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30+ MCAT study habits???

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by confewshz, Oct 5, 2002.

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  1. somemaybedoc

    somemaybedoc ms0

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    1. 36R V:13 P:12 B:11

    2. Verbal: nothing.
    Biol and Physics: Memorizing essential stuff from EK, should have done more.

    3. Verbal: didn't
    BS + PS: EK text memorizing essential basic info. Did a few random questions out of AAMC tests, but not many.

    4. Took the most recent AAMC test, but couldn't get myself to sit down for eight hours so I did each section at different times. I only wanted to do that once. No other tests.

    5. Economics

    6. Study, do more than I did; learn the basic sciences and do practice questions. If you have a lot of time read a lot of random stuff.

    6. About 6 weeks on and off.

    Takehome message if you are lucky and good at tests, you can wing it, but I would have done better in PS and BS if I had really tried. Try not to get stressed on T-day, if your relaxed, it's easier. Also I think I was hurt on the bio section because I hadn't had upper level bio yet, I think I would do better on BS now.
  2. blargh

    blargh Removed

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    bump - i like this thread
  3. smuwillobrien

    smuwillobrien Senior Member

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    It's a shame that you got a 7 in VR with such wicked PS and BS scores. I hope schools overlook it because you are obviously really smart.
  4. Focus39

    Focus39 Member

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    Thanks Will. I used to live in Halifax--how's Saint Mary's treating you?

    The VR seemed easy because one of the passages, the one on Love and the brain was practically a transcript of a video I had to watch for one of my psych classes so I was smiling the whole time I went through that.
  5. smuwillobrien

    smuwillobrien Senior Member

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    Send me a PM, and I'll give you my email - nice to hear from a fellow East Coaster. =]
  6. drizzt3117

    drizzt3117 chick magnet

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    1) What were your individual scores and composite score?
    PS 13; VR 13; BS 13; Writing Sample S
    Composite: 39S

    2) What was your study method for each section?

    Didn't study for verbal or writing sample, in fact I didn't do a practice WS after my first practice MCAT as I thought it was a waste of time. I used the standard Berkeley Review formula for writing sample (introduction, one example that agrees with the prompt, two that do not, plenty of quotes/examples, and conclusion) and it seemed to work fine.


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

    Berkeley Review books, I only used the Physics 2 book, Ochem 1/2, and Biology 1/2, didn't study for Gchem or Mechanics.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?

    AAMC and Berkeley Review

    5) What was your undergraduate major?

    BA Business, MS International Relations, MBA Health Care Management

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

    Understand the bio section holistically in terms of physiology, make sure your gchem/ochem are solid and study physics formulas.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?

    I did the Berkeley Review course which went from 6/18 to just before the test, and studied about 3-5 hours a day by myself with the review materials (lots of practice tests) and did about 3-4 six to eight hour sessions with a friend where we went over bio, ochem, and gchem.
  7. Foolins

    Foolins Member

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    1) Your individual scores and composite score

    12 VR, 14 PS, 13 BS WS-S.........so i guess that's another 39 S. More than ten points higher than my first practice score, which I think was a 27.

    2) The study method used for each section

    VR: Examkrackers 101 verbal passages. Dude, i sucked HARD at the beginning, but i think verbal is one of those things you just sort of have to figure out for yourself. I'm pretty sure my verbal score would've been higher on the real deal if i had slept more than 30 minutes the night before.
    I didn't read newspapers or follow the "find the answers in the question stem and NEVER look back to the passage" strategies. My only advice is not to use the Kaplan verbal materials...too detail oriented and not at all representative of the real deal.

    PS: I used the Gold Standard, MCAT Pearls, and Kaplan materials to study. I went through them all, trying to understand the basic concepts and write them in my own words. That took like a month, but then it only took me a few days reading my own words on the concepts to really have them click. Can't stress enough how important it is to understand only basic concepts....not to sweat the details, or if you do, find out the WHY as relating to the basic concepts.
    For physics I also used my first year physics textbook, and some 1960's Halliday Resnick physics textbook to actually understand all the electrical and magnetism stuff...since the review materials seem to promote rote memorization and regurgitation.

    BS: Didn't bother taking notes on biology, just read the Gold Standard and Kaplan review materials on the subject...most of it is either common sense or memorization.
    As for organic chemistry....didnt delve into my organic chem textbooks (my weakest performance at university). Just used Gold Standard, Kaplan, MCAT pearls, and went over the AAMC topic list to see anything those review materials didn't cover, at which point i'd just use google.
    Surprisingly, by the end, i figured out that all i need to know was what makes for a good electrophile or nucleophile in different conditions, and the rest fell into place.

    WS: Only did a timed writing sample for three of my practice mcats...and they pretty much sucked. My only advice is to write legibly. My essays this time around were not very organized with lame examples (I used Jack Tripper from Three's Company as an example of inappropriate censorship)...yet somehow pulled off an S.

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)
    Kaplan, Gold Standard and MCAT pearls for each section....and Examkrackers 101 for the verbal.
    Also did the EK 1001 for physics, gen chem, organic and biology...all 1001 questions in each book. I'd recommend all of them EXCEPT biology, which was disorganized and useless.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?

