Hey Guest! Check out the 3 MCAT Study Plan Options listed in the 'stickies' area at the top of the forums (BoomBoom, SN2ed, and MCATJelly). Let us know which you like best.

Also, we now offer a MCAT Test-Prep Exhibitions Forum where you can ask questions directly from the test-prep services.
SDN members see fewer ads and full resolution images. Join our non-profit community!

30+ MCAT Study Habits- The CBT Version

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

  1. SDN is made possible through member donations, sponsorships, and our volunteers. Learn about SDN's nonprofit mission.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Caesar

    Caesar In Memory of Riley Jane Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    bump since people are starting new thread... sigh... "search?"
     
  2. SDN Members don't see this ad. About the ads.
  3. prettyslick

    prettyslick Member 5+ Year Member

    561
    0
    Sep 5, 2004
    bump...anyone new with 30+ score..please post. thanks!!
     
  4. I took a Kaplan night course the summer after my sophomore year. I used whatever practice tests they provided. I studied all summer, at nights, while I worked during the day.

    My undergrad major was Bioengineering; minor was Latin Literature.
     
  5. dienekes88

    dienekes88 7+ Year Member

    1,723
    126
    Jan 21, 2008
    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    08/05- 39R
    VR- 13; PS- 12; WS- R; BS- 14

    2) The study method used for each section
    I looked through a review book. If a topic didn't seem 100% familiar, I busted out a textbook and read the appropriate section. Then I ran through a few problems from both the textbook and the review book to make sure I had it down.
    Notecards for orgo reactions and bio information.
    A huge physics formula sheet that I'd glance at throughout the day (note: you have to understand what you're memorizing...)

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)
    Princeton Review. I also had textbooks for every section.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    The practice tests that the AAMC had for sale online. Paper test = awesome. I could swear I paid like $200 for those things...

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    History

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    Chill. If you freak out, you'll burn all your matches and be zonked in the final section.
    Eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch. They're pretty tasty.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    I studied for 4.5-5 weeks. I spent ~1 week per real section and 3 or 4 days on the writing sample. I gave myself 1 week for general overview and running through stuff I had already memorized.
     
  6. iluvpuppies

    iluvpuppies they r so cute 2+ Year Member

    69
    0
    Feb 3, 2008
    good luck everyone!
     
  7. Mandek

    Mandek 2+ Year Member

    276
    0
    Feb 5, 2008
  8. valacious

    valacious 2+ Year Member

    42
    0
    Jul 19, 2007
    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    39R - 14VR, 13BS, 12PS

    2) The study method used for each section
    I didn't study for the verbal section which turned out alright. I also didn't write the essays for the practice tests which in hindsight I wish I had done.
    For both science sections my method was the same. I studied the Kaplan notes, my class notes, and used almost all the extra study material on the Kaplan website. For the PS section I also practiced doing math without a calculator.

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)
    I took a Kaplan class which was pretty much a giant waste of time. If you aren't used to reading analytically or doing much critical thinking maybe the Kaplan method (roadmapping, STP) would be useful but it really slowed me down, so I didn't bother with it. While the class itself sucked, the website was AWESOME! They have tons of practice problems, review notes, and section tests. USE THEM!

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    I took about ten Kaplan practice tests and two AMCAS. The Kaplan ones are definitely harder but the curve is better and I thought they were way more like the actual test. If I have one piece of advice it is to take a lot of practice tests. I took about two a week and a section test almost every day. It really helps with your pacing, you start to spot when they are tricking you, and like everything else it will get easier the more times you do it.

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    Sociology. I had one year of each of the basic sciences and that was it. So if I can do it, you guys definitely can.

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    Wait until you are consistently getting practice scores you are happy with to take the test. I put it off twice and so I wasn't able to apply until August but it hasn't been a problem. A bad score would have been way worse. And try not to be too nervous before you take it or too bummed when you are done. I lay fetal for about a month and wanted to cry every day. Then I got my scores back and I actually did cry, but they were tears of joy.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    I finished my post-bac in May and took the test a month later. That month I studied 8+ hours a day, 7 days a week. It was pretty hellish but I need it and I'm glad I put that much effort into it.
     
  9. rockchalkjdoc

    rockchalkjdoc Partying like it's 1988 7+ Year Member

    98
    0
    Feb 18, 2008
    The Hills of Tennessee
    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    VR 11 PS 11 BS 10 WS Q = 32Q

    2) The study method used for each section
    VR- read the new york times every day, tried to get in the mindset of what is the author trying to portray instead of what i interpret as his or her message
    PS- used EK extensively, bought a college physics text and did the problems out of that.
    BS- brief look-over of EK, but mostly my masters curriculum. probably should have spent more time with organic, in retrospect

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)
    Examkrackers, all books and accompanying practice exam. Kaplan 45's passage book for practice q's and passages, e-mcat.com but only for the free sample

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    just the free one on www.e-mcat.com

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    Biology/Political Science

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    It's no more difficult than any other test you have taken up to this point in life. Just go into it confident of your preparation you can't do wrong. Oh, and I prayed about 10 minutes before starting too...

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    Just a little over two weeks. I was doing research and working on my masters so I focused on the areas I was weakest on my practice exam and known areas of trouble
     
  10. ayushman80

    ayushman80 7+ Year Member

    300
    2
    Dec 8, 2007
    1) Your individual scores and composite score

    8V 12B 14P Q

    2) The study method used for each section

    Don't listen to those guys that you need to take a prep course to succeed.
    It took me 5 months of about 2-3 hours a day to prepare. Now, since I'm a non traditional applicant I studied the subjects of BS/PS while I was taking the class. I used the review books to study for my class tests and the class tests to prepare for the MCAT.

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)
    VR: This was my arch nemesis. I was just praying to god that I got an 8 or above. I used EK 101, TPR Hyperlearning VR, Kaplan Verbal Review. Just got TONS of practice.
    PS: Used EK Physics & Chemistry and my classroom texts.
    BS: Used EK Bio & Organic and my classroom texts. I also used Kaplan's organic chem review for this section. I believe that it is the only section that is any good on any of kaplan's material.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    AAMC 1-10 (I got I & II from a friend)
    Gold Standard 1-10 (these are very close to the real thing)

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    Computer Engineering

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

    I am not gonna say that don't worry about this exam. It is long, hard, and reminds me of bending over to pick up a soap in a prison. That being said, I think that anyone can do this test. I started with HORRIBLE scores and had to really work hard to get my scores up. Just make sure that you do lots of problems and passages.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    5 months 2-3 hours a day.
     
