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Breaking Down the MCAT: A 3 Month MCAT Study Schedule

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by SN2ed, May 1, 2009.

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  1. jessica07

    jessica07

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    SN2ed,
    You said you don't suggest doing this 3 month plan along with school and a job. Do you have a modified plan anywhere for someone working and taking classes? Or has anyone else found a useful plan that someone taking classes and working can fit into their schedule?
  2. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    I couldn't come up with a good schedule for people with jobs or school or how best to alleviate the problems caused by the time constraints. There's simply too much variety to account for when crafting a plan to fit those circumstances. In those cases, it's best for the person to make up their own schedule that works for them.
  3. phience

    phience

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    Hi SN2ed, another question. So, a lot of these books you recommend are a few years old. Is that okay, or am I not finding the correct editions?
  4. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    The older books should primarily be EK since BR has kept their books updated. In general you're fine with older editions of EK, though I wouldn't go past 5th edition. I would try to get the latest BR editions.



    Added pricing information and links to the rest of the EK 1001 series.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2009
  5. dayNight

    dayNight

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    Hi SN2ed,

    I recently took the MCAT and I am awaiting my scores. I am preparing for the worst right now which means I am gathering material to study from again. The first time I used all the Kaplan Material and EK 101 Passages. I have a few Q's....

    1. Bio is BY FAR my weakest area. I only took the General Bio class at my university. I found the Physiology material the hardest for me to grasp and apply to passages. Do you still recommend the EK Bio Book for this problem?

    2. As for Gen Chem and Physics what makes BR materials such good prep?

    3. I took my first MCAT and I felt as if I hadn't peaked yet but I needed to take the test b/c I am applying to Podiatry school for fall of 2010. I took time off to relax and i did some content review over my weak areas. What do you think the chances are I received a jump on my actual MCAT?
  6. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    dayNight: For now, I suggest you hold off on preparing for a retake and simply relax. After studying for the MCAT, you need a nice long break. Then, if the worst happens, you'll be able to start studying again refreshed.
  7. enigmatist

    enigmatist

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    Hey SN2ed,
    Thanks for the post. I retook my MCAT in July after taking it once in March and improved my score from a 29 to 33. I used your strategy as my basic outline. Thanks again and I really respect the time and effort it took you to post this.
  8. ashjamar

    ashjamar

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    Hi! i got this link from craigs list, i saw you were selling some tbr books, are you still selling them,, i can easily meet up with u if u are?????????
  9. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    Uh. I haven't sold anything on Craigslist. Great. Someone is using my screen name to sell stuff :rolleyes:

    I added a warning to the first post.
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2009
  10. nohatehere

    nohatehere

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    First of all, SN2ed, amazing amazing schedule..thank you so so so much for sharing that.
    as a person who has taken the kaplan course this past summer with frustrating results, i definitely second your opinions on kaplan content and verbal passages. after seeing your schedule and suggestions, i am hopeful again.

    so my question: I'm in the boat with a few other members here taking the Jan 29-30 MCAT exam. Aside from volunteering at a hospital, I fortunately have the luxury to choose between a 3month (Nov-Jan) or 4 month (Oct-Jan) plan. If it was up to you, would you choose the 3 month plan and use the extra month to either read "difficult" material beforehand or more FLs afterwards? or should I bank on the 4 month plan? or maybe a hybrid of both via extended 3.5month plan? From your previous posts, it seems you favor the 3 month plan over the 4..

    Thanks again for all your hard work and kind consideration for your mcat peers!
  11. ThatWhatSheSays

    ThatWhatSheSays

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    I'm going to use the 3 month study schedule to prep for the Jan 2010 test.

    Anyone know when we can register for it?
  12. kthakore

    kthakore

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    Hi SN2ed,

    I am aiming for the Jan 29th 2010 exam. I started the Kaplan Program on the 22nd. I found this schedule shortly after. You mentioned that the ExamKrackers strategy is the best for verbal. I got a copy of the Exam Krackers book but it seems that their strategy is revolving around the old 85 minutes Verbal, not the new 60 mins one. How do I adjust their strategy or do I need to?
  13. loveoforganic

    loveoforganic -Account Deactivated-

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    SN2ed gives his own timing advice - advice I would highly, highly recommend following.
  14. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    nohatehere: You should spend a week analyzing what went wrong during your past study session. Look at everything: practice tests, practice problems, sleeping habits, stress levels, layout of schedule, etc. After your analysis, spend three weeks fixing your past weaknesses. If your weakness was rooted in practice problems, add more problems throughout the schedule. If it was a content weakness, spend some time before starting the schedule to improve your content knowledge in those areas. The key is that you find your weaknesses and take the time or planning to alleviate or eliminate them completely.