    AAMC 3-9...saving 9 for last since i figured it'd be the most representative. Also would try to look up to see which ones were "harder", so that if i got a high score on one practice test, i'd follow it with a tougher one to drop my score and motivate me to keep up the intensity on my studying.

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    Neuroscience

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

    With as much time as people put into this test, it's easy to become a robot. But all you really need to do is understand some basic concepts, and then garner the rest of the info from the passages they give you...and have the mental ability to form the connections. I got a 14 in PS, and i only remember doing ONE calculation. Once you get a solid knowledge of the concepts, everything else is common sense.
    Another big piece of advice is that if you don't understand something, and it is a concept that ties into or underlies several other areas...don't move on. Attack it until you understand it. And not to the point of "oh i can see why this is the answer to this question"...but actually understand it. It may seem like you're eating up time, but if you really conquer it, you won't have to go back to it.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    4 hours a day for 2 months (not including the 7 days i spent on writing AAMC 3-9)
  8. Mila

    Mila

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    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    11P 10B 10V = 31 (can't remember my writing score, either P, Q, or R)

    2) The study method used for each section
    practice passages, tons and tons of practice problems + passages

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)
    I took the Examkrackers course and I'd highly recommend it. I'm not sure if it's just not offered everywhere, or if people just don't know about it. But it is a hell of a lot better than the Kaplan course and it was the same price. I had the Kaplan materials as well, but stopped using them once I realized that Examkrackers questions were more challenging than Kaplan's and that the Examkrackers practice tests were very indicative of the real MCAt while Kaplan's- not so much so. I'm not trying to disparage Kaplan; they're great, but as far as the MCAT goes, Examkrackers is much more upto date. All my friends took Kaplan and Princeton Review and ended up studying only from Examkrackers books.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    Examkrackers, Kaplan, all AAMCE practice tests (most are given to you when you take either the Examkrackers or Kaplan course)

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    Psychology

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    Take the examkrackers course if it's offered near you... if not get the books. However, if you're taking the computerized test (I'm pretty sure the MCAT is now computerized), I'd first ask examkrackers if they've fixed it so that you can take practice tests on a computer (It was all pencil and paper when I took the class, and the test). If they're not yet equiped for the computerized MCAT, consider Kaplan course (they already have great resources for all other computerized tests) but make sure to get the examkrackers books regardless. Kaplan is behind especially in the biology section. The MCAT is emphasizing molecular biology, microbiology, and genetics more and more each year, while putting less emphasis on human body (ie digestion, excretion, etc). Kaplan still emphasizes the old stuff, while Examkrackers emphasizes what the MCAT actually tests.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    10 weeks - If you study right, you really don't need any more than that.
  9. phorensic

    phorensic

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    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    12 PS, 9 VR, 11 BS = 32N

    2) The study method used for each section
    memorize, memorize, memorize. then practice, practice, practice. I felt that I was a decent test taker (32 act is all I have for a reference), but was absolutely sure that I did not know one bit of any of the material. So for me, memorizing was the most productive thing to do. However, if you feel that you are a bad test taker, and know everything, then practice problems are what you need. everything depends on how good you are as a test taker and how much you know.

    Remember, though...practice problems and exams teach you far less if you don't have the material down cold through memorization.

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)
    Examkrackers for each subject, Nova MCAT books for bio and physics (physics was VERY helpful), Some random TPR, EK 1001 questions for g chem and physics, did a few ek 1001 for orgo and a few from ek101 bio.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    AAMC 3r-9. EK 1g. I got a 35 on both AAMC 7 and 9, and averaged at about 31-32 for the rest.

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    History

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

    I didnt take Physics 1 or 2 before taking the mcat. Also, I took bio 1 and 2 as an 8 week summer course at a crappy community college, so I didn't know anything by the time I started studying. Ochem2 was a joke at my school, in that all the test questions we had could be traced to previous exams, so that one could get all A's simply by memorizing past exams. I took no upper level classes. Therefore, the only real background classes I had were gen chem 1 and 2, and ochem 1.

    My decent amount of success on the mcat shows that you really don't even need most of the pre-req's. I'd say chem all the way up to organic is good, and from there you can learn everything in one summer. I studied HARD for physics, went through the nova book twice over, went through various practice questions in ek1001, and basically read EK physics 10 times. I knew that stuff back and forth by the time I was done. If you do this with every subject, you could get away with not taking any pre-req's (except for possibly organic, that class seems to require a bit more intuitiveness that can only come from long term studying done in class...however, if you put in extra study time to make up for missing the class, you can DEFINITELY pull it off)


    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    id say about 12-14 weeks. started when school ended on may 12, stopped the day before the mcat aug 19.
  10. drizzt3117

    drizzt3117 chick magnet

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    I don't buy this strategy. Clearly memorizing stuff on BS is going to be a good strategy as much of the material is stuff that needs to be memorized, but understanding how the different organ systems work relative to each other is vital and certainly important for med school in the future. I don't really think just memorizing the material for each section in a standalone manner is really a good strategy. it should be understood in the overall context. As far as PS goes, certainly memorizing the formulas is going to be the way to go, but doing problems helps you understand the process, and there is going to be more calculation on this section than any of the others. You didn't mention anything about your verbal study habits, clearly memorization won't do anything here. 32 is certainly a respectable score, but did you think that perhaps you could have done better if you'd taken all the pre-reqs? Granted, a good score on verbal would have gotten you a mid 30 rather than a low one.
  11. Kaifung

    Kaifung

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    1) 39 with verbal:12, Physical Science:14, Biological Science: 13

    2) I just went through the Kaplan review notes for physical and biology. For the most part, studying for me was just taking a lot of practice tests. I think I took somewhere around 10 or so.

