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How I went from a 29 (August) to a 37 (January)

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by bozz, Feb 25, 2008.

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  1. bozz

    bozz

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    I'll post this in the 30+ section too.... but I promised SDN I'd help out over here if I got a 33 or above on the test. I hope the mods allow this. I'll keep updating this as much as possible, but let this be my first draft.

    Since you guys love numbers so much, let me start with them:

    Kaplan diagnostic (after going through EK): 23 (8 PS, 8 VR, 7 BS)
    August 20th MCAT (after 4 months of prep.. studying 5-6 hours a day): 29Q (10 PS, 9 VR, 10 BS)
    January 26th MCAT (after 2 months of light prep... 1-2 hours every other day): 37O (14 PS, 10 VR, 13 BS)

    What does this mean? What were my practice scores like? I'll post the exact numbers later at the end of this post.

    Let me start off by telling you that I'm your average Joe. I've always been the hardworking type who envied the kids who always seemed to do well without much preparation on standardized tests or who aced the SATs... I feel like that no more. I couldn't figure out what was wrong with me.. I took the SAT 3 times and the ACT 3 times. Scores didn't improve much. (I even took a Kaplan course for the SAT :eek:) I never understood standardized tests. By putting in enough time on the MCAT, I guess I figured out the MCAT.


    The MCAT is something you can definitely study for.. no matter what anyone says. Take as much time as you need... if you think about it... I had 6 months of prep... 4 at first, and 2 after retake.


    Just because you see someone study for 1 month and end up with a 40.. but see one of your buddies bust his *** off on a Kaplan course, spend 4 months studying, and still not score as well... means jack sh!t. That means nothing. I'm a prime example.. look at how much time I spent studying the first time, compared to the second. You need to study right AND you need to use Berkeley Review for PS.. if you're weak at it.. it's like free points on your test lol .. which I'll mainly talk about in the strategy/guessing section.

    If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Use it to your advantage.. mindset is important.

    Test Day

    I feel that taking the test once gave me confidence.. but still, in January, the nerves hit me somewhat... as I knew I got 4 Qs wrong on PS right off the bat (I was thinking about it during break), and I had marked 22 questions on the BS section of the test. I felt miserable.


    Materials/Review Course

    Chemistry:

    EK EK EK EK and BERKELEY REVIEW, BERKELEY REVIEW, BERKELEY REVIEW, BERKELEY REVIEW, BERKELEY REVIEW, BERKELEY REVIEW, BERKELEY REVIEW, BERKELEY REVIEW, BERKELEY REVIEW, BERKELEY REVIEW

    Chemistry was one of my weaker sections... I dreaded it... 3 weeks with the Berkeley Review chem books made me a Chemistry master. I didn't miss any chem questions on the real deal.. and on top of that, the passages are amazing practice. I'll elaborate on this more later on.

    Physics:

    EK and Berkeley Review for sure, ... great practice.. Physics is by far my weakest section. I never got As in Physics and always struggled. Definitely use BOTH for Physics. I promise you'll do well.

    BS and O Chem:

    I didn't find Berkeley Review's Bio helpful on Biology... way too detailed
    I used EK and Kaplan.. they worked

    In terms of practice, Kaplan's section tests were great!! There are what... 10 of them!? 10 full length BS sections.. that's a looot of practice. I exhausted Kaplan.. definitely worth it.

    I'm a Bio major.. but felt the most uneasy about this section on practice tests.. since it required a lot of reading. I suck at reading comprehension... so I had to improve my "guessing" strategies.. I'll write more about this later. This is what helped me get my BS score. O Chem.. no opinion on my abilities... just meh.


    I took Kaplan over the summer.. to be honest, the lectures were useless. The online material was great. If you have the money to spend, definitely, definitely get the online course. You get the AAMCs along with the Kaplan FLs.. which I really suspected for the looongest time... but they turned out pretty accurate, atleast the second time.