    kthakore: Timing is listed in the first few posts.
  15. metalgirl14

    metalgirl14

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    I have a quick question about my EK books. My friend gave me her old EK 1001 books and her EK 101 Verbal book. Unfortunately, these are all from 2004 and you said that the books shouldn't be older than 5 years. Since mine are exactly 5 years, do you think they would still be adequate or would you suggest I invest in the newest ones?
  16. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    You're fine. They're that old because EK hasn't done any real updates. The 5 year problem is more for BR books since they have done some updates. Still, the BR problem is easily worked around if you buy books from them.
  17. mdformeplz

    mdformeplz

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    Hey SN2ed, I was just wondering what your opinion on the EK chemistry book
  18. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    I don't recommend buying it and it definitely does not replace BR chemistry by a long shot. I strongly suggest you stick to the recommended list.
  19. kamdin

    kamdin

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    hey sn2ed, i have purchased the princenton review course and therefor recieved the TPR hyper learning series, along with buying all the EK material. i was wondering if the TPR hyper learning is good replacement for the TBR subjects you suggested in your first post about 3/4 month plan?!?! as you can tell i have already exhausted my budget, if necessary i would like to avoid further purchases.
  20. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    Yeah, those are a good swap for BR. Just adjust the schedule to fit in the TPR Hyperlearning Workbooks. Also, I don't think it's necessary to get all of the EK content review books since you have TPR Hyperlearning. However, definitely get EK Verbal 101 and if you can spare it, the EK 1001 series. Doesn't TPR Hyperlearning also give you some online practice problems (besides the TPR tests and AAMC tests)? If so, you could spare the EK 1001 series for monetary reasons.
  21. kamdin

    kamdin

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    thats exactly what i was thinking, but i just looked at the TPR books and there isn't 3 passages per chapter so the 1/3 passage/day idea is kind of hard to work out. yes, there is tons of TPR and AAMC tests online that come with the course.
  22. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    Ouch. I thought the Science Workbook had most of the problems in it. I remember someone saying that book had hundreds of practice problems spread throughout the various sciences. If really don't have that much practice material, you might be in a fix.
  23. kamdin

    kamdin

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    well thanks for your help...i just got the books today so im going to figure my way around it and then i'll make up my mind as what to do. i atually think there is enough practice material, they are just really scattered and i have to organize them accordingly on my own. thanks alot again, i really appreciate your help.
  24. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    I would hope they'd give you guys plenty of passages considering the money you're spending. In any case, go out there and tackle the MCAT to the ground.
  25. ACE28

    ACE28

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    Hey SN2, I've decided to follow your 3 month schedule for my retake in January 30th. Must retake because of poor VR score (ARGH!). I'm currently planning the upcoming months (starting the schedule in late Oct) and needed a quick clarification.

    When reviewing verbal passages, you stated that we review the verbal passages from the previous day. Do you also recommend this for the sciences? Or stick to reviewing the passages immediately after taking them, as BR recommends?

    Also, on a personal note, I need to place heavy emphasis on improving VR. I finished EK 101 already for the first attempt and will be using TBR verbal this time around. Apart from practicing passages and reviewing them, I was thinking about also reading difficult literature for 1-2hrs daily to work on my reading. Would you recommend this, or do you think it would be burdensome? I only ask b/c I already tried just practicing passages, which helped me perfect my timing, but I was still lacking on comprehension.
  26. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    Yeah, I suggest you review all of your practice problems the next day. It's written over in the notes sections:

    Notes:

    - Thoroughly review ALL of your practice problems. Review your problems the day AFTER you took them. If there's a break day, review your problems on the day after your break.

    There are some other helpful tips in there as well. Oh and I prefer reviewing problems the day after since I feel it helps with the analysis. Similar to how when you proof read your paper, if you do it right after you finish, you can miss simple stuff. Reviewing the day after also serves as repetition of the material.

    Also, make sure you look over what Vihsadas wrote for verbal. A link is in the first post.

