ASDIC

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Hi everyone,

i checked out the MCAT webpage and they have opened up CBT (computer based testing) in certain cities... I live in NJ...dont want to really go to DC, the nearest CBT testing site.

Plus i cant really concentrate staring at a computer screen...so any thoughts on this?
 
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musiclink213

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what's the difference between the CBT format and the regular one? besides the obvious, i mean.
 

mlw03

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i'd be leery to take a comp-based mcat simply because all the practice is hand-written. for example, you get used to writing notes in margins in each section. or with verbal, if you want to refer back to the passage, scrolling back and forth between the writing and questions is not conducive (i've done it for kaplan). so i would not recommend taking it, simply because i don't see any advantage (other than: typing is easier than writing for most of us) and the disadvantages seem real.
 

CalBeE

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Many years ago, the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language, required usually for college and grad school admissions) was completely switched to Computer format in the U.S. In doing so, the ETS took advantage of that, and made the test to be adaptive to the test taker's abilities.

For example, you'll first get a medium-difficulty question, if you get it correct, the next question you get will be harder, if not, the next question you get will be easier. Somehow at the end the computer can report the score to you right away (Just like the GRE).

So fast score reporting and adaptive ability of the tests are two advantages that I can see with computerized test, IF AAMC utilize those advantages for the MCAT.
 

coldchemist

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Originally posted by mlw03
so i would not recommend taking it, simply because i don't see any advantage (other than: typing is easier than writing for most of us) and the disadvantages seem real.

For me there's always that uncertainty--did I fill in the bubble enough, or possibly too much? CBT kinda gets rid of that anxiety.
 

nrosigh

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I took the CBT last August - it has already been offered for international tests for at least a year. I took the test in Munich.

To be honest, I was a little disappointed with it - the program they use is not nearly as nice as the 4 online practice tests they have. My biggest complaint is that you can only see one question at a time, and there sometimes seemed to be considerably delay when advancing to the next questions. However, I was not sure if the clock was running during these delays since I did finish in time.

There are two big advantages, however. At the end of the test, you can quickly check off the ones you want to "review" and then only those questions are presented to you. Also, you get to type the writing sample - my typing speed is probably twice as fast as my handwriting, so that definitely helped me.

If you have other questions about the CBT feel free to ask.
 

bigbaubdi

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Originally posted by nrosigh
There are two big advantages, however. At the end of the test, you can quickly check off the ones you want to "review" and then only those questions are presented to you. Also, you get to type the writing sample - my typing speed is probably twice as fast as my handwriting, so that definitely helped me.

Some people are much more familiar with computers than others, therefore computer based tests offer these individuals a distinctive advantage. People should always have the option of taking the test on paper.
 
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researchprof

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I would run as fast as I can from a CBT MCAT! The exam is devilish enough on the paper! The only way I won't take a paper test this April will be if AAMC abolishes all PBTs.

However I don't mind the GRE or so on the computer.
 

japhy

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You better get used to CBT. Since you all are getting in to med school, you next big test is Step 1. And you better believe that bad boy is only offered on the computer.

I thought I would hate CBT, but it was great. You can finish sections early, schedule breaks how you want, BUT the best part is scheduling the exam whenever you want. It is much nicer taking an exam like that with only 5-6 people from your class rather than hundreds
 

rgporter

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If it is like the ASCP examination that I took then it will be designed to select your next question based on your previous answers. i.e. If you get a question right it takes you to a section of harder questions worth more points; if you miss a question you go to easier questions worth less. Those tests suck because if you miss a lot of questions right at the beggining of the test you will end up with a selection of questions that aren't worth very many points for the rest of the test. You can do fairly well and still bomb the thing depending on where you miss the questions.
Man I hope for everyone yet to take the MCAT, that it isn't administered this way. I'd estimate that the ASCP exams are about 4 times harder than the MCAT, partly for the the questions but mostly because of the psychology of the test methadology.
 

rgporter

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That sounds exactly like the ASCP tests. And the pause at the end of the question might very well be the computer deciding what level of question to give you. :scared: :scared: :wow:

Originally posted by nrosigh
I took the CBT last August - it has already been offered for international tests for at least a year. I took the test in Munich.

To be honest, I was a little disappointed with it - the program they use is not nearly as nice as the 4 online practice tests they have. My biggest complaint is that you can only see one question at a time, and there sometimes seemed to be considerably delay when advancing to the next questions. However, I was not sure if the clock was running during these delays since I did finish in time.

There are two big advantages, however. At the end of the test, you can quickly check off the ones you want to "review" and then only those questions are presented to you. Also, you get to type the writing sample - my typing speed is probably twice as fast as my handwriting, so that definitely helped me.

If you have other questions about the CBT feel free to ask.
 

jlee9531

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i need to be able to write all over the mcat. its just a relaxing mechanism for me as i take the test. to take notes in the margins for the passages etc...

i like to refer back and skip questions with the freedom to go back anytime i want during the time allotted.

i have to agree with mlw03...im not a fan of CBT esp if it is for the mcat.
 
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mlw03

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in that case everyone's on the same playing field, and i'm assuming there's ways to prep for it on the computer. so a computer-based step 1 is consistent. my point was that i don't think it's a great idea to practice one way and take the test another way. i guess this whole discussion is pretty pointless unless you live near one of those four cities.

Originally posted by japhy
You better get used to CBT. Since you all are getting in to med school, you next big test is Step 1. And you better believe that bad boy is only offered on the computer.

I thought I would hate CBT, but it was great. You can finish sections early, schedule breaks how you want, BUT the best part is scheduling the exam whenever you want. It is much nicer taking an exam like that with only 5-6 people from your class rather than hundreds
 

nrosigh

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you're allowed as much scratch paper as you want.

you don't get your scores any sooner.

and the questions are NOT adaptive - they looked just like scanned versions of the paper test.
 

2badr

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Originally posted by bigbaubdi
Some people are much more familiar with computers than others, therefore computer based tests offer these individuals a distinctive advantage. People should always have the option of taking the test on paper.

Hopefully, familiarity will lend itself to a little more confidence.
;) and therefore, a higher score....hopefully.

I feel more comfortable with computer based tests. I can type type faster than I write so I would consider that an advantage. As long as you get all the scratch paper you need, it should be okay :confused:, unless it works like the voting machines in Florida in the 2000 election. :D
 

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OK I've been around SDN as an observer for a while, never wanting to say anything since I never really had anything useful to say, but here goes...

On Saturday I took the computer based practice MCAT as part of an AAMC pilot program to test the system before the actual MCAT in April. It's really cool, in that you can highlight parts of passages and insert your own notes into the text. Also, in the science sections, there is a search option that will search the passages for keywords. I liked being able to type the essay portion as well. You do get to have scrap paper, but unless you note which scribble is for which question, when you go back to check your work you don't know which question goes with which scribble. Ultimately, I think they've done a really good job with the computer-based MCAT, but I'm still planning on taking the paper version in April, mainly because staring at the computer for so long hurt my eyes and I'm better at reading things that are on paper rather than on a computer. Hope this helps...

yay for my first post!
 

researchprof

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Originally posted by 2badr
Hopefully, familiarity will lend itself to a little more confidence.
;) and therefore, a higher score....hopefully.

2badr, that was very poetic. Where did you learn this? . . very Shakespearean :cool:.
 
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