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30+ MCAT Study Habits- The CBT Version

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by omegaxx, Feb 18, 2007.

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  1. meowkat444

    meowkat444 10+ Year Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    1) Your individual scores and composite score: 14 PS, 13 VR, 13 BS, S WR. 40S. Smack dab in the middle of my most recent practice scores. Kaplan diagnostic was 27, I think. High 20's, anyway.

    2) The study method used for each section: I went through all the Kaplan books very carefully and made sure I understood everything. I actually took the MCAT before I took physics class, so I focussed a lot on that. Then, just practice, especially for verbal. I found that often, I was answering verbal questions from memory instead of looking for clue words in the passage-don't make that mistake. I found that with practice tests, it's REALLY important to go right back over your practice and look at what you got wrong. If you got it wrong, why? Do you understand it? Also look at the questions you guessed on--sometimes you only got something right by chance, so you need to review that too! I found Kaplan very helpful, just because of the sheer amount of timed practice tests. My MCAT was very comparable to a Kaplan test (I.e. a fair bit harder than the AAMC CBTs)

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc): I took the Kaplan online (I was working 60 hours a week and taking physics and bio at the time, so no classroom course for me)

    4) Which practice tests did you use? AAMC and kaplan

    5) What was your undergraduate major? cognitive science, and i have been a high school teacher for 2 years

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us? avoid SDN, it just makes things worse. I haven't been on too much since my MCAT. I came on the day after the test and it panicked me so much, i just decided to forget about it for a month.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT? Mar-Jun. I was supposed to take it in July but I moved it up to Jun when I was happy with 5 practice tests in a row.

    ALSO: nerves are such an issue. I came out of the test practically in tears, wanting to void. Do whatever you can to avoid this situation. Make sure you eat well the night before the test, talk to someone you like, hold a puppy.
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  3. ACD

    ACD 7+ Year Member

    May 10, 2007
    I want to preface this post by saying that this thread was my bible during preparation. A lot of the things I am going to say were either straight-up ripped from prior posts or were slightly modified. Thank God for this thread.
    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    12+ on each section. 99%
    2) The study method used for each section
    Physical: I went over the topics provided by the AAMC (http://www.aamc.org/students/mcat/preparing/pstopics.pdf) and made note pages for each one using a combination of EK, an old Kaplan book, and old text books. I then made note cards of the crucial formulas--primarily the ones that EK highlights but I had a couple of others that weren't highlighted in EK.
    Biological Sciences: For Bio I used the same method I used for physical. Note pages and cards for the important stuff. I just read the EK books for O chem because I was tutoring a survey of organic chemistry class during the semester. Having to be prepared for my class rendered all studying moot. Especially after seeing the depth of o chem on the aamc practice tests, I had no worries.
    Verbal: I completed six of the EK 101 tests, but I hated them and thought they had no bearing towards the viewpoint-oriented real MCAT passages. I also try to do a crossword puzzle everyday. I have strong thoughts on verbal that I will elaborate on in the tips section.
    Writing Sample: During my prep semester I took a history class that required a weekly two-page paper which I think helped take the rust off of my tongue. I read all the sample essays that were graded highly off of emcat and just tried to get a holistic feel for what they were looking for. I also re-read the elements of style, but I never wrote a single practice essay. I simply could not summon the motivation; those topics are too horrid.
    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)
    EK, the 1001 series for chem and physics (again, I kept an excel spreadsheet of every question I either missed or was important for the MCAT which I reviewed periodically), and an old Kaplan book for better background when I thought EK was being too vague. I also completed all the AAMC practice tests.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    I took all the AAMCs, the EK test included in the complete package, and a free practice MCAT that Kaplan provided on my campus. BTW, their verbal passages are worse than EK. Because these companies don't want to pay the licensing fees that the AAMC does for true MCATs, their verbal materials are all horrible. Each passage has the same voice, and your mind turns off after about twenty minutes of poring over horrible prose.

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    I started out a History major, but now I am just biochem (thank God).

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

    Yes, I have a full laundry list of tips:
    1. Unconciously, you must realize how important the test is, and then also not be affected by that in the slightest. The MCAT is a challenge, think of it as an important game. I think it was John Wooden who said, "Failing to prepare is preparing to fail." After thorough preparation, you will have conditioned yourself to achieve your dream. A few months of hard sacrifice are worth that. are they not? That said, say goodbye to Thursday night benders and Friday night parties. I got some of my best work done on Friday nights, alone in the lab studying.
    2. Take a light course load and make sure the courses you are taking apply to the MCAT. I know for a fact that my molecular cell biology course helped me in three passages (Sonic the Hedgehog hello!). I recommend taking physiology, physical chemistry, molec cell, biochemistry, and a logic class (which will help with both verbal and the sciences).
    3. If doing research take time to speak with your professor, explaining how important the MCAT is to you and how you need some time off from beheading rats and harvesting their livers.
    4. If you need money, TUTOR!!! Tutoring intro science courses is akin to getting paid to study. Also, it will help you avoid the cognitive errors that plague everyone on the MCAT, make you money, and look good as an extracurricular.
    5. For verbal, YOU MUST READ. CONSTANTLY. I would read the opinion section of the LA times and the WSJ everyday. And don't simply parse it, think about the liberal biases of the LAT and the conservative tendencies of the WSJ. Focus on syntax, word choice, and argument structure. Do what Malcolm X did when he was educating himself in prison. Keep a dictionary with you whenever you read. If you don't know a word, LOOK IT UP. At first, it will be a pain, but after a while you won't need it as much. That will help on writing and verbal. If you are on studentdoctor you must be somewhat computer literate. Use RSS (I prefer google reader) and set it up with good writers. Slate magazine, freakonomics.com, marginalrevolution.com, and the online works of arthur conan doyle are all great starts. Science writers like Atul Gawande, Malcolm Gladwell, Jerome Groopman all have full archives of their material on their respective websites. If you want to be a doctor, their writings are fascinating.
    6. If I remember only one thing from my micro econ class it is that people respond to incentives. You are one of those people. Make up incentives for yourself. Buy yourself a burrito if you did well on that practice test. Make the experience of the MCAT pleasurable by spoiling yourself when you get the chance and also punishing yourself when you perform poorly. I truly feel your unconscious will get the message and help you out on test day.
    7. Keep track of everything you write down. Be it in-chapter EK tests, or full length AAMCs. I kept excel spreadsheets that cataloged every question that I missed. About two weeks before the test I spent a whole day going through it and determining if the errors were knowledge-based (i.e. incomplete) or cognitive in nature. If it was knowledge-based, I reviewed it thoroughly or if it was cognitive I made sure exactly why I made the mental error I did and thought of ways to make sure I would not make the same error in the future.
    8. Make sure that the environment you are studying in is comfortable and isolated. DO NOT STUDY WITH OTHER PEOPLE. A pox on all who do that. You will get distracted and not accomplish what you set out to do. I know from experience. The few times I studied with other MCAT takers I was as productive as Michael Scott. My school ended three weeks before June 15th and I moved in with my girlfriend who was studying for the LSAT. We were geeks for those three weeks, but now I definitely feel the sacrifice was worth it. Everyday I'd wake up, go over my flashcards, make some coffee and breakfast and work on the MCAT. A related tip would be to make sure that your environment is stable. I listened to Wu-Tang Clan before I studied to up my energy level, and then Explosions in the Sky and Bach while actually reading and I always tried to study in the same place (make sure there are people near enough to distract). After a while your body becomes conditioned and starts reacting in a Pavlovian way whenever you bust out you materials. The day of the test I followed my same routine, and it (almost) felt like just another day at the office.
    9. I couldn't afford to buy the computer tests, so instead I took the old full-lengths with the same breaks you'd get on the CBT. After answering those 215 (216?) questions my body would feel completely wiped out, but I was acclimating myself to the grind. Combined with the reading I did on the computer, I feel this really helped me on the test. I finished with 15 minutes left on each section, and was able to slowly go over each of my answers, checking for math errors or reading incomprehension. I know everyone says don't go back to the passage, but that only applies if you aren't finishing. If you are finishing, I feel that it is integral to go back. On my first read through I would just try to get a feel for the attitude of the writer and to scope out the landmarks of the passage. Then I would read the question and return to the relevant section. 90% of the time there is direct textual evidence to fully support an answer choice and the other 10% you can narrow down to two. Also, for bio all the answers are in the passage. Whenever I would feel confused, my mantra was just, "It's all there in the passage. Find it!" The passages are just designed to hide simple ideas in complex camouflage. As a final tip, make sure you press the check for incomplete answers on the CBT. I forgot to do this, and it bothered me this whole month.
    This was a long post, but I felt I owed it to this site after using it so much the past six months. If I was unclear or you want some follow-up feel free to PM me. I will gladly answer any questions after I finish up my AMCAS. My final tip would be to start drinking coffee. My productivity level went through the roof after I bought this http://www.amazon.com/Bialetti-Moka-Express-3-Cup/dp/B0000CF3Q6/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2/104-5058354-6879928?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1185009639&sr=8-2 for my girlfriend. This will be the best used $20 you will spend on MCAT prep.
  4. CBG23