    3) I used the Kaplan test

    4) Kaplan practice tests and AAMC old exams

    5) Bioengineering (BSE)

    6) Really the most important thing is taking a lot of tests since the MCAT questions are drastically different from any test you'd probably have taken before. It's really just getting the hang of it and working so your stamina can withstand an 8 hour test. Although I believe it's 5 hours from now on, so that might not be as much of a problem.

    Oh and in response to the memorization, I don't really think that's the best way. I didn't really try to memorize anything. I think it's better to do a lot of problems so you understand how to use the information. If you do enough practice, then it should sink in and become second nature.

    7) ummm i started studying when the kaplan course started so a bit under 2 months i think. Only really 2 to 3 hours a day though, not including when I took the full length mock exams
  12. bobkelso2020

    bobkelso2020 Chief of Medicine

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

    2) The study method used for each section
    I read through the review sections of my books once, quickly but thoroughly

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

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    Kaplan practice tests & the free AAMC test

    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?

    I'm currently blogging about my MCAT prep strategies, you can check it out if you want: my blog


    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    a little less than 2 months (7-7.5 weeks)
  13. ezidiary

    ezidiary

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  14. Dr^2

    Dr^2 Junior Member

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    Does anyone know whether there are breakdowns of MCAT scores by major? Just flipping through these pages it seems most of the 42s and 43s are Physics majors. Of course, could just be observer bias ;)
  15. mvenus929

    mvenus929

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    Since everyone is suddenly suggesting to read this thread again, I just wanted to bump it.
  16. lifeistough

    lifeistough

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    Hello. I am reading the 30+ thread. Which practice tests were similar to the AAMC verbal?

    My first verbal on aamc 3R was a 3. But I took it by section tests only. My highest right now is a 9 on aamc 7 was a retake but i never looked at the answers, and just wasn't able to concentrate b/c was doing it at home and felt tense and scored like a 5 than 6, and then i times myself on practice items and was able to get to last passage with 18 minutes to finish Scored an 8 on AAMC 6 not a retake.

    Any suggestions would help. I have finished the science review on an mcat book and ordered EK regular 2005 edition of biology and inorganic and physics to sponge anything else. I found I had around 20-25 minutes on bio and scored so far a 9, a 5 on my first diagnostic.

    Do you think that taking them by sections will deviate once i take a practice with all sections? it is just that they take so long and don't get to have 5 hours sitting around or even 8. But I will do it.

    Is it bad in order not to run out of aamc exams to retake aamc 7, if you have never looked at the answers or solutions? and don't narrow study b/c don't really know which areas to study b/c don't know for sure where you were weak? Would it still count?

    Was the TPR verbal better than EK 101 passages, just got that recently and have taken the first exam and got a 4, which kinda worried me.

    please respond as soon as you get this. I am curious to find out your responses. :D
  17. Funky

    Funky This space is for sale

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    i hope to be allowed to write advice on this thread this coming march
  18. sle3pyguii

    sle3pyguii Ding! Fries are done!

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    Can anyone explain to my how there are so many 37's and 36's? I thought average was around the 20's?
  19. Anastasis

    Anastasis caffeinated for safety Moderator Emeritus

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    Average was between a 25 and a 26 last year... but here is why there are so many 36s or 37s

    1.6% of last year's test takers got a 36 and 1.2% got a 37. 70k people took the test... that means 1960 made either a 36 or 37... just those two scores so assuming 1% of those people found SDN that means around 20 people would have posted with that score from last year alone.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that TONS of people take the MCAT each year. So I'm not really surprised to see so many high scores.
  20. omegaxx

    omegaxx New Member

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    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    PS=14 VR=13 WS=Q BS=14 Composite=41Q

    2) The study method used for each section
    PS&BS: Reviewed all the materials (except Organic Chem, because I just finished a year long O. Chem course and knew it like the back of my hand). Practiced.
    VR: Practice, practice, practice.

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)
    Princeton Review all the way.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    Princeton Review all the way.
    I also bought AAMC 4-6 for building confidence two weeks before the actual exam.

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    Pharmacology & English, although I took the exam after sophomore year so I just had the prereq sciences and five English courses under my belt.

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    Read smartly, and read a lot, not just textbooks and scientific papers and newspaper, but also materials in the humanities department.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    2.5 months (~10 weeks), averaging ~3 hrs/day.
  21. Funky

    Funky This space is for sale

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    bumping this up for the big day
  22. lisichka

    lisichka certified demonologist

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  23. League54

    League54

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    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    11, 10, 10, 31O

    2) The study method used for each section
    TPR class, Supplemented with EK

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)
    Physics: TPR & EK 1001; G Chem: TPR & EK 1001; O Chem: TPR and EK; Bio: TPR and HEAVY EK bio(+101); VR: Entirely EK

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    TPR diags (w.o. verbal), EK 101 Verbal, AAMC 8 & 10

    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?

