texan2414

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Jul 24, 2013
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Hi,

I got a 12 last year on MCAT Bio and I was only averaging 11s on practice tests so there might've been some luck involved.

I am retaking MCAT this year (specifically to improve on verbal score) but I thought I'd challenge myself in Bio again. I know I have my work cut out for me in PS and VR but I want to improve further in Bio.

I have been literally going through all 3 prep books EK / TPR / Kaplan as well as consulting my physiology, cell biology, microbiology, and other advanced science classes to review and refresh concepts AND memorize minutia. I will then be redoing both orgo and bio sections of TPR SWB, as well as go through all passages in TBR Bio (possibly with the exception of Metabolism chapter). Also plan on buying the MPrep QBank. And I also have access to my Kaplan course.

For those of you who got these elite bio scores, how did you approach your preparation? Was it the enormity of flashcards that helped you memorize random trivia?
 

benjaminl1nus

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STOP wasting brain power memorizing minutiae. if the mcat was about memorizing then everyone with a 4.0 would do well. instead, focus on problem solving. do problem sets, passages, anything you can get your hands on. some people recommend reading scientific articles - i think that's bogus. stick to solving problems. figure out where your weaknesses are - some people have content deficiencies, some people just can't test well. the main point is to figure out what that weakness is and strengthen it.

good luck dude
 
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Jul 22, 2011
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I think I wudve got the same score on BS even if I did not memorize anything lol.
Almost every single problem was based on analyzing experimental data..
 
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texan2414

texan2414

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On my MCAT, experimental analysis was probably 95% of the questions, but there were random, trivia questions that I bet were placed to differentiate between 12s/13s/14s, etc. I want to know what the people who got a higher score did differently than me perhaps so I can incorporate some of their study habits into my own schedule.
 
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texan2414

texan2414

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STOP wasting brain power memorizing minutiae. if the mcat was about memorizing then everyone with a 4.0 would do well. instead, focus on problem solving. do problem sets, passages, anything you can get your hands on. some people recommend reading scientific articles - i think that's bogus. stick to solving problems. figure out where your weaknesses are - some people have content deficiencies, some people just can't test well. the main point is to figure out what that weakness is and strengthen it.

good luck dude
This is a good advice if you are aiming for 10s-11s. But beyond that you will most certainly have to answer the minutia correct. If you've taken the MCAT recently, you should attest to the fact that the discretes are now basically trivia and are in place to separate the higher teen scores from the lower ones (or at least that's my opinion).
 
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Jan 22, 2013
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This is a good advice if you are aiming for 10s-11s. But beyond that you will most certainly have to answer the minutia correct. If you've taken the MCAT recently, you should attest to the fact that the discretes are now basically trivia and are in place to separate the higher teen scores from the lower ones (or at least that's my opinion).
Yea totally agree with this. I got 15 on August 7th BS and I think a major reason was that I ran flashcards with Anki everyday while prepping. Every time I came across one of those little details I didn't know, I would make a flashcard and add it to my Anki deck.
 
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texan2414

texan2414

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Yea totally agree with this. I got 15 on August 7th BS and I think a major reason was that I ran flashcards with Anki everyday while prepping. Every time I came across one of those little details I didn't know, I would make a flashcard and add it to my Anki deck.
Which company's prep material did you use or did you also supplement bio prep from a variety of sources?
 
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hueso

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14 on BS...exclusively used TPR, just the main one that's got all three sections in it. I was in second semester O-Chem while prepping for the MCAT, so I didn't do a lot of O-Chem review using TPR, just whatever studying I was doing for the class. For BS, I went through every biology chapter and highlighted terms with which I was uncomfortable or unfamiliar, did the practice sections in the book, and then made flashcards for all the things I had missed. At that point, most of my BS studying involved a couple hundred flashcards that I would go through every day. I also took AAMC 3, 9, and 10 as well as the practice tests that came with TPR. Also, I did utilize a free app, "MCAT question of the day," which is a good simulation of discretes.