    CBG23 10+ Year Member

    Jun 27, 2007
    1) Your individual scores and composite score:
    PS: 14 VR:10 WS:N BS:14------> 38N

    2) The study method used for each section:

    Verbal Reasoning (Diagnostic score:7)- okay, so I used Kaplan's method for "getting the gist" of each paragraph from the passage and my score was dropping to lows of 5-6 at some points. About 1 month before the exam, I decided that it wasn't working and I needed to do something new. I went to amazon.com to look for VR books and read rave reviews about examkrackers. I decided to give it a shot (although I was skeptical as I only knew of Kaplan and TPR as test prep heavyweights). It turns out that after ~ 2weeks of using EK's strategy my scores ranged steadily from 8-12 and I was able to finish the VR section almost everytime (Finishing is a MUST, because before I noticed that a good number of my incorrect answers were for the last two passages, b/c of rushing)

    Physical Sciences (Diagnostic score:5)- That's right, a five. I was freaked out when I got this score on my diagnostic b/c the root of it was that I forgot most of physics II material and was extremely reliant on calculators for physics problems. I reviewed each chapter of the Kaplan review notes (Did two or three at a time) and then DRILLED the equations every so often to keep them fresh. Also, I found the extremely difficult Kaplan section tests helpful (although discouraging b/c they were so hard) for speeding up my math and problem solving skills. PRACTICE IS A MUST FOR THE PS SECTION. After doing tons of problems for PS (and getting a ton wrong) you start to get the groove of doing complex algebra by estimating and using scientific notation. Being comfortable with SCIENTIFIC NOTATION is KEY to nailing down problems in a short amopunt of time. Also, don't avoid the topics you have trouble with, DRILL them. For me this was Circuits. I sucked at circuits, but did so many circuit problems (Kaplan Q bank and PS section tests as well as the high yield probs), that I felt a LOT more confident and comfortable with them when I saw them on full lengths.

    Biological Sciences (Diagnostic score:8)- My strongest section by far (its my major :p). The key to this section is memorizing and understanding the material in terms of systems. Also, try to relate multiple systems together Digestive-->Circulatry-->Respiratory. Memorize and recall, recall, recall. Buy a thick notebook and bring it with you whever you go. When you have 5, 10, 15 mins of down time, draw out the digestive system, endocrine, neverous system from scratch. Also, if you haven't taken genetics, practice, practice, practice the genetics problems.

    Writing Samples- Hmm, I don't think I should be giving advice for this section given the fact that I stank it up. I am not sure why I did so poorly on this section. I did ~10 FLs and never skipped the WS part, got 4s when Kaplan graded them. Really don't know what happened on test day, guess I choked.

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc): Kaplan for all (I do NOT reccomend Kaplan for verbal; use Examkrackers for verbal)

    4) Which practice tests did you use? AAMC and Kaplan full lengths

    5) What was your undergraduate major? Molecular Biology

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

    -One, beleive that you can score well.

    -Aim high

    -Do NOT ever leave anything blank, always finish the test (every question), and practice your timing on VR

    -Take practice exams (Kaplan or AAMC is fine; I would start with the harder Kaplan FLs and then start working throught the AAMCs (Do at least 3))

    -Learn scientific notation and how to multiply, divide, add, subtract, sqrt, and exponent with them

    -Do NOT take VR for granted. Start with VR practice early; it is really hard to improve in

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT? Sparingly for 3 months (Maybe 4-5 hours a week) A lot for two months (15-20 hours a week, sometimes 30 hours).
  5. DocWalken

    DocWalken 2+ Year Member

    Jul 12, 2007
    Bump. I know there are people who got above a 30 on the June 15th.
  6. acurax

    acurax 10+ Year Member

    Dec 24, 2006
    1) Your individual scores and composite score

    Physical Sciences: 11
    Verbal Reasoning: 11
    Biological Sciences: 13
    Writing Sample: P
    Composite: 35P (Percentile 93.1-95.1)

    2) The study method used for each section

    I studied in the Spring semester and the first month of summer before my test in June. During the semester I would read/study review books, listen to Audio Osmosis, take section tests and do practice problems. I had finished reviewing most content by the end of Spring Break (guess what I did over break? :laugh:) I sort of took a break from studying in April because school was winding down and I didn't have as much time. When school was done in mid-may, I did some light review and started taking AAMC practice exams every couple of days. In between tests I would review areas I felt weak in or wasn't scoring well in.

    PS: I think NOVA's MCAT Physics Book was the biggest help for me (I had a horrible Physics class where I didn't learn very much despite doing well). For chemistry, I didn't need in-depth review (I'm a Chem major), I focused more on topics I didn't feel confident/didn't score well in on practice tests.

    VR: Practice, Practice, Practice! I didn't use any passage mapping, just tried to read for the overall point and figure out what the author was saying and where he/she was coming from. I bought the EK101 VR book and started doing 3-4 passages in a sitting, making sure I was on the right pace for the actual CBT timing. I made sure I was doing passages every day for ~1.5 months up to the exam. If you have enough full length exams, I would recommend just doing a few passages a day (keep track of time) from this book and use the FL's to practice the endurance. Review all the answers and try and figure out how you misunderstood/misinterpreted the passage. This section is the hardest to score well in consistently, just keep practicing it.

    BS: In Bio I had to re-memorize a lot of physio stuff. I was fresh off of a year of Biochemistry and semester of Genetics in school so that helped. But I had to go back to Gen. Bio topics that were not as fresh. EK's 1001 Q's book helps a lot in areas you feel weak in. For example, I felt a weak area for me was the endocrine system. I reviewed the chapter in the EK book (again), studied Kaplan flash cards, then hit the passages in the 1001 book. I felt like the endocrine master after this ;))

    For O.Chem I studied the EK book first, then I would review the relevant Kaplan flash cards and do the section in the 1001 Q's book. This worked out really well for me, but I also enjoy OChem quite a bit and it was probably my strongest area overall.

    WS: Umm...I don't recommend Kaplan's guidelines too much. I used the 3 paragraph method: explanation/example, counter-example, and synthesis/conclusion. If you are a decent writer, just write normally and don't try to change your style too much just for this. The graders read so many of these and I think a lot of us try and follow a 'recipe' of what they want to read--just go for it! Read the sample essays on e-mcat.com and practice with a few prompts. I always did the WS prompts during FL exams for timing/endurance purposes.

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

    I used the Examkrackers Complete Study Package 6th edition, the entire EK 1001 Q's series and EK 101 VR book, Kaplan flash cards and NOVA's The MCAT Physics Book.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?

    AAMC CBT 3-10

    Test     PS      VR     BS    Total
     3       11      08     11      30
     4       11      09     09      29
     5       12      11     10      33
     6       10      11     11      32
     7       11      09     11      31
     8       10      10     11      31
     9       12      09     10      31
     10      12      09     11      32
    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    Chemistry with an emphasis in Biochemistry and minor in Biology.

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    -Spread out your studying, don't just cram for a month before. Repetition is key.
    -Review all answers, not just the wrong ones.
    -Do the AAMC full-length exams, and don't skip the WS part.
    -Use AAMC score reports to find weak areas to study.
    -Take a break from studying during the week (I always took Saturday's off).
    -Be consistent with your VR practice.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    February-April during school (approx. 8 hours a week and 4 hours a day over spring break). Middle of May-June 15th I was working part time and would study after work for 3-4 hours and on my days off take full-length tests and review them.
  7. DoctorPhud

    DoctorPhud 2+ Year Member

    Dec 19, 2006
    1) Your individual scores and composite score

    13PS, 12VR, 13BS, T WS, 38T.

    2) The study method used for each section

    Started studying by taking five or six days to make study notes from the big Kaplan book, chapter by chapter, of major points and things that I didn't remember. About 80 pages of notes, over all.

    BS & PS - just studied from those notes and flicked through the Kaplan book. Not enough time to study all of my course notes from the post-bacc again, so identified high yield things I didn't know, and went from there.

    VR - Did the Kaplan questions from the big book.

    WS - Didn't do any... :-O Had a quick flick through the Kaplan instructions and sample essays, just to get an idea of how to form the essay in terms of flow of concepts. Really didn't care very much about the score - just hoped for an average score. In the exam, was literally typing 10 seconds before the end of both essays :)-O again)

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

    Kaplan big book, Kaplan 45, Kaplan book of exams. Did the questions, checked the notes.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?

    Kaplan big book tests, CD tests (useless... interface is not the same as AAMC and it went really badly for some reason. Scored 30 and 32 o_O)

    Limited funds, so only did AAMCs 3R, 5 and 8 in the week of the exam.

    5) What was your undergraduate major?

    Computer Science

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

    Time was short, but I prioritised, took some chances to rest and it came out pretty well. AAMC exams and Kaplan big book exams had me scoring between 36/37 and 41, so it was a pretty good prediction of the final result. Exam conditions really were very congenial, so I can't complain, but nerves will always have a slight effect.

    Take breaks when you can. It's a big exam, but getting stressed until you can't study and function will only make your score worse, not better.

