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30+ MCAT Study Habits- The CBT Version

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by omegaxx, 02.18.07.

  1. RockyMD

    RockyMD Guest

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    well said! during the test, i really had to force myself in between sections to just forget about the previous section. there are def a lot of folks who hold onto mistakes and can't move on from them.
  2. RockyMD

    RockyMD Guest

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    I'm psyched that I can finallllly post here :love: Here goes..

    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    PS=11 VR=10 BS=11 Composite= 32M

    2) The study method used for each section
    Bio: I used Kaplan and I started reviewing Bio 8 months in advance (not hardcore or anything, but just to get a head start).
    Physics and Chem: Used EK mostly and Kaplan to suplement EK.
    Ochem: I used Kaplan at first. And then, I realized that Kaplan's orgo was overkill so I switched to EK which honestly covers everything you need to know. You will most likely not need to know specific reactions (Wittig, etc). Most of what you need to know is in the passage..

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)
    Kaplan Course (which included AAMC and Kap FLs) and EK books (I got the 1001 series for Chem and Bio) The chem one was really useful bc I didn't remember a whole lot of Chem...I didn't really use the Bio book.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    Kaplan FL 1-9 i believe. didn't do 10 or 11 bc i heard they were killers.
    I did all the AAMCs as well. My real score was higher than any AAMC practice test I took ( I peaked at 30 for those). My real score was what I was getting on Kaplan FLs because their curves are nicer :)

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    English

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    Verbal is hard. Don't ignore it! I suggest EK's 101 Verbal book. Even though the book's verbal tests are 80 minutes and 60 q (as opposed to the current 60 minutes and 40 q), it was still good practice. Also, do a lot of practice tests and go back to see why you got something wrong. And finally, don't stress out about the test like I did. If you put in a good effort, you won't be disappointed by your score.:)

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    I started really studying starting in October, I'd say. About 6 hours a week for 4 months. And then, starting January, I went more hardcore and started studying 15 hours/ week. I did more and more until one week before the test. At that point, I couldn't look at the review books anymore...
  3. patelakshar

    patelakshar Member

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    .
    Last edited: 02.04.10
  4. RugbySoldier

    RugbySoldier

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    I am a bit behind on the MCAT or exam lingo being an ol'fart, but exactly do people mean when they say "map" a question.

    Much Obliged:thumbup:
  5. bruinhd

    bruinhd

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    edit
    Last edited: 10.16.10
  6. Muffinpuff

    Muffinpuff

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    1) Your individual scores and composite score

    11VR 11BS 14PS Total 36R

    2) The study method used for each section

    Just took notes on concepts for physical sciences, practiced book examples, didn't even bother doing the homework. Used only aamc tests and barely did any other outside homework. The 8 practice tests were practice enough.

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)

    EK-verbal and O chem
    TPR-physical sciences
    Kaplan-Bio
    Writing- 2 hrs talking to my dad the night before (he watches TV all day long) Also, I've been an obsessive Times magazine and CNN reader since high school.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?

    AAMC only

    5) What was your undergraduate major?

    Biology

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?

    Never let your perceived performance on one section screw up your focus on the following sections. I felt like crap after the PS and that was the first section of the day and look what happened!

    I hear all the time about people getting so frustrated with the PR or EK or Kaplan practice tests scores, either they score too high or too low. My advice is to stick with only AAMC tests and look at your mistakes and not just brush them off. My PR practice verbal was a disaster, but for some reason my actual verbal was a 11. My EK verbal was around 11. So don't freak out unless you're doing horribly on the AAMC practices. Actually, don't freak out at all, it's just a test.

    Also, any test prep companies that tells you to rank passages or skip a couple, don't listen to them, you don't have time to do it on the actual exam and also, you can't tell the difficulty of the passage by glancing at it. Some of the hardest passages had the easiest questions and vice versa.


    For Bio, don't focus on the details, just the overall schematic.
    O chem, know a few major reactions, my test had one o chem passage. Know the experimental chapter cold!

    Chem and Physics, just do some practice for every concept, know how it's applied and know ALL of your formulas!

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?

    Mid March to May 31st test. 4-6hrs a day.
    Last edited: 07.03.08
  7. exi

    exi EM, home of the cool kids

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    ^ What he said. I also landed a 25 on my second take (surprised the hell out of me, might I add), and I refuse to let that keep me out of MD programs despite being told that I had no chance at getting into them by a few people, including a couple of posters in this thread. Screw that. And no, I'm not applying to DO schools.
  8. PremedIowa

    PremedIowa

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    1) Your individual scores and composite score

    14VR 15BS 13PS Total 42S

    2) The study method used for each section

    Took a Kaplan class and did all the book stuff. Ignored all of their online quizes and whatnot.
    Did not practice a single writing passage.

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)

    Kaplan books and class

    4) Which practice tests did you use?

    All 8 AAMC, 5 Kaplan tests

    5) What was your undergraduate major?

    Biology

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?

    Keep taking a single practice test every week for about 10 weeks before the test. Start immediately-it is not necessary to know the all the concepts before you expose yourself to practice tests.

    Also, get used to waking up at the expected time before test day. I started waking up early 3 days in advance and woke up a full 2 hours before the test in order to take my time in the morning. Eat a good breakfast, drink coffee if that is what you normally do, and have snacks packed. Get in the zone and above all BE CONFIDENT.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?

    Mid January to April 5th. Study enough so you peak just in time for the test and do not go overboard. One test a week, every week.
  9. arangatan

    arangatan New Member

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    congrats on your score! what were your practice scores?
  10. dingyibvs

    dingyibvs Psych!

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    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    PS=14 VR=12 WS=R BS=15 Composite=41R

    2) The study method used for each section

    Overall: My experience overall is very similar to matches'. I didn't take any courses, as I didn't think classes were very helpful. I'm not crazy about the Kaplan books either, as they're not specific enough. I used mainly the EK1001's for practice and Kaplan's book to get a general idea. Like him, I kept a "lesson learned" word document for bio, and a similar hand-written noteset for orgo. I didn't go over those notes that much, actually, but just writing them down helped a lot.

    Physical Sciences: Like matches, PS was usually my best section. I get 14's and 15's usually. I'm an engineering major, so I didn't really need to study physics except for a few hours of review a couple days before the test. For inorganic chemistry, I basically did a boatload of EK1001 questions.

    Verbal Reasoning: I found that practicing will help you find some good techniques and is also good for time management, but aside from that, there is very little you can improve on this section.

    Biological Sciences: Kinda like matches with his VR section, I have no idea how I got a 15 here. I usually get 11-13 in my practices, and I don't think I ever averaged less than 2 questions wrong per passage in the EK1001 books. I did all 1001 questions for the orgo section after I reviewed using Kaplan's book. I reviewed also with the Kaplan book for the bio section then did about half of the EK1001 questions. One thing about EK1001 bio is that it's a lot harder than the actual MCAT. So don't get discouraged if you have a hard time with them.