  11. fenguin

    fenguin 7+ Year Member

    65
    0
    Nov 1, 2006
    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    13V, 14P, 15B, S = 42S

    2) The study method used for each section
    Verbal: Tried using Kaplan's verbal strategy at first, found it difficult to apply in test situations (writing topic/scope/purpose is such a waste of time!). Then read ExamKrackers' short verbal guide, did most of the tests from EK 101.
    Physical Sciences: I've taken a bunch of physics classes so I focused on the chemistry aspect, working through the Kaplan and EK books.
    Biological Sciences: This took about 90% of my time. I read the Kaplan and EK review books cover to cover, and then did all the EK 1001's for Biology and Organic Chemistry, along with most of Kaplan's online topic tests.

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

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    AAMC 3-6

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    Bioengineering

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    Study hard, but most of all study efficiently. Everyone has a different learning style, and the only way you can succeed on the MCAT is if you study for it using the method that works best for you. As a result, don't just take a Kaplan/PR/EK course and just do what they tell you to do - you need to look back at the studying you've done for other classes and try to see what gave you the best results.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    Took a Kaplan course last Fall but didn't really go to the classes as I didn't find them particularly useful. I did most of my studying over ~3 weeks during winter break, about 12-15 hours a day.
     
  12. priam18

    priam18 issointou - MS2 7+ Year Member

    176
    0
    Jul 31, 2005
    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    12V, 10P, 11B, R = 33R

    2) The study method used for each section
    Verbal: Did EK 101. It helped a lot in reminding me to always remember the main subject, etc..., but what I found helped me the *most* (and literally, I tried this 2 days before I took the real thing, got a 12 on a practice mcat) was putting my face close up to the monitor and reading every single word. After reading a sentence, I would then rapidly analyze what I just read and tie it back to the main subject, etc..

    Physical Sciences: The Nova Physics book helped a ton for this, as I think they really go over why things work as they should. Other than that, I just did some random problems whenever I had the time to. As for chemistry, I just reveiwed Kaplan notes and did some problems.

    Biological Sciences: This one bummed me out as I was studying for it, since I would do the EK 1001 problems, get a chunk of problems wrong. I guess it reinforced what I need to learn, though. I would also recommend EK 1001 for the fact that they actually have passages (some that are difficult), but again, it helps you practice gleaning information from dense passages. As for Orgo..just know the basics, but know them cold. I guess I was also lucky that I'd just taken Biology and Orgo the school year before I took this.

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)
    See above.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    AAMC 3-10

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    Psychology

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    Understand what you're studying. Dont just look at a book and memorize the words. Use your head to find out why something is working the way it should. Also, don't psyche yourself out! I cannot tell you how scared I was of certain topics in physics (wink wink optics), but as I studied it and knew it cold, I realized I had had nothing to be afraid of. As for verbal, practice practice practice, because whatever strategy you find/have, you'll still need to pratice it a lot. When you finish taking this test, you'll feel like you've just been through a train-wreck. When I finished taking the PS section, I went into the bathroom and cried, I thought it was that bad. It is possible to do very well on this test, believe me..

    Also, pray! It sure helped me.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    I studied for about 2 hours a day for 4 months, while working full time.
     
  13. LordATPSynthase

    LordATPSynthase PGY3 7+ Year Member

    85
    0
    Jan 28, 2008
    USA
    1.) Your individual scores and composite score:
    Verbal: 11
    Physical: 14
    Biological: 15
    Writing: N
    Composite:40N

    2.) The study method used for each section:
    Over winter break, I read each book of ExamKrackers, spending about 2 hours a week on studying. Then I took a break for about 2.5 weeks. The last week I read the remaining books. I took the free practice exam on e-mcat.com, plus 4 more.

    3.) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)
    ExamKrackers, plus AAMC practice exams (5 total)

    4.) Which practice tests did you use?
    AAMC practice 3,4,5,6,7

    5.) What was your undergraduate major?
    Biochemistry (B.S.) at WVU

    6.) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    Make sure you learn in the classes you take. This will help keep your GPA up while also helping you on the MCAT in the future. I only studied about 25 hours total not counting the practice exams. Most of my studying came the first 5 semesters of college :)

    7.) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    See above.
     
  14. armybound

    armybound future urologist. Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    4,746
    320
    Jan 1, 2007
    Uranus
    Physician
    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    01/2008: 33O (PS 10, VR 12, BS 11)
    04/2005: 31P (PS 10, VR 11, BS 10)

    2) The study method used for each section
    I approached the science sections the same way.. read a book (The Princeton Review MCAT Guide, 2006 edition) then work some samples. If there was something I got wrong, I went back to the question, tried to figure out what I didn't know about the problem (the basic concept behind it, specific details, etc) and went back into the book to try to learn.

    On the verbal section, it was all about reading passages, answering questions, then trying to understand why I got a question wrong. If you understand how they come to an answer, you can use that to answer a similar question the next time it comes up. Verbal is all about practice for me.

    I don't even practice the written portion, nor did I give it any serious effort during the real MCAT. Maybe I'm going about it the wrong way, but I seriously don't care about the written portion.

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)
    The Princeton Review MCAT Guide for most of it. I also picked up Kaplan's MCAT 45, which I found very useful for developing a strategy to attacking the science sections. I highly recommend this book.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    I didn't use any that weren't in my TPR or Kaplan books.

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    Undergrad - neuroscience
    Graduate - biomedical studies

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    Give yourself enough time to study and use a lot of different types of guides. I feel that my major shortcoming was probably that I knew the book I studied very well, but it didn't do me very much good because the test isn't going to be the same as my TPR book. Try to get a hold of a lot of different test versions and different books if you can.

    I know this might not be possible, but relax. If you get all nervous during the exam, you'll probably screw up. If you really bomb the exam, just study more and take it again. It's really not the end of the world. I've taken longer than average trying to get acceptance to med school.. don't think you'll be the only reapplicant in the world. It's a marathon, not a sprint.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    NOT LONG ENOUGH. For the 2008 exam I gave myself 3 weeks to study, and I usually only put in 2-3 hours per day really studying. This may be enough for you geniuses out there, but please take it a bit more seriously than I did. In 2005 my situation was very similar; I'd put maybe 5 hours per week into studying over a 2-3 month period.
     
  15. seven87

    seven87 2+ Year Member

    324
    0
    Apr 26, 2007
    1.) Your individual scores and composite score:
    PS: 11
    VR: 8
    WS: Q
    BS: 12
    Total :31 Q in January 2008

    2.) The study method used for each section:

    Physics: Had just taken physics II, so that was fresh. Physics I was rusty but being an engineering major sure helps. I read through and took notes on the physics chapters in Kaplan, then took their physics practice question. Next, I went through EK's physics, doing all of the problems they had. Then, I went through probably 1/2 of EK's 1001 series.