    Strategy/Guessing/What I did

    General Stuff

    Look at the AAMC topics list and identify the topics you had difficulty with and study those mainly... for me it was Circuits, Doppler Effect, Solubility, Acid/Base Chem, Torque, Sugars/Carbs in O Chem, Digestive System.... make notecards! I'm really not a notecard person... but writing down questions like "What are the 4 pancreatic hormones down" and having the answer on the other side reallly realllly improves recall. I made over 150 notecards on topics I was not sure about. Helped BIG TIME.... I can't believe I forgot to post this above... adding it now.

    Also write stuff like, what happens if I add a resistor in parallel to a circuit? How is current affected... just knowing stuff like this like the back of your hand will save unnecessary time. The first time I had circuit questions, I had to draw 2 resistors in parallel to check if my thinking was right. Just knowing this high yield facts by making notecards will save you a tonnnnnn of time on the real deal. You reduce unnecessary thinking time. On the real deal, I was presented with a rather complicated looking circuit... there was shortcut to the problem. Making flashcards on what happens when a) happens, b) is added c) is removed etc... helped me find great shortcuts that I was able to employ on the real thing.


    PS:

    Definitely the easiest section to improve on! Knowing the formulas/basics can get you a 10. Also remember that it is very likely for you to get a few points lower on any section... your goal is to not be satisfied with whatever score you have. Even if you're getting 12s (like I did the first time), there is still a chance you could get a 10 on the real deal. PS is something you can really perfect. No matter what your background, seriously, everyone should be going for a 15 on PS. It's possible!!!

    My physics background sucks... chemistry, I barely got by. I was never a Math person... more of a biology person... and I turned PS into my strongest section. Use as many books as possible without wasting too much time. I looked at EK, Nova, Berkeley Review, and Kaplan. EK was great.. Kaplan was similar. What's missing in 1 book, you can find in the other. Berkeley Review seemed great for Physics... but I didn't have much time to review it. I only did the Fluids section (something I never understood).. and it made perfect sense to me afterwards. I know I only did 1 section... but I'll assume it's Physics is pretty darn good. But of course, its Chem section is amazing.. I won't repeat the same thing over and over :p. If you really want, you can find them on Craigslist for cheap probably... But $60 for these brand new Chem books is def. worth it in the grand scheme of things. And lol for those who IMed me about selling them.. sorry.. I'm letting someone use them right now .. and saving them for my brother haha.

    First 2 are probably the most important tips by far that you can improve on very easily

    1) Improve your arithmetic... get really, really, really fast with basic Math. Your confidence will improve, and you won't have to keep checking your answers. TBR's practice passage based questions had a tonnnnn of math.. no I naturally got good at this while working through the passages.

    2) Dimentional Analysis ... PERFECT this... I had around 5-7 questions that seriously required you to do this. For example (I'm making this up), a question will ask you how to represent FORCE. You automatically think F = ma... but mass * acceleration will never be in the answer choices. Each choice will have some something convoluted like Energy * Mass * density .. blah blah.. etc... these questions, you simply have to go through each answer choice in order. Working on this will help bigtime...

    but more importantly, some questions will do it in a subtle way... and under time pressure, if you don't look at the UNITS of the answer choices, you can get a question wrong. Something I frequently noticed was: having the correct number as the answer but paired with the wrong units. Learn to look for this on every calculation question.

    3) CHECK FOR BALANCED EQUATIONS every time.

    Even if it doesn't ask you to.. do it! I recognized one on the real deal... simply b/c during practice tests, I forced myself to check if every Chemical equation I saw was balanced. If it's not balanced, you will definitely get a limiting reagant question wrong. It's just a great habit to get into.

    4) Learn to Skim Passages when necessary

    I had a hard looking roller coaster passage... I didn't even want to look at it. Chances are.. if a passage looks obnoxiously hard, it's that way for everyone. I went straight to the questions... and sometimes, the questions alone can give you information on what the passage is about. Be flexible, practice this on practice tests!

