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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. catfishshe

    catfishshe 2+ Year Member

    11
    0
    Sep 20, 2007
    Aesculapius , before I finish reading this I would like to say thanks for this extraordinary information. This is great stuff.
     
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  3. Aesculapius

    Aesculapius Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    226
    2
    Dec 30, 2004
    You're welcome. :)
     
  4. catfishshe

    catfishshe 2+ Year Member

    11
    0
    Sep 20, 2007
    r u in med school
     
  5. Dr.Pdizzle

    Dr.Pdizzle Member 5+ Year Member

    122
    0
    May 22, 2005
    I got a 39s, so not quite a 40, but close enough, right? In any event, I self-studied through examkrackers for 4 weeks, reading and rereading each chapter to make sure I truly understood everything. Then I solved as many passages and problems that I could get my hands on because I always found that I could read something till I was blue the in the face:idea:, but I didn't really know the material until I tried applying it to various questions.

    So I went through and did the following: EK's questions and passages, nova physics questions and passages, TPR science workbook questions and passages, all of kaplan's topicals and kaplan's full-length paper versions 1-9, and AAMCs 3-10. After going through all of that, I now look back and think it was excessive. However, I truly felt prepared taking the exam because I had seen so many different ways the material could've been asked, that I felt the mcat couldn't fool me (to my surprise, it still did on a few passages :D )
     
  6. catfishshe

    catfishshe 2+ Year Member

    11
    0
    Sep 20, 2007
    Dr.Pdizzle, Thanks. Man I know u was so happy. Congratulations. R u in med school?
     
  7. Meatwad

    Meatwad Reformed 7+ Year Member

    3,879
    3
    Jan 19, 2007
    Impressive breakdown, Aesculapius. The tactic you used is basically the one I use to study for massively important tests. Great to see it was an effective strategy for you as well, congratulations on the amazing score.
     
  8. slipstream99

    slipstream99 5+ Year Member

    148
    0
    May 19, 2007
    MDApps:
    41S (13vr, 13ps, 15bs)

    Like Aesculapias, I took a course (although it was Princeton Review), and I actually found it pretty useful, most especially for the Physical Sciences. I was taking Physics I in conjunction with studying for the MCAT and didn't take Physics II prior to taking the MCAT, so the class was really my only opportunity to be "taught" that material. Also, although I would call myself a fairly self-motivated person, it is nice to have a schedule laid out for you of what to read and study and, even if you don't get around to all the reading a particular week, you still have to go to class and listen to the material. If you can afford it, I would recommend taking a class.

    As for how I studied, I began preparing three months in advance (started May 15th for the August 14th exam). For the first two months I would say I put in an average of about three hours per day (not counting practice tests). In the last month I really buckled down, became a hermit, and studied about eight to ten hours per day six days per week. I read all the Princeton Review books except the verbal (of which I only read the essay portion) and then did all of the passages in the Science Workbook (which takes FOREVER!). Based on my practice tests, I could see that I needed some more work on Physics II (not surprising, seeing as I didn't take that class) and on Gen Chem. To be safe, I re-read the physics section and gen chem section and also bought the ExamKrackers for Gen Chem, which I found extremely, extremely helpful for catching the salient points of the subject.

    I fully agree with Aesculapias that the MCAT is a comparably shallow test of knowledge, which made it much easier for me to tackle. Concepts were my friend. The biggest difference I saw between the way I studied and the way my classmates studied was how they had mnemonics for everything or memorized every detail of something. On the other hand, I tried to remember the underlying concept so I could just figure it out on the test. Sure, it may take a few extra seconds to reason it out when it comes down to it, but isn't that better than forgetting it altogether? This is what I thought ExamKrackers did the best job of for Gen Chem (I can't speak to the other topics); I wouldn't have used it as my sole study source, but to organize things conceptually in my head it was invaluable.

    As for practice tests, the first two I did were from the Princeton Review (diagnostic of 31 11vr, 7ps, 13bs, then a 33 two weeks later) and then I exclusively took the AAMC tests 3-10 (four in the last 10 days leading up to the test). My range was between 37-42, with an average of 39. For the essay, I only did two practices through the Princeton Review grading service and got an N before reading about TAS structure and an R afterwards, so I just stopped practicing and started hoping I could carry that through on the real test. I actually went to a wedding for the three days before the test and studied very minimally (no more than an hour per day), which I think helped a lot to calm down and focus better when it came to test day.

    Hope I could be helpful! Best of luck!
     
  9. roycer

    roycer 2+ Year Member

    267
    0
    Apr 9, 2007
    What is this "TAS Structure" you speak of?
     
  10. axp107

    axp107 UCLA 09': Italian Pryde 2+ Year Member

    951
    0
    Dec 25, 2006
    Phoenix, AZ

    For not taking Physics, you did darn well on the PS... how'd you learn your Physics so quickly? Also, how did you pull a 15 in BS?
     
  11. franniemeow07

    franniemeow07 10+ Year Member

    271
    6
    Nov 21, 2006
    MDApps:
    Great posts. Very useful information!

    TAS = thesis, antithesis, synthesis. This is the basic formula all of your MCAT essays should be in. I'm sure if you look around there are more detailed descriptions on the web/sdn.
     
  12. brianmartin

    brianmartin 10+ Year Member

    1,004
    13
    Nov 12, 2006
    Yakima, WA
    Just by reading the posts by Aesculapius and Slipstream99, you can tell they have organized, efficient minds. Just look at their nicely formatted paragraphs, impeccable grammar, and no-nonsense voice and style. I am totally impressed with these scores (and I got a 35) :)
     
  13. Aesculapius

    Aesculapius Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    226
    2
    Dec 30, 2004
    I followed the thesis-antithesis-synthesis style for the essays as well. I only actually wrote 2 practice essays prior to the test... my friend helped me a lot by cluing me in on "TAS".

