Create MCAT Study Schedule

How To Create An MCAT Study Schedule

7 hour exam. 300 hours total of studying. One very important study schedule.

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At this point in the semester, a lot of undergrad are probably in the same boat as me. We have spent the last two, or so years focusing on classes, and hopefully passing. Now, the reality that we actually have to study, take, and pass the MCAT is dawning on you. You thought you had so much time, but you realize your MCAT date is only four months away and you still have so much to do. Don't worry. As long as your create a productive study schedule, that you are able to stick through, you should be okay.

Figure out how much time you have to study

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The MCAT is a rigorous exam that requires an even more rigorous study schedule. Before you begin studying, you want to see how much time you have until the date you want to take your MCAT, and also take into account your responsibilities. It is recommended that students spend 300-500 hours studying for the MCAT. If you only have two months until your MCAT, that means you need to study for the MCAT 40 hours a week - it basically becomes a full time job, so if you have a job, or classes - you may want to push your MCAT off till you have more time to study.

Figure out your weaknesses

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You want to figure out your weaknesses, so while you're developing you plan you are spending more time focusing on the sections you need the most help in. The best way to do this is by taking a full length MCAT exam. You can find a free one through Next Step, or you can take the more accurate full lengths developed by the AAMC that cost about $35. The MCAT is split into four sections: Chem/Phys, CARS, Bio/Biochem, Psych/Soc. Your full length will give you a composite score, as well as a individual score on each section that will help you to better understand your weaknesses, as well as the layout of the MCAT

Buy MCAT prep books/or a course

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You don't need to take an MCAT prep course, though some do find it beneficial, but you will definitely need to purchase a set of prep books. There are a variety of MCAT prep books available, but personally i chose Kaplan. However, you can expect the same general things in all prep books: practice questions, extensive lesson review chapters, and some even include full length test. These are all very useful resources for studying.

Sit down and create a daily schedule

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Now that you have an idea of the time you have to study, your weaknesses, and you have your prep books - it's time ot create your actual schedule. What worked best for me is buy an daily planner solely for my MCAT prep, and in there I would create a checklist everyday of what topics I wanted to take notes on in my prep books (about 1 hour per chapter), as well, I put in what practice questions I wanted to do (about 1-2 hours spent solely doing practice questions), and then I might spend about an hour completing CARS passages. Of course, you want to spend more time reading and completing practice questions in the areas that you need most work in. As well, around the last month leading up to your exam, you want to try to take a full length test once a week. This should really help you get used to the MCAT format, while practicing concepts

Get started!

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You have your study schedule. You know exactly what you need to do everyday, so the only thing left to do is get started! Find a quiet section of the library with no distractions, sit down, and open up your book.

Suggestions based on a 3-4 month study schedule

For the first month or so: Focus on content review. Do the practice questions that are in your prep books, and read the chapters/sections that you find most difficult. Take notes on these sections as well as notes on the questions you got wrong/why you got them wrong. You can even make flashcards if you find this beneficial.

2+: After the first month, you should have most of your content review done, and should really be spending most of your time doing practice questions over and over. I find it best to pick a section, Chem/Phys for example, and do random practice questions on those topics for about two hours. While doing practice questions, you want to ensure you are still taking notes on the questions you got wrong/why you got them wrong. As well, you want to continue practicing your flashcards if you decided to make some. If you find certain subjects are still giving issues, Khan Academy has great MCAT videos that are very effective at explaining concepts.

3+: At this point, you are taking your MCAT very soon. You want to start taking a full length exam once or twice a week at this point. The first full length test you take after two months of studying, should accurately reflect the sections you really need to work on. Spend the remaining days before your exam continuing completing questions in these sections, as well as completing full length exams

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Stop Discourging Future Teachers

One day, you'll be thankful for us.
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“What do you want to be when you grow up?" It seems like this is the question we heard from the time we were able to talk. Our answers started out as whatever movie or action figure was popular that year. I personally was going to be Cinderella and shoot spider webs out of my wrists at the same time. The next phase was spent choosing something that we read about in a book or saw in movies. We were aspiring to be actors, skydivers, and astronauts.