    5) Keep a log of the types of questions on each exam you took ..

    you'll start to see some patterns in how the AAMC is formulating questions... On the earlier AAMCs when I was preparing the second time, after Berkeley Review, I was getting consistend 12s. I only improved my scores to the 13 - 15 range within the last 3 weeks before the exam! I guarantee you that if you keep a log, you will notice that some types of questions start showing up again and again and again.... you'll just say to yourself, "Hey! it's that type of question! I know how to do it." You're not going to be shocked on the exam.


    VR:

    I'm no Verbal expert.. but I tried finishing each passage within 7.5 minutes.. as fast as possible without losing accuracy (Vihsadas' advice).

    Understand that you can read! you've been doing it since kindergarden... my reading comprehension isn't great.. it's normal. I got a 630 Verbal or something like that on the SAT. I've read a net total of 3 books (non-science) for college since I graduated. You want to get a 10 on Verbal. Unfortunately, I didn't do as well on Verbal as the other sections... so I think my advice is probably not the best.

    BS:

    I guess my knowledge base is OK. The only advanced classes I took were anatomy and genetics (which was basically just high school level Bio with extra details). I never took Biochem.. it probably would have helped. I had a Western blot passage that I thought I missed completely. However, by looking at the images given, I was able to predict answers for each question. Again, if a passage seems complicated, it probably is for everyone! Go to the figures and questions!

    Take the AAMCs and look over all your marked/wrong questions. Keep looking at them.. analyze them. Figure out what you were thinking when you answered the question.

    1) Draw a map of the body systems in the human body... start with what happens when food enters your mouth.. or what happens when air enters your nose? If you do this over and over (write it down once and practice recall), physiology will make a lot more sense to you. how does this affect the heart? stomach? lungs? etc..

    2) Try and relate this to fluid flow in physics, for example. As one of my engineering friends told me, imagine the body as a circuit with blood being the current.

    3) Know which systems normally "go together"... for ex: Nervous and Endocrine system... at times, if you don't know what a question is talking about, knowing which "things" go together can be a big help.

    4) Again, make a log. It'll help.


    Final Word of advice: Take the MCAT when you feel ready. Don't rush it at all. When I was going to take it the 2nd time, I felt fairly confident I would pull off a 33 atleast, a very competitive score. Also, taking it once boosted my confidence bigtime before going in there. Of course, after coming out, I felt like I got run over haha.... but your attitude going in there matters a lot. AAMCs are good indicators. Do noooot hope for a miracle on test day. Assume you'll score around your average + or - 2-3 points ... if you're not happy with your average, and if there is no urgency, wait and take it when you are happy with your practice scores.

    Set a goal and do not get your mind off it. If you work hard and don't slack off, you can pull it off.


    Practice Scores:

    First time:

    CBT 4: 12/8/11 (31)
    CBT 5: 13/8/12 (33)
    CBT 6: 12/8/11 (31)

    CBT 7: 10/10/12 (32)
    CBT8: 12/10/10 (32)
    CBT9: 12/9/11 (32)


    FL 1: 11/9/9 (29)
    FL 2: 13/10/10 (33)
    FL 3: 11/12/14 (lolol) (37)
    FL 4: 11/8/12 (32)
    FL 5: 13/8/11 (33)

    My scores were all over the place.. as seen above.. and Kaplan can be very inaccurate at times.. lol

    Second Time: remember I took these twice

    AAMC 4: 13 PS, 10 VR, 12 BS (35)
    AAMC 5: 12 PS, no VR, 12 BS
    AAMC 6: 12 PS, 12 VR, 12 BS (36)
    AAMC 7: 15 PS, 12 VR, 11 BS (38)
    AAMC 8: 13 PS, 10VR, 10 BS (33)
    AAMC 9: 14 PS, 11 VR, 13 BS (38)
    AAMC 10: 14 PS, 9 VR, 13 BS (36)