    Chemistry: I was a TA/Tutor for Chem I, so that was solid. I did everything the same as physics. Probably did nearly all of the EK 1001 books.

    Bio: I did the same general setup as physics and Chemistry, although did ALL of the EK 1001 bio, it was very good.

    Organic: Same as the other topics, did a few orgo problems in EK 1001, but didn't find it helpful at all so I quit that.

    Verbal: Went through EK's 101 passages, it was very helpful although depressing at times. My scores fluctuated quite a bit, from 11's to 6's. Being an engineering major having very little English, I am fairly happy with my 8 in VR.

    Writing: Didn't do much, did the writing samples on most of the AAMC exams I took.

    Overall here is what I did:
    I started reading through and taking notes over Kaplan's comprehensive review in late October 07. I went through each section and worked on that 1-2 hours per day until Thanksgiving break. Next, I went through EK's review books and did bio for about 6-7 hrs a day over Thanksgiving and worked on the other sections until the end of the semester December 21. I periodically through that last period would go through the previous notes I had taken and made sure I recalled the information.

    Then, I went through a two-day review of everything I had covered by reviewing my notes and making sure I knew everything, or nearly everything. I then took my first practice exam and took one every 4-5 days until the end of my 4-week holiday break. On the non-exam days I did various things.

    First, I did the EK in class exams which I hadn't done yet. Next, I went through Kaplan's MCAT 45 book which was worthless. Next, I Did the EK 1001 series books. On the days before exams, I would go through my notes. On the days after exams, I would go through the answers of the previous days exam and understand why I missed the questions I missed.

    Also, nearly every day for the 4 week holiday break I took half of a EK 101 verbal exam.


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

    For all sections I did: Kaplan, EK review, EK 1001, AAMC exams only

    4.) Which practice tests did you use?
    AAMC 3-10. Didn't feel the need to do any other tests because AAMC is the real deal, so why waste time/money on tests from companies that are just trying to replicate the real deal??
    #: PS VR BS
    3: 11 10 10 31
    4: 11 9 11 31
    5: 11 8 10 29
    6: 12 10 12 34
    7: 11 10 12 33
    8: 12 10 14 36
    9: 12 7 11 30
    10: 12 10 11 33

    5.) What was your undergraduate major?

    Biomedical Engineering

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


    Just give it your all and it will be over eventually. I know it may feel like it is endless but it will happen at some point. I studied every day for four weeks, eight to ten hours per day. At times I was going completely crazy, but just try to do things you enjoy when you're not studying.

    Also, do your best not to panic during the exam. I did during VR, and also during PS. I was consistently finishing with 20 minutes to spare in PS, but on Test Day I just barely finished. After each section I went to the bathroom (didn't want the red-bull catching up at an inopportune time), and before I left I looked in the mirror and thought to myself "You're doing this, nothing can change the last section of the test so forget about it and do your best on the next section". This is similar to advice I saw here on SDN, and come Test Day if you find yourself panicking, just remember not to let yourself go just because of one bad section. You have no idea how you did until you get your scores back.

    Also, each time I took the exam I did so at 12 noon (I took the noon exam on the 26th). It made it a bit more routine on test day.

    Lastly, I should note that I was entirely convinced that I bombed it walking out of it. The first thing I said to my girlfriend was "I think I did pretty bad". So don't void it unless something catastrophic happened (threw up during the exam, etc). Also, your "feelings" about the exam mean little and mine ate at me for a month. After taking AAMC's practice exams you instantly get your score back, which is nice but doesn't allow you to think about how you felt about it. So after taking what I thought was an impossibly hard test (the real thing), I had little idea how it actually related in terms of difficulty to the AAMC practice tests. Good luck to everyone looking to take the exam, give it your all and trust that if you were meant to go into medicine it'll turn out. I wish you all the best.

    7.) How long did you study for the MCAT?


    2-3 months. 1 month hardcore eight hours per day every day.
     
  16. funkydrmonkey

    funkydrmonkey They Call Me Dr. Funkmonk 7+ Year Member

    6,293
    3
    May 10, 2007
    In the Frozen Tundra
    1) Your individual scores and composite score

    11V/11PS/13BS - 35R

    2) The study method used for each section

    PS - I used Kaplan's PS book to make my own physics cheatsheet...err sheets which turned out to be 27 pages. Then I did all of the Chem and Physics questions from Princeton's Workbook.

    VR - I like to read. During winter break which was my main studying time, I read a book everyday. It does not need to be profound. I read novels which took me max 2.5 hours to finish. I also did the Kaplan and Examkrackers Verbal questions. I actually only did about half of each though.

    WS - I went over how you are supposed to write the essays 2 days before the MCAT. You have more important things to worry about.

    BS - Princeton's Bio. Wow, so much better than Kaplan's bio. I wasted my time learning physio when the whole test was mol bio, but I do not mind as I am a microbio major which is a glorified mol bio major. Just did Princeton's workbook again.
    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)

    PS: Kaplan for Physics, Princeton for Chem and for practice.
    VR: Examkrackers and Kaplan
    BS: Princeton only

    4) Which practice tests did you use?

    AAMC's (6-10)
    Berkeley (all of them)

    5) What was your undergraduate major?

    B.S. Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics in Spring 2009

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

    Take lots of practice tests. For bio, make sure you have all of your bio class notes saved, because they ask for the most random and picky things on the actual test. Liking Ochem will help you, and do not waste your time studying physio.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?

    I started studying lightly in the summer. Then over fall quarter I studied moderately. Winter break: the most intense/fun/relaxing one ever. Went to Barnes and Noble, and crammed in their cafe, and when I got bored... which is quite often, since I have a short attention span... I read. Then I crammed for the first 3 weeks of winter quarter while disregarding all of my other classes.

    Good luck to all of you guys... and girls... and to the random flying monkeys who might be reading this post.
     
  17. nycfella

    nycfella 5+ Year Member

    198
    0
    Nov 18, 2006
    32O whoot.
     
  18. bigman225

    bigman225 5+ Year Member

    362
    0
    Feb 28, 2007
    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    42R (14VR/14PS/14BS)
    2) The study method used for each section
    Verbal: EK101, New Yorker, Harper's, Science, Kaplan verbal tests
    PS/BS:
    1) Read EK lectures slowly, taking notes
    2) Read EK lectures more quickly, doing problems in them
    3) Did EK Chapter Quiz. If score was unsatisfactory, went and did tons of problems relating to that topic (EK1001, Kaplan Discretes) to try to turn that particular weakness into a strength. Analyzed every question--correct or incorrect, dissecting every key point.
    Supplementary materials: Audio Osmosis listened to occasionally. Kaplan was somewhat nice to aid me in learning the basic physiology and anatomy required by the exam.