    The most important thing to realize, I think, was that it actually is possible to learn all the material, by and large. I did the Harvard Health Careers Program, and it covered most of the material. Studying for the Harvard exams was helpful; having the exam three weeks after finals did a lot of good, since it was like an extra few weeks of study of the material before I even began the MCAT preparation. Got hit on the slightly different Organic Chemistry reagents, though, but not enough to care about.

    Tip: The difference between a VR score of 12 and 15 is very small. More often than not, you'll actually disagree with the test answer of a question and their reasoning can be screwy. As long as you are getting 12 and over in your practice exams, you're as good as you are going to get.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?

    3 weeks between finals and June 15th.
    First week - Made notes from Kaplan big book and did chapter questions
    Second week - Studied notes, did Kaplan exams, other kaplan book questions
    Third week - relaxed a bit, read study notes through several times, did AAMC exams. Took a rest when I realized that I couldn't learn much more at that point, because I was getting worn out.
  8. dante8700

    dante8700 2+ Year Member

    Jan 1, 2007
    1) Your individual scores and composite score

    14PS, 13VR, 14BS, O WS, 41O

    2) The study method used for each section

    I swear by the EK books. I think they are amazing...

    BS - I was pretty weak in this area so I spent a lot of time with it. I went through the EK books and basically copied all the info onto notecards. Then each night I would go through one or two sections of notecards until I knew this information very well.

    VS - This was my weakest area. I started off getting 4s. I employed two strategies here. First I used the EK 101 Verbal Passages to get used to how this section is setup and what types of questions are being asked. It definitely helps to think about the big picture while reading the passage. However, I found that the EK 101 book had passages that were too easy to read and didn't represent the AAMC verbal passages that well. So I moved on to the Kaplan verbal passages and I think they were a little more representative of the AAMC passages.

    PS - This was my strongest area and I think the EK books covered all the topics really well.

    For each section, I would do every 3rd question from the EK 1001 books.

    Writing - Did a couple practice writing sections, but did not have anyone look at them for me.

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

    EK books and Kaplan verbal reasoning book.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?

    The best advice I can give is to take as many of the AAMC tests as you can.

    AAMC 4 - 32
    AAMC 5 - 35
    AAMC 6 - 39
    AAMC 7 - 36
    AAMC 8 - 35
    AAMC 9 - 37
    AAMC 10 - 37

    I also took some of the Kaplan full length tests, but, quite frankly, I think they are crap.

    5) What was your undergraduate major?

    Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

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

    I would also get the EK AO to go along with the books. I think they were really helpful to listen to while going to bed at night.

    Also, don't burn out. Go out to bars some nights, watch TV (especially Man vs Wild), and take frequent breaks. You obviously want to take this test really seriously, but don't kill yourself over it.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?

    I started studying in Feb. using the EK 10 week schedule but really I only skimmed the sections and fell behind a lot.

    However, I did most of my studying the five weeks between the ending of finals (May 8) and the test (June 15). I crammed most of the material into the first 3 weeks, worked at my job for a week, and then took it easy the last week. Each weekend I would take two practice tests (one each day) and during the week I would go through 3 sections of one subject, doing every third question from the EK 1001 questions book.

    Good luck to everyone!
  9. EECStoMed

    EECStoMed Persistence > Intel 2+ Year Member

    Feb 25, 2007
    What the hell? How are there so many 40+ people? I thought getting a 40 was hard. Shoot! :D
  10. whoisthedrizzle

    whoisthedrizzle 2+ Year Member

    There's no way you went from 4s to a 13. There's a good amount of natural verbal reasoning ability built into the test. Your post is pretty tough to take seriously w/ 5 posts to your name.
  11. EECStoMed

    EECStoMed Persistence > Intel 2+ Year Member

    Feb 25, 2007
    Why isn't it possible? Sometimes when you get into the groove, it's all that matters. I remember when I studied for the SATs, I'd get more than 50% of the critical reading passages wrong, at the end, I was nailing each and every one. On the real SAT, I missed 0 of the critical reading passage questions. The same is happening to me right now, (knock on wood it doesn't go away), I used to miss around (13-15)/40 on average. Now I miss 10 at the most, (again knock on wood it doesn't go away).

    What I'm trying to say is, if you set your mind to anything, it's achievable! Now, GO STUDY!
  12. zbruinz

    zbruinz Member 10+ Year Member

    Apr 25, 2006
    congrats on your score! But you were a EECS major. Many of us have not experienced the pain that you went through. ;)
  13. artaxerxes

    artaxerxes Leg Kicker 2+ Year Member

    Jun 5, 2007
    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    PS 14, VR 11, BS 15, 40N (99.4-99.6percentile :) )
    unpreped Kaplan Diagnostic 29

    2) The study method used for each section
    Used Kaplan test prep material, and wikipedia as main sources of info.
    Read material, wrote notes from memory, reread section and too special notice of incorrect/unsure subjects, retake note from memory, reread material.

    So on average I read each chapter for science section 4 times and essentially memorized everything. Didn't study for verbal or writing at all.

    I've always been strong in biology (my unpreped score was 13), so I focused less on that, and perhaps overfocused on organic chem.

    Took all aamc study tests.

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

    Kaplan with classroom, classroom was utterly useless
    Kaplan FL and Subject tests are good studying tools but poor diagnostic tools. They are usually harder than AAMC questions

    AAMC material provides the best verbal prep and diagnostic overall.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    all of them, averaged 38, ranged from 35-42

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    biology, focus in molecular bio

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    Sleep before the exam, I was awake for 30hrs before the exam, and couldn't keep my eyes open for the VR and took a 10min nap in the writing, causing the low scores.

    Don't make mistakes, and memorize the material:)

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    Graduated on May 21st, but was very sick and didn't start studying until the 25th. Studied between 25th to June 15th, taking every third day off. Had the kaplan classes, but never really went to them.
  14. dante8700

    dante8700 2+ Year Member

    Jan 1, 2007
    I don't care if you believe it or not, it's true. However, I should add that a 13 was the best score that I ever got on VR, even in the practice tests. I would normally get a 10 or 11 and once I got a 12. I guess I was just really focused on the MCAT day...
  15. limpkitty

    limpkitty Banned Banned

    Jun 4, 2007
    PS 14
    VR 14
    BS 13
    Diagnostic-31 (11,11,9)
    did worst in bio even though I'm a biology major. I took a 6 month Kaplan prep course and for the first 5 months all I did was read the chapters in the book that we went over. Then in the last month before the MCAT, I took a full length exam every-other day. Just shows that you can get a killer score w/o killing youself in the process.
  16. imallday17

    imallday17 Big Fish in a Small Pond 2+ Year Member

    Jul 18, 2007
    Indiana officially
    this thread is killer.... Please keep em comin. Aug 6th mcaters its gettin close....
  17. Team Zissou

    Team Zissou 10+ Year Member

    Sep 19, 2006
    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    32N....ps:13 vr:9 bs:10 ws:N
    83.4-87.2 percentile rank
    kap. diagnostic: 21

    2) The study method used for each section
    Used Kaplan test prep material and Nova physics.
    After my diagnostic I spent a month reading all the kaplan material. After that i took a practice test every few days and worked on my weaknesses between practice tests.

    3) What materials you used for each section
    PS and BS- kaplan, Verbal: exam krackers.. kaplans method sucks.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    kaplan 1-5 and aamc 3,4,5,6,7,9,10
    scored between 28 and 35 on practices, usually 32-33 though.

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    micro/molecular biology

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    get plenty of rest the night before.. i didnt sleep very well and i had a huge headache throughout the exam.

    take as many practice tests as you can.. if i could go back i would probably take more kaplan tests, they seem to be closer to the real thing. I was under the impression that the real thing would be like the aamc practice tests but was surprised to see it wasnt on test day.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?

    from february to mid march just reading material.. then from Mid may til the end of june taking practice tests.
  18. vicinihil

    vicinihil Member Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Aug 12, 2004
    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    July 24th 2007 36S: 12PS 11VR 13BS
    August 19th 2006 33P: 12PS 9VR 12BS

    :confused::confused: Alright so here's the spiel I promised SDN if I did to my satisfaction on the MCATs and here I go. Hope you guys find this helpful. :thumbup::thumbdown:

    I decided I needed a retake after looking at the MSAR and the avg of many of the schools I wanted due to my lower VR score. Therefore, come May of 2007, I said...I'm going to take it again (and with my gf's full-fledged support!) I went to Amazon.com and bought ALL THE 1001 QUESTION SERIES and my 2nd 101 VR passages (since I had one before), NOVA Physics, 16 mini MCATS by EK, OLD AAMC practice items packet, and the online course from Kaplan with their >10,000 questions, and since I teach for TPR, I also had access to their entire online student center, as well as all the course books In addition, I had the whole Kaplan study set and EK set. I then sat down, spent an hour, using excel, I set up a study schedule (this was in early-june when I got all my stuff and sat down to study).

    I suggest to you: FIgure out a study schedule and stick to it. Never inundate it with more reading than actually doing. Practicing makes perfect and doing large numbers of passages and free standing questions, I feel, really helped me! Reading Ek 1000000 times won't help your score! Doing every passage you get your hands on....will.