    Kaplan FL#7: 12 PS, 12 VR, 14 BS (38)
    Kaplan FL #8: 12 PS, 13 VR, 13 BS (38)

    Comments on these: What's important to realize is ... I didn't really do a whole lot more studying for the Jan. MCAT.. I picked up Berkeley Review, worked on the passages, and that MINDSET leaked into the other subjects... moreover, I completed 20 section tests and the 8 AAMCs with 4 additional Berkeley Review practice tests... I saved more than a month for practice tests and analysis alone.
  2. Esteban

    Esteban Senior Member

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    Wow, good job!!! Thanks for the post...it really motivated me! :).
  3. bozz

    bozz

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    no probs... i'll add more stuff.. its not even like half done
  4. DesertSonata

    DesertSonata

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    You're an inspiration :)

    I too am having similar problems that you used to have. Please continue editing and adding to this thread. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of your advice. Great job on the MCAT :thumbup:
  5. tncekm

    tncekm MS-1

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    So, would you say working through the BR passages is what made the difference for you, or was it the material supplied?

    Thx.
  6. Cp22kjer

    Cp22kjer Bottom of the Food Chain

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    Great read and post. I am curious if you attribute more to improved knowledge base or just MCAT test taking ability?
  7. bozz

    bozz

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    that's what I was going to elaborate on tomorrow.. but...

    To answer your question in short, it was confidence. Especially on PS. Berkeley Review improved my knowledge base somewhat... but it was more just learning to read the passages properly + answering questions... also the fact that Berkeley Review chem was soo hyped up (it deserves it btw :D) .... I felt like just reading TBR made me invincible haha.. very psychological.

    Once I got to the AAMCs, I was on a roll.

    I guess you could say I got better at "beating the system" or that my test taking ability improved... but that's linked to knowledge too. I was confident on most concepts in PS.. which helped me find weaknesses more efficiently.

    Before August, on a practice test, I'd simply look at my wrong answer, then the right answer and say, "Yah.. I'd be able to get that on test day." You have to sit down and analyze every goddamn question! As a result, I was one big weak link... I wasn't able to identify my weaknesses and got owned.
    ----------------------------------------------------

    BS:

    No increase in knowledge base. I just got better at identifying weird answers... again, don't just say, "yeah.. I'll get that question right on test day." It's crazy to think I made educated guesses on 22 questions.. and got the majority right. I hadn't taken biochem at all. You could say I got lucky... but I'd like to think it's more than that. Go over the AAMCs... and every question you got wrong. A lot of times you can eliminate answers without even knowing what the questions are talking about! To be honest, I didn't even know I could do this... even on test day. With the time pressure, I was forced to guess so damn much! But I guess from going over all the practice tests and studying my "weaknesses" I innately was able to rule out answers quickly.

    I can give you concrete advice on PS... but as unsatisfying as this answer sounds, go over your AAMCs over and over and over and over for BS. If you do it enough, you'll be able to eliminate crappy answers without even knowing it.

    Note: this doesn't mean you have to be a genius to figure out "patterns" ... that's not what I'm trying to say! Even though it sounded like that to me at first... you really CAN maximize your science scores! If I had a penny for everytime someone with a high MCAT score told me to simply practice and I hated the advice, I'd be rich.

    YOu haaavve to do it.. and I'm telling you that you have to... coming from an average Joe.. try it!

    Most people practice... they're like yeah... I got a 30 on AAMC ___ ... I'm going to hit the books again... no! your score won't get higher unless you do something differently. Look at every single marked question, and every single wrong answer.. and only go over that material.. nothing else. Make notecards (I actually made notecards on every PS and BS question I got wrong). It's hard work... but it's worth it.
  8. J DUB

    J DUB Watch my TAN walk!! Lifetime Donor

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    I took the Aug 20th exam too!!