    I want to say that you don't need to be a hermit to do well. I only "studied" (if you count taking practice tests studying) for the length of an MCAT on the days that I actually took an MCAT. The days that I reviewed, I probably spent an hour or so. Just be efficient, and you'll be OK.
     
  14. durrrr

    durrrr 2+ Year Member

    60
    0
    Aug 21, 2007
    This is extremely true, but most people won't be able to view it this way.
     
  15. Legato

    Legato 2+ Year Member

    129
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    Sep 19, 2007
    I think the key thing you need is understanding of the basic concepts (for sciences of course). VR i don't know...i've always sucked at it.
     
  16. amikhchi

    amikhchi 7+ Year Member

    531
    2
    Aug 9, 2007
    finally, i get to post in here... feels great...

    verbal: i have no idea what to do for this section, was always a quesiton mark for me, i knew it'd be the make/break score for me... so i can't comment on it.

    for the sciences: i took the TPR prep course, and just kept on pace, did all the homewokr, did all TPR's diags, all of the AAMC practice tests... and as far as how to study, i would take notes in the class, then the same day i would re-write the notes into another notebook (because i've heard re-writing is a better way to solidify information rather than re-reading; and it worked for me) then i would do the problems associated with that section (assigned by TPR). I also bought the 1001 books for extra reference.

    flash cards never really helped me, so i can't say i'd use them, maybe for formulas or hormones. but after re-writing the notes, and doing the work, i'd re-read them the next morning and if it was still hazy, i would again RE-re-write them (it's very repetitive, but believe me, writing clearly and slowly will imprint the info into your head).

    one thing to note about this, if you're the type to write really fast to copy as fast as possible this won't work, you have to re-write, not just copy (there's a difference). i found this helpful, there was a great post on how to analyze practice tests about 10 posts up or so, i wish i would've done that when i was looking over my practice tests. although i did an okay job, i kinda half-assed the analysis.

    formulas, i don't think memorizing formulas is that important, because for my test, nearly every formula needed was given.

    good luck to everyone who still has to take it.
     
  17. ephemera

    ephemera

    2
    0
    Sep 21, 2007
    invaluable information.

    will be tackling this beast soon so thanks for the heads up.
     
  18. Pharmacol90

    Pharmacol90 7+ Year Member

    125
    1
    Apr 25, 2007
    Congrats to you all! I am impressed with the number of folks here with 40s and there's one 41 too! Wow!

    Just wondering if anyone else can top 41?

    Thanks to each of you for your great tips on test prep.:D
     
  19. halekulani

    halekulani Member 10+ Year Member

    1,200
    3
    Jul 2, 2006
    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    13 PS
    11 BS
    8 VR
    Q

    32Q

    2) The study method used for each section
    Long history...took Kaplan in Spring of 2006, chose to not take the test b/c I wasn't ready...Took Kaplan in Summer of 2006 unprepared (worked 40+hrs a week while studying [paper/pencil test]) and got a 27N (10PS/9BS/8VR)

    So really it's important to emphasize that I have studied for the test before so I had a leg up on people taking it the second time around.

    Took TPR the second time, class 5 days a week for 3hrs a day.
    All I did was do the homework syllabus. I finished all the homework except for verbal and 3 practice tests...yeah I'm kind of lazy like that :| Hence, my verbal score didn't go up, but the writing practice helped. Honestly though, I was scoring 10's in VR on CBT 7, 8 , 9 so I was expecting at least a 9. Their verbal worked for me...on the practice tests at least.

    Everyday after class I would go to the library and do ALLLLLLLLL the problems assigned for that section (both discretes and passages). Once you do that many problems on one topic, you're probably not going to forget it in the next 3 months. After I did all the problems I read the chapters before the next class. I think this is super important because when you're in class it should be review and you should be refining the concepts in your head.

    I skipped some practice tests just because it's hard to motivate myself at home. HOWEVER, I serve as an example of what you SHOULDN'T do. Every week do them as it says. Why? It's a great way to review stuff so you don't forget things along the way and it really highlights what areas you are weak at so you don't forget it.

    Oh and one more thing. If you take the 5 day/week course, it's damn near impossible to be doing anything else during that period. You cannot work full-time, and I really don't suggest working part time. The homework WILL take you at LEAST 4 hours and thoroughly reading before the next class will take you another 2. Again, I highly stress NOT working and NOT researching if you are taking it during the summer.
    1. It is a harsher curve. Everyone else is studying and devoting their lives to this test. No reason to put yourself at a disadvantage.

    2. Did I mention it's a harder curve? You can't afford to waste time doing 'other' things. You can research/volunteer/work during school. Unless you scored a 30 on your diagnostic or are simply confident you can handle it, go ahead. But if you don't get your score, don't say nobody told you so. Then again, even if you do get a good score, imagine how much higher it could have been ;]

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

    TPR
    Reviewed some EK slightly but barely used it.

    AAMC CBT 6,7,8,9
    TPR Full Lengths 1,2,3

    4) Which practice tests did you use?

    AAMC CBT 6,7,8,9
    TPR Full Lengths 1,2,3

    5) What was your undergraduate major?

    Kinesiology

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

    1. You will have a solid advantage over other people if you have taken upper division bio/chem/physics courses
    Biochemistry will definitely help you
    Physiology - I highly recommend it as I've seen lots of Bio passages that are physio based using drugs and what not.

    edited: GENETICS - I just read the September 7th thread and forgot about genetics...I had passages on genetics...so yeah, you should know it.

    Why do these upper division courses help you? You know advanced concepts and therefore already are familiar with the underlying basic concepts and principles associated with them. Your foundation is much stronger and better suited for the test, but that's just my opinion.

    2. Study Ochem. I don't care if it's less than 50% of the BS section. When I took it the 2nd time, it was not that hard at all. I think the main reason I went from a 9 to an 11 was because I felt the Ochem was a breeze. They can be 'easy' points so to speak. It's definitely worth knowing.

