"An Unconventional Guide to the MCAT in 20 Days

"An Unconventional Guide to the MCAT in 20 Days

Welcome to "An Unconventional Guide to the MCAT in 20 Days"! If you're a prospective medical student on the journey to becoming a doctor, you're probably familiar with the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). It's a crucial step in the application process, as it assesses your knowledge and critical thinking abilities in various scientific disciplines. While conventional wisdom suggests dedicating months to prepare for the MCAT, we believe in challenging the norm and embracing a different approach.

This guide is designed for those who find themselves with a limited timeframe of just 20 days to prepare for the MCAT. Whether it's due to unforeseen circumstances, time constraints, or a change of plans, we understand that life doesn't always go according to our meticulously crafted study schedules. That's why we're here to offer you an unconventional, accelerated path to success.

In this guide, we'll provide you with a strategic roadmap to maximize your studying efficiency and optimize your chances of achieving a competitive score. We'll share tips, techniques, and resources specifically tailored for a condensed study period, allowing you to make the most of every minute you invest in your MCAT preparation.

We recognize that this unconventional approach may not be for everyone, and we encourage you to evaluate your own strengths, weaknesses, and commitment level before embarking on this intense study plan. However, if you're up for the challenge and ready to dedicate yourself to a focused and efficient study routine, we believe that you can achieve remarkable results in just 20 days.

So, buckle up and get ready to dive headfirst into this accelerated MCAT preparation journey. Let's break the mold, challenge the conventional, and show that with the right mindset and determination, you can conquer the MCAT in record time. Get ready to unleash your full potential and embark on a transformative adventure toward your medical career. The next 20 days are about to change your life.

This guide will be divided into two sections: Resources, test preparation, and building stamina are listed in I.

Resources and test preparation I

I used the following sources during the course of the 20 days:

Kaplan Biology and Biochemistry; The Berkeley Review (TBR) General Chemistry I and II, Organic Chemistry I and II, and Physics I and II. I utilised Cubene's P/S Anki deck along with a great guide  for P/S .

The most crucial element is the  MCAT Review Sheets, These sheets, together with UEarth, were unquestionably the most crucial resources I employed because I could easily use them to fast examine a number of ideas without having to open my web browser or content review books. Actually, I printed them all out and spiral-bound them.

Practise material includes: UEarth, CARS QPack 1 and 2, Section Bank, all 5 AAMC FLs, all 10 ALT FLs, and UEarth.

How I applied these resources:

Phase of Content Review (first 10 days): 16 hours per day

Below I'll include the schedule I adhered to, but first, a summary of how I applied the materials:

TBR: I browsed the chapters fast and completed the practise problems within each one to make sure I got the main ideas, but I didn't bother to do the 25 Q exams at the end of each chapter. With the exception of the BIO chapters on Ch. 5 Hormonal System, Ch. 8 Immune System, Ch. 9 Digestive System, Ch. 10 Excretory System, and Ch. 12 Genetics and Evolution, I read the chapter summaries (not the actual chapters) of all the Bio and BC chapters. I also read the BC chapters on Ch. 3 Nonenzymatic Protein Function, Ch. 6 DNA and Biotech, Ch. 7 RNA and Genetic Code, Ch. 9 Metabolism I - Ana I also completed all 15 of the multiple-choice questions at the end of each chapter to make sure I had a basic comprehension of the subject. P.S. I only actively read and annotated through the u/gal's guide (30 pages a day for the first five days to cover all the material, superficially), then I switched to UEarth for those days. I didn't really use Cubene's Anki deck in the way that Anki is supposed to be used. I simply rote-memorized whatever I could by reading through all of the flashcards in a given section deck (about 100–150 cards per day). One result of reading a P/S document in its entirety (such as the guide mentioned above by u/gal or the 100 or 300 page K/A document) is that you may only retain 60 to 70 percent of the information after doing so, and you may struggle to connect ideas (or recognise how various theories relate to one another). UEarth: After finishing a planned section or two (see 20-day breakdown below), I would immediately go to UEarth and just start practising (untimed) with the relevant content. Depending on how many Qs UEarth allocated to that particular subject, I would try to aim to complete anywhere between 20 and 40 Qs. You can do this in UEarth, by the way. If I couldn't find any relevant questions in a particular practise test (the 59 maximum Q set), I would pause the current test, note what kind of material was on that specific test for future reference, and then I would just start a new 59 Q test in hopes of finding the pertinent questions. The depth of the topic must be adequately exposed for You can do this in UEarth, by the way. If I couldn't find any relevant questions in a particular practise test (the 59 maximum Q set), I would pause the current test, note what kind of material was on that specific test for future reference, and then I would just start a new 59 Q test in hopes of finding the pertinent questions. I completed all 1,750 non-CARS questions in order to gain a solid understanding of the breadth of the material that candidates must be familiar with for the exam. I also took sure to carefully study and comprehend the explanations for any "hard" questions or ideas. The objective was to complete 170 Non-CARS UEarth Questions per day, which typically included of 5–6 sections from the C/P, B/B, and P/S. MCAT Study Guides: These are incredible. tidy, effective, and suitable for students. Before I went to bed at night, I would check a few chapter summaries that I had read the night before (while I was bike, of course). This would be open in front of me as I was working on UEarth, allowing me to annotate or add anything significant that wasn't covered in the sheets in the whitespace. I strongly advise doing this when doing UEarth. In these sheets, I completely disregarded PS. VEHICLES: No tips: I just concentrated on staying alert throughout CARS by using a number of strategies, including: (1) meditation (at least twice a day for 30 minutes each (morning/evening)), (2) sitting up straight when reading, (3) making sure I was properly energised (caffeine + L-theanine), and (4) getting at least 6 hours of sleep per night. I completed roughly 30-35 UEarth CARS Qs (timed) the first 10 days, just after a brief bike ride and a chilly shower. In the previous ten days, I kept up this practise by going into the AAMC materials. Practise Phase: 15 to 16 hours each day (Last 10 days).