    Writing Sample: Who cares? Wrote essays for my last 3-4 practice exams. Watch your spelling and follow the directions

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

    PS: EK Physics. EK Chemistry. Kaplan. EK1001 Chemistry/Physics. Kaplan discretes. You can NEVER DO ENOUGH PROBLEMS!

    VR: EK101, Kaplan Verbal Tests, Harpers, New Yorker (read your butt off)
    FYI: I attribute the 14 to raw luck. I averaged 11 on AAMC VR, never scoring above 13.

    BS: EK and EK1001 are cash-money for biology. I did every passage in EK1001 bio. Organic chemistry on this exam was really easy for me--I barely studied, but used EK1001 Organic to brush up on weak areas as identified on practice exams.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?

    AAMC's (CBT 6-10)
    Average: 37 Low: 36 High: 41

    Kaplan FL's (3-10)
    Average: 36 Low: 33 High: 39

    Gold Standard CBT (1-10)
    Average: 35 Low: 33 High: 39

    Gold standard CBTs are pretty ****ty. Not worth the money unless you're really desperate for practice material.
    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    Biology, Chemistry. I'm a junior.

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

    Standard advice:
    1. Start studying early. Give yourself ample time to prepare. Avoid rushing into the test before your practice tests are consistently where you want them to be. Don't set a test date until you're well into your preparation and have some idea when you should be where you want to be.

    2. Take at least 10 practice exams, preferably more. Analyze each problem. Keep track of problems you miss by creating a word file. Write out a thorough explanation next to the number of each problem you miss with
    a) the topic, e.g.: Biology: Renal filtration.
    b) a full answer explanation, deriving the answer from basic principles

    Oh, and another thing...
    Don't be hard on yourself after taking the exam. I wanted to effing cry after the exam because I had test day jitters and didn't realize that there was a final page on the exam and had to guess on the final 3 questions of the BS. Turned out I got a 14. That didn't stop me from detroying myself emotionally for the month or so before I got my scores back. Everyone feels worse after the real thing than practices-- RELAX!

    You should be able to identify trends in the questions you miss. Figure out what your weak areas are and attack them viciously. Mine were pretty specific: optics, physiology, anatomy..

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?

    4 months total:

    2 months during the summer (3-4 hr daily)
    took fall term off from studying
    1 month during winter break (at least 6 hours daily)
    1 month during the start of winter term (at least 6 hours daily. things got rough. lol)

    You definitely don't need to prepare that long to score a 35+, I know a guy who did a lot less work and got the same score. That individual, however, had a much higher native intelligence, so realize that you are going to need to tailor your preparation around YOUR abilities. I'm convinced over the 36-38 range everything is luck--I got an exam that was tailored towards my strengths (molecular biology, molecular genetics, chemistry). Don't under any circumstances develop a bad attitude toward the exam--you should be looking at it as a welcome chance to add credibility to your GPA, prove your abilities, set yourself apart, etc.

    One more thing--about people on here who say things like "Don't flip out on test day," or "don't get nervous." I think this is unrealistic nonsense. Chances are you're going to be scared to death on exam day and have some test day jitters that will most likely last throughout the exam. Don't let it phase you and try to keep your head on straight--being nervous is natural, but try to fight through it.
     
  19. Mandek

    Mandek 2+ Year Member

    276
    0
    Feb 5, 2008
    dude, there is anatomy on the MCAT? lol...i never knew that
     
  20. bigman225

    bigman225 5+ Year Member

    362
    0
    Feb 28, 2007
    There were definitely questions about the basic anatomy of the kidney and CNS/PNS on my exam. Maybe our definitions of anatomy differ though, seeing as I'm a Biochemistry major with virtually no experience in "actual" anatomy.
     
  21. Mandek

    Mandek 2+ Year Member

    276
    0
    Feb 5, 2008
    nice score, btw. you started studying for it in the summer? so you studied 8 months with 40 hrs/week?
     
  22. Mandek

    Mandek 2+ Year Member

    276
    0
    Feb 5, 2008
    yes dont think there is anatomy but juss basic names/parts of organs that one should know. (i thinK)
     
  23. bigman225

    bigman225 5+ Year Member

    362
    0
    Feb 28, 2007
    I think my post is fairly clear that I took a 3 month break for fall term. This is because I didn't feel I was adequately prepared by the end of summer. Summer studying was only on the order of 15-20 hours per week, as is indicated in my post (3*5)
     
  24. Mandek

    Mandek 2+ Year Member

    276
    0
    Feb 5, 2008
    o sorry missed that part. so you originally started studying in the summer with intention of taking it in aug/sept but delayed it till jan cuz you didnt feel "prepared"?
     
  25. bigman225

    bigman225 5+ Year Member

    362
    0
    Feb 28, 2007
    Yeah, that was really my only option seeing as I had originally planned on taking the exam at the end of the summer. Rule: If you're trying to work 40hrs/week in the lab all summer while simultaneously studying for the MCAT, something's gotta give. It will probably be your sanity.
     
  26. RapplixGmed

    RapplixGmed Looking for the Ether 7+ Year Member

    711
    15
    Nov 27, 2007

    Agreed, I had to take off from lab for a whole semester to study adequately for the mcats.
     
  27. DrJD

    DrJD Junior Member 7+ Year Member

    1,584
    4
    Oct 24, 2005
    So honored to finally be able to post in here! The only reason I can is because of hard work and the help of all of SDN!

    1) Your individual scores and composite score

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

    2) The study method used for each section

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    Biological Sciences

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


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

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

    Good luck to everyone!!!!!!
     
  28. ChubbyChaser

    ChubbyChaser Yummmy 2+ Year Member

    13,179
    4
    Apr 14, 2007
    Congrats, way to step it up on game day!
     
  29. UTGunner

    UTGunner 2+ Year Member

    10
    0
    Jan 25, 2008
    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    34M (12 BS, 12 PS, 10 VR)

    2) The study method used for each section
    I made flash cards for the most important concepts. I didn't do any of the assigned homework. I probably don't deserve my score. :laugh:

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)
    I took TPR's "Holiday Hell" course- 5 hours a day, every day during Christmas break.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    TPR 1 (21)
    TPR 2 (28)
    TPR 3 (29)
    AAMC 10 (36)

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    Biochemistry

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    I'd highly recommend the condensed one month course. I didn't put in a lot of effort, but it feels like a good amount of the material stuck from just going to class. I don't see how you guys can put up with 6 months of work. Quick and easy, please. :scared:

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    I'd say about a month. The only time I studied for it was during the four week long review class. You have about a five day break between the end of the review course and the January 25th MCAT, so it works out well.
     