    3. When you study Physics, know the CONCEPTS. Unlike Kaplan's grind out plug and chug practice tests, the CBTs are very concept based now. If lightning is an electrolytic cell, which way do electrons flow? It's stuff like that you need to know how to apply. When the passage presents you some abstract instrument like a microscope magnifying the size of a flea, don't overthink it. The details are a smoke screen. The same principles apply to magnification when you're using a microscope. Know your concepts. The calculations I had on my test were no more than 1 step division or multiplication...

    4. Gchem...I had a great Gchem teacher with some neat tricks I've never seen like the BEAR box for periodic table trends
    BE
    RA
    If you go towards the B corner, it will get more basic, E for stronger electronegativity, A for acidity, R for increasing atomic radius

    5. Do NOT ignore verbal. Verbal is one HELL of a section. You can practice all you want, and it only takes 1 minute of zoning out to mess up your entire section. Make sure you are GOOD at it and BE CONSISTENT. It IS 1/3 of your test so you CANNOT afford to ignore it. If VR is your strength, USE IT TO YOUR ADVANTAGE. Seriously, the overall score counts too. If you get a 9 in sciences, make up your points using your strengths. Plus if you nail a 12/13/14/15 VR, that makes you unique in my book. I haven't met too many people with those kinds of VR scores.

    6. Stay healthy. You can't afford to get sick during whatever time block you've made for yourself.

    7. Did I mention take practice tests? Don't cheat either. Do it timed. You can cheat on breaks in the beginning but when you're a month into studying you have to build up your endurance. I had an advantage in that I was used to an 8 hour pencil and paper full length so doing CBTs wasn't bad at all for me.

    8. Ok...seriously, a Biochem teacher I TA-ed for gave me the best advice ever. He said, don't take the MCAT if you're not ready (this is on the basis of your practice full lengths). Hence I didn't take it in the spring...Ok so I ignored him for the summer and bombed it. Seriously guys, don't take it praying you're going to do well. The MCAT is the spawn of the devil. Luck won't be on your side so don't go in waving your sword blindly against the beast and hoping you'll somehow conquer it unprepared. It won't happen. (On a side note, he also recommended I take Biochem before the test...thank god I did take Biochem for a semester before I took it and it definitely helped. Biochem really makes you review basic chemistry principles plus it helps you with lab techniques that may come up in passages)

    If you're not getting consistent practice scores that you are pleased with, it is a good sign that you aren't ready. Toss in the fact that 'most' people reporting the August MCAT, including me, are saying the real thing is harder than any AAMC we've taken before.
    **side note: this statement really only applies to anyone shooting for 30. Why? If you're not getting 30's on your practice tests, what makes you think you'll do better on a harder test with your nerves high as a kite? If you're shooting for a 36 though, and you're averaging 34's on your practice test, I wouldn't tell you to not take it, that'd be stupid. The difference between a 30, 31, 32, etc is like 1 or 2 questions to move up 1 point. The room for error is incredibly small if you want to go from 11->12 or 12->13. If you're getting 35+, don't be surprised if you see a 3 pt swing either way. The difference is practically 3 questions for 3 points.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?

    Started the class in June, took it in August...3 months.
     
  20. halekulani

    halekulani Member 10+ Year Member

    1,200
    3
    Jul 2, 2006
    ^^^^

    this person right here is a f-ing beast

    props for doing mcat review while working full time...that's admirable.
     
  21. dally1025

    dally1025 7+ Year Member

    334
    3
    Jul 18, 2007
    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    Second Round May 2007: 31O 12 PS, 10 VR, 9 BS First Round in April 2006: 28O 7 PS, 10 BS, 11, VR

    2) The study method used for each section
    PRACTICE

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)
    The first time I took a Kaplan class and was not happy with it so I switched to ExamKrackers two weeks pre-exam. I cannot speak highly enough of the examkracker series! The second time I only studied for 5 days so I feel I could have done better if I spent more time on the BS or VR but I was most concerned with bringing up my PS score. I also took as many AAMC practice tests as I could.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    3, 5, 6, 10 but I never scored higher than a 9 on an indivual section or a 26 composite (I guess I work better under pressure). I know a lot of people that scored well on the practice tests but their score went down on the actual exam. You never know until you take the exam!

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    Biology

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    practice taking the tests as much as you can. You'll start to memorize types of questions and how to work them so your score will go up. Don't try to memorize every single fact-there's way too much! Go over every problem you miss and figure out why you missed it! Otherwise there's no point to taking a practice test! Classes that really helped out-physiology for BS and biochem for the PS. Most importantly, go into the exam feeling like you studied as hard as you could have studied. You'll probably never feel 100% prepared but just know you did everything you could have done in the time you had. Your score will reflect the confidence in yourself!

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    1st time-7 months (not hardcore studying, just along with my class. 2 months hardcore studying between classes), 2nd time-5 LONG days. I would not recommend the 5 day stint but I had studied fairly well the first go-round. If I had the opportunity at a few more weeks I think I could have done much better but I'm not about to take it again...
     
  22. rayden001

    rayden001 5+ Year Member

    131
    0
    Feb 19, 2007
    Hey congrats to those who killed the beast and my sincere sympathy to those who did not; eventually you will. Please for those of you with scores of 30+, kindly share your methods.
     
  23. ChubbyChaser

    ChubbyChaser Yummmy 2+ Year Member

    13,179
    4
    Apr 14, 2007
    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    Sept 8th, 2007, 10 PS, 11VR, 10BS, P ws

    2) The study method used for each section?
    I reviewed the material with EK books, and then took practice tests
    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)
    I used mostly EK books, but honestly i think every test company gives you the same info, its just your job to pick up on it and use it,
    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    A lot
    AAMC 3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10: 30,29,32,35,34,33,34,34
    I also used some Gold standard CBTS- My scores were usually about 25-29 on those.