    Anyway, I didn't take EK's advice and do every third problem in the 1001 series, instead, I did them all. From 1-1001. So everyday, I spent near 10-12 hours studying, 6-8 hours sleeping, and the rest of the time eating, driving, ordering coffee, and a little bit of summer school coursework. I also did a practice test (Kaplan, TPR OR AAMC all have their strengths) two-4 times a week depending on my mood and time.

    My practice test scores range from a 32-38 since it was my second time taking it in a year so I got a head start. NOw here is where I go into what I thought helped me the most on each section.

    Physical Sciences:
    1. TPR has excellent overview of PS. Read it from cover to cover is preferred if time permits. Otherwise read sections you're weak on.
    2. Nova Physics was a good overview as well but I rank TPR higher on effectiveness.
    3. Physics 1001 and G-Chem 1001 are good, not the best but I did all of them so I think they helped.
    4. Big Science Workbook from TPR was very good in everything!

    Verbal Reasoning:
    1. EK 101 VR is a must
    2. Read NY times book review/op-ed like there's no tomorrow
    3. TPR's practice exams had very difficult verbal, much more than AAMC, but worth doing because you feel like crap but when you do AAMC you feel confident
    4. Kaplan's online Qbank has good verbal, I thought, because they were a different flavor. Now on the MCATs I feel the VR is a fusion of detail and large picture questions.

    1. EK 1001 Bio because it's all passage based.
    2. TPR Big Science Workbook I think was by far the most helpful in the biology and orgo prep.
    3. Kaplan has some great Bio practice because they are friggin hard and all experiment based which is what your test is definitely going to be! Physio doesn't make up a large part of it...genetics/cell bio/mol bio will!
    4. Orgo was a waste of time..learn basic reactions SN1/Sn2/E1/E2 and know what other reactions do (like esterification makes R-Cooh into R-Coo-R...stuff like that.
    5. My previous lab experience I'm sure helped int he thinking process.

    I had so much fun with this talking about Axe deodorant and Ipod, etc. I didn't care about my score but just answer the question and made fun of the status quo.

    Practice makes perfect so take my advice, drop those books, and start hitting the passages hard. Don't do 1 passage a day, do as many as you can so when you close your eyes at night, you see passages, tables, figures, charts, etc. Over 50% of the questions can be answered using ONLY The passage and logic. Develop this logic by practicing, not memorizing equations or concepts. The rest of the stuff can be answered using both logic, knowledge, and passage.

    5) What was your undergraduate major?

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    get plenty of rest the night before and sleep more during this time than ever before, you need to be at your best.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?

    Lightly in May, heavily June-end of July

    Best luck to you all and feel free to PM with questions.
  19. ouchitburns

    ouchitburns New Member 5+ Year Member

    Jan 25, 2006
    1) Your individual scores and composite score: 40P; 12 VR, 15 BS, 13 PS. No Kaplan diagnostic.

    2) The study method used for each section: Used the Barron's 2007 text for general stuff (I read the whole thing and thought it was pretty good - I supplemented it with Wikipedia and other stuff), made lots of flash cards, tried to understand biological systems (like endocrine) and not just memorize them, made sure I understood things like mirrors inside and out. Didn't really work on VR, but I wrote the LSAT last summer, so I felt prepared. Didn't prepare for WS ... whoops.

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc): Barrons, MCAT45 ( a little bit )

    4) Which practice tests did you use? AAMC and Kaplan

    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? Full-lengths. Do lots and then really analyse what you got wrong. Time yourself well. Understand what you are learning.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT? Started end of April, really focused about 2 weeks before. wrote July 24th. But I had just finished Biochem and biology, so I was primed with Info.


    Aug 21, 2007
    In my opinion the AAMC practice testes are far easier than the Real MCAT. Took the real test on July 24th 07, and got 3 points below my lowest AAMC score.

    real mcat 22L

    aamc practice tests: 4 28/ 5 25/ 6 29/ 7 25/ 8 28/ 9 27.

    Kaplan tests: 4 20 I dunno what happened here, 5 29/ 6 29/7 29/ 8 26/ 9 27

    I took about half of all these tests in the 3 weeks prior to the exam, so they were very close together, leaving me with less time than desired for improvement. At least that's how I explain the fact that after all these tests I still wans't able to reach a 30.

    I did not do any of the essay portions for this test. It shows.:scared: I've never been fond of compositions and I decided to use my time improving my PS and BS scores instead of my writing ability. I thought the writing was basically hopeless and wished to work on the other areas instead, since I actually saw the possibility of improvement in those areas. I should mention that English is my second language... however I hate writing in any language, lol.:laugh:
  21. ouchitburns

    ouchitburns New Member 5+ Year Member

    Jan 25, 2006
    if you want to look at it deeply, I didn't find that the real MCAT was like the Kaplan or AAMC practice tests.

    That said, the basic idea (passage followed by questions) is the same for all, so it gets you into that mindset.

    I hear a lot of talk about the July 24th exam, so I am not able to say if it was different than other sittings, but I think that practice exams, even if they are not exactly like the real thing, are by far the best study tool.

    Notwithstanding the fact that you learn to parse text quickly, doing the tests allows you to learn where you have problems. Reading a textbook may be helpful but you often look at something complicated and just assume you understand - then you see it on a test and realise you don't.
  22. FurmanJon

    FurmanJon 2+ Year Member

    Jun 18, 2007
    South Carolina
    No one should prepare the way I did: scantily.

    Also, no one should do the other thing I did: take it without having most of the pre-reqs. I've only had Physics I and A&P. I AP'd out of General Chem.

    1) Your individual scores and composite score: 32R. 10 PS, 10 VR, 12 BS.

    2) The study method used for each section: Having not had most of the courses, I basically had to teach myself O-chem. I did that with a text that my UG institution uses. I mainly reviewed with the Kaplan book (see below)

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc): I almost exclusively used the Kaplan Premier program 07-08 book, and skimmed through MCAT 45. I used a text by Ege for O-chem and some other review books for Genetics/Microbio.

    4) Which practice tests did you use? AAMC and Kaplan

    5) What was your undergraduate major? Exercise Physiology

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us? I wouldn't do a lion's share of full-length tests. I would take at least 3 to get a good feel for the timing, and then add more as you have time/money. I am a non-traditional with a family, and spending $35/test was an extra expense I couldn't easily afford. Probably the greatest tip is to start reviewing early and don't freak out. If you get especially nervous about tests, concentrate extra on this area. It makes a huge difference.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT? About 1 month and a half--this is of course not normal. I would recommend 3-6 months.

    :luck: to those who have yet to endure it.
  23. bballluvr34

    bballluvr34 5+ Year Member

    Aug 24, 2007
    Writing:N :(

    One thing that really helped me is that I tutor organic chemistry at my school, so I didn´t have to study for that since I´ve been exposed to the material ALOT over the past year. For physics, I re-memorized a few key formulas that I noticed were recurring in my practice exams. I did quite a few practice problems in physics (my weakest area) from the Examkrackers books. For bio, I already felt like I had a really good grasp of most of the concepts, so I did a lot of reading and re-learning/memorizing. I´m so grateful that I took an advanced genetics course last semester. If I could pinpoint one class that gave me an edge, it was genetics. I noticed that many of the bio sections have topics relating to genetics, and having previous knowledge of the subject matter makes the test go faster. Take as many practice exams as you can, and don´t procrastinate.
    I didn´t do anything for the writing sample. I had a hard time with it during the exam because I was obsessing over which physics questions I had missed, haha!
    Verbal: practice exams
    I took the local course offered by my university but didn´t find it helpful so I really didn´t go. I ended up buying the Kaplan 2007 MCAT Prep book and that was helpful to me. I kind of started studying late in the game, so I ended up buying 1001 Physics and 1001 Chemistry questions from Examkrackers, which I found to be very helpful. I found the Examkrackers material to be quite a bit more difficult than what I encountered in practice exams and on the real thing, but it really prepared me well. Honestly, I´ve heard from numerous friends that the Princeton Review/Kaplan review classes themselves weren´t exceptionally helpful, but the plethora of practice material they offer is worth the cost, especially the practice tests.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    All the AAMC

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    Spanish and Environmental Health

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    Don´t procrastinate, don´t let what others have told you about the test bring you down and stress you out. It´s not impossible to get a decent score.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    Took it July 24th, started studying end of May/beginning of June. I definitely procrastinated, and that proved to be stressful. I had no life this summer, and I vividly recall sitting at home at 10 p.m. and wistfully listening to the fireworks outside...
  24. buddy2study

    buddy2study 2+ Year Member

    May 28, 2007
    What is TPR??? Princeton Review??Plz share

  25. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Jun 27, 2007
    TPR = The Princeton Review
  26. medicalCPA

    medicalCPA PhD to be Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Mar 26, 2007
    In lab
    Bumping this thread for the August 6 testers. I hope that when scores come out on Wednesday, those that took it on the 9th and 14th will post here as well.
  27. olemissbabydoc

    olemissbabydoc Baby Doctor Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Jul 27, 2006
    Between "there" and "there"
    I hope that wednesday i'll be posting here :)
  28. DrMT

    DrMT 182? 2+ Year Member

    May 12, 2006
    Houston, TX
    me 3
  29. Tussis

    Tussis Turn your head 7+ Year Member

    Aug 14, 2006
    August 6th Scores: 12 P / 11 V / 10 B = 33R

    First, I come from a Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major background.