So yes, I think you really do need to have a lot of minutiae memorized. But as previous posters have said, much of BS relies on your ability to wade through experimental design descriptions, charts and tables, and in general be able to interpret and analyze experimental data...I'm not sure how I would recommend studying that, so anybody have a suggestion?
 
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texan2414

texan2414

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14 on BS...exclusively used TPR, just the main one that's got all three sections in it. I was in second semester O-Chem while prepping for the MCAT, so I didn't do a lot of O-Chem review using TPR, just whatever studying I was doing for the class. For BS, I went through every biology chapter and highlighted terms with which I was uncomfortable or unfamiliar, did the practice sections in the book, and then made flashcards for all the things I had missed. At that point, most of my BS studying involved a couple hundred flashcards that I would go through every day. I also took AAMC 3, 9, and 10 as well as the practice tests that came with TPR. Also, I did utilize a free app, "MCAT question of the day," which is a good simulation of discretes.

So yes, I think you really do need to have a lot of minutiae memorized. But as previous posters have said, much of BS relies on your ability to wade through experimental design descriptions, charts and tables, and in general be able to interpret and analyze experimental data...I'm not sure how I would recommend studying that, so anybody have a suggestion?
Thanks for your feedback,

I am quite adapt at deciphering inferential data from charts, experiments, and graphs. As a biochem major and undergrad researcher, I've been through many labs and learned data analysis, etc, so I don't feel I'm lacking in that aspect.

In preparation for MCAT last year, I too used exclusively TPR and TPR online materials - their passage practice best simulated the kinds of research articles and experiments one would need to understand to deduce correct answers on exam day.

I've never used the EK 1001 Biology book and I know its notorious on SDN as a "good" prep material so maybe some of you can provide some feedback on that. Right now, I have Kaplan materials, TPR SWB, and I plan on buying the MPrep Qbank (same company that writes the MCAT question of the day). So we will see :)
 
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Which company's prep material did you use or did you also supplement bio prep from a variety of sources?
I used EK for content review, worked through all the passages in the TPRH Science workbook, all the GS exams and of course all the AAMC exams. The TPRH book is really excellent imo, I could take or leave the GS exams for bio honestly.
 
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texan2414

texan2414

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I used EK for content review, worked through all the passages in the TPRH Science workbook, all the GS exams and of course all the AAMC exams. The TPRH book is really excellent imo, I could take or leave the GS exams for bio honestly.
Yeah I agree about the GS. Their Bio was definitely a bit weird. Some of the passages were insanely short. Though I never scored above an 11 on those.
 

csx

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I used EK for content review, worked through all the passages in the TPRH Science workbook, all the GS exams and of course all the AAMC exams. The TPRH book is really excellent imo, I could take or leave the GS exams for bio honestly.
which sectons in TPRSW are best? I know bio is endosrsed by many here
 
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texan2414

texan2414

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which sectons in TPRSW are best? I know bio is endosrsed by many here
I would say their Gen Chem and Phys is also top notch practice. I will be returning to those after I finish TBR passages.
 

csx

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I would say their Gen Chem and Phys is also top notch practice. I will be returning to those after I finish TBR passages.
TPRSW or TBR for physicals? I always hear tbr
 
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texan2414

texan2414

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TPRSW or TBR for physicals? I always hear tbr
Really depends on your sensitivity to material. If you're at an advanced level, I'd say go for TBR but TPR might be better to brush up on. There's a lot of abstract thinking involved in TBR and if you jump on it without having a handle on the basics (not that TBR doesn't give you basics), I think your efforts might be better utilized with TPR first.
 
May 26, 2014
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Scored a 15. Honestly I didn't study a great deal so i don't know what to tell you. I have worked as a med-chem researcher for about 2 years, so I'll attribute my score to that. What I'm trying to say is you should be familiar with the material on more than a conceptual level. I advise you do some reading of org chem/bio journals and practice interpreting them.