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Mar 6, 2020
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Pre-Medical
I applied to medical school with the 2020 cohort using my MCAT score of 505 but did not get an acceptance. My plan is to retake it this coming January 2021. I have all of my fourth edition Kaplan books (2018-2019) which I used to form my content foundation and am planning on using them again to refresh what I have forgotten since last year. My plan is to rebuild my content foundation by studying from these books and supplementing my study with Uworld practice questions before moving on to more detailed practice with other resources. Any advice or opinion on whether or not this is a good idea or if I need to get new books would be greatly appreciated.
 

lumya

Indoor Cat
Gold Donor
Aug 7, 2018
341
377
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Pre-Medical
They should probably be fine. Not that much has changed as far as the content. I know for textbooks there used to be websites that compared the differences between versions, maybe there's one for Kaplan books as well. The only thing I can think of is maybe the biotechnology section got changed (but even so I can't even think of substantial changes in the last 3 years).
 
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GreenDuck12

5+ Year Member
Mar 30, 2014
1,513
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Medical Student
I would recommend using slightly different materials for the second attempt, not because the Kaplan books are too old but because you need a new approach. Kaplan is a solid resource for providing a quick broad overview. IMO the lack of practice for CP and BB makes the process of doing content review by reading largely irrelevant because you aren’t set up to immediately review the material. A 505 indicates that you had content gaps that still need to be filled in. For CP and BB, I would recommend TBR for their high quality phased end of chapter exams. The spaced repetition of the subject matter has been really effective for me and my students that have stuck with it. It gives you multiple “at bats” with the material do you can identify errors and fill them in during content review. From there, I would definitely recommend using UWorld under mock MCAT conditions: 2x 95 minute sections to practice timing, strategies, and the pressure of the exam. Get some 3rd party FL exams, any company is fine and each is unique: Kaplan has very specific content details that they test for, NS has excellent experimental passages, Altus has strong BB sections, etc. don’t focus on the scores for 3rd party exams. Just focus on identifying gaps, practicing strategies, and getting used to quickly identifying important info.
 
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Mar 6, 2020
53
82
Status
Pre-Medical
I would recommend using slightly different materials for the second attempt, not because the Kaplan books are too old but because you need a new approach. Kaplan is a solid resource for providing a quick broad overview. IMO the lack of practice for CP and BB makes the process of doing content review by reading largely irrelevant because you aren’t set up to immediately review the material. A 505 indicates that you had content gaps that still need to be filled in. For CP and BB, I would recommend TBR for their high quality phased end of chapter exams. The spaced repetition of the subject matter has been really effective for me and my students that have stuck with it. It gives you multiple “at bats” with the material do you can identify errors and fill them in during content review. From there, I would definitely recommend using UWorld under mock MCAT conditions: 2x 95 minute sections to practice timing, strategies, and the pressure of the exam. Get some 3rd party FL exams, any company is fine and each is unique: Kaplan has very specific content details that they test for, NS has excellent experimental passages, Altus has strong BB sections, etc. don’t focus on the scores for 3rd party exams. Just focus on identifying gaps, practicing strategies, and getting used to quickly identifying important info.
This is very helpful thank you. I was looking over the SDN 100 day Study Schedule Guide and noticed it uses both spaced repetition and TBR resources. Do you have any opinion about this study schedule? I am currently 6 months out from my tentative test date (Jan 2021) , perhaps I'm better off spending my time following the 100 day schedule, taking extra time to brush up on things I forgot, and then maybe scheduling a test date in the Fall? I have lots of time I want to make sure I do this right and really improve
 

GreenDuck12

5+ Year Member
Mar 30, 2014
1,513
1,285
Status
Medical Student
The general schedule I recommend would be
A. 1-2 months of content review with TBR, Kaplan, jack westin, and 100page PS doc. Try to get through two chapters or two days of the 100 day schedule. Should be about 4-6 hours most days with some being shorter.
B. 1 month of UWorld under timed conditions with practice FL 3rd party exams once per week. Thoroughly review each wrong answer to fill in gaps. Also start AAMC cars qpack.
C. 4-6 weeks of AAMC practice going through all FL exams at one week intervals. Completing section bank twice and cars qpack one more time. Also complete all other AAMC resources: question packs and flash cards.

This works out to 120 days. But in this time you should be able to complete all or close to all TBR passages, 4-5 3rd party FL exams, 1800+ high quality UWorld passages, and 5 FL AAMC exams plus question packs. Personally, I think knowing that you have answered upwards of 5000+ questions will give anyone a big boost of confidence on test day.
 
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