    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    Kaplan(2 tests, don't remember the scores, high 30's) and AAMC(2 tests, 36, 39). My first diagnostic was from Princeton Review, got a 32, don't remember the specifics.

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    Electrical Engineering, but I took quite a few science courses.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    I took it twice. The first time I took it(35N), I studied on and off the year before. I kind of just wanted a feel for the MCAT, so I didn't really study hardcore except maybe 3-4 days before it. The second time I took it, I studied 7 hrs/day for 1 month prior to the exam.
  11. PremedIowa

    PremedIowa

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    33 diagnostic, then gradually moved up in scores. Highest practice test was a 39, but I set myself up so I would peak right at the test. Luck helps too.
  12. Ido

    Ido

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    That's awesome, but how does one possibly know that one "peak[ed] right at the test?" What if another week of studying would've added a couple of points. Is there any way to gauge this?
  13. maxim3L

    maxim3L Kobe!

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    Thanks for taking the time to be so detailed in sharing this with us. Very self-less of you. I particularly liked your advice for cracking "formula re-arrangement" problems - those ALWAYS get me. Much thanks.
  14. UVAbme2009

    UVAbme2009

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    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    PS=9 VR=10 WS=M BS=11 Composite=30M

    2) The study method used for each section
    PS&BS: I used Kaplan's comprehensive review book for both. I made note cards for all equations and also for every piece of information there was in bio. I studied those every day once I had gone through a complete review of everything. I also used EK1001 gen chem, physics, and bio. But I wouldn't say those were really helpful.
    VR: EK101 and read long newspaper articles online. I have a harder time focusing on a screen than on paper. I just picked out the most boring looking articles (Opinion section of Wash Post) and read them.
    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)
    Kaplan, EK, and AAMC

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    AAMC 3-10 and also the Kaplan test that come with the comprehensive review book.

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    Biomedical engineering

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    Just study as hard as you can, but don't overdo it. I studied between 5-6 hours every day for a month. When I wasn't studying I was either exercising or playing video games. I probably spent more time playing video games than studying!

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    4 weeks. I had planned on studying longer, but my spring semester was more work than I anticipated. I started studying the day after my final exam which was May 10th, and I took the test on June 13th.
    Last edited: 07.16.08
  15. eponymous47

    eponymous47

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    hurray, i get to join the 30+ club! your advice helped me a ton, so i'll contribute mine as well for future takers.


    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    PS=11 VR=10 WS=Q BS=12 Composite=33Q

    2) The study method used for each section
    PS: Took required physics courses. Reviewed using AAMC tests as diagnostics and learning from mistakes.
    BS: Took required bio courses, plus biochem, anatomy, and physio (helps a TON). Same thing with AAMC practices
    VR: Yeah, just practiced with the AAMC stuff... helps to be in a major that requires a lot of reading comprehension though; I presume English would be fantastic for that, but Public Health is darn good too. edit: wait, I lied! I used an EK method. Take a deep breath, focus your eyes on a distant point, clear your mind for 5 whole seconds between passages. Best advice EVER (for me at least). If you're thinking about Aristotle still when you're reading the next passage on Drosophila, you won't understand anything and have to reread. ALSO: don't skip around!! that takes time, and you have no way of telling which easy and which are difficult. Sometimes, the philosophy passage can be cake! Don't psyche yourself out.
    WS: How can you study for this, you ask? Eh, I just practice-wrote the essays on the AAMC site, hoping they were good enough. Guess they were. Neat. My main point of advice here would be to have a bank of examples you can use for certain situations... there's a great post somewhere in this forum with a few examples, i.e. Nelson Mandela, Qin Shi HuangDi (which I totally used on the real thing, thanks to whomever posted that), FDR's New Deal & WWII pulling the US out of the depression, etc. If you have concrete examples in your head already for lots of situations, then you won't have to worry so much about coming up with one on the spot.

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)
    Just AAMC and a Barron's book that I do NOT recommend... it focused on all the bio I already knew and none of the electrochem that I did not.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    AAMC 10, then 3, then 9. My scores were: 31, 31, 33.

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    ...Public Health.

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    Don't be afraid of the MCAT!! Be confident, have someone encourage you. Also, don't feel like you need to take a course to succeed, that just feeds the beast that is Kaplan. If you've taken the requisite courses, 2 semesters physics/bio/ochem, 1 semester gchem, etc., you're fine! However, I had biochem, anatomy, & physio under my belt too, and believe me, those helped a lot for some of the bio passages. Know what formulas you need to know, and those you don't. There are a TON you don't. (and a ton you do, so make sure you know em!) Also, the part that slowed me down the most, by far, was my own inability to do basic arithmetic, apparently. Not really, but you know, dividing scientific notations can be tricky if you haven't done it for years. Review how to figure out, in your head, how to multiply 3.4*10^4 and 20.2*10^-6. Do you add the exponents, divide, multiply, what? You may think it's easy now, but on the test... you'll second-guess yourself, guaranteed. Be careful, but be confident.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    0-2 hours/day for about 4 weeks. Most days maybe 1 hour. Take breaks!! I'm not good at using notecards, but I hear they help. But seriously, take breaks from studying. Don't cram the night before, you'll just make yourself relearn something you already know, most likely incorrectly. Go see a movie, hang out with friends, passively study by annoying your friends with lame acronyms like RED CAT and AN OX, etc. Above all, study until you've covered all the sections, but don't fret about too specific of details. You need to know the relationship of pKa to pH, but don't memorize a pKa table. Know electronegativity trends, don't memorize the numbers. Et cetera.


    so much good luck to you all.
    Last edited: 07.15.08
  16. Kaustikos

    Kaustikos Klassy Gentleman

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    I'll just input that I will definitely be adding to this section. Seems to have very few non-traditional mcat takers and I think mine would add a lot to this section. Check back over the week, if you care that is.:laugh:
  17. lainapox

    lainapox A little crazypants

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    1) Your individual scores and composite score:
    PS:12, VS:11, BS:13, W:S = 36S

    2) The study method used for each section
    Ordered AudioLearn MCAT tapes ($70 or something) and listened to them in my car (passive learning). That did a tiny, itty-bitty amount.
    I studies for 3 weeks before the exam (well, more like 2 because I got my wisdom teeth out right in the middle of that time-frame and was pretty much incapacitated due to drugs). I started by going over every concept on the exam in one of those review books (I think I used a PR book, which I didn't actually buy, but read at Barnes&Noble), and seeing where I needed help. Then, I used more books at Barnes&Noble to learn the things I didn't know, and then used various online sources (like MCATPearls, which is absolutely amazing) to brush up throughout the time period. After 3-ish days of initial studying, I took a practice test (official AAMC practice test) to locate more problem areas. Then I just alternated between reading/explaining (through writing in a notebook) various topics and taking practice tests. I didn't study for VR at all.
    I concentrated on studying why things happened, rather than what things happened (ex: why things are more reactive than other things, what the relationships are between various physical properties [like force, mass, radius, torqe, etc]) so as to be better able to deal with new topics on the actual MCAT.