  30. mikeyworm

    mikeyworm 7+ Year Member

    56
    0
    Oct 15, 2007
    I hate the MCAT, but I did break 30.

    1) Your individual scores and composite score

    PS: 12 VR: 11 BS: 9 Writing R. 32 R

    2) The study method used for each section

    I did very little actualy studying for Verbal. I did some EK 101 Verbal passages. And I took a lot of practice tests. I am most angry about this section since I was averaging close to 13 on all my tests. The only real thing to do is to practice passages and go over all your answers. I found that going over my right answers actually helped more than taking a look at the wrong ones.

    For PS and BS I used Kaplan and EK. Just took a lot of practice tests and went over all the questions. Had a big Word document with all the stuff I didn't know. Really helpful for me.

    Writing I did nothing for.

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

    Used Kaplan and EK for all sections

    Practice Tests:

    All AAMCs (averaged around 34). All Kaplans (except 10 and 11) averaged around 35.


    5) What was your undergraduate major?

    Political Science and History with an Econ minor.

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

    The test isn't as hard as the Kaplan people make it out to be. Its really a test of endurance. You have to study a lot to make it pay off. Repetitiion is really important.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    I started in mid October and studied a good amount right up until the last week.

    Good Luck, I may be stopping the whole medical school thing for a while. We'll see.
     
  31. RapplixGmed

    RapplixGmed Looking for the Ether 7+ Year Member

    711
    15
    Nov 27, 2007
    I found a lot of useful information on this site and I just thought I should give back by telling you guys how I prepared:

    1) Your individual scores and composite score

    PS: 14 VR: 11 BS: 15 Writing Q. 40Q

    2) The study method used for each section

    Practice, practice, practice. I practiced until my brain was numb and my hands started aching. For more detailed:

    Physical Sciences:
    I learned a lot of the things that may be covered on the mcats just from going through my practice exams. I'm sure my engineering knowledge helped a bit. I noticed that there are often Modern Physics topics covered as well. It might be worth taking if you're looking for an added boost in physics mcat knowledge. Even though they're not passage based, i thought the 1001 physics and gen chem books were good enough to get me prepared for this section. Most of the passage based questions in this section are discretes in disguise anyways.

    Verbal Reasoning
    101 passages was king followed by all the practice that kaplan gives you in their online course. I can't think of any other strategy for this section. I take no notes, it seems like a waste of precious time. If you find yourself being slow, practice speed reading the newspaper first until you have plenty of time every single time you practice VR. I think most people have trouble with VR because they spend too much time on the passage itself.

    Biological Sciences
    Review everything from the major topics that are covered, ie physiology, cell bio, genetics, biochem, orgo. Topics seem random and randomly detailed. Have a wide breadth of knowledge and practice with the 1001 Q in BS from EK.

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

    Most of the actual topical review came from Kaplan and EK. Most of my practice also came from the first two sources. I got every 1001 book and forced myself to finish them to the last question. It was torture but I think it paid off in the end.

    Practice Tests:

    My practice tests started at around 32 and went up as high as 45 on AAMC6. Did all AAMC and Kaplan tests. They become less and less accurate predictors the higher scoring you become.

    5) What was your undergraduate major?

    Biomedical Engineering and Physics

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


    Do not fear the mcat. Study enough so that you can go into the testing center confident that you will dominate. If you don't feel good about taking it on test day, don't take it that day!

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?

    I started studying on and off (3hr a week) about 5 months before the test. During winter break, I studied up to 12 hr a day for it since it was right after break ended. During the 2 weeks of school leading up to the exam, I maybe spent 3hr/day on it and took a half week to rest before the exam on the 26th.

    I'm so glad that this is behind me and that I can have a life again. Good luck to everybody who still face this challenge!
     
  32. DocWalken

    DocWalken 2+ Year Member

    357
    0
    Jul 12, 2007
    I've been eagerly awaiting the day I would get to post on here for so long. Sweetness.

    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    PS: 12, VR: 9, BS: 13, WS: P
    Total: 34P

    2) The study method used for each section

    BS: This was definitely my strongest section. I always loved orgo and have taken a few upper level bio class like biochem & physiology and these helped a lot too. So for this section I mainly just reviewed and didn't try to memorize much at all. Just have a solid understanding of the orgo principles (I didn't memorize any rxns) and know about genetics/cell bio and some physiology.

    PS: I was always pretty good with gen chem, but I hadn't taken it for a while so I had to review a lot of it. I just did a lot of practice problems. Physics was a lot harder for me, and honestly I still don't know how I managed to do so well in it. I was pretty good with light/sound/magnetism/electro and all the second semester stuff, but I was absolutely terrified of motion/kinematics. I just did a lot of problems and tried to read as much as I could for subjects I didn't understand.

    VR: Oh man. I must have tried everything. I got a 10 on my diagnostic and have always been a pretty good reader/writer, so I thought this section would be a breeze. However, my practice scores dropped precipitously and I realized I needed help quick. I did everything from mapping the passage, to trying to read more (atlantic, economist, etc.). The thing that helped me most though was just doing tons of practice questions. I wish I would have had more. Mainly, though I'm no expert on this section, the thing that helped was learning to eliminate half the answer choices, I could do this about 85% of the time.

    Writing: I wrote a couple essays with my practice tests, just to get the timing down and so I wouldn't have any surprises on test day. I was a slacker in this section.

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

    Took a Kaplan online course. Otherwise, it would have been much too hard to get even close to the amount of practice questions they have. These were the most helpful part of the course. The lectures felt like a chore and I don't think I got much out of them. I thought the books were a nice, clear review of everything. Reading these closely helped a lot too. Whenever topics weren't clear, I'd look them up online or in an old textbook.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?

    Kap Diag: ___PS:7__ VR:10 __BS: 11 (28)
    Kap FL 8: ___PS:11 __VR:8__ BS:14 (33)
    AAMC 5 : ___PS:12__ VR:10 __BS:11 (33)
    Kap FL4: ____PS:8 __VR:10 __BS:14 (32)
    AAMC 6: ____Ps:12 __Vr:10__ Bs:12 (34)
    Kap FL5: ____PS:12__ VR:11 __BS:14 (37)
    AAMC 4: ____Ps:12__ Vr:10__ Bs:14 (36)
    AAMC 8: ____Ps:12__ Vr:13__ Bs:11 (36)
    Kap FL8:____PS:13___VR:10__BS:14 (37)
    Kap FL7:___PS:12__VR:13___BS:14 (39)
    AAMC 9:___PS:12___VR:10__BS:15 (37)
    AAMC 10:__PS:14__VR:14__BS:12 (40)----I'd already seen the VR section
    AAMC 7:__PS:12__VR:12__BS:13 (37)

    So my average was about a 36 I think. My VR average was a couple points above 9, but I'm not going to complain. I think on test day I was just so tired of studying and just wanted it to be over so bad that I just gunned it and neglected some of my VR skills.