    Reading difficult literature isn't a bad idea, but it's not very helpful close to your test. The benefits of reading are developed over a long period of time. Still, if you have time, it doesn't hurt. There's a recommended reading list in the first few posts. After you're done with an article, try to figure out the main idea and the author's opinion. Additionally, use your knowledge about what kind of questions are asked on the MCAT and try to make your own. Think like the author and try to make tricky questions.

    Lastly, you should still focus on taking timed practice passages for verbal. The thing with verbal is that it's not just comprehension, it's timed comprehension which might be getting you. If you can, I suggest you get the TPR Hyperlearning Verbal Workbook.
  27. CajunChemist

    CajunChemist

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    First of all, I would like to thank SN2ed for the recommendations, scheduling, and taking the time to respond to so many looking for help for the MCAT. You really are an extraordinary person.

    I followed a similar study plan while in school, but I had to condense my studying because I was a very busy student. I averaged about 20 credit hours a semester, worked in a research lab 20 to 30 hours a week, and held leadership positions in many campus organizations that I had a big commitment to. When you are this busy, you have to be EXTREMELY self-disciplined. I basically made a schedule for myself every day almost up to the minute, in some cases. You have to schedule in your studying and make it almost as if you were taking it as a class.

    For instance: Monday I would have Physics at 9, Microbiology at 10, Biochemistry at 11, a thesis writing class from 3 to 4:30, and then something for my sorority from from 7:30 til 8:30. I would typically wake up at 6:30, workout, and study for the MCAT from 7:30 til 9. In between classes I would review my MCAT flashcards or listen to Audio Osmosis. I would be in my research lab from 12 to 3 and then 4:30 til 6:30/7, when I was in there, I would try listen to Audio Osmosis or look over flashcards when I had a minute. Then when I would study for my other classes from 8:30 til, I would try to link the principles of each subject together (SN2ed's hat trick!).

    The key to studying for the MCAT while in school or working is using your subjects to your advantage! Be efficient in everything you do, when you have a minute, use it! Try to link the fundamentals to what you are doing or studying. Ok, it was a little easier to do this while I was in my research lab because I worked a lot with inorganic, OChem, PChem, Biochem, and polymers, but I would also be observant and relate my surroundings somehow to physics.

    The reason why I'm retaking the MCAT is because I used Kaplan for VR. Follow SN2ed's suggestions, I did awesome on the science sections because of EK's 1001, using my textbooks, and trying to think outside of the box. I will be using SN2ed's suggestions for VR!
  28. mattnumbernine

    mattnumbernine

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    SN2ed, I'm about to start your program, but i had a quick question

    You say for Day 8:
    Day 8: Complete second 1/3 of BR passages for the previous 3 chapters. I’m going to shorten this to: “Complete second 1/3 of BR passages”

    However, when I am looking at the program, I will have completed 4 chapters of BR material.

    Day 1: BR Physics Chapter #1 + 1/3
    Day 2: BR Gen Chem Chapter #1 + 1/3
    Day 3: BR O-Chem Chapter #1 + 1/3
    Day 5: BR Physics Chapter #2 + 1/3

    I assume you mean do all 4 chapters of problems, correct?
  29. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    Oh yeah, my mistake. I'll change it. Thanks.
  30. Ahmed786

    Ahmed786 New Member

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    Sn2ed just thought I might let you know, the MCAT hyperlearning workbook (2009 edition anyways Im assuming its the same across) has 43 passages + 4 practice tests each consisting of 7 passages for a grand total of 71 passages.

    Coupled with EK 101, that is still only 182 practice passages. It this enough for the 120 day schedule?? Also should we do the 4 practice tests in their entireity or just do 3 passages a day as the usual format
  31. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    I'd like more verbal passages in both schedules, but we're limited by the number of good sources. 172 passages is not that much even when you subtract the days you don't use EK or TPR (break days and FL days). Ideally I'd like to suggest 4 passages per day. If you really want more practice passages, you could pick up BR Verbal. Lastly, stick the 2-3 passages per day, or however many you can do per day given your resources.
  32. kamdin

    kamdin

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    hey sn2ed, i did three verbal passages today and it took me an average of 5-6min just to read it and another 4-6min to answer the questions. i did get better as i went along, but the fastest one (last one) took me a total 8.5 min. im having really hard time keepin it down to 6min per passage for only the verbal part, fortunately i dont have a problem doing the science sections in time. is six min realistic, or do i just need more practice and new tactics to approach it?
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2009
  33. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    You could try starting out at 7 minutes per passage and work towards 6 minutes. Yes, 6 minutes is completely realistic. Furthermore, you'll probably need the extra time given by this verbal timing for the real thing. Whether or not you need a new tactic or practice depends on what you're doing. I suggest you look at Vihsadas' verbal post linked in the first post of this thread.
  34. metalgirl14

    metalgirl14

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    Hi there,

    As you mentioned previously, TPR Hyperlearning Science workbooks do not contain very many passages for each chapter (Physics often has ~2 passages per chapter, Chemistry has ~16, Biology has ~6, and Organic has anywhere from ~4-10).