    I got a 24 and need to get a 30. My practice averages were very similar to yours, almost identical within a point on most.

    I am horrible at standardized tests and need the secret for those of us that are not just "gifted".

    Congrats on the 37!!

    I would kill for a 31...:D
  9. tf2medic

    tf2medic

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    you are ****ing awesome, bozz.

    where do you get the AAMC tests?? i'm not taking kaplan or anything cuz it sounded dumb. i'm just studying on my own and taking it April 5th. i need to order those 10 real mcat tests or whatever like tomorrow. do i just go to the aamc site?

    congrats man
  10. Vihsadas

    Vihsadas No summer Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor

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    (Applause!!) Keep that info flowing...let your success become someone elses!
  11. tncekm

    tncekm MS-1

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    http://www.e-mcat.com/ (CBT Tests 3R-10)
    http://www.mcat-prep.com/ (10 more CBT tests; harder than actual MCAT)
    http://www.berkeley-review.com/ (Coming out with a few, supposedly very good, CBT exams within days hopefully)
  12. unsung

    unsung

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    Awesome... wtg! That's definitely inspiring.

    I don't know about BR though, as I have TPR books from class already, as well as all the EK lecture books & EK 1001Qs... it's like I'm getting buried by all the material. I'd be lucky to get all the 1001Qs done, at this point. How does BR compare with EK? I am definitely weaker on gen chem though... so I don't know.
  13. bozz

    bozz

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    to be honest with you, for me, I don't think the ek1001s were helpful... you really have to try actual passage based questions... bio was passage based but still not that great IMO
  14. halekulani

    halekulani Member

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    awesome job

    i guess retaking old mcats can still help you in the end. maybe it makes things more lucid the second time around as far as what passages are trying to say and whatnot.
  15. DrJD

    DrJD Junior Member

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    Hello everyone!! I know this is Bozz's thread but given the similarilites in our scores I thought I would throw up my post that I just put in the 30+ thread... Everythin BOZZ has said is dead on!!! So here is my "advice" post, please feel free to ask me any questions as well!!

    1) Your individual scores and composite score

    PS: 14 BS:12 VR:12 Writing:R
    38R

    2) The study method used for each section

    So my study method for both PS and BS was pretty much the same so I will go ahead and write that first.

    BS and PS - I can't sing examkrackers praises enough! I feel like with my study method anyone could score at least near as well as I was able to. First thing I did was go through the entire 10 week study schedule for examkrackers. I didn't take any practice tests other than those that were in the material. This gave me an excellent base to start with. Next I made a schedule. THIS IS ESSENTIAL. Make a schedule in Excel and then stick to it! I laid out which chapters in Kaplan I would have to read each day to get through all of the material by X date. So while I was doing this I started taking practice tests. I started by taking one per weekend. And then I slowly ramped up to taking one in the middle of the week as well. Culminating in a weekend where I took one on a Friday and then one on Saturday at my actual testing time. So that is the essential study plan, I'll address tips and what not below.

    VR- I feel like VR is one of those sections that is hard to study for. People say read this or read that... Personally I think studying aka reading for all of your other subjects helps a lot for VR as well. But if you really want to study for VR I would high suggest Verbal 101 passages. I thought they were difficult but helpful.

    Writing- I just read the advice in Kaplan and then did a few outlines to get it into my head.

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)
    BS, PS - Examkrackers, Kaplan (and I referenced Princetonreview a little)
    VR - 101 passages

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    AAMC 3 - 30
    AAMC 4 - 33
    AAMC 5 - 30
    AAMC 6 - 33
    AAMC 7 - 36
    AAMC 8 - 33
    AAMC 10 - 33
    AAMC 9 - 35

    I thought the Kaplan tests were way to difficult and not representative of the actual experience.

