HistoRocks

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I am a biomed sciences major with a biochem minor... I see a lot of MCAT related-stuff almost everyday. And then, I am not one who learns much in lectures anyway. Usually, the lecturer only covers simplified example problems, which anyone can do on their own. My quest is, is a review course worth it? I understand you can buy the practice tests and review books online... which is basically no different than taking the review course, minus the lecture aspect. I'm sure many of you have done this? I want to hear from the ones who got 33 or higher.
 

fun8stuff

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i used examkrackers, kaplan, and aamc practice exams and did this. Basically I studied weekly from jan until the test day.
 

bdt

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I was a molecular bio major and a biochem major (kinda like you although I've been out of school awhile). I used ExamKrackers on my own, did lots of practice tests, and used kaplan's Qbank. No review course for me (couldn't afford to shell out the $$). I got a 34. It's very doable as long as you commit yourself to your studying. That's the key if you're going to study without going to a review course).

Good Luck!!!
 

monopolova

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HistoRocks said:
I am a biomed sciences major with a biochem minor... I see a lot of MCAT related-stuff almost everyday. And then, I am not one who learns much in lectures anyway. Usually, the lecturer only covers simplified example problems, which anyone can do on their own. My quest is, is a review course worth it? I understand you can buy the practice tests and review books online... which is basically no different than taking the review course, minus the lecture aspect. I'm sure many of you have done this? I want to hear from the ones who got 33 or higher.
Yeah, I got a 33Q without a stupid course. The KAPLAN course sucks, and I haven't met anyone who's done well with it. I studied the KAPLAN bible and took classes that were going to be on the MCAT that semester (i.e. genetics, physics, and physiology). I also bought the real online tests. I'm biomed sciences, too, by the way. And I also agree that histo rocks.
 

MWillie

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I got right around 40, with kaplan books only
.
 

QofQuimica

Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
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Yes, it is completely possible to do well on the MCAT without a course, though review courses do help many people, myself included. I scored 34 the first time, studying on my own using Flowers, and 43 after completing Kaplan's course last August.
 

SanDiegoSOD

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I havnt taken the test yet, but, I am currently scoring 33+ on practice tests (AAMC 5R - 35; EK 1g - 33) and only studying off EK material. I don't think a prep course would help me one bit, and I'm not made of money, so I decided to forgoe the course and work on my own. I'll let you know how it goes in a few months...
 

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You do not need a review course to do well. I did 33+ with about 4 good weeks of studying old texts and the AAMC exams. I think the biggest thing a review course can give you is structure, so, if that's something you thrive off of or require to actually commit to studying, then go for it - but if not, save the cash and buckle down.


To reiterate what others have said - whatever route you take, do as many practice exams, Kaplan, AAMC, PR, whatever you can get your hands on. :thumbup: :thumbup:


Sev
 

myodana

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i didn't get a 33, i got a 32, but with no review course. from what i hear, you only need to do the kaplan course if you don't have the discipline to read the book and take the tests on your own. i used the big kaplan book, EK 1001 questions books, and took lots of AAMC, kaplan, and EK tests. good luck!
 
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HistoRocks

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monopolova said:
Yeah, I got a 33Q without a stupid course. The KAPLAN course sucks, and I haven't met anyone who's done well with it. I studied the KAPLAN bible and took classes that were going to be on the MCAT that semester (i.e. genetics, physics, and physiology). I also bought the real online tests. I'm biomed sciences, too, by the way. And I also agree that histo rocks.
Yeah, thats what my lab partner said: his friends who were taking the review course weren't learning much. You agree that histo rocks? I thought the atlas was really good.... those black and white electron micrographs give a lot of meaning to cell structure/function. The textbook, on the other hand, was a nightmare. Haven't had the class, incidentally. Will probably take it for kicks, as an undergrad. Since my school doesn't have a NEURO class.
 
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HistoRocks

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Tks for your replies, guys. I have to volunteer, do research, join clubs, maintain a high GPA, etc. etc. Basically, sacrifice good yrs to plz someone I'll meet only once in my life, on an adcom. I know they try, but subjectivity is inevitable - especially if ur MCAT score is low. Anyway, to end this, the last thing I need is some review course pplz swindling me for a trig review... no offence, I know it really does help some ppl, but it won't help me. This thread was just to confirm that that was in line with some other expectations I had.
 

