MBA 11 or 13" for MCAT study and will I need iPad?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by butters149, Jul 23, 2011.

  1. butters149 macrumors 6502

    Dec 22, 2009

    I am planning to study for the MCAT in the spring of 2012 and was wondering what would be better? An 11" or a 13" also I was wondering if I would still need my ipad 2?

    I mainly use it for reading, and I was wondering if Inkling app is available on the Mac App store for OSX? I plan to buy my textbooks from them, but they are only available for the iPad. Ideally I would only want one machine to carry around.
  2. granny shifter macrumors member

    Aug 6, 2008
    I used my 13 inch pro for hours of reading and doing practice problems. My brother is currently taking the MCAT and uses his 15 inch pro and iPad occasionally for some of my old PDF's I used. Honestly, for the hours you will be putting in, a larger screen would be better for reading. I used a lot of actual books as well.
  3. Obscurelight macrumors 6502

    Jul 22, 2011
    I'm a student as well. Inkling is not on the Mac App Store as far as I can tell. You can still keep your iPad as a e-reader/internet browser while lying/sitting down. I find it much easier to read off the iPad since I can hold it up with my hands, whereas with a laptop I'll tend to put on a table or my lap. I have an iMac, iPad, iPhone, and MBP which all gets used and a new MBA on the way.

    I would suggest the 13" if you plan to use it for school due to better battery life and bigger screen. Of course you can ditch the iPad altogether unless you buy your textbooks to store on it. However I'm sure that iPad + MBA will still be lighter and more efficient than MBA + Textbooks. (I should know. :p)
  4. vegtro macrumors newbie

    Jun 26, 2010
    When I was studying for my GMAT, I prefer old fashion books. It's just easier to read and write quick notes on. I didn't use the computer that much unless it's to practice online tests. Plus computers are too much of a distraction when studying.
  5. MXSkier62 macrumors regular

    Dec 4, 2006
    For the mcat use the Kaplan review books, or some other company but I recommend them, and then do as many online tests as you can. For that, a 13 inch screen is fine, but the closer to test day you get you will start to want to move toward a desktop with around a 20in screen. That's what you'll have on test day.

    Use review books and do every single online aamc exam you can do. But don't touch those until the last 2 months before the test except for the beginning. If you can, take a review course. What computer you use doesn't matter.
  6. dasartis macrumors newbie

    Jul 23, 2011
    Hi Butters,

    I just finished studying for boards, and I remember the trek of studying for MCATs and the following exams. I wish you luck!

    I have the 2010 13" air and iPad 2, and I found that the iPad 2 was more handy when it came to reviewing and accessing information. I carried it with me wherever I went in a folio case so it simply looked like a leather business notebook in professional settings. I was also less prone to getting distracted since it's a bit more work to switch between applications on the iPad. The battery life on the iPad also made it a lot easier to use it throughout the entire day without having to plug myself in or miss out on studying if I were being a bit more productive. With Goodreader and an office app, I was able to do most of my annotations and searches.

    I can't answer your question about inking, but my advice would to get or keep the device that will let you study as much as possible throughout the day or whenever you have some free time. Battery life of the 13" is longer, but the 11" is more portable. If you can keep the 13" around you as easily as the 11", then go for the one with higher battery life. Good luck with your decision!

  7. DrRossMCAT macrumors newbie

    Nov 14, 2011
    MCAT Tutoring

    Have you started with a private tutor yet? I'd be happy to have a free demonstration of MCAT strategy with you.

    E-mail me at

    Good luck!

    Dr. Ross

    Dr. Ross MCAT
  8. heesey1010 macrumors member

    Jan 6, 2006
    First of all, best of luck on your MCAT studies. The MCAT's no easy beast, that's for sure, but with the right amount of preparation (and also making sure to take some time for relaxation) you'll do great.

    I'm gonna say 13" or, if you have an existing laptop, just get an external monitor (if you plan on studying in an apartment/dorm/not in the library). There are two reasons for this: bigger screen size = more material on screen but also it will emulate test day conditions better.

    You might not thinking emulating test conditions matters, but trust me it does. Taking a Kaplan Full-Length test or an AAMC practice test would be very difficult on an 11.6" screen, so you might create some confounding variables when trying to take your test. the air 13" would do better because of it's big screen AND better resolution though. I mean, we could go on and on about how nitpicky you must be to emulate test conditions, but at the very least the 13" screen will help much more than the 11.6.

    As for the iPad...if you're taking a Kaplan course, everything's flash-based, so the iPad won't do you any good. But an iPad may serve your various study needs on-the-go such as quick flash cards or other review material. In addition, I know for a fact that Kaplan does offer review books on iBooks/Amazon Kindle, so that should help too.

    Hope that helps! Best of luck!
  9. blkrazr-x1, Nov 15, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2011

    blkrazr-x1 macrumors member


    Nov 15, 2011
    Currently in RN school and will graduate in May. Right now, I'm using a MBP 13". I tried the iPad and although it was portable for class and what not, I still preferred the MBP for reviewing questions.

    I'm like one of the posters above though, I learn better if I handwrite notes though. To each his own.....

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