Discussion in 'Kaplan MCAT Forum' started by leagall, Dec 15, 2010.
How useful did you find the section tests to be?
As a former Kaplan student and current teacher & tutor, I LOVE the Section Tests!
Specifically, I recommend using them AFTER you've completed a number of practice exams and have your content knowledge nailed. These tests tend to be REALLY challenging...in a good way. In fact, I think the BS Section Tests prepared me awesomely for the MCAT. (On Test Day, I finished BS with 20 minutes to spare...which is not normal...I know...)
Also, don't forget to "post-phrase" ALL your tests - whether full-length or not. To "post-phrase" means that you go back through the exam slowly and write out your own explanation to every single question you missed, taking into account information from the relevant passage, from your Review Notes, and from the Kaplan explanation of the question. Make sure you're thorough! When you've finished working on one question/answer think to yourself, "If I were presented with a similar test question, could I answer it quickly?" If your "post-phrasing" is adequate...your answer to that should be YES!
Thanks for you response! I still need to complete Kaplan full-lengths 2-6, do you suggest I do them first and if I have time go through the section tests?
Thanks a lot!
Totally - GREAT tactic. Yes, complete the Kaplan exams THEN do the Section Tests! I recommend setting up a schedule like this:
Day 1 - Practice full-length exam.
Day 2 - Post-phrase the full-length exam. (Review all your answers and write out the correct explanations in your own words for questions you missed and guessed on)
Day 3 - Content & critical thinking review. (Go back over topics, concepts, practice problems, formulas, etc, for the issues you struggled with on your practice full-length. Complete topical tests, quizzes, High Yield Problems to deepen your understanding of those issues.)
Day 4 - Second full-length exam.
Day 5 - post-phrase second exam
Day 6 - review of topics
Day 7 - rest
Just don't take two full-lengths on the same day, or even on adjacent days. Ick. NEVER a good idea. Always stick a day in between. And don't feel the need to study immediately after taking a full-length. Give your brain a rest
Suggested order of exams:
1. Kaplan Practice Test #1
2. Kaplan Practice Test #2
3. Kaplan Practice Test #3
4. AAMC Practice Test #5
5. AAMC Practice Test #6 after the MCAT Strategy & Critical Thinking III Class
6. Kaplan Practice Test #4
7. AAMC Test #7
8. Kaplan Practice Test #5
9. AAMC Practice Test #8
10. additional practice (ie. any Kaplan) then any AAMC Practice Test
11. additional practice (ie. any Kaplan) then AAMC Practice Test
hey, lauren. the order that you layed out for the exams, is that in order of difficulty or what ??
To be honest, I didn't make up that list myself...but it might very well be roughly ordered according to difficulty. How's that for an oblique answer? Hahhaa...
(I do know that Kaplan 5 is the easiest and Kaplan 9-11 are difficult. I believe the AAMCs are about even...)
i get 14s on AAMC ps and bs sections, but on the kaplan sectionals i get 65-70%. the kaplan sectionals feel more similar to the real mcats i took years ago. Are the AAMC tests still better predictors of the real MCAT scores though?
Does anyone know if there is a Kaplan course that would allow me to practice just one section, say just the physics, in an online test? I do not have the time to do a full length test but I want the practice testing to be computer based, not book based.
Are you looking for a comprehensive MCAT prep course? Or just some Physics questions? Did you want one or more whole Physical Sciences sections (physics + gen chem)?
We've got the following physics programs that totally rock:
Physics Edge - eight physics-only lessons, plus test questions, etc.
MCAT QBank - more than 1,000 questions from all topics, but you can customize each quiz to be as short or as long as you wish! Via the QBank you can make your own Physical Sciences section tests
Physics Review Notes book - covers all physics topics, plus 500 questions
Is there anything else I can help you find?! Give me a holler and we'll get you the MCAT support you need
Cheers! - Lauren
I thought the SAME thing about the PS and BS section tests when I was a student! I remember walking out of my MCAT testing center and thinking - it's a GOOD THING I took all those section tests!