    I completely self-studied for this test using the EK Complete Package, plus the EK Verbal 101 and the EK Biology 1001.

    I made a schedule that went from beginning of June to the test date. I read a chapter out of the EK books every weekday, then on the weekends tried to take the 30 min review tests. I say tried because I like my weekends, and ended up not exactly taking every 30 minute test (probably 1/2 of them or so). While reading each chapter, I took my own notes over everything presented.

    I did OK sticking to the Verbal book, but not so great on the Biology book. One might suggest it could have helped my score, but for argument's sake, I was scoring ~11-12 on most onlines, so the 10 was acceptable but not exactly accurate, I feel.

    A lot of people ask about Verbal. I'm just a guy that simply reads the dang passage and answers the dang questions. Sorry, I know you want to hear something complex that, if you do it, you will somehow magically score a 10+ in VR. I just don't believe it's possible. If you want the real "complex method," it's becoming familiar with passages like that, instead of Dr. Seuss. It's not something that is going to change two weeks, or even two months, before your test. If you're having problems, you have got to start very early by immersing yourself in technical and philosophical passages.
    [I think it helped that I had a philosophy-esque class where all we did was analyze various people's philosophies through reading and analysis by discussion. Reading stuff like The Communist Manifesto and complex poems of Lord Byron over the course of a semester helped a lot. If you're got a class like this, I would highly recommend it. That's how you prepare for VR.]

    My schedule allowed me about 3 weeks to review everything once over and take practice tests, which I followed completely. I took the EK paper practice test, then AAMC 3, 7, 8, 9, 10. My scores were actually varied quite a bit between them, and not really consistent. I had two low 30s, and two upper 30s. I felt solidly prepared going into the exam.

    So overall suggestions:
    1) If you're finishing practice tests with barely enough time, you've got to figure something out to push yourself. It happened to me and I know several others: I could normally finish e-mcats PS with ~10 min, and BS wwith ~15 minutes to spare. However on the actual exam, it's completely different, and I essentially nearly ran out of time... only really had enough time to double check a few iffy ones. You've got to get your practice tests to where you've got probably a good 5 minutes in the PS and BS. [I found verbal to compare rather well, a bit longer passages but slightly easier questions, so it balanced out, I felt.]

    2) Be confident on test day, and even more so, after your test day. I look back at both my PS and BS, and realized I missed a really, really dumb question in both sections. Don't fret after it... don't stalk SDN for the next 30 days, it's only going to make it worse.

    3) Though I think it's a given, take as many practice tests as possible.

    4) Realize you're probably going to make a stupid mistake somewhere; but also realize you're probably going to get one or two hard questions right by [educated] guessing that you wouldn't otherwise answer right.

    I know there's a lot more of my experience that would be of use, but I simply can't remember it all - three months of preparation for a test in which we use maybe 5% of what we learn, which is probably the most disappointing thing of this whole process.

    Good luck to everyone.
  30. tbo

    tbo MS-4 10+ Year Member

    May 5, 2002
    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    June 2007 - 10 PS, 10 VS, 13 BS, Writing S = 33S
    (Older scores for reference, Aug 2004 - 28R & Aug 2002 - 27R)

    2) The study method used for each section
    PS and BS are knowledge-heavy, but if you focus too much on memorization, you will get swamped. I did a bit of a balancing act with memorization and practice. The TPR lectures were good to get basics down on each topic, then I would find all of the sections I got less than half right on, re-read all of the reading materials on that topic, do all of the problems available to me on that topic (mainly 1001 EK books), then look for an improvement. Rinse, lather, repeat.

    For VS, I spent the most time dissecting out the reasons why I answered a question wrong (and sometimes right). A lot of it is just getting a feel for the passages and the question types. The AAMC diagnostic report was outstanding for figuring out what was going wrong.

    For WS, I didn't prep at all. I wrote one timed essay for the TPR classwork but after that didn't bother. The challenge I think most have is to take a stance. I felt no hesitation to take a firm stance in my essays, and I think it pays off. It comes off less vague and there's an argument that comes through in the pro/con style of writing. My only advice is to take a stance, regardless of how absurd the prompt is.

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)
    Princeton Review Course + 1001 EK Books

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    All online AAMCs and TPR diags. This was plenty.

    5) What was your undergraduate major?

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    Discipline. This is a test of wills and endurance. Don't get discouraged along the way. If you need structure, take a course. If it's cost prohibitive, print out a 3-month calendar and write down exactly what you will do in preparation. If you deviate, make sure you revise your schedule. There's so much information to absorb that the best absorption is one that is controlled. Make sure you put in enough time to do at least 7 practice tests along the way. It was at about the 7th test that my scores started to get to a level I was happy with.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    3 months while working full-time. Discipline is key.
  31. RockDoc86

    RockDoc86 2+ Year Member

    Sep 6, 2007
    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    (Aug.6, 2007)

    2) The study method used for each section
    I took the TPR classroom course. I focussed most heavily on PS since that's my weak point. BS was mainly a lot of review, with some memorization (ex. hormones). To prepare for the sciences, I just did as much review and practice as possible (entire science workbook, class notes).

    As for VR, I used the verbal workbook and used TPR's method (ranking, notating) and PRACTICED. For the writing sample, I just kept up to date with current events to use as examples.

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

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    TPR, but I focussed mostly on the AAMC tests (4-10)

    5) What was your undergraduate major?

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    Try not to burn yourself out.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    From late May until August 5th.
  32. mmcnam

    mmcnam 2+ Year Member

    May 28, 2007
    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    33 T
    (Aug 6, 2007)

    2) The study method used for each section
    I took the Kaplan course and used their online material. By the time I had taken the test, I did about 20 practice tests, all of the online material and about half of it twice, in addition to three EK books.

    For PS, I had just taken physics so I was set for that. I reviewed the material, did a lot of Kaplan's quiz sections and just learned from mistakes. I focused on problem areas (acid/base chemistry, electricity, fluids) and made sure that I was ok for that stuff.

    For BS, I was an orgo whiz for some reason. I studied very very hard for orgo throughout the year, so I never looked it over for the MCAT. Bio was a different story. I was set with physiology, even though I reviewed it a lot for the MCAT. Genetics I had taken earlier but it would still present a hard passage for me. I had never studied immunology, so I had to read about that a bit.

    For verbal, I did an EK book and every Kaplan test. I felt solid on it eventually and, being an English major, assumed that I could read regular things and answer questions based on them. I scored an 8 on my diagnostic and 10-14 for every practice test after that. I have no idea why my score fell so low. I expected to do a lot better.

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)
    Kaplan online material and books, EK books, AAMC

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    I used Kaplan to get a feel of what it's like to be insanely challenged and I didn't take those scores too seriously. I used AAMC to be realistic. I found that the real thing was like being blindsided by the strangest passages of both types of tests.

    5) What was your undergraduate major?

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    Just listen to yourself I guess. Take a few days off here and there. I did once and a while - it really helped. Also, try to cut out distractions. I studied at home a lot and was bothered by my brothers and sisters constantly.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    Graduation day (may 17th) until august 5th.

    I was scheduled for july 24th and I felt genuinely ready by july 13th. i think i went downhill around july 20th.
  33. Frogmanmike14

    Frogmanmike14 7+ Year Member

    Sep 6, 2007
    Chicago, IL
    what happened july 20th?
  34. chad5871

    chad5871 Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Apr 6, 2006
    Portland, OR
    Probably burnout.
  35. mmcnam

    mmcnam 2+ Year Member

    May 28, 2007
    the ac in my testing center was broken. the room was 100 degrees plus and i fainted during verbal. i didn't wake up for ten minutes, so i had to void. literally a burnout, yes. but not a burnout in the traditional "this is hard, my head hurts" way.
  36. chestnutdove


    Aug 10, 2007
    August 9th test: 36T

    12 VR
    11 BS
    13 PS

    VR - I'm not sure how to offer advice about this section. I am an English major at an extremely competitive university, and I made a 770 on the SAT verbal, so I almost expected to do well. My only recommendation would be to use the 101 Verbal Passages Examkrackers book to get a real idea of what the test is like. When you are reviewing your wrong answers, be sure to realize the reason they were wrong; this will help you develop some intuition about the ways the test makers try to trick you. One of the most common techniques they use is to directly quote the passage in questions for wrong answers--the real answer will be more subtle, and you must be aware of that in your guesses. Finally, do not allow yourself to run out of time or lose confidence over questions you are not sure of. I did quite well, and I would say that I was confident about 50% of the questions, and felt like I was making nothing but educated guesses about the other 50%. No matter how you do, you won't feel good about this section after you've taken it.

    PS - I'm a very strong student in chemistry, being a major in biochemistry, but preparing for this section was a challenge for me because I am not particularly talented at physics. I read the Examkrackers Physics and Chemistry books, the NOVA physics book (a lifesaver -- get it!), and the Kaplan Physics and Chemistry review sections. My boyfriend graduated from University of Michigan with a physics degree, so I got a lot of extra tutoring from him about the concepts I wasn't sure of. In retrospect, I would advise people to spend more time doing scientific notation multiplication and whatnot without a calculator; my test was calculation-heavy and it made me a little nervous. Do not spend too much time memorizing formulas, except for the major ones. You will get answers right because you understand the concepts and relationships, not because you know formulas.