    Is this an adequate amount of passages for each subject if I use your 3 month schedule? I suspect it will not be....About how many passages per chapter does BR have?

    If this amount of passages is not enough, do you have a suggestion for where I could get additional passages (that are of high quality)? (I would love to get the BR books but I need to start studying in 2 weeks and I don't believe the BR books will be here in time...:/)

    Also, TPR includes 10 online diagnostic tests. I know that these tests are completely worthless in terms of scores but would you recommend completing a few of them before completing the AAMC tests (to get used to the online interface and to practice test taking strategies)?

    Thank you in advance for all your help! :)
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2009
  35. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    Unfortunately, no that's not enough passages. BR usually has 10 passages per chapter in their books. What you might want to do is order the BR books, but in the meantime, work through the TPR Hyperlearning Science Workbook. Once you get the BR books, go back and work through the corresponding chapters.

    It would be okay to complete a TPR practice test or two before starting the AAMC. Make sure you have enough time to fit them into the schedule. I've heard far too many mixed reviews on the TPR tests to recommend them.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2009
  36. dayNight

    dayNight

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    hey i have a quick question. unfortunately i have to retake the mcat and i don't really have an abundance of finances to spend on material due to the fact i spent a TON of money on kaplan. i would like to state my weaknesses for some help but because i have to retake the test the entire thing is a weakness of mine. however, there is one weakness i would like advice on. i am going to have to use kaplan again for content review. general biology is a weakness of mine and i would like to know if EK 1001 passages is a good idea even though i am going to use kaplan or should i get the BR book. i think i will stay with kaplan for the 3 science sections b/c of lack of finances. i still have 2 AAMC practice test to take and kaplan 2-6 that is still available for me as well as EK 101 passages (5 -14). what do you think about kaplan's Q bank...it seems to maybe resemble EK's 1001 passages. also i know this is a horrible question but what percentage of students take the mcat a 2nd time? thank you in advance.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2009
  37. NoleDoc

    NoleDoc FEAR THE SPEAR!!!

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    EKs 1001 Biology passages are great! You might also want to try EKs other subject books, they also are pretty good and aren't expensive. Oh and don't worry about retaking the MCAT a second time, I did. I'm actually about to take it again. Don't lose sight of your dreams. Good luck!
  38. DickDastardly87

    DickDastardly87

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    I'm not sure about all the study materials....I just followed my kaplan books and that helped out alot! As for taking the mcat again....take it again, once your adequately prepared. If you put forth the time and effort, there is a great opportunity to bump your grade up. You just have to sit down and plan out a study schedule and follow it. Easier said than done I know.
  39. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    Please keep the questions to the guide itself.
  40. VickMortalMD

    VickMortalMD

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    TO SN2ed: thank you for your time, energy and effort in making the 3 month study plan. It's the best on SDN or anywhere else. Just like most of us here, I also have few questions regarding my mcat study plan.

    I just took my first MCAT but my score was alot lower than I expected. I took kaplan class 2x but both times i was full time at college so I didn't put much effort into it. Now I'm planning to take the march 27th 2010 exam. So coming my question: I already have all the books from kaplan & the Ek books with the 1000 series. Last time I used only the kaplan and Ek for content with the online stuff that comes when taking a kaplan course. But I didn't even touch the Ek 1000 series. So i wanted to ask you what should I use for a good content review this time. I think thats where my weakness is. I have read all the chaps from kaplan and Ek but I guess they were not that helpfull for me. I'm seeing here on SDN many people using the Berkely review textbooks..do u think buying the BR books for few subjects will be a good idea?? or princeton review...thank you in advance..:)
  41. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    First off, thanks for the compliments. I'm glad people are finding my guide useful.