    Take AAMC's over prep company's full-lengths, especially for your last five before the exam


    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    6 weeks
  24. League54

    League54

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    Bump

    Directing a friend to this thread
  25. ladoo007

    ladoo007

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    1) Your individual scores and composite score

    13 p, 11 v, 13 b: 37Q

    2) The study method used for each section

    I took the test twice so I will break it up into how I studied before each time:

    Round 1.

    TPR class in spring of 2006 (from jan-april), studied TPR material over summer (did all of the readings, all of the verbal hw, and most of the bio and physical hw from the class), took 5 AAMC practice tests and scored from 31-36 and ended up getting a 31O in the August 2006 MCAT (12 p, 8 v, 11 b)

    Round 2.

    Got scores back in oct and immediately afterwards started focusing on verbal by reading EK verbal and doing 3 passages a day from EK 101 passages. By november, I supplemented my verbal studying by reading the Kaplan Bio and O. Chem sections and finished both of those and then breezed through Kaplan G. Chem and Physics sections over winter break. Finally, three weeks before the test I read EK bio and o. chem while taking a kaplan diag, a TPR diag, and 4 AAMC tests where I scored in the range of 35-40. Two of the AAMC tests I had taken before, so obviously i did better on those (40 and 39) and two that I had not done before I got a 36 and 35 (the 35 was the AAMC 10 and was the last test I took before the real one).

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

    As you can tell, I used a lot of different stuff. Here is what I used and what I recommend for each setion:

    Physical - TPR, Kaplan (recommend TPR only... it is much better than Kaplan)
    Verbal - TPR, Kaplan, and EK (recommend EK only... by far the best technique available for verbal and also the EK 101 is by far the closest thing to real verbal passages... however, towards the end of studying stick with only real AAMC verbal passages)
    Bio - TPR, Kaplan, EK (recommend EK only or EK with Kaplan... EK for the bio section in particular is amazing compared to either Kaplan or TPR)

    AAMC practice materials were used for all three sections and are the only practice problems and tests you should be taking within the last two or three weeks of studying

    Oh yea, and for writing, I used the TPR review method and didn't study or practice at all (especially the second time) yet still got a Q so...

    4) Which practice tests did you use?

    TPR, Kaplan, AAMC, and more.

    AAMC are the only recommended ones (do every single one)... however, if you have time, I would recommend the New Kaplan FL Diag Tests (they were pretty realistic) and TPR if you want material that is much harder and more detail oriented than the real thing


    5) What was your undergraduate major?

    Biochemistry and Health Administration

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

    I went through a lot and did a lot more stuff than was probably necessary. The big thing for me was verbal, and I would try out all three methods (TPR, Kaplan, and EK) to see what works best for you... but in my opinion, the EK method is by far the best and is what took me up from an 8 to an 11 on my verbal scores. The EK 101 passage book is amazing, and I also think TPR verbal is good for practice passages that are harder than the real thing (Kaplan is easier so I stayed away from them... but if you are really bad at verbal, do as many passages as you can regardless of the company, just save the AAMC ones for last).

    For the sciences, I really think TPR book is best for physical and EK is best for bio. Those, combined with tons of practice problems, and then at the end at least 5 AAMC practice tests under realistic conditions should easily get a 30 or above for anyone... also, if you take it again, you can improve significantly, just make sure to put the right amount of work and effort and it will pay off.

    Last word of advice, the little things really do matter when it comes to preparing yourself the day before the MCAT and your mindset as you are taking the test, etc. The first time I was studying up until the evening before the test (even reviewed a bit the morning of), I was nervous, and I had no confidence in verbal, and ended up scoring on the bottom of my range of practice tests (and doing terrible on verbal... the thing I had no confidence in). For the second time around, I had the most amazing day before the test with absolutely no studying (I watched a suns game, played basketball, played some video games, and got lots of sleep because the test was not until noon)... I listened to my favorite and most inspirational CD on the way to the test and pretty much all day before (Make Yourself by Incubus), and I was confident throughout the test even thought I knew I didn't know all the answers and wasn't doing "perfect." I didn't feel great at any point during or after the test, but that is natural even for people who score in the 40s. During the verbal I found myself starting to slip, lose confidence and concentration, and starting to zone out and all of a sudden I yelled at myself internally, sat up straight, took a deep breath, told myself that "this is it! time to do my best and rock this section!" and then ended my weakest section strong. This confidence carried on to writing and bio, and overall, I had a significant improvement over my first score and scored right in the middle of my range of practice tests!

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?

    5-6 months
  26. hollabackgrl4

    hollabackgrl4

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    Pre-Medical
    1) 40 O - 14 PS, 12 V, 14 BS

    2) Read Kaplan and Examkrackers books. Took tons of practice tests, especially for verbal which was my weakest section. I used Examkracker's verbal strategy - Kaplan's is bs. For sciences, I kind of used my intuition and did not really use a strategy.

    3) Kaplan prep course, Kaplan books, Examkracker books. I highly recommend the Examkracker books - they were short and to the point. I only studied from them during the last 2 weeks leading up to the test.

    4) I took all of the Kaplan course tests and about 6 of the most recent AAMC tests at the Kaplan center. This was the paper test though so I don't know for the cbt.

