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How To Study In Med School

MCAT QuestionsAllison Greco has kindly agreed to answer some of the top questions our community wants answered. Allison is a medical student in the class of 2013 and has a great passion for social media. You can follow her on twitter @grecoa3.

I’m a follower of your blog and twitter (@iPikl25), and I’ve been reading a few of your posts that I wanted to ask your advice on. You mentioned how you need frequent breaks to keep going. I’ll be starting medical school in the Fall and figuring out how to study is my biggest fear. So basically I wanted your advice on how you studied in med school. ~ Question from Sophia of Notes In My White Coat.

I have good news and bad news in regards to my answer for your question. The good news is that no, you don’t NEED to study the exact same way as everyone else and shouldn’t spend your time stressing over it. The bad news is that I definitely wouldn’t recommend being too lax when it comes to studying.

Bad news first: Medical school IS hard, and it’s probably not like anything you’ve ever done before. It’s probably the hardest you’ll ever work or study. It’s a lot easier to study TOO much in the beginning- it’s easier to start out with a strong grade in the event that you struggle later in the course on rather than struggle at the beginning and spend the rest of the course chasing a passing grade.

As a warning, you will probably NEVER feel prepared for a test. You’ll feel like you don’t know anything at all. All of this is normal, and it’s okay. Don’t let anyone make you inferior for that (chances are they feel the same way about something else). Most schools have pass-fail-honors grading systems, so if there is a class that just isn’t for you, its okay to save your sanity and get by with just a passing grade. With that said, you WILL need to take a the united states medical licensing exam (USMLE) sometime during or after your second year. The test encompasses everything you learn in those first two years (but please don’t stress about it yet!). It’s much easier to study for this test if you really, REALLY learned the material the first time over.

Finally, the good news: Don’t forget to take time for yourself. Most students took one day a week to do something fun. I liked to work out for about an hour a day, and unless there was some crazy circumstance or a huge exam. I also NEVER missed one of my prime-time TV shows. You’ll stress a lot in the beginning, but as time passes, you’ll become more comfortable with how much you need to study, and what your exam formats are like.

Want to read more? Click here to read more of Allison’s insightful answers to your Pre-Med and MCAT related questions.

Have a question about pre-med? Tweet your questions to us @MCATQoftheDay, or shoot us an email.


We will be posting more of Allison’s Q & A within the coming weeks! Subscribe to our email list to get the latest MCAT Question of the Day and Allison’s Q & A’s sent straight to your inbox.





Waiting To Apply To Med School

MCAT QuestionsAllison Greco has kindly agreed to answer some of the top questions our community wants answered. Allison is a medical student in the class of 2013 and has a great passion for social media. You can follow her on twitter @grecoa3.

What are your thoughts on waiting a year after undergrad to apply to med school?

When I was a pre-med, I thought my world would literally end if I didn’t get immediately accepted to medical school because it was all I ever wanted to do.

When I got to medical school, I was surprised to be in the MINORITY! It turns out most students DO take time off!

With all that said, my rule of thumb is that If you’re really not sure you want to be a doctor, then take time off. Do some clinical research or shadowing, then re-visit the decision. Medical school is hard, long, and expensive, and the last thing you want to do is enroll for a few years only to decide its not what you want to do!

I’m also learning now as I prepare my residency application, that you will need to address what you did on your time off, but that it in no way hurts your application. All your activities and real-life experiences make for great personal statements, and give you a unique perspective!

Want to read more? Click here to read more of Allison’s insightful answers to your Pre-Med and MCAT related questions.

Have a question about pre-med? Tweet your questions to us @MCATQoftheDay, or shoot us an email.


We will be posting more of Allison’s Q & A within the coming weeks! Subscribe to our email list to get the latest MCAT Question of the Day and Allison’s Q & A’s sent straight to your inbox.





Preparing For The MCAT

MCAT QuestionsAllison Greco has kindly agreed to answer some of the top questions our community wants answered. Allison is a medical student in the class of 2013 and has a great passion for social media. You can read her awesome blog here, and follow her on twitter @grecoa3.

How did you personally prepare for the MCAT? Which methods did you find worked the best?

My MCAT story is a little convoluted. I ended up taking the test twice (which I would not recommend if you can avoid it)!

The first time around, I used a Kaplan course. It was very helpful, and kept me on track since I tended to procrastinate. The problem was, I also studied on my own, and (as I mentioned before) studying all day and night just doesn’t work for me. By the time my test rolled around, I was burnt out and my nerves drove me crazy. Needless to say I was not happy with my score.

The second time around I used Examkrackers, which was a little more condensed. I was much more relaxed about studying and took more time off. My score was amazingly improved.

Again, realize that you have to do what works best for you.

Want to read more? Click here to read more of Allison’s insightful answers to your Pre-Med and MCAT related questions.

Have a question about pre-med? Tweet your questions to us @MCATQoftheDay, or shoot us an email.


We will be posting more of Allison’s Q & A within the coming weeks! Subscribe to our email list to get the latest MCAT Question of the Day and Allison’s Q & A’s sent straight to your inbox.





