Hurdles in the application process

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    Someone in an earlier discussion asked to hear what hurdles older students have in the application process.

    I think the greatest difficulty for me has been finding the time to study for the MCAT. I began studying last fall and managed to average one hour per week for several months. In January I enrolled in the Princeton Review course (very disappointed customer) and increased my study time drastically averaging 8 hrs per week in class plus anywhere from 5-8 hrs per week studying. There were many days I had to pay for extra daycare (and that gets expensive) in order to have uninterrupted study time.

    I chose to sit the April MCAT and felt confident but alas my score was terrible. Now I am trying to find the time to study for the August MCAT which is just around the corner. Having 4 children at home (10, 6, 4, 3) it is definitely not easy.

    Fortunately I have found that the medical schools look favorably on older students. The UW-Madison school of Medicine makes a conscious effort to have an 11% enrollment of students over age 29 and they make an effort to have a 50-50 ratio of men to women. This is GOOD. The MEdical School of Wisconsin’s average age is 34.

    Having graduated from college in 1987 with all my pre-requisites completed but with a not-so-great GPA wasn’t that bad. The difficulty is remembering the material.

    For someone going back to school I’d recommend the following:


    I hit the wrong button. 😀

    I’d recommend the following:
    1) take the KAPLAN course. It is longer for the same cost than when we were in college. I understand from students who have taken both PR and KAPLAN that KAPLAN is definitely the better course.
    2) find a friend to take care of your kids
    3) find a study buddy — afterall that’s how we studied in college and it is much easier than going it alone
    4) take time to meet with a med school advisor (not a pre-med advisor) at a medical school — they are a wealth of information and can tell you how to improve your application. It also shows them that you are truly interested and determined and they are the person who gets the apps, copies and distributes them.
    5) learn the material well, read the Wall Street Journal, and practice, practice, practice

    Hope this helps. God bless all of you and your endeavours. Joanne


    I really do not think that eight hours per week is enough to study for the MCAT. Most people that have done well, including some of my close friends had to study anywhere from 4-6 hours per day (excluding weekends). It is a good rule of thumb to treat the MCAT like a regular science class, it is well known that for every hour spent in lecture you should spend about 3 hours at home. So for a science course that meets three times per week for about one hour each time that would entail a *minimum* of 9 hours per week, and that usually is not enough. So maybe you should reconsider how many hours to spend studying for the MCAT.


    I was the one who asked the question! Thank you so much for your insightful answers….I appreciate any advice. Keep us posted how it turns out for you. Cynthia


    I graduated in ’95 and have been out of the sciences ever since. I wanted to give you my MCAT story in case it helps.I took the April MCAT and did decently(30). I started reviewing material in Jan. with Kaplan and felt like I was floundering. Then in Feb. I bought the examkrackers material (cds and books) and got on their 10 wk. schedule. I think this helped me a lot. Their structure just worked better for me. I had to study about 15-20 hrs./wk. to stay on schedule with the material. The bio took the most time for me because there is just so much to memorize and it had been so long since I had any of it. I did use the Kaplan library and resources which were great and I went to all of my proctored exams. I just skipped the classes because I couldn’t afford to waste the 6 hrs/wk. The only way that I was able to find enough time to study while staying at home with my 1 yr. old was to put him in mother’s day out 2 days/wk. This gave me about 8 hrs./wk and then I did the rest in evenings and on weekends. The cds helped some too because I could listen to them as I cleaned, drove, fixed breakfast etc. Hope that helps.


    Jessica I also have purchased the EK materials from someone else, they seem really good. I am glad to hear that they worked for you. I will start studying in Jan for the April 03 exam.


    Hi all. I am probably one of the few that was crazy enough to do both courses. I found the Princeton Course to be MUCH BETTER than the Kaplan. I would recommend the Princeton over the Kaplan hands down (especially if you are a busy mom). All of the “homework” and practice passages are in your very owm take home books. I found going to the learning center for the Kaplan to be a true pain. My advice, Princeton!


    Originally posted by lori:
    I found going to the learning center for the Kaplan to be a true pain.

    Why did you have to go into the center? All of the practice passages are online too. The only ones that aren’t are the AAMC passages (copyright prevents Kaplan from posting them online). The AAMC passages can be ordered from AAMC (I believe it is around $20 for them).

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