    5) Biology

    6) Just take a lot of practice tests. I took one every Saturday at 9 am for about 4 weeks before the test. It really gets you used to waking up early and taking the test so that you are less stressed on test day. Try to think of the test like a game that you need to beat - that worked for me. Oh, and for motivation I listened to some good rap songs - Moment of Clarity was my mcat jam. And I think every science course you take helps for the science sections. Like I work in a lab, and I had a question that I could answer just from knowing my research. Taking genetics also made bio easier. So take those upper level classes!

    7) May - Aug, but I did not really start studying hardcore until June, and I was still working at a full time job. I took off 4 weeks in July/Aug to really focus (and take a vacation!)

    Good luck!
  27. Critical Mass

    Critical Mass Guest

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    1) Your individual scores and composite score. 32R, 10V-11P-11B

    2) The study method used for each section. I read the EK verbal passage book. That was it.

    3) What materials you used for each section. I read the EK verbal passage book. That was it. I HATE prep courses!

    4) Which practice tests did you use? Just those in EK verbal.

    5) What was your undergraduate major? Justice Studies

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us? Learn the material well when you take the prereq classes.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT? I only went through the EK verbal passages book. That was my entire preparation.
  28. moto_za

    moto_za Member

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    thanks critical mass... seems like you found the secret to getting a 30+ on the MCAT!
  29. Fistibun

    Fistibun

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    1) Your individual scores and composite score

    12 PS, 12 VR, 11 BS - 35R

    2) The study method used for each section

    ~50% time on PS, 10% VR, 35% Biology, 5% Orgo (gave up on it, hate it)

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

    EK for everything

    4) Which practice tests did you use?

    AAMC and EK

    5) What was your undergraduate major?

    Biology and Psychology with a minor in Economics.

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

    The MCAT does NOT test knowledge beyond all the 101s and orgo, don't go into it recalling physiology, anatomy, pharmacology, etc. It's practically useless.

    Also, FINISH all the sections...no matter what you think you know or don't know, if you're not finishing each section with at least 5 minutes to spare you need to hit those prep books much harder or change your approach to the questions. They're designed to be answered relatively quickly.

    I finished every section with at least 5-10 minutes to look over everything, even with the very first AAMC Practice MCAT I took when I knew nothing (Pre-Prep courses, post graduation). I scored a 28 on that one.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?

    February-April, everyday.


    Good luck!
  30. Critical Mass

    Critical Mass Guest

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    I should also throw in that I was taking it several years removed from my undergrad classes in organic chemistry and physics. I probably would have done better if the material was fresher in my mind. I have always sucked at verbal, but practicing with EK in the month before the exam helped me out.

    Most on SDN would say that 32R isn't that wonderful anyhow, and truth be told, I knew that it was really only good enough for my state school. Most prep course instructors in my area barely cracked a 30 themselves.

    My .02--the MCAT science tests are mostly passage-based, and they test your understanding and ability to apply what you know more than rote memory (unlike med school in my experience). As such, the prep courses and so forth will not take you from a 6 to a 10 (more like 6 to 8, still usually too low for admission).

    Your best preparation it to treat your prerequisite courses like you are actually in med school (i.e. as if the people sitting on your left and right will be getting high A's on the exams). If you master the material when you actually learn it, you won't need to study for the MCAT.
  31. arcana

    arcana

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    1) Your individual scores and composite score

    39 S: 13-13-13 (August 2006)

    2) The study method used for each section

    I did the Princeton Review classroom course. I highly recommend it if you need someone to keep you focussed. I had a full time research job that ended the day before the MCAT, so if I didn't have the TPR to keep me on track, I probably wouldn't have done as well. I did all the assigned homework and went to every diagnostic exam. You get what you put in for these prep courses.

    Biological sciences - did all the practice questions from the TPR workbooks, memorized the book they gave me, and in the final weeks I went over the stuff I was weak on.

    Physical sciences - same thing. Understand and memorize!

    Verbal - I did a lot of passages. I bought the EK 101 Verbal passages book about a month before the exam to supplement TPR verbal passages, which I found were so different from real AAMC passages. The EK passages *are* somewhat ambiguous, but they were an excellent way to build stamina and annotation efficiency. During the week before the MCAT I did one EK verbal section a day, during my lunch break. I was also working full time in a lab.

    Writing - TPR gave us a list of the categories of topics, eg. Government, Ethics, Justic, etc. I started a notebook of examples for each topic. I got a trial subscription to The Economist and Time (free 6 mths with TPR course) and read it for example ideas. If I found one relevant to a past essay prompt or topic, I would search the details on the internet. Wikipedia became my god. I found a good strategy for the writing sample was to think of your examples for thesis and antithesis first, then looking for the difference between those examples (and voila, a synthesis). The other way would be to think of the differences first, then find examples to fit it. But this was harder. In the August MCAT, I got extremely lucky with my prompts and didn't blank on the essays at all (I would've if I had gotten something related to politics or justice...boo!). I ended up using examples I mostly knew off the top of my head already and didn't really need my example book! And just to show that you don't need spectacular examples: I talked about Sex and the City on my first essay. :laugh: It's all about how you say it, not what you say!

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

    TPR textbooks and review material, supplemented with EK 101 Verbal passages in the last month.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?

    AAMC practice tests 3 to 9, as well as TPR tests A-D and the 5 diagnostic tests. I passingly glanced at some Kaplan Gold standard tests too, but I didn't find them very similar to real AAMC tests.