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)
    Studied books in Barnes&Noble (but didn't actually buy them). Bought 1 PR book (probably $40), the AudioLearn mp3s ($70), internet at Barnes&Noble and Starbucks (about $80), and AAMC practice tests ($140 through my school) so a total of ~$430 was spent (taking into account the food I bought each day while studying) on this study-fest.
    YOU DON'T NEED TO BUY EXPENSIVE THINGS!! If you go to a book store, bring your own notebook to write in (so you don't have to write in the study books), you'll be fine! Just make sure to spent a bit of money each day (I spent it on coffee/food at the B&N cafe) so they won't have a reason to kick you out for not buying anything :p

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    AAMC only

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    Molecular Biology & Biochemistry (MB&B) and Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality studies (FGSS)

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    Stop memorizing things, seriously. Learn how and why things (things being concepts, objects, molecule types, functional groups, etc) work the way they do and what changes the way they work (and how changing their conditions changes the way they work), and you'll be fine. An example I like to use is orgo - learn WHY the carboxylic acid derivatives are their relative reactivities - WHAT makes an acid chloride more reactive than everything else? What are the relative stabilities of these things when dissociated? How can you USE that to figure things out? Learn the principles behind concepts, not the concepts themselves.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    About 2-2.5 weeks (4ish days studying, then got my wisdom teeth removed and was knocked out for 5-ish days, then more studying). I stopped studying the Wednesday before the exam (which was Friday morning at 8am) so as to be calm and clear-headed before the exam.
  18. stixx

    stixx

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    So I am not exactly fond of conventional test-prep. The whole devoting a few hours a day for 6 months of your life to one exam, spending $1500 on a course - it just seemed really unappealing to me. Instead I opted for the crash course month of 6-8 hour MCAT days. Given my kind of scattered prep I was entirely prepared to retake. I would suggest against my strategy for the one reason that you will sleep better the 30 nights following the exam if you know you did everything the "right" way. I'm only posting this because it would have been nice for me to read about someone really disorganized doing well back when I was studying. :thumbup:

    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    PS=11 VR=10 BS=13 Total=34Q

    2) The study method used for each section
    Physics/Organic/Chemistry - self taught using EK's 10 week program. I actually went through the 10 week cycle of reading and testing yourself about 4 times. The first time it took 2 weeks. Then I went through every lecture again in about a week. Then through every lecture 2 more times in 4 days. The last week I also added 1001 questions for the sections I was weak on.

    Biology - reading through the EK bio book. I had no idea how to study for this thing, I don't really remember studying at all. I remember thinking there was no possible way I could memorize everything that could be tested, so I went for general knowledge instead.

    VR - nothing. That could probably be inferred from the score. :thumbdown:

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)
    EK for everything.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    Only the AAMC practice exams. I was taking one every other day, and even twice daily in the run up to the exam.

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    Economics and Biomedical sciences.

    Now, in my opinion, formal background in the sciences is overrated. My chemistry background was....Chemistry AP. Yep, high school. 'Nuff said. Organic chemistry I had two semesters of in college ages ago. One of the most irritating pieces of advice I followed was to wait until I had a semester of physics before taking the MCAT. It seriously made no difference. The course I took had formula cheat sheets - MCAT is all about memorizing formulas. The course was all about understanding Physics - MCAT is about getting the right answer every time. what did help me was having a semester of Genetics right before MCAT season. That had nothing to do with me being al clever and reading on SDN that the MCAT was genetics-heavy this year. It had everything to do with the fact that course is a requirement for my major so I figured I might as well take it now. That alone explains away the 13 in bio. The only thing I would suggest for science majors is, if you have a lot of freedom in your degree program like I did, try to fit as many of those low level "peripheral" courses in the year you take the MCAT. Broadening your knowledge base is always good. E.g. I know someone who didn't even really have to read a couple of the PS passages because he had taken so many funky engineering courses.

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    Don't listen to what me or anyone else tells you. ;) Only YOU know what your learning style is.

    But, um, read a lot. I do anyway, whether it be newspapers, books, journals, whatever. But in the weeks before the MCAT I ran out of time. I definitely felt like my reading speed was lacking the day of the exam in verbal and that may have been it. It also relaxes you. There is nothing like whipping out a newspaper at the end of a long day.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    About 4 weeks of nothing but MCAT. My exams ended at the end of April, so my plan was to crank out the month of May and take it on May 27th. I got sick mid-May however which cost me about a week, so I postponed until June 13th. Timing is so important. Don't take it until you're ready, and make sure you peak at the right time. E.g. Here was my AAMC timeline:

    4: P7 V11 B10 - may 12
    5: P8 V11 B11 - may 31
    6: P10 V11 B8 - june 6
    7: P10 V10 B10 - june 8
    3 - retake: P11 V11 B8 - june 10
    8: P10 V12 B11 - june 11
    10: P12 V11 B11 - june 11

    Real thing: P11 V10 B13 - june 13th

    My scores didn't get into the range I wanted until 2 days before the exam. But that was because my studying schedule was so condensed that 2 days to me would be like 2 weeks to a normal person. If I had an extra week to study, could I have done better? I mean, my scores were going up and up right? Probably not. If I had studied even one more day at the pace I was going I don't think I would have made it through the exam. "Burn out" is real.

    In a perfect world I would say if you're not hitting your dream range 2 weeks before the exam (or whatever is the last date to cancel) postpone it.

    :luck:
    Last edited: 07.15.08
  19. thheflin

    thheflin

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    14 PS, 11 VR, 14 BS, O

    I took the MCAT in April and don't remember a single thing from it. If you want to study hard, get a good score, and forget the entire experience ever happened I suggest:

    Take an easy quarter/semester

    Take a Kaplan course that ends about 2 weeks before your test date.

    Treat this like a job and devoting 40 hours a week to this, on top of school.

    Taking a practice test every day till the day before the test (2 weeks after Kaplan class ends.)

    DO NOT use performance drugs like Adderral or Dex- they will just screw up your schedule and leave you feeling like you can't do this alone.

    Actually trust that bull**** that Kaplan feeds you and do it.

    I took a diagnostic and scored a 24, which means I went from the 35th percentile to the 99th in 3 months.

    PS- Don't take this test if you are not 100% sure you want to become a physician, and a good one at that.

    "Intelligence is not a privilege-- its a gift-- and you use it for the good of mankind" (Dr. Octavious, Spiderman 2- nerdy but true)
  20. Kaustikos

    Kaustikos Klassy Gentleman

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    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    PS = 10 V = 10 BS = 12 WS = Q (32Q)

    The study method used for each section
    Where do I begin? I have so many various methods that I tried.