    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?
    PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE. Take lots of tests and answer lots of questions. I personally didnt use EK 1001 books, but ive heard good things about them. O, and as for why my average was alot higher than my real, i couldnt tell you, I actually felt fairly decent that i had scored a 33-35 on the real test, but it just goes to show ya. Ive heard things that taking it at the end of summer, means the curve was harder, but i also recently heard that it doesnt matter, because they dont curve you against the ppl that took it taht day, but rather they curve you aggainst previous test takers.
    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    EHH, 2.5-3 months. 1 month hard core. Probably 1.5 hours a day the first month and half, and 2-3 hours a day reviewing material and doing practice questions the last month.
     
  24. roycer

    roycer 2+ Year Member

    267
    0
    Apr 9, 2007
    1) Your individual scores and composite score

    12 PS / 8 VR / 11 BS / Q = 31Q

    2) The study method used for each section

    PS - Read the chapters in Kaplan's 2007-2008 Comprehensive Study Guide and did the corresponding Kaplan subject and discrete tests.

    VR - Did all the passages in EK 101's VR book. Did some Kaplan passages from their section tests as well but didn't find them too useful. Best resource for VR is the EK 101 book and the VR sections in AAMC's practice tests.

    WS - Just wrote essays in 2-3 of the AAMC practice tests. Didn't spend too much time at all in this section.

    BS - Read the chapters in Kaplan's 2007-2008 Comprehensive Study Guide and did the corresponding Kaplan subject and discrete tests.

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

    PS - Kaplan 2007-2008 Comprehensive Study Guide, Kaplan subject and discrete tests
    VR - EK 101 Book, Kaplan Section Tests
    WS - AAMC practice exam prompts
    BS - Kaplan 2007-2008 Comprehensive Study Guide, Kaplan subject and discrete tests

    4) Which practice tests did you use?

    AAMC CBT 3-10

    5) What was your undergraduate major?

    Biochemistry / Biology

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

    1. Take the AAMC CBT practice tests, timed!!
    2. Don't take practice tests until you've learned all the material.
    3. Even though my VR score is low, I was able to improve late in my VR scores when I concentrated less on the 'technique' of reading and more on understanding what the author is saying.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?

    3 months.
     
  25. Maxprime

    Maxprime Higgs chaser 5+ Year Member

    2,125
    6
    Nov 28, 2005
    1) Your individual scores and composite score

    11V/15PS/14BS - 40Q

    2) The study method used for each section

    PS - didn't study (sorry to say so - not very helpful). I have a degree in mathematics and after taking gen chem & physics I found the section straightforward. DO NOT memorize formulas - learn how/why they work and you won't make mistakes. If you know how to derive/work with the formulas, you can approach new questions much better.

    VR - Princeton Review helped me a lot on this - Verbal score is directly related to amount of practice. I couldn't crack a 12 more than once on the AAMC's, just wanted to survive this section with a 10, 11 was all I could ask for. Learn how to be horrendously skeptical of every answer - have a conversation with yourself but move quickly.

    WS - Didn't spend a second of time specifically on writing - who cares about it? As long as you can write a reasonable paragraph or two you'll be fine. My prompts blew on the actual, I scored better on PR graded essays.

    BS - Studied up on the weird things I wasn't taught in class (microbio especially). I had a great bio prof (only took bio 1 & 2 before the MCAT) that prepared us really well. I have to blame him for the bio part. For orgo, I studied up on terminology and the ridiculous functional groups they ask you about - had to become a really good guesser b/c I did orgo 1 & 2 in 7 weeks and didn't get nearly as much detail out of it.

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

    I used the PR books for bio/orgo sections to go over. I also did every Verbal passage I could get my hands on.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?

    AAMC's (all of them)
    Princeton Review (all of them)

    5) What was your undergraduate major?

    B.S. Mathematics
    B.A. Economics

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

    Take every test, from day one, under real conditions.
    Do every practice test you can get your hands on - don't re-do old ones and convince yourself you're getting a 45.
    Plan on only taking this exam ONCE - kill yourself leading up to it so you won't have to do it again.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?

    I crammed hardcore for 2 weeks, BUT I did all the pre-req classes in the year leading up to the exam - so I don't feel that's an accurate description of how much effort I spent. I sat 3 weeks after my orgo final and about 3 months after my bio, physics, and gen chem finals - so it was all fresh in my head.
     
  26. mohi

    mohi 10+ Year Member

    75
    0
    Sep 7, 2007
    What is your graduate major?

     
  27. ChubbyChaser

    ChubbyChaser Yummmy 2+ Year Member

    13,179
    4
    Apr 14, 2007
    wow gangsta and a 13 in Verbal, thats impressive
     
  28. Maxprime

    Maxprime Higgs chaser 5+ Year Member

    2,125
    6
    Nov 28, 2005
    Neuroscience (admissions were a tough sell b/c I only had 1 semester of bio - ha!)
     
  29. sushichopstickz

    sushichopstickz 10+ Year Member

    386
    2
    Jul 12, 2007
    YAY I get to join this POST! I finally made it, woohoO! LOL

    MCAT Breakdown
    30R: 10PS 10VR 10BS

    Study Method
    Began studying for the dreaded MCAT during my junior summer. I studied for 3 months, taking notes and doing practice problems as I read through the materials. I also took a Kaplan course at USC. The course was helpful--it was taught by my fellow friend who scored a 38 on her MCAT. The class helped me stay on track and motivated.

    PS: brushed up on concepts for 1.5 months and hardcore problem solving for the remain 1.5 months
    VR: I was absolutely terrible with verbal. I began with a dismal 5 (diagnostic + Kaplan FL-1), but I knew a 5 was not an indicator of my intelligence. Verbal is extremely hard to improve, but I was able to bring it up to a consistent 8-10 through repeated practices with EK and Kaplan workbooks.
    BS: I just read and did a lot of practice problems. BS is not about memorization, it's about application. Taking physiology with professor Hererra at USC really helped me. Take his physiology class if you can if you go to USC; he'll challenge you like no other, but you'll feel rewarded and prepared afterwards.
    WS: Practiced with each practice test. Don't worry too much about it.