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    Biological Sciences

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    This test is doable!!!! I know that sometimes it seems like learning all that material for such a short test seems pointless... But believe me, it is worth all of the effort you put into it. I am convinced that the MCAT is 50% knowledge and 50% test taking. So make sure you don't neglect either one of those! Practice, practice, practice... Most important part about practicing is to pay attention to the questions that you got wrong!! If you get one wrong, figure out WHY you got it wrong. I went back through all of the AAMC's at the end and redid the questions I got wrong... as a whole I got them right, not because I remembered but because I learned from my mistakes. I guess that is all for now... One last thing that helps is having a goal... not a score, but an ultimate goal... I know not everyone in here believes in God, but I do! And my goal is to be able to go on short term medical missions trips once I am a doctor... So when I had studied 7 days in a row and was feeling burnt out I remembered WHY I was taking the test. So figure out why you are taking the test beyond "to get into medical school" and then focus on that as an inspiring factor!!!


    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    Total it would be about 6 or 7 months. But I started really studying in like September or so... So 4 or 5 months...

    I may come back and add more to this later. But please, I use to be a teacher at Kaplan and I have studied for the MCAT a ton so if you have any questions at all please feel free to PM me or ask me a question in a a thread, anything I can do to give back to SDN!

    Good luck to everyone!!!!!!
  16. LovelyMD

    LovelyMD Moderator Emeritus

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    Congrats, bozz and DrJD!
    I also went from a 29 to a 38 last year, so I know how that feels.
  17. ChubbyChaser

    ChubbyChaser Yummmy

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    So basically you went up 8 pts by minimal reviewing of concepts and mostly just doing questions and reviewing the answers for a couple hours a day for two months???

    Hmmm, maybe ill try it;)
  18. bozz

    bozz

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    yeap.. that's the only way to beat the MCAT
    for some people, test taking ability comes naturally... for others, you have to work on it.. but it can be done
  19. ChubbyChaser

    ChubbyChaser Yummmy

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    hmm, I kind of wish my score would have been lower so it wasnt in the Gray area, cause I think I could do much better if I put in the effort.


    O pues!! congrats all you high scorers!!
  20. bozz

    bozz

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    you never know what might happen.. if you still remember some of your material, go for it

    I know I wouldn't have retaken it had I gotten in a score in the "grey" area.. I guess
  21. ChubbyChaser

    ChubbyChaser Yummmy

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    yeah, I just took the BS and PS from AAMC test 10 that I still have access to and scored suprisingly well on it despite the 6 months lapse since my MCAT, but I think I am just going to go for it with my current score, and if I dont have an acceptance in hand by January imma start studying.

    O and wth is up with that vole question? that was the only one I remembered from the first time I took it, lol!!!
  22. Vihsadas

    Vihsadas No summer Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor

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    That's the way to do it. Keep thinking about your thought process. You need to really evaluate whether how you are going about solving each question is the most efficient, most accurate route. If you think there is a better way to do a type of problem, find it! You can gain so much information from heavy post-game analysis. You begin to get a feel for the 'wrong' answers.

    Yeah, that was a horrible question. No idea why that was on there...
  23. RoadRunner17

    RoadRunner17 Fleet of feet Moderator Emeritus

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    Well done Bozz... I 100% agree with EVERYTHING you posted on there. I went from a 31 in 2005 to a 35 in 2007; and I think I was probably a bit unlucky on test day as I was averaging 37's on my practice exams. But, essentially what I did the second time around was a lot similar to what you described in your post. I 100% endorse your post and methods to everyone.
  24. bozz

    bozz

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    haha I remember you were on fire with the berkeley review recommendations... I think I remember contacting you and asking if you were selling yours lol ..
  25. Sarahgelatinano

    Sarahgelatinano totally awesome

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    Just amazing....I only have a little time left until the April 19th exam and will take your advice and see what happens....