    The first time I took the test I had to basically void it after months of prep and go on and take it in the summer. I hadn’t properly prepared and was bouncing off a seizure I had in the middle of my studying for the first MCAT. If you want to try and NOT care about testing/lose anxiety, try phenytoin mixed with lamictal. You won’t care about the test you’re taking. So, after finally taking it in the summer, I came back with a resoundingly sad 26O. I wasn’t willing to retake it again because I was too burned out and angered by the score. I needed a break and decided to just take a vacation from studying – too burned out. This was extremely helpful, despite what some people would believe. Trying to get everything in and done before X amount of time just caused extensive burn out (especially with trying to get that upward trend up that I had). So after graduating I basically left home and got a job/apartment and worked. After getting 2 jobs, 1 volunteer position and 1 year break from school, I thought about retaking the MCAT finally. I slowly opened the books at a local starbucks and started my way again. I had basically set up a schedule where I would study for 3 hours/day during the week and practice tests during the weekend. This was probably one of the hardest things I had ever accomplished. Working 2 jobs, volunteering AND studying. I didn’t think I was able to, but to test it out I decided on taking the AAMC 3 and seeing just how I was 1 month into it – 9, 10, 11. It was the catalyst I needed to basically jumpstart myself into this insane study mode for the next 2 months. Now, of course, studying evenings after working a job can cause some hiccups along the way (ie: falling asleep while taking verbal sections – HAPPENED FREQUENTLY) But in the end, I was showing improvements everywhere (Never below a 10 on PS, hitting 12/13 in BS) The method I used was practice tests and practice problems with constant application of what I knew into whatever situation I could come up (think endocrinology here). I was also using SDN to see how well I knew the material by trying to answer the questions people had. In the end, it came down to basically forcing myself to study 3-4 hours a night with 2 cups of coffee as best as I could.
    For PS – I just made sure I knew the concepts COLD. Practice problems and analysis of MCAT questions helped a lot. Even the Physics review on here helped a tremendous amount (thanks SDNers). It was just finding out the best material that could explain the concepts the best. In the end, EK helped a lot in explaining some of the physics. Kaplan and EK both helped in chemistry, but it was more or less figuring it out on my own with the help of some college textbooks AND an amazing equilibrium/acid base review book I found.
    VR – I can’t tell you what I did. I fell asleep during 3 of the tests! I know there are “methods”, but I couldn’t apply those methods successfully and was focused too much on my other scores to worry too much on this one.
    BS – Audio Osmosis whenever I was working and could listen to music. Exam Krackers for some of the microbiology and then Kaplan for the rest. The organic chemistry was just straight up redrawing EVERYTHING and knowing the mechanisms and reaction conditions. This is probably the easiest section to get and do well on, imo. People say physical sciences, but that requires a lot more knowledge and understanding of concepts than organic chemistry. This is the organic chemistry we pre-med/bio majors WISH we had.
    The biology was difficult to explain. I was so obdurately objective about studying genetics/evolution because of how much it bored it. But as I took more tests, I realized I was missing these questions more and more. Moral of the story? Even if you don’t like it – study it. Despite what the MCAT overview says or what people tell you, don’t take any of the big sections for granted. You may take practice tests and NOT see something, but don’t brush that section off entirely because of it.

    One thing that DID help – not going to Kaplan for their practice tests. In my honest opinion – the fact that they made it MORE difficult hindered me a lot. I suppose it was because I didn’t have the concepts down well enough and jumping into difficult questions that it amounted to a terrible mess. I won’t put down Kaplan’s method, but I will say that it did not work for me.
    Also – be wary about the free EK test that you get. That test also depressed me when I jumped back into things. Going from 11-12, 9-10, 12-13 to 9, 8, 9 basically took a lot of energy from me if it wasn’t for my already high momentum.

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)
    Kaplan, Exam Krackers and some old review books from college when I just couldn’t get a concept down. It never hurts!

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    AAMC 3-10


    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    Molecular and Cellular Biology
    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    It’s never too late and it’s always possible. I bounced from a 26 to a 32 and I can definitely say that it’s possible. Don’t give up and sometimes the best remedy to a problem is to just step back and take a breather. The year I spent working helped me out a lot. It cleared my mind and helped me regain focus and energy for the test and the next application cycle. My score may not be up to some of the excellent scores seen by some of the others (Vihsadas for one), but I can definitely relate to those who scored terribly on their first try. The point here is to not let it deter you. Learn from your mistakes and try again. Never give up.
    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    This one is tough to gauge. I started in March, I suppose. So approximately 2-3 months – studying 3 hours/day or 8 on weekends.

  21. Krisss17

    Krisss17

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    I wish there was a thank you option on the bottom of each post, because this was most definitely helpful. Thanks Vihsadas!

  22. NKat

    NKat

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    I know I'm at the low end of the spectrum here, but I was forced into sort of unusual study circumstances, and I know I'm not alone in that respect. What I did worked pretty well to get my score up fast, so it seems worth sharing.

    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    PS=11 VR=10 BS=10 31R

    2) The study method used for each section
    For BS and PS, I read the Kaplan and EK review books cover to cover and did lots of stand alone practice problems, individual timed sections from AAMC tests, and as many full lengths as I could fit in.
    For VR, I did a lot of practice sections and tried to use EK methods

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)
    Kaplan's online course (I used the books and the practice tests, but didn't have time to take the quizzes, watch the lectures, or pay any attention to the test-taking techniques) and EK

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    I did the first 3 full lengths in Kaplan's computer course and AAMC 3, 8-10, and sections of 7

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    Bio

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    My baseline score was a 24, and over the course of 3 weeks, I was able to bring that up to the 31 I got on the actual test. Things like this are entirely possible if you're dedicated to studying, particularly when your weaknesses lie in not knowing the material. I found it very useful to read the review books over a short period of time because then when something showed up in a passage that I didn't at least recognize, I knew the information needed must have been more basic than it appeared.

    The actual test feels harder than the practice tests, but the curve is your friend. Don't let yourself be intimidated by very difficult passages. My verbal score is lower than my average on practice tests because I was so discouraged by the PS section that I lost focus, yet PS ended up being my highest score. Also, have fun with the writing sample. Think of it as an hour long creative writing break to recharge you for the BS section. The only useful "technique" I got from Kaplan was a reminder that the writing sample doesn't have use real examples. You can make things up, so long as they're reasonable and support your argument. I had fun making up situations using my friends' names. It helped me relax and I did great on it.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    I stupidly took a really demanding semester right before the MCAT and ended up with only 3 weeks to study, during which I had to take several long (4-9 hour) car trips. I tried to study approximately 10-12 hours a day, but took breaks if I felt like I was burning out, and tried to get outside for at least an hour every day and watch several movies a week.
  23. ofoshoukno

    ofoshoukno Cram it up your cramhole

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    Impressive, studying that short, did you have any anxiety approaching the exam?

    btw did you use EK verbal 101 for practice?
  24. Kaustikos

    Kaustikos Klassy Gentleman

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    I just want to add that this is very true. I did feel the PS was insanely hard but I basically followed his advice and almost did a memory erase of that encounter to focus on my VR. It helped as it made the section appear alot easier (A 10 on a VR is an improvement to me, but not amazing by any standard).
    And, also, not trying to focus on any standards or strict format for the writing section DOES help. I did not study that section and improved vastly on that (Q, almost to you :smuggrin:) and just improvised on my examples.
  25. DEdm

    DEdm

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    .
    Last edited: 09.23.12
  26. qtMD

    qtMD

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    i'm sooo excited i can post here! and just fyi i took the may 27th test at noon

    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    PS=11 VR=10 WS=S BS=12 Composite=33S

    2) The study method used for each section

    This was my second time taking the test, first time I got a 30R. First time around I took the Princeton Review course and second time around I took the Kaplan 10 hour tutoring (basically because I got all of their test material)

    BS Bio: I went through and learned all of the Kaplan material first. And, I only took a couple diags until I had finished the material. Once I finished I went back through my old PR notes and the PR bio book and learned the things that Kaplan didn't go over.