    5) What was your undergraduate major?

    Physiology, minor in Psychology.

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    There's nothing glamourous about it... the more you study, the better you'll do. If you choose to have a social life while studying, just know your score will suffer. :p The key is to study *effectively*. Practise tests by TPR or Kaplan are good up to a point, but during the final weeks leading up to the MCAT, I switched over to AAMC practise tests to put myself in the right mindset. I did two AAMC tests a week, on Sat and Sun, during the last two weeks.
    The MCAT will break you and it will destroy your soul. I was very discouraged the whole summer. It didn't help that I couldn't score higher than 33P on my TPR diagnostics either... but I did a lot better on the AAMC tests which really boosted my confidence.
    I set myself a goal and you should do the same. At first I put "45T" on a post-it above my desk and aimed high... the next month I put up "39Q" over the post-it... and the next month I replaced it with something like "30P". Lol.
    I came out of the real MCAT shell-shocked and not feeling I did that well... IGNORE THESE VOICES. There's nothing you can do after the MCAT, and how you felt about it is no indication of how well you did!
    No matter how discouraged you feel during the preparation process, don't give up! (This is easy to say in hindsight, I know.)

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?

    May to August. 8 hours of classroom time a week. I forget how many hours per week I was studying, but when I wasn't working or in the TPR classroom, I was studying. Obviously I was less intense at the beginning of the summer.
  32. dochoov

    dochoov Intercalating Death Disk

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    Nice post, and nice VR score, also.

    I just ordered examkrackers VR 101, and I'm writing april 7th, so I'll have about a month, too. Would you say that learning the EK method was helpful? Would it be easy to apply it to the CBT that I will be taking? Or should I just use their passages as practice?
  33. League54

    League54

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    :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:
  34. moto_za

    moto_za Member

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    :laugh: :smuggrin: :laugh:
  35. Anastasis

    Anastasis caffeinated for safety Moderator Emeritus

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    Is your screen name an Eddie Izzard reference? If so: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:
  36. gujuDoc

    gujuDoc NOT A DUDE!! ME = FEMALE!

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    I would like to emphasize something Crtical mass has stated....

    One of the biggest things I can stress to new undergrads is to learn your material well from the start. If you know your stuff well and by well I don't mean do what it takes to get an A even if you aren't learning anything but rather doing what it takes to actually retain the material and do well!!

    But to get back on track, if you do well from the get go and understand your material well enough, you may only need a good 2-3 weeks of studying and practice exams to get used to format.

    I'd also suggest that outside reading if you are not an avid reader, and taking some philosopy/logic courses to help your critical reading skills is a good thing too. But that will only help if you try to analyze what you read. I've heard from someone that reading like you are debating with the author is a good method to learning to evaluate what is being said and help with verbal to some degree.

    A test prep is by no means needed. A lot of people make the assumption that its the prep company itself that makes the difference but rather its the practice tests they give and even those aren't necessarily always needed. If you can do well and understand the material conceptually enough to apply it you'll only need maybe a month or so to prep.
  37. arcana

    arcana

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    I don't remember what the "EK method" was exactly, but TPR advised us to identify and skip the "killer" passage and do a good job on the other 8. Eventually I just annotated the way I felt best, which was just circling (not underlining) the important points. Some ppl also scan the answers before reading the passage (I don't think I did). I always did all 9 passages, but clearly that's an individual matter. I did the EK passage more for practise, as the TPR verbal questions weren't as similar to real MCAT passages.
    I'm not sure how verbal would be like on the CBT... I guess having a "highlight" option would make it a lot easier to go back to the passage and locate the info!
  38. brandnewsaves

    brandnewsaves

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    ) Your individual scores and composite score.
    32 (Does the letter really matter :hungover: ), 11V-10P-11B

    2) The study method used for each section.
    Did as many questions as I could, and then reviewed why I got them
    right or wrong

    3) What materials you used for each section.
    Used the Kaplan Online Class and Comprehensive book

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    8,9,10 on e-mcat, ones from Kaplan's Online Class, and FL Kaplan
    and Barron exams from old books

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    Biology and Chemistry

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    Do as many practice problems/test as possible then evaluate why
    why you got questions wrong or write. Don't spend too much time
    studying the material. Doing the PTs will get you familiar with
    what areas you need to know, what you know, and what you
    don't know or have a tought time with

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    I studied over a 4-6 month peroid just taking practice exams when I
    had time. I went through the Online Kaplan Course. I also took
    somewhere between 18-24 practice test, and about 8 of those were
    FL.


    I would strongly recommend taking as many practice tests as possible and then studying what areas you stuggle with on the test. I didn't spend much time "studying", instead I spent more reviewing questions from PTs. I also would recommend some general studying if you have a hard time with a certain area, such as SN1vsSN2. I did not study for my first MCAT and got a 23, 7p, 10v, 6b. So I would strongly recommend studying and by studying I mean taking practice test and practice with conditions similar to the realy thing.
  39. dochoov

    dochoov Intercalating Death Disk

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    Thank you. If there's an EK method, it's not in 101 verbal. It's just straight questions/answers, no BS... I love it, although the first little sample section of two passages slapped me around. I'll just do the entire passages to build stamina, because so far, by the middle of my aamc full lengths, verbal has drained the life from me.
  40. OB1

    OB1 For All Seasons

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    1) Your individual scores and composite score:
    PS: 11, V:10, B:9, WS: P
    Composite: 30P

    2) The study method used for each section
    Basically reviewed my old notes and textbooks for everything, then looked stuff up on wikipedia for further clarification whenever necessary. Studied about 4/5 hours a day broken down as follows: 4 hours spent reading during the day, then 1 hour watching goldstandard dvd's just before going to bed at night. Listened to audiolearn CD's when not reading (i.e. commuting to and from work, fixing dinner, etc) then watched Visual Aid dvd's on the weekends. I did this 24 days in a row just before taking the MCAT on January 27 and achieved the above scores.