    Sorry to hear about the two bad attempts. Since you used EK and Kaplan for Bio, I think it's time to try the in-depth approach because the non-detailed approach hasn't worked for you. Hence, I'd go with all BR books if possible. TPR Hyperlearning is good for content, but it doesn't offer the practice problems of BR. Additionally, make sure to get some new practice tests. GS offers solid tests that are cheap. BR also offers good practice tests, that are better than GS, but they're also significantly more expensive.

    Check the first post for a link to BR.
  42. loveoforganic

    loveoforganic -Account Deactivated-

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    SN2ed - the "Can I replace this with this" question has been asked a multitude of times. I think it would probably be worthwhile to amend your "Replacement" section with your opinion on the other books you've said you find acceptable (namely, TPR Hyperlearning in place of some TBR).
  43. NoleDoc

    NoleDoc FEAR THE SPEAR!!!

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    How long should we wait and catch our breath before begining to study for the MCAT all over again? I took the exam on 09/04 and I find that I need to retake it. However, the only scores that some schools will accept are the Jan MCAT, so I'm kind of on a time crunch. What do you feel I should do? I have a full time job and this is my second year away from school.
  44. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    The reason why I didn't add TPR Hyperlearning to the replacement section is because of the lack of practice problems. The content review is on par with BR, but the science workbook appears to be lacking based on a previous comment.

    As posted by metalgirl14: "As you mentioned previously, TPR Hyperlearning Science workbooks do not contain very many passages for each chapter (Physics often has ~2 passages per chapter, Chemistry has ~16, Biology has ~6, and Organic has anywhere from ~4-10)."

    I would typically advise aiming for another 3 month window. However, since you have a full time job, I'm not sure. You may want to start studying now.
  45. jakefsu

    jakefsu

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    I don't get the 3 month study plan....

    From what I understand you rotate subjects and complete 1/3 of problems from a given chapter after you read the chapter. Than at the end of the week you do the second 1/3 from the chapters. When do you do the third 1/3? At the very end?

    Also, here is my books: PR hyperlearning set, BR set and nova physics and EK101 verbal. (also aamc and kaplan practice tests). I plan to do practice test periodically, saving most aamc towards the end and most of my practice tests towards the end. Might go from 1 FL test every 2 weeks to 2 FL tests every week.

    My schedule opts for a lot of time. I am just taking a english, history, music and biochem class. Biochem is a joke at my school though, 80% of your grade comes from quizzes which can be memorized 2-3 hrs before the quiz.

    Ok, so would you guys recommend me doing the PR and BR set together? For example, PR in the moring 7:00-10:00, and BR in the afternoon 2:00-5:00. Or would you recommend I do one set and complete it before starting the other set?

    What do you think about me substituting BR for the EK1001 series? BR seems to have a lot of problem sets.
  46. LALAKERS24

    LALAKERS24

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    I am using the 2009 TPR Hyperlearning books for content review. I also have all the BR books as well (using just for passage practice), however I am having difficulty in incorporating the BR passages while using TPR Books to study..... Any ideas or suggestions in how I should approach this? (side note: I personally find the TPR books easier to read and to the point....)
  47. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    SDN 7+ Year Member
    You might want to try looking up the chapter topics for each TPR Hyperlearning book. Then, find the corresponding chapter topics in the BR books. Once you do that, take the practice BR passages that fit with each TPR Hyperlearning chapter. If you find that the chapters don't fit too well, then skip around in the TPR Hyperlearning book so you read up on each of the topics covered in one BR chapter.
  48. LALAKERS24

    LALAKERS24

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    SDN 5+ Year Member
    Thank you for your help and time! Yeah, I figured I would have to search through some of the TPR book content wise so it could match up with the BR questions/content as well. Its just a pain having to keep a meticulous record of the passages, page numbers, etc. But I guess it will be worth it in the end! Thanks again for all your help!
  49. kamdin

    kamdin

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    SDN 2+ Year Member
    hi, just wanted to let everyone know that i have a set of 2010 princeton revew hyperlearning series for sale. no writing/highlighting on it at all. pm if interested. got an extra set while in class, so don't need it.
  50. CavAggie

    CavAggie

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    Podiatry Student
    for anybody that is using the BR and ExmCrkers

    for the " 1/3 of BR Chapter (.).."

    are yall doing 1/3 of the passages for each section in the chapter

    or

    1/3 of the sections in the chapter

    I'm gonna do 1/3 of the passages for each section in the chapter but was wondering what everyone thought. thanks.
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