After we realized NASA may not necessarily be interested in every eager 10-year-old, we went through the unknown stage. This chapter of life can last a year or for some, forever. I personally did not have a long “unknown" stage. I knew I was going to be a teacher, more specifically I knew I wanted to do elementary or special education. I come from a family of educators, so it was no surprise that at all the Thanksgiving and Christmas functions I had actually figured it out. The excitement of knowing what to do with the rest of my life quickly grew and then began to dwindle just as fast.

“Why?"

"Well, looks like you'll be broke all your life."

“That's a lot of paperwork."

“If I could go back and do it again, I wouldn't choose this."

These are just a few replies I have received. The unfortunate part is that many of those responses were from teachers themselves. I get it, you want to warn and prepare us for the road we are about to go down. I understand the stress it can take because I have been around it. The countless hours of grading, preparing, shopping for the classroom, etc. all takes time. I can understand how it would get tiresome and seem redundant. The feeling a teacher has when the principal schedules yet another faculty meeting to talk an hour on what could've been stated in an email… the frustration they experience when a few students seem uncontrollable… the days they feel inadequate and unseen… the sadness they feel when they realize the student with no supplies comes from a broken home… I think it is safe to say that most teachers are some of the toughest, most compassionate and hardworking people in this world.

Someone has to be brave enough to sacrifice their time with their families to spend time with yours. They have to be willing to provide for the kids that go without and have a passion to spread knowledge to those who will one day be leading this country. This is the reason I encourage others to stop telling us not to go for it.

Stop saying we won't make money because we know. Stop saying we will regret it, because if we are making a difference, then we won't. Stop telling us we are wasting our time, when one day we will be touching hearts.

Tell us to be great, and then wish us good luck. Tell us that our passion to help and guide kids will not go unnoticed. Tell us that we are bold for trying, but do not tell us to change our minds.

Teachers light the path for doctors, police officers, firefighters, politicians, nurses, etc. Teachers are pillars of society. I think I speak for most of us when I say that we seek to change a life or two, so encourage us or sit back and watch us go for it anyways.

Cover Image Credit: Kathryn Huffman

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Let's Talk More About Lori Laughlin Facing Up To 20 Years In Prison When Brock Turner Got 6 Months

And he was released three months early for 'good behavior'... after sexually assaulting an unconscious girl behind a dumpster.

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To start, Lori Laughlin messed up royally, and I don't condone her actions.

If you live under a rock and are unaware of what happened to the "Full House" star, here's the tea:

Lori Laughlin and husband Mossimo Giannulli — and like 50 other celebrity parents — were found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud, and paid a $1 million bail on conspiracy to commit mail fraud, and honest services fraud. You don't need to know what these mean except that she paid $500,000 to get her two daughters, Bella and Olivia Jade Giannulli.

I know you're wondering why they did it — tbh I am too — however, these parents paid the University of Southern California to give admission to her daughters in through the rowing team on campus, despite neither one of them actually playing the sport ever in their life.

Yeah, Aunt Becky messed up and should face punishment, but why is she facing up 20 years when men like Brock Turner are sentenced only six months for raping an unconscious woman behind a dumpster at Stanford?

I hate to bring up the gender card, but I'm pulling it: Why is Lori Laughlin — a woman who with bad judgement who used money to give an upper-hand to her entitled daughters — face more prison time than a man who willingly raped a woman who wasn't in a right state of mine (or any at all!) behind a dumpster of all places.

The answer? Because the system is a mess.

Yeah, Aunt Becky paid for her daughters to get into a school, giving disadvantages to students actually deserving and wanting to attend a college. Her act was immoral, and ultimately selfish, but it doesn't even compare to what Brock Turner did, and it doesn't even effect others as much his rape survivor.

The most that will happen to the Giannulli girls is an expulsion and a temporary poor reputation, however, Emily Doe (the alias of the survivor) will feel the consequences of the attack forever.

There should have been a switch:

Lori Laughlin and the Target guy should have had to pay other students tuition/student debt while facing prison time, while Brock Turner should have had to face over 20 years with more consequences.

But, that'll never happen because our system sucks and society is rigged. I guess our society would prefer a rapist walking around more so a woman who made a poor choice by paying for her daughters to go to a college.

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