Are you a poor student studying for the MCAT?
- 10 week ExamKrackers Schedule
- Examkrackers MCAT Complete Study Package (Searchable)
- Outlines [Biological Sciences] [Physical Sciences] [Verbal]
- Biology [audio (1) (2)] [lecture]
- Chemistry [audio] [lecture]
- Organic Chemistry
- Physics [audio] [lecture]
- Verbal Reasoning and Math
There are also videos but due to their size, I’m unable to upload them. If you really need videos, if this isn’t enough, please contact me and we can see if we can work something out.
45 Things I’ve learned while studying for the MCAT
- Have confidence.
- Study like you have a final. Every day.
- Facebook is NOT your friend.
- Do not even think about stumbleupon.com.
- Your social life is officially non-existent.
- Sleep at least 6 hours a night.
- Coffee is your friend.
- Do not get annoyed when someone asks, “how’s studying going?” Please note, that asking someone how their studying is going is one of THE MOST annoying questions to ask them.
- Alcohol: minimal at best, none preferred. Think of the MCAT as the second coming of prohibition.
- Try your best to eat healthy. With all the studying you’re doing, you should at least not get fat.
- Pick up a hobby, or go to the gym. You need stress relief, and for me it’s doing pushups.
- Naps should only be 30 minutes. Any longer, and you’re a goner.
- The later you wake up in the morning, the more sluggish you are for the rest of the day.
- Full length practice tests not only assess your competence but aid in your stamina. Everyone loves long staying power.
- Once again, coffee is your friend. Your best friend.
- Sex life? Better yet, what sex life? Your only partner should be the MCAT. Who should be continually raping you every day. That’s the only action you’ll need/get.
- Enjoy the little things. Times are stressful.
- Study in an environment you know that you will study in. Location, location, location.
- Tell your loved ones you will be cranky. If you don’t love them, you don’t need to tell them.
- Sleep before midnight if possible.
- Music or no music? No music. Use earplugs instead.
- Imitate testing environment as much/as often as possible. See #21. Use blank scratch paper, use only wooden pencils. Stick to the 10 minute break between sections and DO the writing samples.
- Stretch. 5 hours of sitting down is not an easy feat. You will get knots in your muscles. This is a marathon, not a leisurely walk.
- Expect the unexpected. No matter how prepared you think you are… no one goes into this test with 100% confidence. Control what you can to lessen the stress.
- Take things one step at a time. The pyramids weren’t built overnight. Thinking about how you don’t have clinical experience/letters of recommendation for medical admissions won’t help you when you’re studying for the MCAT. Focus strictly on the MCAT. Baby steps.
- Only talk to people you like. You aren’t going to be social while you study, so when you make time for others make them count. People who want to tell you how they’ve been ‘hurt’ or about their ‘problems’ are excess drama. Just this once, be selfish. Talk to your friends who will support you.
- Cherish break time. During break time, do not watch a movie or go on Facebook. Be active and happy! Walk outside, and feel the warmth of the sun.
- Stick to a schedule. Don’t take a ‘break’ whenever you feel like. Don’t just study ‘ochem’ because you have a feeling. Organization will save you time and boost efficiency.
- Have patience. Your parents will badger you. All the time. Your friends will do things that annoy you. Please be patient with them. You only have a ‘he’s taking the MCAT’ free pass for so much. Use them only when they matter.
- Set your music player to shuffle. The 7th song is your ‘official MCAT theme song’. I hope you like it. If you don’t, cheat until you do.
- Rest. One day a week, do not study at all. Don’t even think about the MCAT. Even God rested 1 day.
- Know your limits/cycles. I’m talking about your excretory system here. There is nothing more distracting while taking a test, then holding a bladder full of fluid. Know that drinking coffee now might mean a bathroom break in 1 hour. You have 10 minutes between sections on the real test. You should aim at going to the bathroom during those times.
- Distance. Try your best not to talk to other pre-meds taking the MCAT. They will make you feel inadequate about your own progress. A low spike in your self-confidence cannot be afforded.
- Understand progress. Don’t focus on how you’re stuck at a certain score. Realize that from the beginning, you’ve improved A LOT and focus on how that’s still happening. You will improve.
- ‘Don’t complain, just work harder’ -Randy Pausch.