    Materials used
    Kaplan, EK, Berkeley Review, and Nova Physics

    Practice Tests
    Kaplan
    Diagnostic: 20 (don't fret about diagnostic score. You can IMPROVE and most likely will!)
    FL1: 10PS 5VR 10BS (25)
    FL2: 11PS 9VR 12BS (32)
    FL3: 9PS 10VR 11BS (30)
    FL4: 10PS 10VR 13BS (33)

    AAMC
    CBT6: 12PS 9VR 12BS (33)
    CBT7: 9PS 9VR 11BS (29, 1st AAMC test and it freaked me out after scoring 30-33Kaplan)
    CBT8: 12PS 7VR 11BS (30)

    In retrospect, I should have taken more practice tests. I knew I was capable of scoring +33, but did not put forth the effort to do so. I was afraid of taking practice tests because: (1) it was time consuming, but more importantly, (2) I was afraid of the score. I was afraid that I might fall into my sister's footstep. She was not good with the MCAT. I attribute this to her study habit, because she's an amazingly bright person. With this said, TAKE PRACTICE TESTS! Take as many as you can. I think what helped me more than anything is going over the practice test with a fine comb. I re-did every problem that I got wrong. I would write down: why I missed the problem and how I could correct my problem in the future.

    Undergraduate Major
    Biological Sciences with minor in East Asian studies.

    Tips
    TAKE THIS TEST SERIOUSLY! It's not a test where you can walk in and pray that there will be some heavenly intervention that will help you own the test. This is a critical thinking test that involves a lot of reasoning and deduction. Time management is also key. Try to keep your nerves checked during the test. As I mentioned before, take a ton of practice tests! Do as many practice problems as you can. You can never do enough of them. I promise you they will help you more than just re-reading a book. This may not apply to everyone, but try to not be TOO confident or cocky after a test. I find it that when I think I did well, I tend to do worse and the opposite is equally true. The MCAT is a smart test; it knows how to trick you. Good luck to everyone. Feel free to contact me [email protected] if you have questions.

    ***On a side note, I'm still debating if I should retake the test. Is there a big difference between a 30 and lets say a 31-33 (my practice test range)? I'm not sure if I should gamble with a retake. I'm worried that my VR might drop. Is a minimal +1-2pts on my overall score worth it? Advice is much appreciate thanks and good luck to everyone!
     
  30. Tourterm

    Tourterm 5+ Year Member

    243
    4
    Sep 6, 2007
    NJ
    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    34Q (9 PS, 13 VR, 12 BS), July 13th, 2007 examination

    2) The study method used for each section
    PS:
    Reviewed physics and general chemistry content with one of those Kaplan review books, took practice exams, and made sure to throughly go over the results to see why I got the questions wrong that I did. If I felt I wasn't getting enough detail, or that the Kaplan books didn't go a good job explaining a particular topic, I'd use my college text books. My low PS score on the actual examination was due to nervousness and barely finishing the section on time.

    VR: I did practice exams, but didn't actively study for VR. I do a good deal of reading, whether it be for school or my own enjoyment, across varied subjects. I think it helps, but wasn't something I did with the intention of helping my VR score.

    WS: Didn't prepare for the writing sample because .. welll .. it's the writing sample.

    BS: Plenty of practice exams, and used review books / college texts for organic chemistry. I didn't really study for the biology portion of the exam.

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)
    AAMC practice tests, Kaplan review books, and college texts

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

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    Undergraduate: Biology and Psychology
    Graduate: Biomedical Science

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    While it is important, and necessary, to "study hard", it is more important, and of greater necessity, to "study smart". Not all time spent studying is equal.

    Both content review and practice tests are needed to do well, but practice tests will serve you better. Not just do they help you with your test taking skills and give you a familiarity with the types of questions they ask, they help you find your weak points. Like many people, the biology portion of BS was very easy for me, so my time was better spent working on organic chemistry. Focus on your weak areas and what you need to know. Make sure you know the high yield topics, things that are almost guaranteed to show up. IR absorption spectra, for example, is going to show up in one form or another, and is worth devoting some time to. In contrast, anatomy, while it pops up now and then, isn't nearly as high yield and shouldn't take up much of your study time.

    Don't get discouraged if you are not happy with your score. Many people retake the exam, and do better. My score is in fact a retake.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    2 months. I originally scheduled myself closer to 3 months but rescheduled my test date to an earlier date because I felt I was ready at that moment, and additional time wouldn't be of any real help.
     
  31. ghlee

    ghlee

    4
    0
    Oct 15, 2007
    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    PS - 12, BS - 12, V - 9, Writing - R, 33R

    2) The study method used for each section
    First month just went over all the material. I read all the sections and did the practice sets and questions for each section. I didn't really time myself until the next month when I started doing the practice tests.

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)
    I studied off of all of the berkeley review books and the Examkrackers set.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    I did a couple of the Berkeley Review practice tests and all of the paper AAMC practices tests (3-7). I also did the practice test that was included with the ExamKrackers set.

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    Basically, just make a study schedule, and stick with it. Give yourself ample time. If you're planning on studying 5 hours a day and you only do 4, then study for 6 hours the next day (if you have the time). And also, personally, I could not study in my apartment, so I'd find a consistent study spot to go to (Border's, library, etc.). And practice, practice, practice. This is especially true for verbal, I don't think I practiced enough, which is why I may be taking the test again this January.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    I studied an average of about 5-6 hours a day for about two months.

    good luck
     
  32. moab336

    moab336 7+ Year Member

    80
    0
    Sep 7, 2007
    Chicago, IL
    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    34R (12PS, 9V, 13BS - Sept 7th, 2007)

    2) The study method used for each section
    PS:

    Examkrackers lecture books & Audio osmosis. Also used someone else's discarded princeton review books for greater detail in physics (magnetism, electricity- also helped me prepare for class tests). MUCH prefer examkrackers, thought the review books were great, just needed some supplemental information from the DETAILED princeton books because we barely touched a few things in class and Examkracker books do seem to require a fair past knowledge. Used examkrackers 1001 books (which were decent) and Princeton review workbooks (which I feel were good practice, glad someone who didn't use them in the class donated them to me).