    5) What was your undergraduate major?

    Nutritional Science (Never heard of it? It's ~90% female, you should check it out sometime)

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

    Take tons of practice tests, read questions carefully.The best thing I did to study for the MCAT was, without a doubt, always paying attention and doing good in my classes. Everything I studied felt more like a review and I didn't have to struggle to learn a ton of unfamiliar material.

    Also, it was helpful to have taken the test during my senior year, after I'd taken some upper level bio courses. These made every bio topic a piece of cake.
    Again, I wish I'd had more preparation for VR. I don't know why this one got me. I think a big part of it was not reading any kind of literature/reviews/etc. and only reading science textbooks for the last 2 years. I would say take a broad range of classes and read a lot. I really thought this section would be easier for me.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?


    Took diagnostic 8/25/07. Studied anywhere from 1-8 hours a week during the semester, but nothing too insane. Didn't take any practice tests until winter break, when I studied a solid 5-8 hours a day. Having a break from classes to take lots of practice tests was crucial. So overall about 5 months.
     
  33. robocop1998

    robocop1998 2+ Year Member

    254
    0
    Nov 3, 2007
    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    8VR, 11PS, 12BS (31Q)

    2) The study method used for each section

    PS:

    I primarily used EK and Princeton Review as a reference. I always been really good at physics so PS is the part that I am most comfortable with. I just reviewed a lot of G-chem stuff.

    VR:
    I used EK 101 Passages and Princeton Review online practice passages. Those were really helpful. I began with a 4 and steadily improving. Considering the fact that English is not my first language, I will gladly take my 8 on VR.

    WS:
    This section is complete BS. I just used Princeton Review material to go over for literally 30 min the night before the real exam. Im surprised I pulled a Q.

    BS:
    I have to say EK Bio book saved my life on this section. At first I began using Princeton Review material but it was wayyyyy too much info that I didnt even know how to start. USE EK BOOK FOR THIS SECTION IF YOU WANNA GET ABOVE 12.

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)
    Refer to my above response.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?

    I did all of Princeton Review and AAMC tests.

    5) What was your undergraduate major?

    Economics

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

    Know you sh!t. Literally know your sh!t. If you dont know how kidney works, go over it 10 times until you know it cold. If you dont know titration, go over it 10 times until you know it cold. Set aside about 2 months of doing nothing but MCAT for 10 hrs+ everyday.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?

    Studied all summer but lightly then crammed everything in the month before. I think I spent about 10 hrs+ on MCAT everyday during that time. If you study, you will do well. It's just a matter of how much effort you put into. Goodluck everyone who will be taking it in the future.
     
  34. bozz

    bozz 2+ Year Member

    1,689
    6
    Nov 15, 2007
    I'll just post this here for future mcat people.. since the other thread won't last long

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

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

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

    Let me start off by telling you that I'm your average Joe.. there are a lot and I mean ALOT of people on here who are "smarter" than me... whatever that means.. it means nothing now. I've always been the hardworking type who envied the "smart" kids who always seemed to do well without much preparation on standardized tests or who aced the SATs... I feel like that no more. I couldn't figure out what was wrong with me.. I took the SAT 3 times and the ACT 3 times. Scores didn't improve much. (I even took a Kaplan course for the SAT :eek:) I never understood standardized tests. By putting in enough time on the MCAT, I guess I figured out the MCAT.


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


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

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

    Test Day

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


    Materials/Review Course

    Chemistry:

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

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

    Physics:

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

    BS and O Chem:

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

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

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


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

    Strategy/Guessing/What I did

    General Stuff

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

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


    PS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

    3) CHECK FOR BALANCED EQUATIONS every time.

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

    4) Learn to Skim Passages when necessary

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

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

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


    VR:

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

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

    BS:

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


    Practice Scores:

    First time:

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

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


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

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

    Second Time: remember I took these twice

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

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

    Comments on these: What's important to realize is ... I didn't really do a whole lot more studying for the Jan. MCAT.. I picked up Berkeley Review, worked on the passages, and that MINDSET leaked into the other subjects... moreover, I completed 20 section tests and the 8 AAMCs with 4 additional Berkeley Review practice tests... I saved more than a month for practice tests and analysis alone. Also, I made around 200 flashcards on topics I wasn't sure about... so I guess it was studying.. but very focused and efficient studying (only my weak areas).
     
    Sauce Boss likes this.
  35. pingouin

    pingouin just chillin' Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    This is a spinoff of the old 30+ MCAT Study Habits thread which is now closed. All posts previous to this one were copied from that thread because they are specific to the CBT test. If for some reason you need info regarding study tips for the pencil-and-paper test, go here. :)
     
  36. GrumpyDoc

    GrumpyDoc

    8
    0
    Mar 9, 2008
    Maryland
    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    PS: 12; VR: 11; BS: 14; Composite 37R

    2) The study method used for each section
    PS: This was my weakest section to begin because I had completely forgotten all my physics. I spent about half my time studying for the MCAT studying physics 101 material from Kaplan and Examkrackers. I was getting about 8/10 of my general chem. questions right so I just focused on a couple of my weaker topics (Gases and electrochemistry, particularly).

    BS: Immunology and Endo were my two weak points since my program skipped those topics in Physiology junior year because you have specific courses senior year (I'm taking them right now). I actually enjoyed Physiology and Microbiology so I was set for a lot of the content. I did not bother too much with Organic Chemistry because you can get bogged down in so much detail that probably won't be tested on. I made sure I got down stereochemistry, nomenclature, chemical trends, SN and E mechanisms. I tried to get a vague idea of reactants and products in some of the other reactions, but honestly if I saw any Aldol condensation or Wolff-Kishner crap on the MCAT, I was prepared to guess and move on.

    VR: No specific strategy. I gave Kaplan's triaging, Passage Mapping, and STPM strategies a shot, but I would always run out of time and my score dropped. Once I decided to do passages one by one in the order they are given and learn to guess on questions that would take up too much time and not worry about it, I was getting 10-13 on practice exams although their was never any upward trend.

    Main thing with the sciences is to identify your worst topics and work on them first because the move from sucking to being reasonably good happens a lot quicker than the move from being reasonably good to mastery.

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)
    I used online Kaplan practice exams mostly because they grade them for you and breakdown your score by topics automatically. I took 2 AAMC exams and about 7 Kaplan's.