Managing Stress In Med School

MCAT QuestionsAllison Greco has kindly agreed to answer some of the top questions our community wants answered. Allison is a medical student in the class of 2013 and has a great passion for social media. You can follow her on twitter @grecoa3.

What methods have you used to manage your stress in medical school?

It’s important to remember to take time for yourself; what you do with that time is up to you. Some people take one day a week and just put the books down for 24 hours. Other people take some time off every day.

Personally, I needed to go to the gym for at least an hour every day, and I usually did something fun on the weekends as well. My school always gives exams on Friday’s, so we are always guaranteed at least one weekend that was totally stress-free! The workload seems overwhelming at first, but you’ll figure out how much you need to study and when you can afford to, have some fun!

Want to read more? Click here to read more of Allison’s insightful answers to your Pre-Med and MCAT related questions.

Have a question about pre-med? Tweet your questions to us @MCATQoftheDay, or shoot us an email.


We will be posting more of Allison’s Q & A within the coming weeks! Subscribe to our email list to get the latest MCAT Question of the Day and Allison’s Q & A’s sent straight to your inbox.

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Tips for Effective MCAT Home Studying

Derek WuDerek Wu graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 2009 with a double major in Biochemistry and Psychology. He’s reached elite MCAT instructor status at Kaplan and is planning on attending med school this summer. Check him out on Twitter: @imcanadaian.

I get a lot of questions from students about how to best go about home-studying. My first piece of advice to them is always: “know yourself.” As much as the MCAT is a test of science, facts, and formulas, it’s important to know that it’s also a measure of student’s ability to analyze and understand the test and maximize their scores. This starts with being able to evaluate your abilities and performance objectively. To start, I always tell students to seek out one of those free MCAT practice tests. Major test prep companies will host tons of these throughout the year – you can check out any of the big name prep companies: Kaplan, TPR. And, it’s totally okay to take this test cold – remember, the goal is to establish a reliable baseline.

The second question I get a lot is “how long should I study for?” I love to workout, and I think of MCAT studying like an extended training session over weeks and weeks. While it doesn’t make sense to squeeze all your studying in 2 weeks, it can be equally counter-productive to build your study plan around a 6+ month timeline. I suggest around 3-4 months, reserving the last month purely for taking official practice tests. In my experience tutoring and teaching the MCAT for a few years, this sort of timeline gives students the best chance to succeed, and limits burn-out and frankly, prevents you from forgetting topics you hit at the very beginning of your studying.


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Finally, my final tip: “how long per day should I study? Is x number of hours enough?” This brings me back full circle to the “knowing yourself”. After taking a full-length cold, you’ll know exactly where your strengths and weaknesses are. I never tell my students to stick to a fixed hour count when it comes to studying. The key is identifying your weaknesses, establishing a 3-4 month study plan, and then STICKING TO THE PLAN. Depending on the topics that you’re uniquely strong in, some days your studying might only take 30 minutes. On other days, if it’s a topic you struggle with, it may take 4, 5 hours! Don’t be a slave to the clock. As long as you stick to the plan you create at the beginning of your studies, it’s OK to enjoy a light study day once in awhile. This will keep you sane, and it’s easier to stay disciplined and stick to your schedule because you aren’t force feeding study hours onto yourself.

Know yourself. Plan for 3-4 months. Set a schedule. STICK to that schedule.


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5 Most Popular MCAT Chemistry Questions

Top 5 MCAT Chemistry QuestionsWith over 100+ questions posted on MCAT Question of the Day so far, we’ve had many questions that have received more submitted answers than others.

You’ve read our 5 Most Popular MCAT Biology Questions, now it’s time to cover our most popular MCAT chemistry questions, starting from the very beginning.

Here are our 5 most popular MCAT Chemistry Questions since we started:

1. Colbalt and Lead Electric Cell.

2. Draw It Out!.

3. Identify the Molecular Geometry of CO2.

4. Electrolytic Cells.

5. Know Your Thermo.

That wraps up our list! We’ll be rounding out our ‘5 Most Popular’ series with our MCAT Physics Questions, so keep an eye out. In the meantime, feel free to follow MCAT Question of the Day on Twitter or on Facebook.

Photo attributed to Shorts and Longs | The Both And.

Adjusting to Medical School

MCAT QuestionsAllison Greco has kindly agreed to answer some of the top questions our community wants answered. Allison is a medical student in the class of 2013 and has a great passion for social media. You can follow her on twitter @grecoa3.

What aspect of the Medical School surprised you the most?

I think the biggest “surprise” about medical school was adjusting to the sheer volume of information you get in the first two years. The material itself isn’t that difficult, but there is so much of it, that most of the study habits you used in college simply won’t work. For example, I used to re-write my notes to study in college, but in medical school there just wasn’t enough time! That’s not to say you can’t do it – you just need a little time to adjust!

Want to read more? Click here to read more of Allison’s insightful answers to your Pre-Med and MCAT related questions.

