have a PhD) with reading papers and interpreting findings. Definitely brush up on basics, but in the new MCAT a lot of it is passage based and being able to read and interpret research findings will really help you. The section I struggled most on was psychology/sociology because I don't have a break ground in this. If you are similar to me, I would focus more of your time on this. Some terms I had never heard before and I was completely guessing for a few questions.

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I agree with the above posters. Having research experience is very helpful for the new MCAT due to the increased emphasis on interpretation/reasoning skills. I would add that I think 1-2 hours per day sounds like a good plan since you are starting well in advance of when you plan to sit the exam. I found Khan academy videos, Examkrackers and all the AAMC resources very helpful (question packs and full length exams). The AAMC resources will be of most use closer to the exam so that you can get a feel for the actual MCAT format and practice how to answer questions under pressure/timed conditions. Having sat the MCAT more than once while balancing work/family, I would say that the most effective approach for me was focusing more on practicing questions (and less on content review) so I learned how to keep up with the pace of the exam and get used to the structure. All the best!

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