    Now to find BR chemistry........
  26. MedStudentWanna

    MedStudentWanna Removed

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    I'm sick of hearing this when a couple of people have already asked for the posts or advice. The guy has 1200 posts. I don't think it's asking too much to at least lead us in the right direction if you really want to help.
  27. halekulani

    halekulani Member

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    most questions are clearly answered in the mcat 30+ habits thread yet people still post new threads about the SAME things OVER and OVER

    "TPR vs kaplan"
    "how much can i improve by?"
    "omgifailedmydiag"
  28. MedStudentWanna

    MedStudentWanna Removed

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    Maybe, but in this case, Bozz has repeatedly thanked Vihsadas, referenced him, told us to look him up, etc. Meanwhile, a couple of posters have asked WHERE and they get no response. I seriously doubt anyone who is presently studying for the MCAT has the time to wade through 1200 posts for a magical post of advice, so either tell us where this was posted, summarize it for us, or stop advising us to follow it for crying out loud! It's very frustrating.
  29. Mandek

    Mandek

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    oh, just let it go...give the guy a break. Bozz is trying to be helpful, if you don't like something he posts, you can ignore him
  30. Tartheheel

    Tartheheel

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    Dear Bozz,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to post. You're an inspiration and motivation to us all! I have almost 10-11 months till the real deal, and since my GPA is not all that stellar, the MCAT is the only thing I have in my control that can change my life for the better :)

    TTH
  31. bozz

    bozz

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    Be happy people on these forums even offer advice... I waded through 1200 of his posts.. suck it up and do it if you think it's worth it

    I'm not going to spoonfeed anyone. I'm laying my thoughts out on the table... if people want specific advice and aren't rude about it, I'd be more than happy to help.
  32. Mandek

    Mandek

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    dude, we appreciate your advice!! ignore him/her
  33. scribble

    scribble hello :)

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    I've already taken the MCAT twice (24 a while back, then 29 for January's). So, would your advice be that I retake the MCAT using your guidelines (take practice test x 100, A-N-A-L-Y-Z-E x 100)?

    I don't know of anyone among my acquaintances that take the MCAT THREE TIMES (!!! AHH !!!). But your post has definitely given me hope. My philosophy has always been "try try again", but my lack of confidence results from not knowing the best way to approach the THIRD take :scared:.
  34. bozz

    bozz

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    If you got a 29, it still means you might be a little weak on some of your material... I for sure was. Look at the AAMC topics list and identify the topics you had difficulty with and study those mainly... for me it was Circuits, Doppler Effect, Solubility, Acid/Base Chem, Torque, Sugars/Carbs in O Chem, Digestive System.... make notecards! I'm really not a notecard person... but writing down questions like "What are the 4 pancreatic hormones down" and having the answer on the other side reallly realllly improves recall. I made over 150 notecards on topics I was not sure about. Helped BIG TIME.... I can't believe I forgot to post this above... adding it now.

    I took a net total of 12 full length practice tests

    along with ... 8 BS section tests and 8 PS section tests from Kaplan (online)

    That's 20 PS sections ... and 20 BS sections.... combined. That's a ton of practice... not to mention all the Chem passages I did in Berkeley Review. However, I only made logs for the AAMC tests... b/c there's a time constraint... but I made sure to pound weak areas from the other practice tests too if I had the time.
  35. PAGuyana

    PAGuyana

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    Do you recommed Kaplan's PS sectionals?
  36. Bond03

    Bond03

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    Dear Bozz,


    I'm about to begin studying for my MCAT, which I plan on taking in 6-8 months and I have a couple of questions regarding your study methods:

    1. You said you kept a log. What does that mean? Everytime you had (for example) acids/bases question you would mark it down and then tally how many acid/bases questions you had per exam?

    2. When you studied 5-6 hours per day, were you taking any undergraduate courses? Do you recommend taking less credits that semester? How were you able to dedicate so much time during the school day with classes and all... Also when you studied would you do say 2 hours lecture, 1 hour practice problems and then 2 hours lecture again?