    VR: Examkrackers Verbal lecture, Examkrackers verbal 101. I thought they were great tool, found some free practice LSAT verbal passages online and did those as well. I thought Examkrackers stuff was great, but I never could break a 10 (started much lower though)

    WS: Nothing, Did one, maybe two. Figured I write fairly well, and it didn't mean much to my score

    BS: Examkrackers lecture, osmosis, and 1001 question. 1001 question book was awesome for bio, 1001 orgo was decent. Again, used princeton practice workbook for additional passages.

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

    See number 2. I used all the examkrackers stuff and loved it. I was able to get someone's used (barely) princeton review class books and those were great to get into once in awhile. I also had a Barron's MCAT book that I took a practice test or two from but it seemed a bit easy.


    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    All of the AAMC practice tests, might've skipped #7

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    Biology with finace minor & neuroscience minor (hadn't yet begun classes for it at time of MCAT however).

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    Relax a bit, but STAY focused. Try not to burn out. I decided to take physics between my sophmore and junior year, study for the MCATs all summer along with physics, then take in september (so I took it early compared to classmates). Pretty glad I did this, a lot of stress has been taken off. I burned myself out a few times (donating a summer to class and MCAT sucked), but bounced back after a few days off. Don't give up, visualize what you want. Don't go out drinking and partying. Don't lose friends, definitely go out and be social, but don't over do it. I had a couple big events (lollapalooza festival) to look forward to and provide me with a break every so often. Dedicate yourself, but try to enjoy it! Sometimes it's fun!

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?


    Began before the end of school year, finished mid august and just did practice tests from there out... so maybe 4 months. Some days just a couple (or 0 hours), others upwards of 6.
     
  33. Fiannavp

    Fiannavp

    4
    0
    Oct 15, 2007
    Hello to everyone out there who has already taken their MCATs. The test dates for 2008 have just been anounced and I had an idea, I would just like some opinions from people who have been there before.

    I am a college junior right now and was planning to take my MCAT in april like everyone else. Well, I went to the AAMC website and saw that the test was also going to be administered at the end of january.

    My thought was this...

    I get out of fall semester December 22nd....
    Enjoy my Christmas season....
    Start studying for my MCAT Monday December 31st...
    Spend the next 25 days studying for the test...
    Hours/day would be 9 "study hours",

    (Basically it would be 3, 3 hour chunks each day monday through friday. Each 3 hour chunk being devoted to one section of the MCATs. Basically it would amount to studying for each of the 3 sections for 3 hours per day.)

    The above is mon-fri. Saturdays would be dedicated to taking 2 practice tests per saturday.... about 10 hours. Sundays would be days for rest.

    The day before the MCAT, spend doing absolutely nothing MCAT related.

    Finally, take the test 25 days later.

    I know this would take a ton of discipline, but does anyone out there believe that a successful score can result from basically 3 1/2 weeks of 9hours/day studying.

    I would welcome any comments/concerns.

    By the way.... My diagnostic was a 23
     
  34. He2

    He2 7+ Year Member

    619
    6
    Oct 10, 2007
    Have you taken the mcat before? This is a whole different beast, and while it can be done, it has to be done extremely efficiently, and so if you havn't taken it before, I worry that you won't know how to effectively study during those 9 hours a day.thoughts?
     
  35. Fiannavp

    Fiannavp

    4
    0
    Oct 15, 2007
    I only took the kaplan diagnostic, no real MCAT yet. I plan on using examkrackers and AAMC practice tests. I know that this test entails changing ones lifestyle lol but i feel like i can do it..... im jsut trying to figure out the most efficient way to use those 3 hour chunks
     
  36. dingyibvs

    dingyibvs Psych! 7+ Year Member

    5,444
    8
    Sep 13, 2007
    Florida
    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    12VR, 14PS, 15BS (41R)

    2) The study method used for each section

    PS:

    I've always been good with physics, so I didn't really study it much. I just looked over the topics and briefly reviewed them. Most of my review is really just taking diagnostic tests.

    Chemistry required a lot of studying. Before I took it the first time last year, I actually did every single odd problem(i.e. with solutions) in the gen chem textbook for the chapters we covered. This time around I just did the EK1001 questions. The EK1001 questions were helpful with concepts, but combine it with diagnostics for the best effect.

    VR: Didn't really study for it. Did a few diagnostics from Kaplan and AAMC(maybe around 5 or so).


    WS: I read a few(3-4) writing samples the day before the exam. That's about it.

    BS:
    Kaplan book and EK 1001 questions for bio. I pretty much memorized the whole Kaplan bio section, and any parts I needed clarification on I checked with text books and/or online and/or with other exam prep books. I had a word file where I wrote down every single bolded word in Kaplan's book and its definition. I never looked at it again, but I think typing everything down helps you to remember. After a comprehensive review, I did about 600 questions from the EK1001 bio section.

    As for Orgo, it's again Kaplan book and EK1001. I memorized the reactions in the Kaplan book, but that's not enough. I went over my old orgo notes but they weren't too helpful as they're too in depth. The EK1001 helped a lot. I did all the problems and they definitely helped me a great deal.
    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)

    See the above response. EK1001 is helpful for everything, its bio section is ridiculously hard which is good. I didn't try their VR and physics questions, but it was very helpful for gen chem and bio but even more so for orgo.

    Kaplan is good as a beginning book as it lays a good foundation, but expect to have to know more than just what's provided on Kaplan.

    AAMC's is always good in the end when you put everything together. Helps with test-taking skills as well.


    4) Which practice tests did you use?

    A couple Kaplan's and 3 AAMC's.