- Stay calm. You know a lot more than you think you do. If you stay calm, you can figure out what the question is asking and how to apply your knowledge. You’ll be surprised.
- Everything is there for a reason. Every piece of information in a passage is there to tell you something. Especially in the Verbal Section. Read carefully and always ask yourself, “why is this here?”.
- Find some inspiration. When you feel blue, a good source of inspiration is Nike commercials. You might not like their shoes, but you can’t deny that Nike commercials are awe inspiring. Try finding some on YouTube. ONLY use YouTube for finding Nike commercials.
- Have good posture. 5 hours of test taking is made more difficult with bad posture. Sitting up straight will improve your attentiveness. Also, slouching is unattractive.
- Menstrual Cycle. A great mnemonic device is ‘Men, F Our Lives’. Menstruation, Follicular phase, Ovulation, and Luteal Phase.
- Using the internet is a double-edged sword. You can be really productive using it, or spiral into procrastination. I hope you have self control, because the practice tests on the AAMC website are very helpful.
- Take vitamins. A healthy body is the house to a healthy mind. Studying while you’re sick is not going to be pretty. Try your best to maintain good health.
- Be minimalistic. Guys, don’t take an hour to get your hair in the right ‘messy look’ and girls, don’t take a strenuous amount of time applying make-up. You are studying and aren’t trying to impress anyone. All your energy should be to studying for this test. However, please change your clothes/underwear daily, and also shower every 24 hours. Most of the days I study, it’s a ‘hat day’ because my hair is just crazy. That’s fine though, I’m studying.
- Utilize small time. Waiting for your cup of coffee (see #7 and #15), or waiting for your ramen water to boil is time you could spend with flashcards or listening to Audio Osmosis. Ten minutes may seem like nothing, but you can get a surprisingly large amount of things done.
- Have faith. Tomorrow is a brighter day, and the possibilities are endless. You decide your fate. Accept responsibility for your actions and study!
Here are 45 things I personally learned while studying for the MCAT. I hope it’s helpful for those who haven’t taken it, and I hope it’s funny to those that have. I have 1 more week until I’m done. I hope I can do it! Let’s all get 45’s!
Also, thanks for all the support!
Medical School Interview Tips
Interviews are critical in the application process. No matter how good you look on paper, it ain’t nothing if you can’t impress in person. This step in the process was the hardest for me and the only thing that made it better was experience. I went on several interviews and can personally say that each one went more smoothly than the one before. So here are a few tips that should be helpful while preparing:
1. Know your application
This seems silly. Of course you know your application, you’re the one who wrote it after all! But the interview process requires you to be an expert of your own application. Know everything by heart. This includes: activities you listed, the time span that you participated in those activities, know a little something about the contact person you chose for each activity, know your personal statement, etc. All of these should be fresh in your mind before attending an interview. I suggest for you to read over your primaries as well as your secondary for that specific school the night before an interview. You don’t want to be caught off guard by anything. If they ask you an application-related question and you seem hesitant/your answer does not coincide with your application, this will definitely knock your credibility.
Also, for every activity that you listed on your application, be able to answer:
1. What was your biggest contribution to the organization?
(ie What have you done for them?)
2. How has this experience impacted you?
(ie What have they done for you?)
2. Outline answers to high-yield questions
Generally, I don’t recommend writing out scripts for interview questions. Memorizing answers will often cause you come across as robotic and insincere. However, this does not stop you from brainstorming ideas. For example, the most high yield question is: Why do you want to be a physician? Jot down 3 points that you definitely want to cover in your answer. This provides structure but also flexibility. When the question comes up, your nerves will be somewhat cleared because you know which points you want to cover, but you’ll also have some flexibility to integrate your answers into the conversation that you’re currently having with the interviewer. Do this for high-yield questions. From my experience, these are a few that came up more than once:
Why do you want to be a physician?
What is your greatest weakness?
If you can’t be a doctor, what career would you choose and why?
What do you think about the recent healthcare reforms?