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)
    Relied mostly on my old notes and textbooks (see above). Purchased Visual Aid and goldstandard dvd's on eBay at a cost of ~ $250.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    I looked briefly at the one you can take for free on the AAMC website but never actually sat down to finish it.

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    Business Management, minor in Chemistry.

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    Set up a plan and stick to it-no matter what.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    Made a New Year's resolution to begin my review the following day (January 1st). I would study from 8am to 11am, then again from 1pm to 2. Worked from 3-11:30pm, then watched my goldstandard dvd's for about an hour just before going to bed. I spent my weekends getting chores done (laundry, oil change, groceries, etc) then watched my Visual Aid dvd's afterwards.

    The good thing about the Visual Aid (and goldstandard) dvd's is that they are broken down into different subjects. There are about 14-16 disks in each. My strategy was to watch 1 goldstandard dvd every night of the week, then an entire Visual Aid subject on the weekends (i.e. Bio on Saturday, then Physics on Sunday. The next weekend, Chem on Saturday, then O-Chem on Sunday, etc). Just like that, I did my review in 24 days straight then took the last 2 days off to relax.

    One more thing about the reading; I didn't just read through every single chapter in my textbooks. On parts that were familiar to me, I simply skimmed over then focused on the ones that weren't as clear. The dvd's were great because they basically summarized what I've already learned (or what I'm supposed to know, anyway). Plus, I was too tired after work so sitting back to watch the material was a little easier than reading it. While watching, I wrote down stuff that was a little fuzzy, then spent the first 30 minutes or so of my morning for clarification.
  41. RunningScared

    RunningScared

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    Hello:

    I am new here and I am having trouble finding where to post this. I am taking TPR. I got a 20(7,6,5)Q, 22(7,8,7)Q, and 26(BS8, PS8, VR10)? on the first three diags. Can anyone give me an idea of what I am looking to make on the actual exam? I am scheduled for the April 16th date. Right now I am not feeling good about this whole thing at all and I think I should postpone and transfer to a later date and allow for more study time. Should I switch dates? Any assistance in this matter is greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance. If this is the wrong place to post this, I would be very greatful for a point in the right direction.

    God bless,
    RS
  42. sesil

    sesil

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    1) 40Q (14-Phys. 12-Verb. 14-Bio.)


    Phys and Bio - Used kaplan and EK (3rd edition) for review. Kaplan tests from their Full length, sectional, and topic tests

    Verbal - didnt really use a strategy. Just took a lot of EK Verbal tests and AAMC ones. I took some kaplan but they seemed "different" from the AAMC and weren't really helping. Their question style (yea i know im ambiguos but I really cant explain this) weren't like the AAMC. To each his own I guess.

    Major: History

    Be diligent when taking your practice tests like make sure the timing is right and stuff like that. All the studyin in world won't do you any good if you can't think/run out of time on test day. Also please don't freak out on test day cause I know I was anxious as hell. You have to be calm when u take the beast because I guarantee you will come out thinking that it was harder than it actually was. Also as above posters have said keep up with some sort of schedule. I studied haphazardly up until the last 4 weeks before the test. Makin a schedule up then was a MUST, especially since it was during school.

    Kap course from june to august. Voided aug 06 exam, felt like crap..studied from end of december to january test date.
  43. carlosc1dbz

    carlosc1dbz Loves Christina Aldana!

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    Seriously, is there anyone that got under a 30 who is going to answer this question? That way, we know what not to do.
  44. moto_za

    moto_za Member

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    good point
  45. omegaxx

    omegaxx New Member

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    Bumpedy bump, bumpedy bump...
  46. dsh

    dsh

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    1) Your individual scores and composite score

    13P 11V 13B Q Aug 2004

    2) The study method used for each section

    Same for all: do questions, mark everyone I get wrong (not putting the right answer choice there, just marking it wrong), figure out why I got them wrong, use answer key to verify my reasoning, try to identify common mistakes and specific subjects I'm deficient in, rinse and repeat, focusing on whatever I sucked at most

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

    I didn't take a class.

    AAMC and Kaplan practice tests and EK 101 Verbal. I used my textbooks to get my basic knowledge down. I also read through specific sections of MCAT review books at my local Borders for some things (E&M, optics, physiology).

    4) Which practice tests did you use?

    AAMC, Kaplan

    5) What was your undergraduate major?

    Biology, I took the exam the summer after my 2nd year so I had finished all of bio, gchem, physics, and just the first bit of ochem.

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

    Study smart and hard. Try not to stress, either. Prepare well enough that you only have to take it once. Paying attention in your basic sciences and retaining the information pays off when it comes to the MCAT. I had to review very little content because I learned it well my first two years.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?