    5) What was your undergraduate major?

    Electrical Engineering

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

    Don't stress over it. Study a good deal every day but stress yourself out. When taking diagnostics, don't just focus on the knowledge, but also focus on the type of questions they ask. Test taking skills are also essential to getting a high score, so try to learn them well.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?


    I spent some time here and there when I studied for it last year for my first take(August 06). This year I studied for about a month after summer school ended(9/11/07 take)
     
  37. keke3

    keke3 2+ Year Member

    17
    0
    Oct 15, 2007
    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    40Q: VR-13, PS-14, BS-13
    9/16/07

    2) The study method used for each section
    I usually rely on my deductive skills because my memory's not so good, ie. understand concepts so I can derive equations if need be. For the physics, due to my major, I knew most of the concepts so I just read through it and tried to memorize certain formulas (ie optics, mirrors) The chemistry, I also read the prep books. But I spent more time with that. And did some practice problems.

    For BS, I definitely memorized a lot of anatomy (never took that kind of course) and organic chemistry I ended up not having enough time to study. So I tried to cram in the SN1, SN2, E1, E2 fundamental stuff. I was using examkrackers and I memorized the all the types of reactions they wanted us to memorize, didn't have time for all the individual mechanisms tho.

    For VR, I read through the entire workbook but didn't practice everything. I ended up not studying as much...... and hoped that everything would turn out ok.

    For Writing, I'm definitely happy with a Q as I pretty much hate writing essays and didn't practice as much as I should. I just thought of some arguments for prompts without writing a practice essay.

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)
    Examkrackers- Organic chem, Bio
    Princeton Review- All books (only read thru could not do most practice problems as was tight on time)

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    free AAMC, 3 older paper versions of practice tests
    [/B]
    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    Electrical Engineering[/B][/B]

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    I had not planned on taking the MCATs this summer. But I changed my mind in the middle and studied about a lil over 2 weeks in total. It was definitely too rushed so I didn't get to everything I wanted to. Definitely don't procrastinate in studying like me. And definitely practice with computerized tests, cuz my eyes started hurting and I was losing concentration at the actual test. I also started panicking during the test because I didn't do enough practice so I didn't know what my bottom scores were.

    But I'm sure most ppl would not make last minute decisions like me. So for that, I think one of the most important strategies is still guessing. Like educated guesses. The VR definitely. Because I never thought my English skills were that impressive and over the 4 years of undergrad the only book I've read are science textbooks. I was a bit concerned. But somehow, I can usually narrow down the answer to 2 choices and make the best guess. This approach works well for all the other sections too. I feel like especially in standardized testing this is an important skill to have.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    a week + 10 days with a break ~2 weeks between the two (I thought all the dates filled up) I also meant to study day and night those last 10 days but ended up not (I get distracted easily) but at least 6 hrs/day
     
  38. halekulani

    halekulani Member 10+ Year Member

    1,200
    3
    Jul 2, 2006
    it's doable, but i think it takes a lot more than just work. i think you have to already be incredibly bright or simply good with multiple choice tests. i'm not saying that you can't be either, but i definitely wouldn't recommend it for the average joe, even if he had the discipline of a monk.

    if your schedule involves studying 10 hours the night before the test, i don't think that's very good.

    it also depends on your current familiarity with all the subjects. i mean, reviewing for 3 hours is one thing, but you have to practice passages and discretes regarding the topic which takes another couple of hours plus correcting them and going over your mistakes adds on more time, etc....
    i personally don't think anyone can cover a decent chunk of material in three hours unless they have a solid foundation and pretty much know everything already and end up devoting most time to practice. there's also a limit to what you can study if you factor in fatigue. ever read something only to not remember what you've read? well that would be happening once you get to hours 6-9, if you even make it that far. there's a difference between going over one subject for 6-9 hours and 3 subjects for 9 hours. you might remember the first 3 hours really well when you were awake, remember around 60-70% from the next 3 hours, but only 25-50% once you hit the final 3 hours.

    keep in mind, EK is extremely condensed and many have used textbooks as references because some concepts are really just glossed over in the EK book.
    if you're a solid reader verbal shouldn't be hard, but if you aren't, you should get in as much practice as possible. it is definitely the hardest score to increase.

    a 23 is a pretty good diag, but i wouldn't rush the preparation for the mcat. i just don't think it is worth the risk. 1. you might have to take it again, and therefore you wasted all your time. 2. if it's the final piece to your application, why wouldn't you spend more time where you can ensure that you will do well? you don't need a crappy mcat score to ruin your possibly perfect app, even if you do better on a retake. there has a to be a good reason why someone would only want to spend so little time preparing for this test.
     
  39. Food

    Food 7+ Year Member

    1,706
    33
    Oct 19, 2007
    Unemployment office
    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    33R: VR-10, PS-11, BS-12
    9/11/07

    2) The study method used for each section
    nothing really substantial. just read some stuff, did a couple questions. nothing fancy.
    verbal i just winged it, and bio i read the kaplan book, and same for PS.


    3) kaplan review books and an assortment of other random ones.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    none


    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    chemistry and math

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

    This may sound kind of lame to you guys, but I just took a hint from office space and stopped caring so much. Once I didn't really care as much about the test itself, and focused on being as relaxed with the subjects as possible, it became easy. I slept for 10 minutes during bio sci on the actual MCAT, and didn't think of it as much more than a practice test. Just relax...it's just the MCAT...

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    like 2 months, roughly 1 hr a day, not even maybe.
     
  40. Mandy22

    Mandy22 2+ Year Member

    111
    0
    Sep 10, 2007
    Can someone please give me some advice. I scored a 25Q and am obviously going to retake in April. I want to start restudying now. I got 9PS, 8BS, 8V. I was not a science major and had to re-study material I had not taken in 4 years (I took most of my pre-med courses freshman and soph year and I just graduated). I think because of this, it might be a little more difficult for me. I really studied hard this summer, but feel that maybe I did not do enough practice tests. I am going to do Kaplan this time around, but would like advice from you mcat experts (30+) on how to increase my score min 3 point and hopefully 5. Thanks.