    BS Orgo: Personally, I HATED the Kaplan's review of Orgo so I only went over my PR notes from the first time around. Then, when I had basically finished ALL of the material (including PS and VR) I went over things from the Kaplan books that repeatedly showed up on the diag orgo passages.

    PS: I reviewed the major concepts for each main topic and memorized the formulas until I had them down cold. But, the main thing that helped me in this section was doing review problems OVER and OVER. This is a pain in the a** but is the onlyyy thing that helped me raise my score. I got an 11 on the real test, but I was doing a lott better on diags usually getting a 12 or 13.

    VR: Honestly, I think you have to figure out your own strategy for this section. I ended up doing so many practice problems/diags that by the end of it I had figured out my own strategy that I'll state here. First, like Princeton tells you to do, I read the questions and jotted down a "word bank" that each question asked about. Then, I would go through and read the passage pretty thoroughly while underlining key words and circling words from the "word bank" so I could quickly find areas where questions answers would be. Also, I wrote a mini summary (could be a word or phrase) to tell me what each paragraph was about. This last bit isn't necessary, but I found it useful because I alwaysss forgot what I read. Then I would go and answer the questions...

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)

    Princeton and Kaplan for both BS and PS. MAJORLY used princeton for organic chemistry. Skimmed the VR sections in both but didn't find them useful.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    AAMC and Kaplan

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?

    Do not start taking a lot of diags until you have gone through alllll of the material! Once you've done this, start taking diags every couple of days and take the couple of days in between to review material you miss on the diags. This helps you realise what your week sections are and makes sure you're not reinforcing stuff you already know.

    Don't underestimate areas that you believe are "less likely" to show up on the mcat! I did this the first time around and was thrown off guard when these things did show up in a couple questions on the actual test.

    Practice makes perfect :)

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?

    First time, I took it in January and started the princeton prep course in October. I kept up with the work and did a little bit of review here and there. Then over Christmas break I started hardcore studying of about 7-8 hours a day(usually more) until classes started the second week of January. After that, reviewed and took a few diags and took the test on the 26th = got a 30R.

    Second time around, I started studying in Mid March and basically went through all the material first. So, taking notes, etc. along with passage problems whenever I could bare it with my other schoolwork. Once April started, I started 5-6 hours of studying. Then, a month before the test bck to 7-8 hours a day with tons of diags. Took the test on March 27th = got a 33S

    good luck guys!
  27. qtMD

    qtMD

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    also wanted to add some things

    1. my diag scores were up and down until about 1-2 weeks before my actual test date! In fact, the first time I took the test I didn't end up getting a 30 (what i got the first time) until three days before the test. So, even if you don't believe your diag scores are what you want on the actual day, keep trucking away and you might see a big turnaround just before the test. if worse comes to worse, you can always decide to postpone a couple days before :)

    2. always try to stay in good spirits during the actual test. the test will feel a lot harder than the diags you took and this can be incredibly draining. this was especially so for me since i HATE PS and having this section first made me freak out within the first half hour on the actual test date. i calmed down by keeping cool during the PS section and then took advantage of the break and ate chocolate during it :D... my point is, try your best to relax and, if needed, bring something along that will help lighten your mood during the breaks.

    k that's all, hope it helped!
  28. bindya84

    bindya84

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    hi by any chance would u recommend deferring the exam, if you def knew you wasnt ready for it?

    Do you defer through aamc.org?

    Thanks
  29. TheBoondocks

    TheBoondocks StreetFighter 4 Virtuoso

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    yes, there is a $50 charge. Don't take it if you're not ready.
  30. maxim3L

    maxim3L Kobe!

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    Everyone:

    for Verbal Reasoning, did you read the questions briefly before tackling the passage?
  31. lrkoehle

    lrkoehle

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    reading the questions first won't help you, because you will forget them while reading the passage. Just focus on reading and mapping, then handle the questions.
  32. supafield

    supafield Dream Big

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    Or you may look for one thing the whole passage and not really take it all in....
    I didn't use the strategy personally, I just read for main idea and then went at the questions.....

    however, never applying the strategy I guess I can't say for sure if it's bad or good.
  33. Vihsadas

    Vihsadas No summer Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor

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    nudge to top
  34. majahops

    majahops YOU are great.

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    NO NO NO NO NO! This is an idiotic way to go about it. Read the passage once through, without marking or highlighting. Then try to answer the questions... go back if/when absolutely necessary to get the right answer. period. simple.


  35. corduroy11

    corduroy11

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    1) Your individual scores and composite score:

    PS:10 BS:15 VR:11 WS:M Composite: 36M
    (Diagnostic: 7 PS, 9 BS, 7 VR)

    2) The study method used for each section

    PS:

    Never very good at chemistry and couldn't remember much of physics. I took the Kaplan course so I just read the course book and did the few practice questions at the end of each chapter. I did a lot of practice tests and used the tests to see what I didn't know...then I went back and re-read what I had gotten wrong.

    VR:

    Read up on EK's method and Kaplan's method. EK didn't really seem to have much except telling you to be confident and sit up straight...so I did that but also followed the Kaplan method of mapping the passages. Eventually learned to trust myself and not go back to the passages so much when I had to answer the questions. Even on the real thing, I did run out of time and didn't read the last passage. I used the Kaplan on-line practice tests, EK 101 passages, and Kaplan and AAMC full-lengths to practice. The key thing that brought me up from 8s was reading the web-based tutorials from Kaplan for Verbal Reasoning Section 2.

    BS:

    I only really needed to study the physiology and a bit of organic chem. Again, I read all of the course material from my Kaplan course and had the class time. I did the questions at the end of each chapter and memorized the hormones.

    WS:

    I don't know what happened. It would have been nice to be able to get essays marked properly when taking the Kaplan course. I was averaging 4s (according to my teacher) by using the Kaplan method.

