MCAT prep advice
by 801stlouis (2019-02-12 13:32:42)

I have a close family friend who immigrated here from the Czech Republic about 20 years ago. She was a nurse over there, but that isn’t of much use here. So she started cleaning houses, babysitting, etc. Her husband works in construction. Her english is fairly good, although I don’t think the husband has picked it up much. Oh, and she is still fairly hot even at 40ish.

Her son was the valedictorian of his high school class a couple of years ago. He is now at the Univ of North FL on some type of scholarship. He hopes to get into UF for medical school. He is in the process of preparing for his MCAT and wants to take a review. His mom did some googling and found an online review for $3,000. She thinks he would do better with more of a classroom type review. They are far from wealthy, so cost is critical for them.

Is there someplace on the internet that lays the choices out well? If anyone has personal insight into things like reasonable cost, online vs classroom, etc. that would be much appreciated.


As others have said, practice tests are key
by dulac89  (2019-02-13 01:45:03)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Lessons are mildly helpful, but the return on time investment is not that great. The Malcolm Gladwell "10000" model works well here, do practice test after practice test after practice test. Answer 10000 questions. For each test, read why the right answers were right, and the wrong answers wrong. The amount of knowlege you need to have for the test is actually reasonably finite. So the key is recognizing what concept the question is asking you to apply, because the concept is almost always disguised in something seemingly unrelated. I still remember the day where I did a practice test, and almost every question once I started reading the question information, about halfway through I knew what concept they were looking for. Once you know that, it's pretty easy.

Granted I had to take the MCAT twice, but the second time I walked out of there knowing I had correctly answered all but a handful of the questions. It was all Kaplan test bank practice.


Just ask MCAT procter to hold your wallet with $1000 inside
by Frank Drebin  (2019-02-12 17:46:54)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Or maybe, Mr MCAT Procter, there never was a $1000 in it


I used Kaplan back in 2005; the last of the
by TCIrish03  (2019-02-12 16:12:09)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

paper tests apparently.

I found that the most important aspect of the class was having access to practice tests and knowing how to take them and understand how to read the question passages. Set a few uninterrupted hours aside each week and drill drill drill. Then when confident, drill some more.

Even though it's computer-based now, I can't imagine the approach being much different.

Plus I got my advice from Cash.


Seconded
by Zbirdman  (2019-02-13 00:11:47)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

One of my med-school classmates conceptualized these types of tests as such: it's like playing Madden on PlayStation. You might be a good football player. You might be really good at Mario Brothers. You might be Belichek. Hopefully, you have proficiency at a whole bag of skills. But the only way to be an expert at Madden is to sit down and play it.

That dude did a metric shitton of questions. Get access to questions and real practice tests. The classroom work is nice, but it the kid can hack it in med-school, he won't need MCAT concepts spoon-fed to him. He will, in all likelihood, need to get in reps.


He should also talk to his advisor
by jddomer  (2019-02-12 15:40:59)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

His school might have financial assistance for test prep, or offer the test prep themselves. I also second the suggestion that he plans to take the test in time to get his scores back by the beginning of June in order to be at the beginning of the application cycle.


Thanks! We found a financial aid link on reddit.
by 801stlouis  (2019-02-12 15:52:00)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

They should definitely qualify and it will save them almost $200. I don’t know how he’s going to accomplish taking the test any sooner than April, as he doesn’t complete his courses until 4/25. Is it reasonable to take the MCAT during finals, or even before finals?


depends on the student
by jddomer  (2019-02-12 16:24:33)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

and seriously, I looked and there's a pre-med advisor at UNF. That person will probably have all the information the student needs. I would not rely on Reddit for pre-professional counseling. Whether he is positioned to take the MCAT right now depends on whether he has completed the right courses. Additionally, if his school does committee letters, he might need to get signed up for that now. If he hasn't met with the advisor, he really needs to ASAP. Every school is different. He needs to know what his school does and what it offers.


Agree with all this.
by Duke Camaro  (2019-02-12 18:50:34)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

I took the MCAT and applied to med school as a non-traditional student, having graduated undergrad several years before. Even still, I sought out a Committee recommendation letter and I know that helped my application. As a traditional undergrad, med schools almost expect that thing.

I would definitely NOT recommend taking the MCAT close to/immediately prior to finals. While it is important to get the score back to apply early, it is far better to get good grades/GPA. Also, you can retake the MCAT, you can't retake a final.

Scores usually take a month to come back so as long as he takes in by mid to late May he should be good. But he needs to sign up now as most spots in his local area are probably full already and he may need to drive a bit to get to a testing center.


Some ideas
by Duke Camaro  (2019-02-12 14:01:11)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

I second the Kahn Academy MCAT videos below. They're great and there's a ton of them. There are also a ton of resources on the sub-reddit r/MCAT (http://www.reddit.com/r/MCAT) and r/premed. Lots of discussion on what is helpful and useful. He can see what already posted and also post questions if he has them. He can also check out studentdoctor.net although that tends to be a bit more neurotic than reddit (bunch of Type A premeds).

I found the Kaplan prep books pretty good, but those are all self-directed. A big thing is to take a bunch of practice exams to get familiar with how they ask questions and how to apply the knowledge.

He should also look into the program Anki. It's a flashcard program that uses spaced repetition to solidify information. It's widely used in medical school itself.

If he really wants in-person instruction, his school or other colleges in the area might offer a prep class for cheaper than the Kaplan or Princeton Review classes.

My recommendation would be Kahn Academy combined with Kaplan prep books and practice tests and a heavy dose of an MCAT-specific Anki deck.

One note, he should plan to take the test so that he has his MCAT score back by June of the application cycle year he is applying. Applying as early as possible is essential when applying to medical school.


Thank you! *
by 801stlouis  (2019-02-12 14:33:59)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


He can try Kahn Academy MCAT Prep.
by ej  (2019-02-12 13:43:47)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

I am very far removed from that process so I can't recommend Kaplan vs Princeton Review, etc. Doing well in his courses is the obvious best test prep but Kahn Academy may be the most cost effective. Lots of practice questions too with focusing on the subject material he gets wrong to make it an active learning process.


Thanks! *
by 801stlouis  (2019-02-12 14:34:14)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post


I thought you were asking for the mom to take the MCAT.
by No Right Turn on Red  (2019-02-12 13:39:50)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Considering you spent a whole bunch of your post describing her situation just to get to how hot she is.

I don't have an answer to your question. Just pointing out it was confusing.


C’mon, it’s the Backroom. Important info up front.
by 801stlouis  (2019-02-12 13:50:35)     cannot delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

And she’s running around my house right now in “workout” type clothing.


It's a pretty easy fix.
by No Right Turn on Red  (2019-02-13 10:46:41)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

I have a close family friend whose son is now at the Univ of North FL. He hopes to get into UF for medical school. He is in the process of preparing for his MCAT and wants to take a review. His mom did some googling and found an online review for $3,000. She thinks he would do better with more of a classroom type review. They are far from wealthy, so cost is critical for them.

Is there someplace on the internet that lays the choices out well? If anyone has personal insight into things like reasonable cost, online vs classroom, etc. that would be much appreciated.


Sometimes I wonder why I still bother to post here.
by ewillND  (2019-02-13 00:18:50)     Delete  |  Edit  |  Return to Board  |  Ignore Poster   |   Highlight Poster  |   Reply to Post

Now is one of those times.