    Anyone re-study and really increase their score? Thanks.
     
  41. ChubbyChaser

    ChubbyChaser Yummmy 2+ Year Member

    13,179
    4
    Apr 14, 2007
    I think you answered your own question. Find a review book that you like and learn it inside and out. Then take as many practice tests and questions as you can. Then pray lol. But, you have alot of options with that 25, you could get into some very DO schools if everything else is solid. Just cause you cant do well on the MCAT isnt the end all. Enough perserverance, and youll succeed
     
  42. Mandy22

    Mandy22 2+ Year Member

    111
    0
    Sep 10, 2007



    I think I am pretty good besides the mcat......I have a 3.7 from Emory and really good extra curriculars throughout college. Right now I am doing cancer research full-time in NYC and am applying to get an MPH next year. As far as the DO thing goes, I do not want to be a DO. I hope this does not offend anyone. I come from a family of MDs (my, dad, my uncle, my bf, my brother) and I want to be an MD. This obviously means that I must do better on the mcat. I am retaking in April, so I was just wondering what good advice you experts can offer me as far as raising my score 3-5 points or more. I am sure it has been done, and I will hopefully do it too. Thanks for your advice :)
     
  43. ChubbyChaser

    ChubbyChaser Yummmy 2+ Year Member

    13,179
    4
    Apr 14, 2007
    In that case you definitely need that 30 then
     
  44. Mandy22

    Mandy22 2+ Year Member

    111
    0
    Sep 10, 2007

    I would like a 30....but I will take a 29 even. I think I am okay otherwise. My point though, was to ask advice as to how to get the 30, not whether or not I actually need it. I appreciate your help though :)
     
  45. Myuu

    Myuu 例えば、貴方の名前を忘れてしまうとか。 。。 Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    6/07 PS:8, V:10, WS: S, BS: 10 (28S)
    8/07 PS:13 V:11, WS: N (wtf, mate), BS: 13 (37N)

    2) The study method used for each section
    Hammer, hammer, hammer the basics with the exception of verbal, which was very freeform (which is to say I just did a passage or ten here and there). Essentially, if I couldn't do it in my head or on paper in under a minute (for PS), I needed more work. As for BS, I just made sure I had a good feel for how things fit together, though I did hammer the orgo.

    3) The EK set of books (no 1001) and Kaplan's MCAT 45. No prep course--big waste of time for me as it would not focus specifically on my weak areas, seeing as it's a class...with, you know... multiple people in it. :p

    4) The freebie at http://www.e-mcat.com and about 3 questions from another. Mostly, I used the focused sections in MCAT 45 to work on timing and moving from subject to subject (EK has questions all on one topic at a time so it's not very representative, though it does do a good job of establishing a conceptual foundation).


    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    Biolololology

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

    Relax! The cruelest thing you can do to yourself is freak out and bomb the test. When you get in there, you don't have to start right away! Take a minute to get comfortable, relaxed (as much as you can, anyway), pray if you're into that, and then start the test. Remember! Timing is critical and you don't have the time to panic. If you don't know the answer, pick any of the choices, flag, and move on. Don't dwell until you've answered everything else. I must've spent 15 minutes (after I'd done everything else) trying to balance an equation when the simple answer was right in front of me.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    The first time around, I'd done some reviewing the previous summer and then about 7 hours a day for a month before the test. As for the second one, I spent about 12 hours a day every day from the day I got my first score back to the day of the next available administration (15 days or so).
     
  46. emetib

    emetib on a 13-week mission

    7
    0
    Oct 4, 2007
    Florida
     
  47. secants

    secants about:blank 10+ Year Member

    853
    15
    Aug 23, 2006
    NYC
    I need a little advice. I'm getting somewhat overwhelmed on the material that needs to be reviwed. Anyway for those that studied for 3 or less hrs during weekdays, did you only review/practice a certain section (ex//physics or one subject for each day) or did you do a review all of the sections in that amount of time? I don't have too much to devote during weekdays so im trying to see what worked with other people. Thanks
     
  48. fabu1ous

    fabu1ous Wow, it is so clear... 2+ Year Member

    442
    1
    Jan 27, 2007
    Looking into the sky :)
    Wow an 8 point improvement! Congrats! Can you share what you think contributed the most to the boost in your score? What do you think you did differently to prepare the second time around (especially in PS and BS)? Btw, I'm taking again in Jan and I really need to boost my BS score... any specific advice?
     
  49. Begaster

    Begaster

    791
    2
    Nov 20, 2007
    1) September 15th: 36S - 13/12/11 (PS/VR/BS)

    2) Physics was a lot of hands-on practice problems. Biology was memorizing and learning the concepts. For verbal, I practiced passages daily. I actually found that if I skipped a day or two, my score would drop a bit.

    3) The Princeton Review crash-course. Was especially useful for me when it came to biology, as I hadn't thought about it in two years.

    4) PR ones, and the ten AAMC CBT ones.

    5) Psychology.

    6) Practice and read lots.

    7) Started studying around mid-May lightly. This corresponded with taking the PR MCAT course. Around the end of July, I started heavily studying for the next seven weeks (8ish hours per day, on average) or so until my write date of Sept. 15. It should be noted that I have no biology/physiology background, so I had to learn a lot of material that seemed very new to me. If you're just reviewing it because you're a bio major, I imagine you'll need less time.

    To the question above, when learning the material, I focused on one section per day. When reviewing (during my heavy studying period), I did all three subjects daily.
     
  50. the10isplyr

    the10isplyr Banned Banned 7+ Year Member

    67
    0
    Nov 4, 2007
    yup...
    8 points. :p

    jpppp...happens to the best of us.
     
  51. Esteban

    Esteban Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    764
    3
    Apr 13, 2006
    Los Angeles

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