    To study content, I started with Kaplan, but their stuff put me to sleep. I switched to Examkracker's midway through and it was funny to me how Examkracker's helped me take Kaplan exams more than Kaplan.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    See above

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    Biological sciences

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    With enough practice on passage-based questions, they are just as easy as discreet questions. I started out answering a lot more discreets correctly, but at the end of my studying I was doing equally well and was equally confident in both types of questions. Passage-based questions do, however, require more concentration.

    This is why I recommed doing the PS and BS in the order they are given instead of going discreet hunting. Yes, answering discreets may build confidence, but doing 6 or 7 passages in a row is nuts. By going in order, you do 2 passages, and then the discreets become like a built-in break before trying to wrap your head around a new passage.

    This worked for me; it may not work for you. I would always recommend what you feel makes the most sense to you.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    About 4 months, with variable studying times. My exam was Jan 25th., so around Christmas and New Years, I took an extended drinking break. Then about two weeks before the exam, I studied like crazy; I was working 35hrs/wk and I probably spent 30 of those studying in the last couple of weeks - thankfully my boss understood.
     
  37. sxs316

    sxs316 2+ Year Member

    19
    0
    Sep 12, 2007
    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    11VR, 10PS, 10BS (31S)

    2) The study method used for each section

    PS:

    I went to the classes and then to Kaplan

    VR:
    I know high school and i took IB english

    WS:
    I went to high school and i took IB english

    BS:
    I knew most of the bio stuff from classes/Kaplan/life...I didnt even bother trying to learn ochem

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

    4) Which practice tests did you use?

    I did most of the Kaplan tests besides the crazy hard new ones

    5) What was your undergraduate major?

    Biochem

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

    Don't be dumb. I saw so many people in my kaplan class freaking out about the material and over analyzing it. the ended up doing terribly. Also, dont come to the website too much. Everyone on here getting 35+ will make you feel like crap...its not worth it.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?

    I took Kaplan and had genius instructors. I never studied, per say, but I did spend the weeks before the MCAT taking a practice test every other day. My regimine was to wake up at like 3pm, chill for a bit, take a practice exam , chill some more. Repeated for like 2 weeks.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2008
  38. SilentNight

    SilentNight 7+ Year Member

    86
    0
    Mar 4, 2008
    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    11BS 11PS 9VR = 31R

    2) The study method used for each section

    BS: Pretty straightforward, understand concepts and don't just memorize. Thinking about the body as a whole instead of separating the body into organ systems.

    PS: I guess same as BS. Spend time knowing the equations and how it is related to the concepts. Be able to calculate quickly. Think about real world examples would be helpful.

    VR: My most difficult section. Thought I would get a 7-8. Not too sure how to study except practice and review the answers and the logic behind it. Try to stay focused! I didn't do that...during my actual test my mind drifted away halfway during each passage I read...

    WS: Didn't do much except during practice tests. Just make sure you answer the different parts of the prompt. Also have a good arsenal of examples to give for your counter-example, pretty easy if you read or watch current events.

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

    Examkrackers complete study set along with their 1001Q books except I used NOVA Physics for practice problems for PS, felt it made me understand physics much better than my college professor :) Definitely get the 101 VR!

    4) Which practice tests did you use?

    Kaplan Diagnostic = 23
    AAMC 3 = 26
    AAMC 7 = 28
    AAMC 8 = 25

    5) What was your undergraduate major?

    Exercise Biology with a minor in Nutrition Science

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

    Don't cram your studying time unless you already have a great background knowledge on the sciences! I gave myself a month to study and out of that only 2 weeks were devoted to the MCAT (6-10 hrs/day) and then the last 2 weeks I went brain dead (also everyone had their winter break...having fun...:() Try to give yourself at least 3 months so the information can really sink in.

    My practice MCAT scores were no where above 30 and so it was quite fortunate I received a 31. Then again when a real exam occurs I really go into my focused mind set.

    ***Most important advice I would give is try to get some sleep and relax during the process. Sleep helps to retain the vast amount of information and relaxing...well I think you would go crazy if you didn't...:p***

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?

    As mentioned above...basically 2 weeks...
     
  39. bravesfan113

    bravesfan113 7+ Year Member

    168
    1
    Feb 20, 2007
    GA
    MDApps:
    that made me laugh out loud! (the fetal part, not the crying part)
     
  40. nycbeatz

    nycbeatz nervous wreck ......... 2+ Year Member

    67
    0
    Oct 23, 2006
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    1) Your individual scores and composite score

    10V 14B 11P = 35 :D

    2) The study method used for each section

    Read over the short lessons in Exam Krackers, did their 30 mintue test, and the AAMCs. Mostly used the books for Physics, since i HATE physics. I did use the 1001 books for Physics but didn't find them as helpful as I would have liked, most llikely because the questions weren't in passage form, they were jsut free standing straight forward questions.

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)
    VR: Made it a point to read the New Yorker, regularly.
    PS: Used EK Physics & Chemistry.
    BS: Didn't have trouble with orgo, as for bio I borrowed a friend Kaplan book from the class.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    AAMC 3-10
    & the EK one that comes with the books

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    Engineering

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

    TAKE TIME OFF, do not try and study everyday non-stop for a month, I took 2-3 days every week to jsut relax and do non-MCAT related stuff, it was also the holidays and i wanted to be able to spend time with mi familia.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    2 months 2-3 hours a day.

    :luck: To Everyone else taking it
     
  41. dreamgal

    dreamgal dreamgal

    5
    0
    Mar 20, 2008
    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    01/08- 40R
    VR- 15; PS- 13; WS- R; BS- 12

    2) The study method used for each section
    I would alternate between going through my notes, taking section tests, and taking full length tests. Then I went back and reviewed all the material and made study guides, multiple times.

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)
    I took Kaplan and did all on-line and book material. I also used the EK books and the 1001 books (for all subjects). I used Nova's Physics and Chemistry books. I also took all the Kaplan full-length tests, AAMC new on-line tests, and Gold Standard tests. I took AAMC old (the 7 hr) practice tests as well for endurance and the Princeton Review Verbal Reasoning Passages. Lastly, I studied my school books.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    All the Kaplan, AAMC, and Gold Standard tests.

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    major = biology and chemistry
    minor = physics and religious studies

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    Stick it out!!! You will see the reward..and don't forget to review your school notes..in the end that's really all that matters
    and don't settle for a score...i got a 30 and an 8 on VR the first time ;)


    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    I did not study for the WS at all. I took one practice verbal test for about two months. During winter break, I studied (four weeks straight with one day off) for about 7 hours a day, and about two hours for two months aside from that during school. And about 3 hrs/day the summer before that...A lot of my time was spent goofing off with my bf also studying but for LSAT or talking on the phone though..so it's hard to say :love:
     
  42. bozz

    bozz 2+ Year Member

    1,689
    6
    Nov 15, 2007
    JESUS
     
  43. tncekm

    tncekm MS-1 2+ Year Member

    3,622
    3
    Jul 18, 2006
    Do you feel this helped you? Did Where did your verbal start?
     