The full-length tests offered on the AAMC website do indicate in what range a student will score on Test Day. Typically, the MCAT teachers at Kaplan have found that our students score in the mid-range of their practice test scores. Specifically, research done by the AAMC on the MCAT has found that it is only as reliable and valid as 2 points in either direction from the total MCAT score. For example, if you score a 32 on Test Day, admissions committees know that you are probably capable of anywhere between a 30 and 34. Does that make any sense?
My recommendation for students is this: take 9-10 full-length practice tests to establish good testing habits, solid endurance, and see where their average scores land. Use these scores to push yourself to improve on any/every section. Then...in the last two/three weeks before the test, ramp up your testing by utilizing the PS, BS, and VR section tests.
The actual MCAT exam will be heavier on molecular genetics, molecular biology, and microbiology (typically in experimental passages) than what you'll see on the practice AAMC and Kaplan full-length exams. I found these topics to be better represented in the BS section tests
WOO HOO! Go Section Tests!
Hi thanks for the feedback. I find the sectional tests very useful.
For genetics, molecular bio, and microbio, how do you suggest i study for those topics. just read the kaplan review book, or should i get a book such as Elsevier's Integrated Reviews? The medical review type books seem a bit overkill with too much detail at the MCAT level, but the kaplan review books are also very basic. so what to do? thanks!
Good point, startoverat40...what resources can we use? Don't go for the "medical review type books" because those WILL be overkill, like you said. Your brain will me swimming with facts and info that you'll never need for the MCAT!
Students who are enrolled in a comprehensive Kaplan prep course (Anywhere, On Site, One-on-One, Summer Intensive Program, or On Demand) will have access to the following helpful resources:
- Biology Review Notes (RN) & Chapter Quizzes
- High Yield Problems (from the back of the RN texts)
- Biology Foundation Reviews (.pdf files for Units 1 and 3)
- Online Workshops and Quizzes: generalized eukaryotic cell, microbiology, molecular genetics
- Topical Tests: generalized eukaryotic cell, microbiology, molecular genetics
- Subject Tests: Biology #s 1, 2, 3
I do not have info re: non-Kaplan texts, but I DO recommend that you look at the AAMC's MCAT Content Outlines to see exactly what concepts within these topics are "fair-game" for Test Day. Then, you can focus your resource-gathering efforts to cover only these concepts.
Cool? I hope this helps!!
So is the consensus here that these section tests are a lot harder than the real AAMC's? I'm trying to see how accurate their scores are to the real deal MCAT?
I felt the same way too when taking the Kaplan vs AAMC exams.
My Kaplan instructor mentioned that the Kaplan passage and questions are slightly more difficult than the AAMC exams. However, she mentioned that the AAMC exams only released their easy to medium difficulty passages, almost never their hard ones.
These section tests SAVED my ass on the mcat today!!!
As a retaker- I thought that all the standard AAMC's that they publish were WAY too easy compared to the real mcat. I would always finish each section with 15-25 minutes left over.
As the second time taking the mcat, I do have to say I nearly ran out of time on the PS because the difficulty level is indeed elevated.
THE SECTION TESTS are the closest to the real deal. They may be tough to face and you may feel like you know nothing, but you TOTALLY will benefit. In fact on my test today, there was a passage that was nearly identical to one of the section test passages I did, and there were a few questions that I barely had to think through or calculate because I knew the answer already from past experiences.
Seriously, you should not let this go to waste...
Also the science review workshops in the "toolbox" are pretty good for review- none of that superfluous crap that you find in the books (which I see errors in too....a rgh)
Hi Lauren, I can't seem to shake getting over a 45% on my Kaplan PS tests; I have until July 26th to improve my scores, but nothing seems to be working. My strategy is taking a section test a day and thoroughly going through it until I really understand why I missed a certain question. Any advice?
Lauren is actually no longer with us, she is in medical school now!
Quick question for you, are you making a chart of list of the questions you get wrong in excel or in a notebook?
Not necessarily. I look at what subjects I'm missing the most on and go over it again in the Kaplan book.
You seem to have plateaued a bit in your scores! Check out this link on making a Why I Missed It Chart. Back when I was a student it really helped me to nail down those last few points!
Separate names with a comma.