    BS - I'm a biochemistry major, and this was my only score on the test that I felt even slightly disappointed in. I have a strong background in molecular biology, genetics, biochemistry, and immunology, so to prepare for the physiology part, I read the Examkrackers books for Biology and Organic Chemistry, and the Kaplan review book as well.

    WS - Again, I feel like this is a section you're either strong at or you're not, although I think improving on it is easier than improving on VR. I never practiced a single writing sample before the test, so if you're an English major (or another humanities major, or someone who is just skilled at writing), I wouldn't sweat it with this section.

    That was very detailed and long, but I hope it helps someone. :)
  37. ToledoPike

    ToledoPike 2+ Year Member

    Mar 6, 2007
    August 9 Administration


    Total: 31R

    Kaplan Diag

    VR: This was kind of a weird section for me this summer when studying and preparing. I have NEVER been good at standardized tests. The Verbal sections on the SAT and ACT were always my worst by far. In trying to get better for VR this summer all I did was use the CBT Passages to study and that's it. I prayed for a decent verbal section on the MCAT and got lucky with it.

    PS: I had not taken physics in 4 years before I started studying so I had a lot of work to do. Overall, it wasnt that bad. I am a 5th year Chemical Engineering student and am pretty solid with chemistry in general and my MCAT was at least 50% chem so I was happy. To study, I mainly read all the Kaplan MCAT material, did a ton of practice problems, and did all the CBTs.

    BS: By far the section I worried about the most starting off this summer and surprisingly my best section! I have not taken Biology yet so it was a bit of a struggle to get things off the ground so I focused on this section more than anything else. The Kaplan material was AMAZING. I learned so much about Bio from doing their section tests, homework, and more. I felt extremely prepared and with an 11 on BS I cant complain.

    WS: Something that doesnt matter much and I didnt prepare for at all. My prompts were so dumb and I thought I screwed it up pretty bad, so an R was very surprising. I guess it was just a bad day for essays because mine were not good at all.

    Overall: This was one hell of a test and I am so glad that it is over. I would highly recommend Kaplan to anyone that takes this test. I did not know Bio at all and Kaplan alone showed me what I needed to know without any BS. There was not a single problem that I saw that was over a subject I had never seen.
  38. nVictus

    nVictus MS1337 7+ Year Member

    Aug 20, 2007
    1) Your individual scores and composite score

    PS: 9 VR: 10 BS: 11


    2) The study method used for each section

    PS: diag score was a 4. this was my weakest section. i focused on this section the most. i took TPR and their book was sufficient enough for me to get a 9. i thought i did a lot better (like a 12) but i guess not. i did the science workbook from TPR and it helped and i also did EK's 1001 physics/chem workbook.

    VR: diag score was a 4. this was not too bad of a section for me. after my first 2-3 tests, i was getting all 10's on my VR. i didnt do anything special except getting use to the format. i did maybe one section in the EK 101 workbook. i didnt try to get any better, i told myself i would be satisfied with getting a 10. i never got anything higher than a 10 on all my practice tests. however, i would definitely recommend EK's 101 book. everyone will tell you it's good. get it, it's essential.

    BS: diag score was a 7. this was my strongest subject i guess so i never studied for it. i got 10's no matter how much effort i put into the test. i never got higher than a 10 on any of my tests. this section is simply reading reading memorize memorize. however, i would highly suggest doing passage's with experiments, graphs, and charts. get use to abstracting information from them and applying them to new information. this is KEY. this goes for the PS section as well.

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


    4) Which practice tests did you use?

    TPR Diag 4110: 15 (PS:4 VR:4 BS:7)
    AAMC 3: 27 (PS:7 VR:10 BS:10)
    AAMC 4: 31 (PS:9 VR:10 BS:11) *My exact breakdown*
    AAMC 6: 26 (PS:7 VR:10 BS:9)
    AAMC 7: 34 (PS:12 VR:10 BS:12)
    AAMC 8: 29 (PS:: 9 VR: 10 BS: 10)
    AAMC 9: 34 (PS: 11 VR: 11 BS: 12)
    AAMC 10: 27 (PS:9 VR:8 BS:10)

    5) What was your undergraduate major?

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

    Put in hard work and it will pay off. If not, try try try again. I honestly never took a practice test under real test conditions. i would take 30-45min breaks. id have solutions turned on so i can see if i got it right or wrong. this helps because it takes stress off of you when you get a question you were unsure about. you cant do this on the real thing and the stress stays with you throughout the entire test. so i would say that taking MANY practice tests under REAL test conditions helps A LOT.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?

    3 months. 5hrs/day.
  39. Dr.Masamichi

    Dr.Masamichi 2+ Year Member

    Sep 22, 2006

    My exam practice score is very similar to yours, I wish mine turns out like yours in October:luck: to me. Good job w/ ur score.
  40. moleculardesign

    moleculardesign 2+ Year Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    Aug 9 exam

    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    PS 12, V 12, B 14

    2) The study method used for each section
    physical sciences and biological sciences: went through the exam krackers books from cover to cover--took notes. i also took the exam krackers mini mcats.

    verbal: exam krackers 101 verbal passages really helped though i didn't get to go through them all. everytime i took a verbal section, i would go over a list of tips (there are clues in the question stem, pay attention to them) and also a list of mistakes i made a lot (read all the answers before picking!)

    writing: i didn't really practice at all and it showed.

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

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    aamc 6, 8, 9 --paper exams (i felt like doing these long exams as practice helped me to build up endurance for the actual shorter exam)
    aamc 3, 7, 10
    a couple kaplan exams.. don't recall the numbers

    my diagnostic was the exam kracker test that came with the box set-- i got a ... PS 10, V 8, B 9 (27)

    after studying, my practice exams ranged from... 31 to 38 (only once)

    5) What was your undergraduate major?

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

    take note of the mistakes you make, write them down and then go over them to ensure you don't make the same mistakes again.

    set aside time to take lots of practice exams.

    take a break the last day or two before the exam and just relax and get good rest.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    a month--but i felt kinda rushed.
  41. greg1184

    greg1184 10+ Year Member

    Dec 9, 2006
    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    11 PS
    10 V
    11 BS
    32M (last year I got a 26M).

    2) The study method used for each section
    Started off with the Kaplan Comprehensive book, but then decided to take a test prep course. It was definitely worthwhile for me.

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)
    Kaplan and EK Book/101 passages for verbal.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    Kaplan 1-9, AAMC 4-10

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    Microbiology and Immunology

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    MCAT is a test that you must put your FULL energy into, especially in the amount of time I studied. I followed EVERY SINGLE assignment to the TEETH. The Kaplan course is only as good as the amount of effort you put doing the assignments, taking the practice tests, etc. Getting all the material down is one thing, but it is IMPERATIVE that you practice using practice tests, whether AAMC or Kaplan. I made it into a freaking hobby taking one every other day. If you have any time throw in some section tests as well. Alltogether my average of the practice tests matched my actual score. Only part I am somewhat dissapointed in is my BS score which has been 12-13. The 11 in the PS is a plesant suprise. All in all, Kaplan's stuff was great.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    2 months in the summer
  42. chad5871

    chad5871 Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Apr 6, 2006
    Portland, OR
    First of all, I can't believe that I'm actually posting in this thread. I feel honored to be a part of this group!

    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    August 14th, 2007
    PS: 9
    VR: 10
    BS: 12
    WS: R
    Total: 31R

    2) The study method used for each section
    I focused most of my efforts on practice tests. I was pretty comfortable with most of the content, so I did some light reviewing and re-learning, and did more practice tests than anything else.

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)
    Content (All 3 Sections): Kaplan (Classroom), EK Audio Osmosis
    Practice Tests: Kaplan, AAMC

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    Kaplan Diagnostic (5-23-2007): 9/7/8 = 24
    Kaplan FL #1 (7-7-2007): 8/10/9 = 27P
    AAMC CBT #3 (7-26-2007): 11/9/10 = 30
    Kaplan FL #2 (7-30-2007): 9/9/8 = 26
    Kaplan FL #3 (7-31-2007): 10/11/10 = 31
    AAMC CBT #6 (8-2-2007): 11/8/10 = 29
    AAMC CBT #7 (8-7-2007): 9/10/9 = 28
    AAMC CBT #8 (8-8-2007): 10/10/10 = 30
    AAMC CBT #9 (8-10-2007): 10/11/9 = 30
    AAMC CBT #10 (8-13-2007): 10/11/10 = 31

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    Forensic Science with a concentration in Forensic Biology. Also minors in Biology and Chemistry.