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The teaching aside, I think Kaplan (don't know about other review courses) offers copious amounts of practice material, including 4 or 5 practice tests, along with 5 you take during the session, and lots of subject tests, topicals, etc. And then there's the qbank which I haven't tried, but has this thing where you can design your own tests. If you have a friend who takes a course, just go to their online syllabus and see if you want what they have to offer (oh my god, I sound like an infomercial)

oh and they give aamc practice tests which are only availabe at the center (I haven't gained much from it, because you can't copy, take home etc. due to copyright laws, and center is too far, so I never go.)

This also scares me because I hear so many who say they haven't done well even with a course, so I'm wondering if it was because they didn't do enough practice, or if the practice isn't enough, or the practice is just not helpful.
 

monopolova

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HistoRocks said:
Yeah, thats what my lab partner said: his friends who were taking the review course weren't learning much. You agree that histo rocks? I thought the atlas was really good.... those black and white electron micrographs give a lot of meaning to cell structure/function. The textbook, on the other hand, was a nightmare. Haven't had the class, incidentally. Will probably take it for kicks, as an undergrad. Since my school doesn't have a NEURO class.
Histo was a pivotal class for me as an undergrad. I took it with the dental students, and it had a lab component that will be valuable for the future. Even without a lab component, any kind of cell biology or histology will be instrumental on the MCAT.

And just one more thing about KAPLAN. They make a good review book. But their methods of giving tests that have no resemblance to an actual MCAT exam in an attempt to scare people to paying money to take their course (one that is really only a thousand dollar motivational tool for some people) is sleazy in my opinion. Furthermore, this is the MCAT people! Who needs to pay someone to have motiviation to study for this damn thing??? Take courses that matter, and spend time by yourself reading, reviewing, and taking the actual AAMC exams.

Much luck to you in the future!!! :luck: :luck:
 

Marvin O'Connor

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I was a Chemical Engineering major and scored over a 33 (36R) without throwing money into a course. I used the Kaplan big book, which I basically just skimmed through quickly, and the AAMC tests. I also glanced over some Kaplan section tests, but they were way harder than the actual MCAT (as was the practice test in the big book). I think it comes down to being a disciplined, efficient independent studier, a good test-taker, and keeping your head on straight come test day. If you think you can do those three things without outside instruction, don't mess with the expensive courses.
 

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I took kaplan last summer and worked only on their tests. Later when I took the AAMC tests, I got totally thrown off. For me, I like to get used to the writters of the test. I never took the actual MCAT last summer. I am doing my own thing this time and I feel so much more confident. I know where I am weak and work at my own pace. It's great. :)
 

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QofQuimica said:
Yes, it is completely possible to do well on the MCAT without a course, though review courses do help many people, myself included. I scored 34 the first time, studying on my own using Flowers, and 43 after completing Kaplan's course last August.

Quimica,
Do you reccomend Kaplan or Princeton?
That was indeed a huge leap from 34 to 43.
 

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I got a 33R with no Kaplan. I just read the cheap Barron's review and re-read Campbell biology. I don't think the review courses are worth it unless you have like a whole semester free with nothing to do but Kaplan...in which case you could acutally really raise your score substantially. I would just study without it.
 

QofQuimica

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priyanka said:
Quimica,
Do you reccomend Kaplan or Princeton?
That was indeed a huge leap from 34 to 43.
Are you asking whether I recommend a course at all, or whether I recommend Kaplan versus TPR? Because if it's the latter, of course I'm going to have to go with Kaplan. (Shrike, are you reading this??? :smuggrin: )

In all seriousness, priyanka, I think that the best course, or whether you should take any course at all versus going it alone, depends on the student. I wrote another post about this last week. Here is the link if you'd like to take a look: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?p=2398687#post2398687

Good luck to you and the rest of the April testtakers. :luck:
 
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priyanka said:
Quimica,
Do you reccomend Kaplan or Princeton?
That was indeed a huge leap from 34 to 43.
She has a Ph.D... in nothing less than O-Chem. I think if all of us took the MCAT, and had similar credentials, there would be no need to take it a second time. Its not necessarily the O-Chem, its the yrs of exposure to science and of course the doctorate, which is a major accomplishment in itself. Imagine... we study maybe 4 yrs for the MCAT, but a docotorate takes what, 8-10 yrs of schooling to complete?