Saturday, June 1, 2013

MCAT Survival Guide

Last year around this time I posted about a "Summer Camp Survival Guide" which is the only blog post my sister has ever read and so whenever she makes fun of me she reminds me to "pack my sunscreen" and my "deck of cards." I thought I'd give her one more thing to add to her list of "Reasons Why Allie's a Dork" with this post.

If you're unsure exactly how the MCAT works, I'll give you a brief overview.  Forever , it has been four sections: Biological Sciences (Organic Chemistry & Biology), Physical Sciences (Physics & Chemistry), Verbal Reasoning (Reading Comprehension - on steroids), and Writing. This year and next year the MCAT dropped the writing section making the test only about 3 and 1/2  to 4 hours long. 

In 2015 they are adding a "Natural Science" section, a "Social and Behavioral Science" section, and a "Critical Analysis and Reasoning" section. This will extend the test by even a few hours, so you'd be looking at like a seven hour test it seems like!! Fortunately, I was only there from 8:00 am - noon and I barely survived. 

1. Get up early, and get there early

They let you in the testing cubicles one person at a time, I was the last one there for our 8:00 AM test and I got there a bit before 7:30 AM. I thought it was interesting that there weren't too many people there, probably about ten, and most of them came from out of state. We had people fly in from California, Minnesota, Washington, and Texas. The girl from Texas said that when she signed up she had two of the nearest options to choose from "Lincoln, NE and Guam." I'm not sure if it worked out that way because they wanted a certain date or what.

2. Shove a bunch of food in your mouth before you walk into the room

You get breaks, but by the time it takes you to sign in and sign out (see point #3) you have no time to eat. I brought a bunch of crackers and put them all in my mouth before I went in. I was also happy I didn't drink anything that morning. One girl chugged a huge Gatorade, I'm sure she had to tinkle quite a bit.

3. Be prepared to be treated to harsher security than U.S. Customs

Every single finger gets printed, palm scans, new photos taken and put through facial recognition software compared to our IDs, pat downs, electrical wands, pocket and sleeves checks - all of this to enter and leave, each time. It was annoying because by the time it took me to do all of this going out and coming back in during one of our ten minute breaks, the break was basically over. They also have cameras at every cubicle watching you.

4. Don't leave the room for breaks, unless you have to pee.

See point #3. You waste all your time passing through security, or at least I did.

5. Focus, Focus, Focus

They provide you with noise cancelling headphones, but someone is still bound to have a squeaky chair in the room. (Like I did)

6. Say "Adios" to the test, treat yourself to fast food, and then pray your score is good enough.

I won't find out my score until July they said. It's fine, but I'm really nervous and I pray it's good enough. It's hard to tell because the test was much harder then the official practice tests I had taken. 


Last night we celebrated Lauren Albin's 21st birthday and Brielle and Ali came too! I was so happy to see everyone! They got up early and headed to the farmer's market and I slept in and am now working on a craft project that I'm excited about! I moved into my new apartment called The Links (I'll post photos later this week), and we began work and school a couple weeks ago. We officially start camp next week :) 

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