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    Figure out where your weaknesses lie. Do you have large gaps in your content knowledge? Are you having a difficult time understanding the passages? Are you running out of time on practice tests? Identify your weaknesses early on in your studying so that you can attack those throughout your study plan. Also, create a study schedule and stick to it. This was my biggest weakness - I probably could have scored better by adhering to my study schedule more strictly.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    I started Kaplan's class in the middle of June, and it continued throughout the first week in August (about 10 days before my MCAT). I pretty much followed their schedule, although I didn't do all of the required reading and online homework unless I felt I was weak in an area. I worked in addition to my studies, and so I was lucky if I could sit down and study for 5 hours a week for the first month or so. However toward the end of July I began feeling the pressure and so I studied maybe 15 hours a week. I also took many more practice exams and thoroughly reviewed my mistakes. This helped me determine what my weak spots were and attack them before test day. All in all I probably only studied about 150 hours for the test, including practice exams. I know I could have studied more, and I probably could have scored at least a few points higher had I focused a little more on sticking to my schedule. I'm happy with my score, so I don't really have any regrets. But in general I think it's better to over-prepare (with the exception of burning out) than to under-prepare.

    Good luck everyone!
  43. habman6

    habman6 2+ Year Member

    Aug 9, 2007
    1) Your individual scores and composite score

    14/9/14 R, 37R

    2) The study method used for each section

    EK for science. Drilled concepts rather than facts. Read the books twice over, and did every AAMC test. EK for verbal practice, using their method too.

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

    EK, and AAMC for practice tests

    4) Which practice tests did you use?

    AAMC, 3-10

    5) What was your undergraduate major?

    Biochem/physio (ongoing, in 3rd year)

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

    Learn how to write the test, moreso than memorizing the material. Almost all questions can be answered by reading the passage and making conclusions upon information given.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?

    About 2 months off and on
  44. 4thLiu


    Aug 5, 2007
    OK, forgot to post since my result was out. Here it is now!

    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    13 July 2007
    Total: 32R

    2) The study method used for each section

    PS & BS just reviewing my first and second year lecture notes. I've done physics, chemistry, molecular biology, and much of the medical sciences (physiology, pharmacology, pathology, genetics, microbiology) during my first two years of university.
    WS: my principle during the preparation time is "an essay a day keeps the worries away", so I did just that, practicing to write an essay using AAMC prompts.
    VR: nothing in particular. English is my second language, so there really is not much I can do in a short time of preparation. I just get used to reading more and more articles, be it humble newspapers to sophisticated scientific journals. The result: I'm okay with natural science passage but not humanities/social science passage.

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

    AAMC practice tests, some Kaplan subject summaries I borrowed from my friend

    4) Which practice tests did you use?

    AAMC 3-10, was averaging between 29-33

    5) What was your undergraduate major?

    Bachelor of Medical Science (3rd year, Pharmacology)

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

    Have a solid preparation, take as many practice tests as you can, make sure you are in good shape on the day of the test (try not to get sick, I know it's unpredictable, but some ailments are avoidable), be confident (but not over) and trust yourself.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    Two weeks during semester holiday. The first week allocated to review materials, and the second to do practice tests.
  45. whoisthedrizzle

    whoisthedrizzle 2+ Year Member

    1) Your individual scores and composite score

    PS - 11
    VR - 11
    BS - 13

    2) Study method used for each section

    BS - Since we don't get much straight biology in our BME curriculum, I spent a good amount of time reviewing BS. Read through the Kaplan chapter once, the EK Review Book chapter twice. I took notes on unfamilar concepts. I also did the review questions and practice tests in both books.

    PS - I had a pretty solid base in physics, so I only reviewed lightly for this section. Went through the EK and Kaplan books looking for concepts I was shaky with. Took notes on these / memorized key formulas. Did the Big Book practice test for this section.

    VR - I've always had strong VR skills, so I didn't practice this section other than the practice AAMCs

    WS - No prep. It showed.

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

    Kaplan Big Book and EK review books (not the 101 passages)

    *If you're a self studier like I am, I HIGHLY recommend not taking a course. These review books have everything you need to review

    4) Which practice tests did you use?

    4 of the AAMC practice tests (forget which ones, but scores were 31,33,33,34)

    Also, 2 Kaplan practice tests (scores: 31,36)

    5) What was your undergraduate major?

    Biomedical Engineering (4th year)

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

    Don't leave your MCAT prep off 'til the last minute. It is much, much easier (and less stressful) to do your studying for a couple hours a day over a few months as opposed to eight hours a day in couple weeks.

    When you take a practice test, find out why you got your wrong answers wrong. What concept did you miss? Understand it, write it down, and study it.

    Oh, and practice your writing sample under timed conditions. I'm sure I could've avoided an M if I practiced.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?

    A few hours a day spread over three months.

    *Good luck to all MCATers
    *PM me w/ questions if you want
  46. TheElement

    TheElement Being Lazzy 5+ Year Member

    May 27, 2007

    1) Your individual scores and composite score


    2) The study method used for each section

    For physical and biological, basically know as much as you can in terms of background information. Actually know everything. Take courses in upper division bio, which can help you out a lot! (I didn't take any but I sure wish I did). It lets you see through the fluff more easily because you know what the answer is. If you didn't have the advanced knowledge you might have to reason a little bit more to get to the right answer. Verbal reasoning on the other hand I've never quite understood. I think doing well depending on my mood swings actually, Haha. My verbal scores didn't really increase that much from my diagnostic to my real test but if you start off on the low end, practice is definitely the key. Try to have a clear mind before the test. This is CRUCIAL. One of my family members passed away the week before my test and this really affected how my mental state was. This affected my verbal performance correspondingly. Overall I think I studied OVER 500 hours. I do not recommend this however. I'm not like most people and I don't ever burn out. I did notice that I was hitting diminishing returns after awhile so don't study too much or obsess over it because it won't help you that much.

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

    I used a conjunction of both EK and TPR materials. I HIGHLY recommend for anyone writing the MCAT to have more than one type of study material. It gives you so much more depth and information to have multiple points of view. By getting the most out of each company you'll give yourself the best chance to succeed.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?

    Even though the AAMC ones feel not so indicative anymore, there still better than anything else out there (at least the ones I've gone through). I've also had some TPR tests as well, but I didn't feel those were too accurate. Basically take practice tests with the idea that your real test may not resemble anything like them. (Which mine didn't, I couldn't even predict what my score was coming out of the test).

    5) What was your undergraduate major?

    It is General Finance. Yeah if you want help on the MCAT, don't do this. It may help you on the essays or one passage on verbal but being a business major doesn't come with too many benefits when it comes down to the MCAT. (It helps a lot of communicating, teamwork, and other skills! But just not the MCAT).

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

    Don't ever give up! My first diagnostic score was a 20 (bad for me), after a month it only improved slightly so I began to feel a little hopeless that I would ever break 30, but lo and behold, I was able to do it. I don't consider myself that smart, I just study hard. So if I can go from a 20 to a 35, you definitely can!

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?

    500 freaking hours +/- 100 hours (I studied a lot while watching TV, eating, playing games, so it wasn't the most efficient).
  47. m0nk3y


    Jan 3, 2007
    Originally Posted by WayChanger [​IMG]
    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    PS 13
    VR 8 :mad:
    BS 13
    WS R


    2) The study method used for each section
    Sciences - I had an awesome high school science background (AP Phys C, Bio, and Chem) plus I had taken Honors Orgo + Gen Chem, and Bio at school. The sciences weren't much more than reviewing material and going through Kaplan's books, which by the way are awesome. I highly recommend them. I did however put a bit more time into Bio because of the memorization required (hormones, enzymes, etc) even though that stuff turns out to be 3 questions--if you're "lucky."

    Verbal - Uh. Yeah. I'm a Finance major and I've always sucked hard at anything even peripherally related to verbal reasoning (SATs, English classes, etc). Obviously, don't take my advice here because it didn't work--although I went up from Kaplan's diag (10/5/10). I read the newspaper and did a ton of Kaplan's hour-long section tests. My scores ranged from 6 to 11, so an 8 was somewhat expected.

    Writing - Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)
    Kaplan mainly. Some EK stuff. I managed to get their full set for free because Barnes and Noble screwed up, but I used barely any of it. Supposedly their Verbal 101 book is great, but I didn't have time for that either.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    Kaplan Diag, 1-6
    AAMC 1-7?
    something like that. I'd estimate 10-12 total. My scores ranged from 31 to 35 with sciences never breaking 14, and verbal never breaking 11.

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    Finance, Math/Chem minors

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    Everyone says Biochem, Anatomy, etc are very helpful for BS, but I don't recall there being any questions about them on my test. Then again, maybe that's why I got a 13 instead of a 15--who knows. My test might've been an anomale, but again I don't know. If most people say it helps, then they're probably right. My only prereqs are intro Bio, Chem, and Orgo (went off my HS Physics bc I wanted to get the test over with)

    Do what I didn't do: Make a schedule and stick to it. Outline EVERYTHING you want to do including reading, practice questions, practice tests, reviewing those tests and most importantly: Breaks. If you're good at this, which I'm not, you don't need a prep course. If you're like me though, the prep course is great at helping you keep pace.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    Started June 15th-ish with the Kaplan class and took my test August 10th. Spend the first month and a half reading, and the last two weeks taking a practice test every day.