Have a question about pre-med? Tweet your questions to us @MCATQoftheDay, or shoot us an email.


We will be posting more of Allison’s Q & A within the coming weeks! Subscribe to our email list to get the latest MCAT Question of the Day and Allison’s Q & A’s sent straight to your inbox.

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MCAT Exam Advice

Allison GrecoAllison Greco has kindly agreed to answer some of the top questions our community wants answered. Allison is a medical student in the class of 2013 and has a great passion for social media. You can follow her on twitter @grecoa3.

What is the best piece of advice you have for students preparing to take the MCAT exam?

It’s super important to know and be comfortable with your own study style, and don’t get nervous or intimidated because your classmates use different methods. For example, I simply cannot sit in the library and study all day and night. I need to take frequent breaks and reward myself for lots of studying; I get far more out of studying this way. In fact, it might be helpful to make a study calendar to make studying and break time more manageable. It’s a something I did to study for my boards in medical school (but not for my MCAT), and I found it very helpful. It’s also a good idea to study in the same format as the test – i.e., using a computer – to train your brain.

Also, practice, practice, practice! Sure, learning the science and memorizing formulas are important, but you’d be surprised how often questions are repeated. You can get a question book or subscribe to an online question bank, and try to do a few questions every day.

Finally, I recommend visiting the prometric site prior to test day and familiarizing yourself with the facilities to eliminate some nerves come test day.

Oh, and we can’t forget the party or special celebration for when you finish!

Want to read more? Click here to read more of Allison’s insightful answers to your Pre-Med and MCAT related questions.

Have a question about pre-med? Tweet your questions to us @MCATQoftheDay, or shoot us an email.


We will be posting more of Allison’s Q & A within the coming weeks! Subscribe to our email list to get the latest MCAT Question of the Day and Allison’s Q & A’s sent straight to your inbox.

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MCAT Extra Curricular Activities

Allison GrecoAllison Greco has kindly agreed to answer some of the top questions our community wants answered. Allison is a medical student in the class of 2013 and has a great passion for social media. You can follow her on twitter @grecoa3.

I just have a question about extra curricular activities for medical school. I am currently in my second year and haven’t really thought about medical school until now, so I haven’t been doing and volunteering or anything. Is it too late for me start now? Lots of students say that you need to be volunteering for years to make it into medical school, so would that mean I should do another program after my undergrad to accumulate them? My back up plan as of now is to do a masters program of some sort, just so I can have an extra 2 years to get volunteer experience. Any suggestions would be appreciated!

It’s absolutely is not to late to get started! To be honest, I was very much the same way with volunteer work and extra-curriculars. I’m sure you’re also much more involved than you realize. What do I mean? Well, when I was in my early undergraduate years, I still went home every month or so to help out with some of the local organizations that I had been involved in during high school- all of those things went into my AMCAS (American Medical College Application Service- the allopathic medical school online application service).

Additionally, the truth is that if you have great grades, a great MCAT, and an otherwise stellar application, the other things aren’t as important. On the other hand, lots of volunteer experience and extacurriculars can do a lot for an application that is a little on the weaker side.

Finally, I wouldn’t delay applying to medical school just because you think you don’t have enough volunteer experience- you might be surprised! I would put off applying if grades or course prerequisites are an issue, or if you’re not really sure that you want to be a doctor, but not because you’re afraid you might not have enough volunteer experience- especially as a sophomore! Remember- you can always apply to osteopathic medial school at the same time that you apply to allopathic medial school.

Want to read more? Click here to read more of Allison’s insightful answers to your Pre-Med and MCAT related questions.

Have a question about pre-med? Tweet your questions to us @MCATQoftheDay, or shoot us an email.


We will be posting more of Allison’s Q & A within the coming days! Subscribe to our email list to get the latest MCAT Question of the Day and Allison’s Q & A’s sent straight to your inbox.

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5 Most Popular MCAT Biology Questions

Top 5 MCAT Biology QuestionsWith over 100+ questions posted on MCAT Question of the Day so far, we’ve had many questions that have received more submitted answers than others.

Since our very first bio question ever posted to our most recent, we’ve believe we’ve covered all of the bases.

Below are our 5 most popular MCAT Biology Questions since we started:

1. Pituitary Gland: If you need a refreshed on hormones, this is your question.

2. Vitamin Absorption: Very controversial question, one of the harder Bio questions we’ve asked.

3. Eukaryotic Kingdoms: An easy biology question. Definitely an ego-booster for some, which may be why it was one of our most popular biology questions ever.

4. Bond Breaking In DNA: Solid DNA MCAT question that served as a refresher for many.

5. Sodium Ion Movement: The first biology question ever posted on MCAT Question of the Day, along with being one of the most answered.


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That wraps up our list! We’ll be doing a list for the 5 most popular MCAT Chemistry and MCAT Physics questions soon, so keep an eye out. In the meantime, feel free to follow MCAT Question of the Day on Twitter or on Facebook.

Photo attributed to Shorts and Longs | The Both And.