Tuesday, May 8, 2012


That is the sound of drowning.

But I'm alive!  My memory is demolished.  Renal system?  Huh????

I actually took the MCAT twice.  Because I'm crazy.  I did fairly well the first time, but I also came out feeling destroyed.  My timing for Physical Sciences was bad, mainly through my own failure to regulate my own pacing, and yet I did much, much better than I thought.  I was happy with my Biological Sciences, but disappointed in the Verbal Reasoning considering that my practice scores up until then were within the range I wanted.  So I took it again, with the resolve to improve my pacing in Physical Sciences and improve my Verbal score.  I came out feeling even worse than the first time.  I didn't even like my essays.  Ugh.  I'll be over here in my corner of shame, feigning indifference.

In terms of study material (for the curious), I tearfully parted with a hard-earned $1,699 for the Kaplan MCAT course during a "special sale."  I think normally they are $1,999.  The Kaplan center near my university campus also regularly donated a full MCAT-prep course to local pre-med student organizations, which students can bid on starting at $1,000.  As an undergrad though, I didn't have $1,000 to throw around like that.  I also invested in the Examkrackers study guide, because everyone told me it was awesome, and received the Audio Osmosis lectures from a friend.  In the weeks preceding my second attempt, a friend gave me access to her Princeton Review MCAT account in exchange for my Kaplan account.

I completed all of the Kaplan online material, which includes Kaplan's online tests, all the old MCAT tests provided by the American Association of Medical Colleges, the QBank questions, and their little review quizzes.  The course is about 4 months during the winter, because we took a one-month break for the Holiday season.  I think between October and January, I spent a good chunk of time re-learning all the material from undergrad and the remaining time focusing on pacing.

I think Examkrackers is great for people who just want a concise summary of key facts in the week or two leading up to the test, or for people who are trying to ease back into science after years of being in the Real World.  I can't attest to the quality of the Princeton Review instructors, but the set-up for their online system is. The.  Absolutely.  Worst.  Thing.  Ever.  Anytime you finish a quiz and want to take another quiz, you have to reload the home page and then click through 3-4 drop-down menu's again to select another quiz.  Also, there have been times when I completed a full practice test, only to find it didn't save ANY of my results.  The quality of the practice material is not as insane compared to Kaplan, but still challenging.  Overall I am definitely glad I went with Kaplan.

I'm easing back into blogging now, and also trying to gear up to re-write my personal statement for the application this June.  I feel like I didn't leave myself enough time, and yet I was oh-so-determined to retake the test.  As a reward to myself, I splurged on an Xbox.  Unfortunately, having that around the house means I haven't been drawing like I said I would.

And now, a picture of an emu from Sunday's wine-tasting excursion:


  1. Two things:
    1/ Am so impressed with your dedication. Natch I didn't understand most of the test names etc but I am from Oz. . .

    2/ I hate emus! The scariest animal ever. Especially that noise they make.

    Keep up the good work.
    Stella x

    1. MCAT = Medical College Admissions Test :) The rest are just company names for different test preparation classes.

      Emus make these weird rumbling sound that sounds like a dinosaur. The owner was petting them like they were just fuzzy cats and dogs! I wanted to, but was scared it would eat my hand.

  2. Welcome back, and congrats on finishing the MCAT (twice). I honestly don't think you need that much time to write the personal statement, as most people just use any extra time to procrastinate until the last minute any way. My advice in writing the personal statement (for what it's worth) is to focus on the things that distinguish you from other applicants. It's hard for reviewers to sort through the thousands of applications, so anything that makes you stand out from the did well in school/volunteered in a hospital crowd is good.

  3. congrats on finishing the mcat!! good luck with the PS, i have to write mine for residency and i'm dreading it...