    3.5 weeks. I did a practice test almost every morning with no breaks and no writing sample. I corrected put the test down, and came back to it after dinner and did all the junk I mentioned above.
  47. Phoenix.

    Phoenix. In memory of Riley Jane. Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor

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    Bumping for the April MCATers....
  48. killinsound

    killinsound

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    I guess I'll go first...


    1) Your individual scores and composite score

    36 S VR:10 / BS: 13/ PS: 13

    2) The study method used for each section

    VR: solely EK101, but it didnt move at all (i got a 10 on my kaplan diag for verbal).

    PS: Princeton review helped me get up there.... I just went over the chemistry and physics sections that I was shaky on

    BS: EK1001 and EK bio book i think are the best for this section.

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

    see above...

    I took a kaplan course. i wouldn't recommend it if you can get the practice material some other way

    4) Which practice tests did you use?

    AAMC, Kaplan

    5) What was your undergraduate major?

    Biology with Management science double

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

    don't over study. only study how much you would for a regular class.
    if you don't know something, figure it out right away! don't save it for later.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?

    3 months.
  49. ParvatiP

    ParvatiP Senior Member

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    1) Your individual scores and composite score

    34R VR:10 / BS: 13/ PS: 11

    2) The study method used for each section

    VR: Honestly, I didn't really study specifically for this section, I just took lots of practice tests. I happen to be an avid reader anyway, so that helped. I'm not really sure if reading just for MCAT practice is worth it, although some people think so...just take lots of practice tests!

    PS: EK (the set of 5 books)

    BS: EK also

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

    EK


    4) Which practice tests did you use?

    AAMC, Kaplan
    (These were all paper btw, and I took the free AAMC 3R CBT)

    5) What was your undergraduate major?

    Chemistry

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    If you feel you have retained most of the material from your pre-reqs, you do NOT need to take a prep course!! Take a diagnostic test early to see where you stand. Btw, I got a 24 on my diagnostic (with only 1/2 a semester of bio). Also if you are a self-studier you do not need a prep course--just make sure you can motivate yourself to study! I knew that I would be totally bored taking a prep course because I remembered the material and understood it very well, so I studied on my own. Don't listen to people who say you can't do well without a prep course!

    Also, I did not spend much time re-learning the pre req material. I did read over the EK books initially. I'm not sure if this was a mistake, but my main form of studying was practice tests. I took 15 practice tests (Kaplan 1-7) and AAMC 3-9. Basically, every Saturday morning, I would take a practice test. The next couple days I would go over the exam in DEPTH, understanding what I got wrong. If I missed a concept, I would look it up in EK and write it down in a notebook I kept. During the week I would sometimes take mini practice tests (Kaplan I think). I did a few of the questions in EK, but didn't find them to be representative of actual MCAT questions. I did worry initially that I was spending too much time on practice tests when I maybe should have been reviewing basic concepts, but I think it worked out!

    Also, I think taking lots of practice tests helps to calm your nerves. I had taken so many that when I went to take the actual test, it was (almost) just like any other Saturday. Amazingly I was not very nervous at all, so I'm attributing it to my practice. I also just felt very ready and prepared for it, which gave me additional confidence.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    4 months
  50. Retro Virus

    Retro Virus

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    1) Your individual scores and composite score

    38T: VR 15 / PS 11 / BS 12

    2) The study method used for each section

    Verbal: started out scoring well, didn't devote time to studying for this section (but I did take the verbal sections of the AAMC practice MCATs)

    Physical and Biological Sciences:

    I. Read through all of Barron's MCAT and took practice tests A-D (I do not recommend this text as I found the science reviews too sparse and the tests seemed out of date)
    II. Took a practice AAMC MCAT and reviewed all incorrect answers
    III. Got out my old textbooks for the relevant classes (Gen and O-chem, Physics, Bio) and reviewed all topics in which I'd missed questions, with emphasis on particularly poor-performing topics or, later on, topics on which I was consistently missing one or more questions.
    IV. Repeated steps II and III seven more times with seven more practice tests
    V. Bought the Kaplan New MCAT and Kaplan MCAT 45 at the last minute, studied my identified ''problem topics' from them briefly

    Writing: Didn't study/practice, but I had written a lot of debate and argumentation papers in the past (national policy, ethics and philosophy, etcetera) and felt I was prepared. I would strongly recommend writing and reading opinion pieces, editorials, or letters to the editor about medical and political policy issues on a regular basis, as I think this was probably a great source of preparation for me.

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

    VR: AAMC practice tests
    PS: AAMC practice tests, Barron's MCAT, Kaplan's NEW MCAT and MCAT 45
    BR: AAMC practice tests, Barron's MCAT, Kaplan's NEW MCAT and MCAT 45
    WS: Nothing

    4) Which practice tests did you use?

    Barron's A,B,C,D
    AAMC 3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10

    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?

    Careful time management is your greatest ally. Don't avoid what you don't know or aren't comfortable with - go straight for that topic and turn it into the thing you know best.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?

    About 6-8 weeks. That said, while I'm happy with my result I was still steadily improving my science scores the week of the exam, and if I could do it again I'd start studying a month or two earlier. Don't be like me and underestimate how long it will take you to reach your personal best: give yourself plenty of time to prepare.
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