    Good luck.
  48. brianmartin

    brianmartin 10+ Year Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Yakima, WA
    Glad to be here :)

    BTW, I will preface this by saying that on test day, I thought I bombed it. I didn't think about voiding, but I've been stressing out the past month, thinking I got in the 20's. This proves that first impressions aren't always accurate. Apparently there were a few super hard exams this summer, august 20th included...but they were hard for everyone....so don't VOID or freak out just because it's hard. It's hard for everyone no matter what you score. I think one of the keys to doing well is to remain calm and just work quickly and efficiently.

    1) Your individual scores and composite score


    11 PS
    11 VR
    13 BS

    2) The study method used for each section

    PS - do practice problems
    VR - no prep
    BS - little to no prep, except review basic physiology
    WS - no prep (but I do read and write alot)

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

    PS - I got the Exam Crackers 1001 passages in Gen chem and Physics, and did probably around 100-200 questions in each. I used these mainly to brush up on key concepts like pressure, mechanics, acid-base, atomic theory, and electrochemistry.

    VR - I read a lot of history, politics, philosophy, and natural science books. I did not purchase any "MCAT specific" study materials though.

    BS - I took A&P, so I actually used my old textbook to review physiology. This worked really well. Actually, I keep the book at my bedside just to look at whenever it strikes my fancy.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?

    I bought the 10 Gold Standard CBT practice tests, but only did 5 of them, and I actually only did the PS and BS on them. I thought they were harder than the actual MCAT and were a good resource. For the price it is a great deal, because it comes with explanations and the interface works perfectly.

    5) What was your undergraduate major?

    B.S in Political Science w/minor in Biology

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

    - take Anatomy and Physiology if you can. I really feel like it helped me on the MCAT. There was at least one full passage and several standalones where my A&P knowledge directly enabled me to answer questions correctly.

    - Read material outside of science on a regular basis. Get some books on history/politics and really take an interest in the world around you. There is so much more to life than just basic sciences, and the MCAT designers know this. Don't think, "Oh it's just stupid verbal...why do I care about politics or art?" That's the wrong attitude. Even if the passages are vague or even retarded (which some surely are)...just force yourself to take interest. I think a lot of people avoid studying verbal because they just can't get interested. Go to the bookstore, go outside your comfort zone, learn something new.

    - Hone your test-taking skills, meaning, practice crossing out illogical answers, making educated guesses, inferring what the answer is even without really knowing it (sounds crazy but given practice you can do it). For example, many calculations on MCAT can be done with serious rounding. Even just getting to the right decimal place can give you the answer (because others are off by 10x or 100x...)

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?

    I got my Exam Crackers books about 3 weeks before test day. I took 10 days off work before the exam to study. I probably did about 1-2 hours per day for 2 weeks. During this time I also worked on the Gold Standard practice tests, doing mostly the BS and PS sections. These were the biggest help, in that they familiarized me with the format of the questions and passages, and also forced my brain to go into "MCAT mode."

    I did not learn any new science concepts during my studying. I probably could have gone without the exam crackers 1001 passages books, although it was a good warmup for doing the practice exams.

    The MCAT is very difficult to study for. I doubt I could have increased my score with 3 months, even a year of additional studying. At a certain point, you just have to assemble all that knowledge, review the most basic fundamentals, and walk into the testing center and crank it out. Work fast, don't miss anything in the questions, and practice good test-taking skills.
  49. Meetchy

    Meetchy 2+ Year Member

    Aug 20, 2007
    1) Your individual scores and composite score:

    PS: 15
    VR: 11
    BS: 14
    WS: Q
    Total: 40Q

    2) The study method used for each section

    Spent a large portion going through the list of topics that are covered on the MCAT that AAMC provides. I bought a Kaplan book to use as an outline and went through my course textbooks reviewing all of the material. I took notes in a notebook just because that helps me retain more information.
    After this, I went through the Examcracker MCAT reviews until the test.

    I felt I couldn't improve much on my reading skills/speed in the time I had. All I did was go through and did as many timed VR sections in Kaplan and on the CBT's. It helps to get use to the types of passages, and the types of questions they ask you. Timing is of the essence.

    Totally BS'ed it. To study, I did probably 2- 1 hour writing samples on the CBT's. This was to get a feeling for the pace of the exam, but I knew that the WS score doesn't matter too much for the overall application. On the real thing, I just followed the instructions, wrote 3 paragraphs each, and got a Q.

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

    Kaplan's New MCAT Premier Program- All sections
    Examkrackers- All sections minus WS

    My friend took a Kaplan course and let me use his online material.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?

    All of the AAMC CBT's. Did one Examcrackers (that was included in the bundle) for the hell of it.

    Scored a 31 on CBT before I began studying (May 20th or so). Scored 39 on CBT 10 a week before my exam (Exam Date: Aug 20). Average score was around 36.

    5) What was your undergraduate major?

    BS Chemistry, ACS Certified

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

    In General:
    If you are just as focused on the real MCAT as you are during the practice ones, you will do absolutely fine. The problems that I think most people come across are test anxiety and loss of stamina midway through the test. Relax and be focused on the material in front of you. Don't worry about what the person next to you is doing. TIME EFFICIENTLY. Running low on time with 2 passages left not only forces you to answer less questions, but also makes you answer MORE incorrectly because of the fact that you will start panicking.

    A thing regarding when to take the MCAT: I personally recommend taking it after your second year (one year before applying) but ONLY if you have taken all of the prerequisite coursework. This relieves stress, and also gives you a chance to retake w/o worrying about applications. The material is still fresh in your mind, and you will have had time to study without too many other stressors.

    VR is a matter of being able to focus on the passages (which are really boring). The more you practice beforehand, the easier this gets. Also, the correct answer choice becomes less ambiguous with practice. Don't be discouraged! My weakest point was VR and never scored above a 10 on the CBT's. For the writing, just follow the directions. If you are able to write half decently for a college student, you will be at an O or P already. Add in some spice and everything nice and you're looking at an R or S. WS scores are usually overlooked unless they are very low or very high.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?

    Test date: Aug 20, 2007
    Started reviewing sciences around June 2006 (after freshman year).
    Started studying hardcore in Mid June 2007 (after sophomore year).
    Will be applying in a year.

  50. catfishshe

    catfishshe 2+ Year Member

    Sep 20, 2007
    If you did, how did you study
  51. Aesculapius

    Aesculapius Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    Dec 30, 2004

    I took the Kaplan course. I thought the actual course wasn't terribly useful, but it was nice to have a refresher on all the basic sciences spoon-fed to me (it had been 3 years since I took bio, 1 since I took physics, and 1 since orgo). I read through all of the books once, too. I should note that I did get a 31 on the diagnostic, and a 35 on the midterm.

    What really helped me, after the classroom time was over, was doing practice tests. After I completed the majority of the quizzes and section tests (which I did during the classroom time period and for some time after) I took a full length practice test, starting with the Kaplans, every other day. I did not do anything else after taking the test- after I took it, I was done for the day. The next day, I did not do anything except review the test to see what I got wrong. For every problem that I got wrong, I wrote (in a word file) 1 sentence (no more) that covered the problem. For instance, here's a couple that I wrote down:

    Gas expanding = positive work = temperature decrease
    Internal energy of a gas- ΔU = 3/2NRΔT
    1st law of thermodynamics- U = Q – W
    Changes in pressure affect the composition of an azeotrope
    Real gases- At high pressures, volume is greater than expected due to repulsive forces

    If I got the type of question wrong more than once (for example, I screwed up on problems involving work several times) I still wrote something down. I ended up with about 4 pages, single spaced, of material, which I usually reviewed briefly before taking the practice test. This was very helpful, because it focused my problems on what I needed to learn better, instead of having to pick through stuff in the Kaplan book that wasn't very useful because I knew it already.

    I did all of the Kaplans and I did a couple AAMCs. I think this is the better order to go in, because the Kaplan practice full lengths are MUCH harder than AAMC. When you are used to the Kaplan problems, which almost invariably involve more than one calculation, and the passages that are also quite denser (especially in Verbal), the AAMC questions seem like a joke. I was, frankly, shocked when I took my first AAMC test and saw questions that were like... here's the pressure of the gas, here's the volume, gas is expanding, what's the work done... which basically tested whether you knew the formula or not. The curve, though, makes up for it. I ranged from a 35 to 42 on Kaplan, with an average around 37ish. I did not break 37 on AAMC, I don't think.

    I don't know what your situation is, but let me tell you something: the MCAT isn't actually that hard a test. You do need to have broad knowledge, but you do not need depth. The amount of organic chemistry you need to know, for instance, is tiny. If you can handle acids/bases, basic nucleophile-carbonyl reactions, and substitution/elimination reactions, that's most of the material you need to know. Similarly, you need to know what tissues are derived from what in the embryo (ie mesoderm, endoderm, ectoderm), but that is largely as far as it goes. If you keep in mind that most of the information is given in the passage, and you can do arithmetic pretty quickly, you'll be OK. Just know the basics and know them well.

    As far as verbal goes... I don't think I can help you much. I never really paid attention to the Kaplan class and didn't really do any studying for it, besides the full lengths. I read very, very quickly, so I sort of had an advantage there.

    Sorry this post is so long, but hopefully this will be helpful.

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