    Many mannny thanks for your help!!! =)
  37. Vihsadas

    Vihsadas No summer Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor

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    Unfortunately there are just too many people who PM me or ask for help. I try to answer questions that I haven't already answered on the forum since my previous answers are already chronicled on SDN. Here is a quick summary of some of the places that I've offered significant advice on the thought process and method I used to attack the MCAT. Here are a few:

    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showpost.php?p=5912165&postcount=30
    (my basic strategy)

    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=285092&page=2
    (post 96)

    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=495605
    (scroll down to post 46 and beyond)

    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=496157
    (another little snippet)

    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=474339
    (A rough copy of my testing schedule)

    Good luck.
  38. MedStudentWanna

    MedStudentWanna Removed

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    Thank you! This is great!
  39. prettyslick

    prettyslick Member

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    yeah bozz, could you clarify what it means to have a "log"? are you saying when you take AAMC tests online, there is a time limit? so you just copied and pasted those questions and answers explanation in a word file??
  40. bozz

    bozz

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    I recorded the ones I got wrong, wasn't sure of, or marked on each AAMC test... in a little notebook
  41. prettyslick

    prettyslick Member

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    does the feature on AAMC practice tests allow you to copy and paste questions in a word file?
  42. Vihsadas

    Vihsadas No summer Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor

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    No. Both the passages and the answer choices are encoded as images.
  43. prettyslick

    prettyslick Member

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    is there a timer on those AAM practice exams? I mean..does your screen lock you out once the time is over...if we wanted to copy the questions..can we?
  44. Vihsadas

    Vihsadas No summer Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor

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    You can't get a text/font editable copy of the AAMC questions, but I suppose you could print screen. You can also tell the test to time you or not, so if you tell it to time you, then it acts like a real exam. If you don't, then it doesn't. You can take the practice exams as many times as you want though.
  45. Gavanshir

    Gavanshir Senior Member

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    Hi Vihsadas,

    I'm a little discouraged after reading your prep method since it seems like it would take a very long time to go through all of that prep while I'll only have 2 months and a half this summer. Do you believe it's possible to go through a similar prep approach to yours in that period of time and do well enough on a first MCAT attempt?
  46. Vihsadas

    Vihsadas No summer Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor

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    You might want to try gecko45's strategy. He(she?) did the MCAT in a short period of time.
    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=499808
  47. bozz

    bozz

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    I'll try and chime in since... I basically used vihsadas' method
    If you're like 90% of premeds, you'll probably need some more time... to do what Vihsadas did... it's possible to get that 40 by studying hardcore and just "getting the AAMC" naturally without having to do much analysis. But if you read what he said, he knew the concepts down almost 100% before trying out his strategy. If you save 1 month for practice tests and analysis, will you be able to get the material down in 1.5 months. It's up to you to decide.

    Just remember that whatever you do, make sure your practice scores are consistently where you want them to be... if they're not, don't take the test.
  48. Gavanshir

    Gavanshir Senior Member

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    Thank you to both of you for your helpful replies. :thumbup:
  49. mheart

    mheart

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    Hey Bozz. first off, GREAT JOB. I remember seeing your posts before the 26th test, & am excited (though not surprised) that you did so well. I took the test on the 26th for the 1st time and got a 30O(9PS/11BS/10VR). PS was of course my weakest section too, and I would like to make the same sort of improvement that you did. I read your post but couldn't seem to find this specific information. Did you go back to content review of everything after the 1st test, or only of the things you knew you had trouble with? I only have EK & Kaplan (I can't really afford the 50$ BR books). I guess I am just curious what you did differently after the 2nd test than you did on the first. Thanks!! & Good job again.
  50. mysticblue08

    mysticblue08

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    Thanks for posting bozz! Extremely, extremely helpful!! :) :)
    Really appreciate you taking the time out to do this!

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