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)

    -Kaplan course materials (books, note cards, some online tutorials, but did NOT use high-yield problem solving guide, Q bank, summary sheets)
    -ExamKrackers Study Set (looked over a bit of each section, but did not use very much)
    -ExamKrackers 101 Verbal passages (did maybe four tests)

    4) Which practice tests did you use?

    I did 11 full-length tests...I made sure they were all done on-line

    2 diagnostics: 1 Kaplan, 1 TPR
    5 Kaplans (1-5, did initially, then AAMC ones after)
    AAMC (3, 8, 9, 10)
    AAMC PS section only (6, 7)

    The highest composite score I ever achieved was 34 on Kaplan full-lengths 4 & 5. I finished the Kaplan course 2 weeks before my exam and did practice tests about every other day in that time span.

    5) What was your undergraduate major?

    Microbiology

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?

    I heard practice tests were the way to study (rather than just reading the material). After doing my test, I really wished I had studied the PS material more, but after getting my scores back, I know my method of doing practice tests worked.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?

    ~7 weeks but the first 3 weeks were very slack and I just went to class. Only a month of hard core studying (~ 7 hours a day - no working) did it.
  36. mcant

    mcant

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    Well, I guess it's my turn!


    AVERAGE AAMC PRACTICE SCORES
    PS: 12
    VR: 10
    BS: 12

    ACTUAL MCAT SCORES
    PS: 12
    VR: 9
    BS: 13
    WS: O

    34O

    I took the Kaplan classroom course and would recommend it to anyone. My teacher was awesome and really tried to involve everyone in the class, which forced you to keep up to date with the material. Here's my section-by-section breakdown:

    PS: It's been echoed that it's better to understand the broad concepts rather than try to memorize. This works to a certain extent but PS required quite a bit of memorizing for me. Then again, I suck at remembering physics material so it might just be me. It took me a solid month of concentrating entirely on kaplan physics quizzes/section tests/course notes before I started cracking 11+ consistently on my practice exams. My problem wasn't so much comprehension, but remembering the relevant forumla. Chemistry has been my strong point since high school and I'm a Biochemistry major so I didn't need a lot of prep for gen chem. I was averaging 13's on my last few practice tests.

    VR: First off: thank the lord I never have to deal with this crap again. I wish I had advice to give you, but really, you have to figure it out for yourself. Kaplan's method sounds great on paper but you end up rushing through the questions because you spend all your time passage mapping. I didn't score that great so I don't think you guys should be listening to me anyways :laugh:

    WS: Oops. Don't know what happened, thought my essays were good. I addressed all the tasks (explanation, example, counter-example, determining factor) but obviously the markers disagreed. Oh well!

    BS: Kaplan's books rock. They prepared me extremely well for the bio section (I had never taken a physiology course prior to writing the MCAT so I needed some prep!). Basically all of the relevant bio is covered in their books, I memorized all the content from them. Like I said before chem is my strength so I didn't need much prep for O-Chem (I had just taken org2 and scored an A), but Kaplan's stuff was pretty solid prep.

    If I could give one word of advice it would be to not let yourselves burn out. Give yourself enough time to study so that if you're having a bad study day, you can just throw your book across the room and go watch TV. Make sure to throw in some fun activities or work-outs or something to stay sane!

    I started studying May 3rd (the same day Montreal was eliminated from the playoffs, which was just awesome...) and wrote July 18th. Good luck everyone!
  37. miiki21

    miiki21

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    It's been a couple months since my exam, but I'll contribute:

    1) Your individual scores and composite score:

    BS: 15 PS: 14 VR: 13 W: R Total: 42R
    Semi-diagnostic (I was already halfway done with studying): 35

    2) The study method used for each section

    For BS and PS: I went through the Examkrackers Biology and Kaplan Premier Program BS section at least 3 times each, since I hadn't previously taken a physiology course and was learning the material cold. I went through the Examkrackers PS and Kaplan PS sections probably 2 times each. Took really detailed notes each time I read through a section, since that's the only way I absorb information. This was done usually on select weekends and spring break during the Spring semester, and for a week at the beginning of summer. Then, for about the last 3 weeks, I started taking practice exams - I would take a couple, go over my wrong answers, analyze what aspects of the MCAT I was still weak at, take a day to review, and repeat. Towards the end, I wrote a huge list of every question I missed and what I could learn from it. I also went through a few of the problems in the Examkrackers books, but the bulk of the actual problems I took were from the practice exams. I think/reason fairly quickly, so my focus was on mastering the content.

    For VR: Honestly, I think this is one of those sections you need to prepare for months or even years ahead of time if you want to improve your score. I'm a pretty avid reader, and starting a year ago, really got into reading the New York Times daily (for general interest, not in preparation for the MCAT, but I think it did help), so I was scoring consistently in the 11, 12, 13s in my practice exams. Didn't really bother to analyze why I answered VR problems wrong, since I don't feel you really learn from the explanations.


    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)

    Used Examkrackers books first, but then switched to the Kaplan Premier Program book. The former is short, concise, and has nice pictures, but I feel the latter is better to start on since it's clearer and more organized, though also longer and drier to read. After going through Kaplan a couple times, I revisted Examkrackers, and thought it was an excellent review of the Kaplan material. I would definitely recommend using them together if you have the time.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?

    For practice exams, I went through all the Kaplan Full length exams (except 10 and 11, which are absolutely bogus) and all the AAMC cbt exams. The Kaplan exams were definitely more thought- and knowledge-intensive, and more accurately reflected the real exam. The AAMC tests (especially the first few) are ridiculously easy - I think the test has revolved over the years, and has become much more difficult.

    I also tried out the Examkrackers pratice test that came with the book set, but it was incredibly hard and gave me a score about 10 points lower than my average, so I wouldn't recommend it unless you have tons of time to spare (and can stay confident after getting a score like that! :( )

    5) What was your undergraduate major?

    Biochemistry and Economics

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?

    My exam date (June 13th) was ridiculously hard, and had about a million of concepts that I'd never read about, ever. In my practice exams, I was scoring anywhere from 33-40 (mostly 37s and 38s), but even then, a couple days before my score was released, I was making serious plans to retake the exam. Turns out, I did a lot better than I thought (I was SO shocked), so I guess my point is - just because you thought you did terribly doesn't mean you did. Just make sure to not freak out during the exam, stay focused, and don't take it with a defeatist mentality.

    I'd also definitely recommend experimenting with sleeping pills days before. I ended up not falling asleep until 4 AM, but was too scared to take any pills lest I be really drowsy during the exam.

    And of course - there's a lot out there about how impossible it is to do well on this exam, but the fact is that you really have to study. I started off slow, but really pushed myself to focus, and now that I think back, I spent at least 300, maybe 350 hours studying (Do your studying in the library and away from your laptop/computer so that you're not being distracted all the time). That doesn't guarantee you a really high score (I think there IS some luck involved with that), but it should definitely put you above the 30 mark.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?

    Whoops. Just answered that in the previous question. About 350 hours, I think (This includes times spent on practice exams).