2. Know the school
Each school is different and has its own unique strengths. Find them! Most interviewers will look to see if you have done your research on their program. You should know what the school of proud of: high board exam scores, good match results, prestigious Emergency Medicine program… whatever it is, find it and use it. Understand the school’s strengths and your strengths. Basically, know the answer to the question, “Why would you fit in our school?” and “What could you do for us?” By the end of the interview, the interviewer should be able to envision you as a student, walking around the halls of their school campus, eating their cafeteria food, and gunning in the front row during lectures. Think of it like a date, make them feel special and let them know that you are the correct substrate for their active site ;)
3. Wear the suit, don’t let it wear you
First impressions last. You don’t want to walk into an interview room looking like you just borrowed your mom’s old suit from the 80’s. Don’t be afraid to spend a little money here and find a suit that fits you well! If need be, get it tailored. This is a HUGE part of the first impression that your interviewer will have of you. Follow the general rule of “look good but not too good.” Don’t wear anything too flashy, avoid bright colors, and for girls, avoid heavy make up. You should look professional - like a future physician. The suit is critical to a good first impression. And if you don’t make a good one, this may be both your first and last impression.
4. Confidence is key
The majority of questions that these interviewers ask have no “correct” answer. There is a plethora of reasons why a person would want to become a physician and there really is no right answer. Instead, what these interviewers really look for is a cool confidence. They want to know if you are mature enough to handle the beast that is medical school. Will you be able to make responsible decisions? Will you represent their school well? Will you contribute to the student body and to the faculty in a productive way? Show them that you are a confident candidate ready to take medical school by storm. Show them that you are serious about the medical field. Show them that they would have to be idiots not to accept you to their medical school. You can’t just tell them these things, you’ll have to show them. This is done with body language, tone of voice, and nonverbal communication. If you feel comfortable and confident, then they will also feel comfortable and confident with you.
5. Practice, practice, practice
Practice makes perfect… especially for medical school interviews. Practice interviewing as many times as you can before the actual event. Find out if your school offers mock interviews. Find interview workshops that you can attend. Heck, go find your second cousin and practice potential questions with them. I can’t emphasize this enough. Running through answers in your head can only do so much. Saying the answers out loud and hearing yourself say them will tremendously help your interview skills. Also, if you have multiple interviews lined up, schedule your top choice school a little later in the season. Get yourself some actual interview practice at other schools so you can do some fine-tuning before the big event. In this case, experience is truly the best teacher.
That is all! Don’t hesitate to ask me any specific questions you have about interviewing or any part of the application process. It always helps to ask someone who has been through it! Happy interviewing all!!
oh gawd thank heavens I'm class of 2015.
did you hear about this doc cranquis?
Hmm. On the one hand: the redesigned MCAT (coming in 2015) will have ”less emphasis on organic chemistry and physics” — ADUHHHH! Totally in favor of. Big Thumbs Up.
On another hand:
Saffarini added that he thought the increased amount of material covered on the MCAT would make it more difficult for non-science concentrators to fulfill their pre-med requirements. “Having that many more prereqs is not going to encourage students to go into medicine from the humanities,” he said.
Sooooo… basically, decreased chances for non-science-nerd types, like myself, to get into medical school, even though one of the most critically-lacking factors among current physicians (and US healthcare in general) is the ability to think outside of the realm of science when addressing the system-wide problems in healthcare.
We need doctors who can write awesome stories about what it’s like being a doctor. We need doctors who can create better software and websites. We need doctors who can tackle the accounting crap-hole that is “US health insurance companies” and the upcoming Medicaid/Medicare changes. We need doctors who can give impassioned public presentations on current and future issues in medicine, in language that can be understood by the masses (and the politicians). We need doctors who can tell jokes, improvise solutions, and sing “The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round” to a scared child while suturing a facial laceration.
Medicine needs MORE humanities — because humanity needs better medicine.
(Thanks for the link, aimeealistair!)
Help! It's the dreaded MCAT
HELP! Okay so I’m a sophomore- Junior to be doing pre-med and am wondering when to plan out my MCAT studying and so on. 1. Do you think kaplan courses really do help? are they worth the $$. 2. How do you suggest studying for MCATS? Thanks!
Here are two posts that might help. The first is a Pre-Med Timeline. Most people take the MCAT at the end of their Junior year.
As far as preparation check out this post on my MCAT advice.
Hope that helps. The MCAT is a tough road, but remember:
Best of luck,