I would begin with the SB and try to finish it in a day or two at most. To me, untimed is acceptable. If you're in a tremendous hurry, you can skip P/S SB.

The "Exams": In addition to the FLs, I learned from prior thoughts on this topic that the C/P and B/B parts in the 10 ALT examinations very well represented the actual MCAT sections in terms of SB-like difficulty (apparently, their CARS and PS sections are not as good). I purchased all 10 FLs from ALT and all 5 FLs from AAMC. Because I prioritized covering as much ground with SB-like, challenging material across the entire AAMC, I didn't take any true timed, full FLs. 

Here is the strategy I used to cover the C/P and B/B material from all 15 of these exams in about 5 days:

C/P and B/B: I first did all the sections from all 5 FLs before the 10 ALT exams (personally, I don’t think it matters the order. They are similar enough). I personally didn’t spend time doing the entire section. On every B/B and C/P exam section, I noticed that there are about 10-15 Qs that are easy ten-second “gimme” questions. Another 10-15 Qs would be the type where you would look at the question and your brain can instantly arrive at a strategy for solving it. For example, calculating current in a wire or the catalytic efficiency of an enzyme, etc. Once you do enough of these types of questions several times (via UEarth content review), you don’t really learn much by doing them further on, since its always the same exact solution strategy. I personally didn’t bother with these questions too much for the purpose of having more time to dedicate to the “hard” questions and cover more overall ground in the limited time I had. How to identify what is hard vs. easy? The way I personally did it was just following my emotions. If I were to glance at a passage and then at the corresponding questions, did I feel any “visceral” fear in this process? It seems a bit silly, but I think we all are familiar with this. Sometimes, we look at certain passages, such as those with intricate orgo mechanisms or those that discuss a billion different bullshit inhibitors/activators, and we go “Oh shit…”. These were the passages I specifically targeted and timed myself when attempting (10 mins/passage). Usually, there are about 2-3 of these per C/P and B/B test, and these would be the only ones I did during practice for each section, in addition to any “hard-looking” discretes. For all other questions (the “easy”/ “medium” ones), I just looked at the answers and made sure my original thought process aligned with what the solution stated. 

P/S: Since the last time I took psych was in 11th grade, I fully did all 5 of these sections in the AAMC FLs (not ALT) just to make sure I was fully comfortable with the material. I made sure to thoroughly review all the terms (familiar and unfamiliar) on each exam and understand the basic experimental methodology.

CARS: Did about 35-40 CARS Qs/day in QPacks 1 and 2 (timed). After finishing the QPacks, I did the individual AAMC FL CARS every day (skipped the sample) (1 53 Q - section per day, leading up to my exam). Like I said earlier, my review process was total garbage. I pretty much would just look at what I got wrong and think of an excuse for why I got it wrong (lol).

Day before the exam/day of the exam: I just crammed a lot of low-yield material - (PSY: e.g. types of toddler attachment, stages of grief / O Chem: IR and NMR / BC: Metabolic structures)

I highly recommend not studying the day of the exam - this was a mistake I made :(

II. Developing stamina

The schedule (posted below) is intense as hell and requires about 15-16 hrs of studying per day. To do it, I needed to exercise 30 min/day (studied content during this time haha) and sleep a minimum of 6 hrs/day. For actually studying, I utilized a modified Pomodoro technique, where I would study in 45-minute intervals undistracted, and take a 5-minute study break afterward, which usually involved doing pushups, crunches, jumping jacks, etc. to get my blood flowing and keep me energized for the next 45-minutes. Occasionally, I would take a 15 min power nap (if I’m at home) or just meditate with my eyes closed (if I’m at work). If you can work up to studying for 15-16 hrs/day (or have done so in the past), a 5-7 hr MCAT exam will feel like a breeze (assuming you’ve been properly timing yourself on the “hard” passages/questions).

Caffeine is basically holy water. I religiously used about 600 mg of caffeine paired with 1200 mg of L-theanine throughout the day to stay awake and made sure to drink about 3 L of water daily with electrolytes (this is key). I also made sure to get my servings of veggies by drinking two cans of V8 veggie juice lol. Aside from this, my diet was absolute trash (Pillsbury toaster pastries 24/7).  

Good luck to anyone who decides to follow this guide in the future. I would say that to do it successfully you need a few things: (1) Free time, (2) solid scientific foundation/intuition coming into prep, and (3) stubbornness (the good kind).



(1) TBR can easily be swapped with Kaplan or EK (I just had TBR available). I wasn't particularly a fan of TBR :/

(2) Once I ran out of UWorld CARS Qs (Day 9 or 10), I switched to PR Hyperlearning Verbal Workbook for further practice.

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