    Good luck!! Feel free to PM me if you have any questions. :thumbup:
    Last edited: 08.18.08
  38. tco

    tco

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    1) Your individual scores and composite score:

    PS:12 BS:11 VR:10 WS:O Composite: 33O

    2) The study method used for each section

    I did most of the Examcrackers study course through their Complete Study Guide and 1001 question series. I didn't finish EM or even start optics in PS, however. If you want to work most of the problems and read every section, give yourself at least 12 weeks.

    My routine was basically the same for all sections.

    PS:
    Read EK lecture. Worked problems. Any problems that I missed, I would go back and try to understand if it was a stupid mistake or I didn't understand the science. If I didn't understand the science, I would re-read the section and re-take the end of lecture exam. Then, I would do all of the problems that I missed over again. Rinse and repeat.

    VR:
    I'm still not that great with VR, but I tried to blend EK's method with my own. I used the main idea and key points in the question bank with looking back to the passage (not too often!) to score a 10. I'm satisfied.

    As far as preparing, when I first got the complete study package, the 101 verbal book was being finished. So, I read over the verbal strategies book many times (it's very small). When I received the 101 verbal book (had about a month until the test), I completed a test every other day, and did a short analysis of the previous test on my days off. Honestly, if I was lucky, I would analyze one or two passages before I was bored out of my mind. I never completed the analysis on a single test.
    BS:

    I found the bio 1001 book completely useless. I hated reading questions that had very little to do with the passages, so I quit using it after about 2 weeks. Many people swear by this book, however, so if you want to try it, I wouldn't tell you not to.

    My routine was the same as the one I used for PS, except I obviously didn't work problems.

    I killed my organic class, and just had it last year, so I didn't look over it until a few days before my exam. I worked every other problem in the 1001 question book. It only took me 5 or 6 hours...So, if you're comfortable with your organic, you don't need to kill yourself over it.

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)

    EK everything. Audio osmosis as well. I would listen to AO if I needed a quick review of something I couldn't quite remember.
    AudioLearn MCAT - Same deal as AO except more conscise
    Kaplan Premier 2008 - Found it to be nearly worthless, but would use it to suppliment my EK program if I needed details.
    Textbooks - details
    Only took 3 or 4 AAMC exams. That's probably the biggest mistake of my studying. I wish I had taken more time to study (did it during a full-time internship) and had taken more exams.


    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    AAMC

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    Biology

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    Relax. You're going to think you did awful on it, and you might have, but if you're on SDN, chances are you'll do fine...It's weird how that works out.
    I would say DO THE DISCRETES FIRST. It just gives you a mental warmup and confidence.
    Don't stress over the writing sample. No one cares.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    10 weeks total at 3-6 hours per day
    8 weeks during my internship...That was rough.
  39. dakker

    dakker A work in progress

    Joined:
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    I almost feel this is a rite of passage here....

    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    VR 11 PS 11 BS 12 WS Q = 34Q

    2) The study method used for each section
    VR - 3 passages at least every 2 days and 1-2 FLs a week
    PS - Pounded hard till i could pinpoint my weaknesses and attack.
    BS - Did a lot of problems/passages.

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)
    VR - EK 101 and TPR verbal workbook from their class (i did not take the class, find it on amazon. EK miniMcats too (very very hard stuff in here).
    PS - EK physics and EK 1001 books. Mixed in some TPR and Kaplan materials. I used the TPR science workbooks from the class and Kaplan premier program book.
    BS - EK bio and EK 101. Being a bio major helped. I knew my stuff pretty well before i started studying.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    Examkrackers Practice Tests, AAMC #3-10, Kaplan Premier book tests, Kaplan stand alone test book and TPR stand alone test book. Scores ranged from 28 (first test) to 37 (AAMC 10)

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    Biology w/ chem minor

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    Study a lot and be confident. Don't get flustered. You can get a very good score like mine with out killing yourself over small details. Have a good science base and use your reasoning skills to help out. Make sure you can stabilize your test scores before you take the test because variation is usually not a good thing. Only you can know if you are ready. If you are not ready just postpone. I was scheduled to take on June 13 but pushed back to July 18 and am glad i did.

    Most of all, take a lot of practice tests and practice full length sectionals. Also, when you feel yourself getting burnt out, take a couple days off and get your second wind. By the end there i was on my 4th or 5th wind. So relax when you can.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    6 months. Sounds long but i knew i would have to work to get a good score. Jan-July. Only very seriously for 4 months. Almost every day for 2-3 hours a day and when summer hit about 4-6 hours day after work. Rinse and repeat.


    Good luck everyone!
  40. Clp321

    Clp321

    Joined:
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    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    VR 9 PS 12 BS 11 WS P = 32P JUNE 13, 2008

    2) The study method used for each section
    VR - Cried, Cried, and then studied with EK VR 101/Kaplan/AAMC
    PS - Memorized the Kaplan books
    BS - Memorized Kaplan Bio sciences

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)
    Did every EK 1001 Problem in ALL THE BOOKS

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    AAMC and Kaplan, Kaplans are good/great for PS practice, the real one was similar in difficulty

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    BS in Business Management with a minor in English

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    Don't worry excessively. I wanted to take the test in the summer of 2006 but got discouraged and involved in my school activities. Its hard being the only business student in a Kaplan class full of gunners. I hate gunners btw, I had a guy who I knew in my class say to me that "good, you can be my secretary one day" under his breath after I told him my major. Found out later that I rocked the Organic class we had together and he got a C. So thats for you anal retentive gunners out there.
    Just find a time when you can make sure you stay devoted to your goal. Study, study, study and don't divert from your goals. Start practice exams with plenty of time before the exam and pace yourself.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    March-June Intensely in late April-June 12

    8) What I learned.
    Undergrad major doesn't mean anything. I had not had my pre-med reqs in basically 3-4 years when sitting for the MCAT. A little review goes a long way. Can't imagine how I would've done in back then. Don't ever think that you have to take a class to do well on the mcat. I took 15 hrs of English my last year and my verbal was my weakest score.
  41. terkishness

    terkishness

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    PS=11 VR=10 WS=Q BS=11 Composite=32Q

    2) The study method used for each section
    PS&BS: Exam Krackers, complete study package and Audio Osmosis
    VR: Practice, lots

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)
    Examkrackers, books and Audio Osmosis

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    Princeton Review all the way.
    AAMC - all that they had

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    Chemistry & Journalism

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    Study lots - be calm - get lost of sleep and eat well

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    10 weeks - 4-6 hours a day
  42. gujuDoc

    gujuDoc

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    Yep I agree with the above. I'm finding I understand the questions and passages better now then in years past and I use the method quoted above. Its the EK way.

    Try to also understand what the author is saying without having to write things down. i.e. he gist of the passage and when looking at the questions and answer choices think in ur mind whether or not the author would agree with this or not and how the choices affect the main idea. Also think about key words such as extremes which are usually but not always outliers.

