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April MCATers continued

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Pinki, Jan 11, 2002.

  1. Pinki

    Pinki Sassy Member 10+ Year Member

    Sep 3, 2001
    So are the majority of my fellow April MCATers taking test prep courses or going it alone? I've decided to go it alone, and will be budgeting 3 hours an afternoon to studying. Any ideas on how to divide up my time - should I do 1 hour of practice tests, followed by 2 hours of studying the weak spots? Thoughts? Suggestions? Insights?

    Also, if anyone is looking for a way to boost up their VR, seriously, listen to people who say to "read for pleasure." I know we're all busy, and it sounds so bogus to read for fun when we've got stacks of reading for necessity to do, but believe me, it works. I spent my entire break working full time and then at night, reading for pleasure for about 2 hours, at the advice of a medstudent friend, to help prep for the VR. I would read a fiction (Barbara Kingsolover, Harry Potter, etc.) followed then by a non-fiction (a study of childhood anthropology, the biography of an over-sexed teenager in California, etc.). So I retook a VR prax this week and finised everyhing and went up 4 points!!! Seriously, read for fun, it sounds so lame, but it works!
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  3. isomerjohn

    isomerjohn Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    New York
    i too am seriously thinking about taking the test on my own without any prep course . Do you think we are at a disadvantage ? I took kaplan 8 yrs ago and never took the exam. I stopped in a kaplan office and looked over the material and much of it was the same . So, I am thinking why waste the $1300. Any comments from someone who studied alone and did well. Do you need the sit down tests with others around or can it be done at home ?
  4. mpp

    mpp SDN Moderator Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Jan 17, 2001
    Portland, OR
    If you are disciplined and you do take the time to practice I do not think you are at a disadvantage. Some people pay the $1,300 for access to the resources, but as far as I can see there are plenty of resources out there. I took the test last April and studied on my own -- +/- 8 hours per week beginning in January. I did very well on the exam. I used the following books:

    Kaplan Review
    Princeton Review
    Berkeley Review
    AAMC Tests I through V

    All but the Kaplan and AAMC test I got from my local library. The others I bought used on e-bay. The key is to practice, practice, practice. When you find an area that you are weak on, study from the Kaplan book or your text books, or the plethora of free chemistry/biology/physics internet courses. For the verbal section, practice as many types of reading comprehension exams you can get your hands on. Check your library for LSAT, GMAT, GRE, VAT, DAT, and OAT (there are probably others as well) books that have reading comprehension sections and do those passages. They are all the same.

    I found that the key to verbal was quickly figuring out which answers to eliminate and then making the best guess. Reading a lot is good as you will increase speed and comprehension. However for me it was nearly impossible to read the passages and get a whole lot out of them in the time alloted. I would read once through (neither fast nor slow) and then answer the questions, going back to the passages as needed. Good luck.
  5. LBJeffries

    LBJeffries Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Oct 17, 2001
    The Great Plains
    Fredonia, I think you've been eating too much duck soup. Just kidding, I actually agree with you 100%. But everyone knows that the real key to doing well on the MCAT is the practice test. Unfortunately the best way to do this is in a test-prep class where you can take them with big groups of people. That way you get nice standardized scores that I found predict performance pretty darn well. Also, you get to practice taking an 8 hour test with other people around you. This was critical for me. I found that I had to practice tuning other people out. For my first practice test, I was driven to the very brink of insanity because the person next to me was biting their nails the entire time. But by the time I took the real test, everything was cream cheese. If you insist on not taking a class, I suggest taking the practice tests in public places where there are lots of possibilities for distraction. That way you can practice concentrating, which--if you want to do well--is most important of all.
  6. Pinki

    Pinki Sassy Member 10+ Year Member

    Sep 3, 2001
    LBJeffries, I do my studying at a coffee shop where "pseudo Seattle" jazz plays and the patrons gab on their cell phones. I thought it was my secret weapon - but you've exposed it! I used to be horrible at tuning out people, but now I'm a pro and I'm convinced it's helped my exams at school. I'll take my prax exams there, too.

    Sounds like MPP used a whole bookshelf worth of resources. I've already checked out several from my local library, better scurry back to grab some more!

    Thanks for the input!

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