  44. nycbeatz

    nycbeatz nervous wreck ......... 2+ Year Member

    67
    0
    Oct 23, 2006
    ha, actually i started with a 10, and was averaging 12-13, so not really sure what happened
     
  45. Caesar

    Caesar In Memory of Riley Jane Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    I guess bumping a sticky is about useless... missed the fact that its a sticky... when did that happen?
     
  46. Lecter

    Lecter Banned

    216
    0
    Mar 25, 2008
    Baltimore, MD
    bump! (lol)
     
  47. Aspire08

    Aspire08 5+ Year Member

    13
    0
    Nov 29, 2007
  48. presto530

    presto530 5+ Year Member

    26
    0
    Apr 6, 2008
    Alabama
    MDApps:
    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    10PS 11VR 10BS WS-M: 31M
    I feel like I got lucky with my VR score, but could have done better in PS and BS. I usually got 12s on PS and 12-13s on BS on AAMC PTs. My nerves got the best of me, and a good amount of each section was on material that I was not as strong on as other parts.

    2) The study method used for each section

    For PS: I wrote my own flash cards to help remember those pesky physics equations and to help me remember specifics about electrochemistry and trends in the periodic table that tend to pop up alot. I would take and re-take KAPLAN topical tests on everything. I would document every wrong answer I got and write why I got it wrong. This really helped me in to stop making the same mistakes. Taking those tests are like strength training; if you can do well on those, the real thing will seem easier. Also practice doing short-hand calculations(sci. notation), it can help shave crucial seconds that could be used on other questions.

    For VR: Lots of freaking reading. I took all but like one of KAPLANS VR section tests. Pulled out a friends EK VR book closer to test day to give me different stragies. My biggest problem with this section started after I started studying for the MCAT. I started to approach VR passages as I did PS and BS passages, which is BAD. I got bogged down in details and would completely miss the main point of the passage. Read VR passages quickly, but read them as if you were reading an article from a magazine or newspaper. Try to figure out what the author is trying to say, what evidence does he use to support his argument, who does he use to support his argument, does he give any counter-arguments, does he explain why he disagrees with the counter-argument. Also try to read for tone (this is the hardest part) Ask youself is the author impartial? is he strongly supporting one side? What language does the author use? is it harsh or powerful? benign? These things should be going through your head when you're reading, and it only comes with PRACTICE!

    For BS: This section got to be where it wasn't that bad. How you do in this section weighs heavily on how much you know the material. You have to KNOW the ins and outs of how a cells works. KAPLAN or any prep course really helps for this section because they tell you exactly what you need to know and what you don't need to know. Taking a lot of practice tests helped me with this section because it likes to test how well you can take a known concept and apply it to a hypothetical experimental situation. Your critical thinking gets better with practice. Make sure you know all the animal physiology stuff required. If you want to master this section, you will want to memorize all the specifics on both the organic and biology part.

    For WS: I did a few prompts, but since it was not graded I could not tell how I was doing so I didn't really practice it. The only thing I can say is use an idea that is easy to come up with examples for. Just take a little more time on practice tests and practice writing essays under the timed conditions.

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

    I was enrolled in the KAPLAN classroom ,but looking back I didn't really need the it. I usually wasn't working on the same stuff the class was anyway. If I was weak in a section, I would work on that section regardless if it was being reviewed in class. If I just had the books, access to all the online materials, and all the practice tests, I probably would have done just as well. So, for some people, you could save several hundred dollars and just get the books and buy all the online practice tests.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    I took KAPLAN CBT 1,2,3,4,5,6 and AAMC CBT 4,5,6,7,8,9,10
    Also took a free KAPLAN paper test offered at my university last November (that was my first test ever) I would take your KAPLAN scores with a grain of salt. They will tell you what you're weak in, but they are not structured the same way as the real MCAT is. The real MCAT, IMO, is a little harder than most of the AAMC practice tests.

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    Microbiolgy with heavy involvement in university music ensembles. I would have got a music minor if I didn't require me staying in undergrad for an extra two semesters.

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    Keep on pushing, and don't burn yourself out! Burnout is one of the worst things that you can do. If you feel yourself getting worse and you're feeling down/depressed, take a few days off. Trust me, my score jumped on AAMC exams from a 27 to a 34 after just a three day break from the MCAT.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    I started in Mid-January and took the exam on April 5. I studied on average between 14-18 hours a week. I also sacrificed most of my spring break and was able to study around 55 hours in just 5 days. So I studied about 2.5 months.
     
  49. ColonelTigh

    ColonelTigh This is the XO 2+ Year Member

    78
    1
    May 5, 2008
    ........
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2009
  50. AbujaMan

    AbujaMan 5+ Year Member

    137
    0
    Feb 1, 2008
  51. 134317

    134317 Guest

    28
    0
    Jan 27, 2007
    1) Your individual scores and composite score

    Apr 2007... 29N = 12 PS / 6 VR / 11 BS
    Apr 2008... 37P = 12PS / 11VR / 14BS


    2) The study method used for each section

    PS and BS: read the Kaplan books. THEN started going practice tests. For each question you miss, review every concept that that's question's based on. After 6 practice tests, you should become almost automatic at the science questions.

    Verbal: none. Just did practice tests. DON'T DO KAPLAN! IT PHUCKING SUCKS!

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

    PS and BS: Just used the Kaplan books, and the internet when I found things in practice tests that weren't in the books (like capacitor dynamics).

    Verbal: just do it, and understand that you're gonna be unsure of 90% of the questions and that no question is worth going back for unless you're positive that it'll help you with a 5-second scan. As long as you finish, and as long as you have perfectly average reading comprehension and short-term memory, you're guaranteed a 10. And the average person with average reading speed (i.e. high school graduates) should have enough time.


    4) Which practice tests did you use?

    AAMC 3-10


    5) What was your undergraduate major?

    Chemical Engineering

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

    Don't sweat the verbal, and don't listen to Kaplan's advice because it's 100% absolute crap (it got me a 6 on my first take). Feel confident that you'll have a leg up against all those test takers that are doing the Kaplan method for verbal.

    On test day, be sure that you're in a solid state of mind. For me, that meant using a test center back home, not one near school. I flew there on Wednesday, and spent the following days studying lightly and hanging out with family and old friends that I hadn't seen in a long time.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?

    10 weeks... twice
     

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page