    Also one last tip is to understand that the main idea is not a small detail that is quoted somewhere in the passage but RATHER a BROAD statement.
  43. Snurping

    Snurping keep on keepin' on

    Joined:
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    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    PS: 14, VR: 11, BS: 12 Composite = 37P

    2) The study method used for each section
    PS and BS: reading prep books, reviewing old text books when I wanted more detail. LOTS OF PROBLEMS! I spent the most time on PS and BS because I mistakenly underestimated how much verbal can make or break your composite. If I could do it again, I would spend more time on verbal throughout the process of studying.

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)
    Kaplan: PS, VR, a bit of Orgo - I used them for review and also for the problem sets.
    Examkrackers: PS, VR, BS - also took daily EK online exams and made those a part of my routine. they're good for quick little quizzes. I would storngly recommend the 1001 series, especially in biology. It's excellent practice and really helps you find and work on your problem areas.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    1 Kaplan test, parts of the EK one that comes with the books and ALL computerized AAMC exams.

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    Biology

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    Stay motivated and dedicated. You DO NOT want to take this again, so do it once and do it right. It's okay to take breaks in studying, but keep your mind engaged - don't just play videos games and watch goofy movies all the time. Read. Get good sleep habits and good study habits. I did self study, so I would recommend finding your strengths and weaknesses and working on those. Make sure you do problems! You need to be able to tackle problems and start thinking like the MCAT. Be rigorous but also take care of yourself. Learn to find a balance between work and breaks because you don't want to be drained on the week of the exam - you wanted to be energized, alert and ready. BE CONFIDENT! Don't walk into the center if you're not ready. This is all between you and the exam, so keep your composure, use a little perspective (this will NOT be the end of your life by any means), and pace yourself. You can do it. TAKE THE FULL PRACTICE tests at least a few times (meaning do the WS). You do not want to be even more fatigued on test day.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    May 19th-June 18th (my test date), so about 2 months (although it should be noted that I had just taken physics and TA'd Into Bio, so those were pretty fresh in my mind). I would study every day, avergaing about 3 hours, and then would take a full-length every Saturday, and review those (write down the facts you didn't know or concepts you didn't understand!). Near the test, I started taking two practice tests per week to build my endurance. Use your weekends to your advantage because you hopefully have those free.

    Practice, practice, practice. Work hard, and use your time wisely. Learn to know yourself, your weaknesses, strengths and your style habits. Believe in yourself - you can do it!
  44. Ailleurs

    Ailleurs

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    SDN 7+ Year Member
    Simple question (ok not really, kind of convoluted, but still somewhat simple) for those who took the MCAT already.

    Did you guys retake AAMC tests as the real MCAT date approached nearer?

    I'm currently studying for the January 2009 MCAT and my mom and I were discussing on a good approach to practice test taking: I preferred saving some of the AAMC exams towards the end of my studying, to gauge my test taking, whereas she preffered that I start AAMC exams early on and retake them as the test date approached. But the flaw I see in her preference is that the retakes of the AAMC exams wouldn't show my "true capability," since I had taken it before, and my answers could just be my brain saying, "oh I remember this question, the right answer is 42" or something similar.

    What are your takes on this?
  45. futuredoctor10

    futuredoctor10

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    I have taken the MCAT and haven't gotten back scores yet, but I would strongly recommend you save some AAMC exams towards the end of your studying.

    Even though I have no personal firsthand experience, presumably the problem with taking them now and retaking them closer to your date is that you will remember questions and their answers as you have suggested. Some people say they forget 3 months later, and since I haven't done it myself I don't know, but I have a feeling you'd remember more than you'd think you would.

    You could always do 2 AAMCs each month in November & December, or 1 AAMC each month from now until December, and save 7-10 for January?
  46. BlueElmo

    BlueElmo

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    SDN 7+ Year Member
    has anyone with 30+ walked out of the testing center with the feeling maybe that he or she (maybe not pwned) but still feeling a little crappy and disappointed at how he or she did?:(
  47. tmntdonjuan

    tmntdonjuan

    Joined:
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    Richmond, VA
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    In my opinion you should start off with the early AAMC tests (3-6) and take them while you're doing your content review. Space them out so you take only those tests while you're doing your content review. By the time you're finished with your content review, you should be done with the early AAMCs as well. Then you can start doing AAMC 7-10 every few days as the predictors of your score. Take a few days off in between each of the later AAMCs to review your mistakes and freshen up whatever content you might not fully understand. Good luck!
  48. gujuDoc

    gujuDoc

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    I agree with TMNT's ideas on this.

    for practice questions and getting concepts down, i'd strongly recommend Exam Krackers. I used them this time instead of just redoing all my TPR stuff again and the sciences made so much more sense. I noticed things that were on the AAMCs that were directly presented by them but not that well by TPR. Not that I'm saying TPR is bad and there are tons for who that was enough. I just think EK really covered all your basis. Use the EK 1001 questions.
  49. WW2010

    WW2010

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    I reposted here from 9-13-08 club and need your suggestions for my last few days, so I could boost a point or two, much appreciated.



    Spyder, Thanks for the previous reply.

    How about your "step up bio" now and have you taken 8,9,10...

    I did AAMC 9 today and got a 38, my test scores now stand:

    AAMC 3 - 33 (11P, 11V, 11B) 8-22
    AAMC 5 - 35 (12P, 11V, 12B) 8-25
    AAMC 6 - 35 (13P, 11V, 11B) 8-28
    AAMC 7 - 38 (13P, 11V, 14B) 9-01
    AAMC 8 - 37 (14P, 12V, 11B) 9-04
    AAMC 9 - 38 (14P, 12V, 12B) 9-07
    AAMC 10 - Wednsday...

    I still have unsatisfactory Bio scores. Stand alone questions look fine for me. My problems are with the passage based ones. I know I only have had a little one month+ preparation time so far for the MCAT, but I am a sophomore and just finished all the requirement courses. My questions are:

    1.) Many claim that there is strong Collaboration between BS and VR, but I see quite a few high scorers with such ones: 14P, 9,10,11Vs, 14B...

    2.) As a future medical professionals, to score higher, do you need vast interests and readings on new medical developments, diseases, drugs, therapies, genetics, human body functions etc, which are often beyond your classes...?

    Wednesday will be my last one, AAMC 10 test, hope last five days could bring little boost...

    Good luck for everyone on this year last AAMC test, 9-13-2008...!
  50. BNSN

    BNSN

    Joined:
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    610
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    I just got my score from the 8/05 exam. It was my first time taking the MCAT.

    When I came out of the testing center, I told my mom I probably made a 27 or 28. I was really upset. There were so many questions in my head -- I made barely-educated guesses on several

    My score today came out: it was a 36S - 12/12/12 :)

    Trust me, the feeling you have coming out of the exam is quite inaccurate.

    WW2010, wow! your AAMC scores are almost exactly like mine. The VR section is very much like BS in that it is much, much more passage and reading comprehension based than PS.
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