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August MCAT 2002: Reflections

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by Mike59, Aug 18, 2002.

  1. Mike59

    Mike59 Sweatshop FP in Ontario
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    This is just a blurb about my MCAT experience and hopefully it will be of some help to others taking it in the near future:

    - How I prepared:
    1. Kaplan Comprehensive Review: Awesome review, there wasn't one fact based question on the MCAT I didn't know, the basics are all in this book. Their practice questions however, are way off style-wise, don't bother with them.
    2. AAMC Practice Items and Practice Tests 1-6: Same format as the real deal, AAMC 3 and 4 were of the exact same difficulty as yesterdays MCAT for me
    3. Princeton Review Verbal Workbook and PR 481-485 Diags
    4. Examcrackers Verbal: It is not as much of a miracle savior as some make it out to be, but it is quite helpful with test taking techniques

    My conclusions about the test:
    - Some classic AAMC problems show up almost every time: Power calculations, index of refraction, etc. HOWEVER: A vast majority of the difficult science questions require more than knowledge. It's more about being a good test taker than being smart, especially in biological sciences passages that deal with orgo mechanisms or ridiculously difficult experiments. Not saying I aced it, but I can tell you that even the best students will have serious trouble with 2 or 3 passages which is a lot of questions.
    - Most of us had two passages about x-ray emission out of the 10 in physical: WTF???
    - You can bust your brain all summer cramming in circuits, renal physiology, lenses, reproduction etc. and it may happen that none of them will be on the exam (like yesterday).
    - Therefore, study every topic in the AAMC manual (even fungi-which are tested by the way) and be familiar with everything- if you want to do well, you can't have any knowledge gaps. Practice test-taking techniques within each topic
    - Yesterday's verbal for me was the easiest I've ever experienced and I have figured out why: I was mellowed out from plenty of rest. I didn't study for the 3 days prior to the test and I highly recommend all future test takers follow that plan. Verbal should be read like a story book, don't scribble, underline or annotate (ala Examcrackers) and it will be cake on exam day if you are relaxed
    - don't prepare for the writing sample, its not necessary
    - Do plenty of full length exams before the real deal. I did 6 AAMC, 5 PR, and 1 Kaplan over a month and it really helped to build up endurance.
    - Timing is crucial, and is more important than your knowledge. If you don't finish, your preparation is useless. So be sure to practice under timed conditions. I usually finished AAMC Bio sections in 65-75 minutes, but on the real MCAT it took me 90 minutes.

    A lot of talk surfaces about voiding scores on test day, or people wonder whether or not to show up. Here's my solution: buy AAMC 1-6 and do one a week for the 6-8 weeks before the MCAT. You should see a steady increase as you prepare, and they serve as a great gauge of how you will feel on test day when you break the seal on the test booklet.

    I saw a gradual progression (in order of when I took them):
    TPR 481: 25
    TPR 482: 26
    AAMC I: 26-27
    AAMC II: 28-29
    AAMC III: 30-32
    AAMC IV: 30-31
    AAMC V: 30

    Some of you will perform significantly better on test day, but these exams are an accurate indicator of how well prepared you are.

    Just my $ .02.

    Feel free to respond with comments/questions
     
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  3. spanky

    spanky Member
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    I took AAMC 6 last week and scored a 32. But I thought the MCAT was much more difficult than AAMC 6. My biggest problem yesterday was that it seemed as if the wording of the science questions was so long, they took forever to read and I did not even finish the bio section in time. That has never happened before. So what the consensus on the lac operon passage? Was this an experiemental passage that won't be graded? What about the passage on radiation treatment for tumors?
     
  4. SuzyQ

    SuzyQ Senior Member
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    im hoping that the lac opeon is just an experimental passage. That passage was nuts. Im guesssing that since they are going to be including more genetics on future tests they just wanted to throw one in to see how we would all do.
     
  5. JScrusader

    JScrusader Senior Member
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    What bothered me was that on most of the bio, the passages and the questions were front and back on a single page so I had to keep flipping back and forth.
     
  6. Mimicat

    Mimicat Senior Member
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    I took AAMC V last week, and found the exam on Sat to be much more difficult. The 100 degree temp in the testing room may have had something to do with it :mad: . I really have no idea how my score will turn out. I felt like I had significant gaps in my knowledge, and the form I got seemed to center only on those gaps :eek: .
     
  7. newfocus

    newfocus Senior Member
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    AAAHHHHH reflections of the August 02 MCAT. As I reflect back on that cloudy saturday afternoon I think .........DAMN IT SUCKED!

    O.K. well it wasn't too bad, I am just glad it is over. Its kind of weird, im just setting here thinking uuhhhhh what am I suppose to do now?
     
  8. lady bug

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    Mike did you use the examcrackers 1001 books at all? Have you heard anything positive about them?
     
  9. Mike59

    Mike59 Sweatshop FP in Ontario
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    I didn't. I only used EK for verbal. Their technique, more so than the practice questions helped me breeze through the verbal on test day.
     
  10. afilerman

    afilerman Junior Member
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    The best part of the exam was the fact that about half of the people taking it didn't know what the word "longhand" meant on the part where you had to re-write "I confirm that I'm the person who I say I am" statement before the exam started.
     
  11. rCubed

    rCubed taiko master
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    well, seems it sucked for most people

    well, beat this:
    i got sick on saturday morning, first passage of the verbal section and i'm running out to throw up...i'm guessing it was something i ate the night before....at this point i'm regretting not voiding the damn exam
     
  12. afilerman

    afilerman Junior Member
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    Oh you poor thing! Worst thing is you have to take it again-- it's not really so bad and tons of people do it. I did, and felt much much better the second time around. Hmmm... maybe the best way to practice for the MCAT is to TAKE the MCAT (and void your score!).
     
  13. lola

    lola Bovine Member
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    oh no rcubed :( that is so sad. i hope you didn't feel ill throughout the entire test. it sucks that this test is only given twice a year. i would do anything to retake it tomorrow.
    as for me... i got 4 hours of sleep, took the test in a very dark room with constant beeping during the BS section, and completely crashed during the last section. i just couldn't think or focus anymore due to my lack of sleep. such is life i guess. it's only one stupid test. if they can't look past it and see all our other great accomplishments, we can always take it again in april.
     
  14. rCubed

    rCubed taiko master
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    awww...thanks u guys.

    well, lola, here's to hoping that despite horrible conditions during the exam, our natrual knowledge of pre-med sciences will shine though still. i mean, imagine if we both do ubelievably well, considering everything that was going on that day. :clap: :clap:

    i'm still in denial about messing up, lol. at this point, the last thing i wanna do is take this exam again
     
  15. lola

    lola Bovine Member
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    yeah, taking it in april is the last thing i want to do too! in fact, i never would have imagined i'd be thinking that after the test. i mean, i would have had to have done really badly compared to how i normally do to have to take it again. but hey, at least we know we can do better next time if we do have to take it. good luck! i'll be thinking good thoughts for you :D
     

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