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Did anybody have DRASTIC improvements in the 5 weeks leading up to the MCAT?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by OnMyWayThere, Mar 14, 2004.

  1. OnMyWayThere

    OnMyWayThere OMS-III
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    If you guys had any drastic improvements (above 5 points) in the five weeks leading up to the MCAT, how'd you do it? I've been religiously following EK, but just did miserably on the first AAMC test (VR5,PS6,BS8 for a whopping total of 19!). Please share any advice you had for these coming weeks. Thank you.
     
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  2. Adapt

    Adapt 2K Member
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    I went from a 24 on a TPR practice test to a 29 on the real thing in 5 weeks using TPR. I'm not sure about EK though. I scored a 27 and 26 on AAMC 4 and 6 respectively. Realistically, I'm not sure if it's feasible to improve that much. From what I remember, the AAMC tests are easy compared to TPR's tests. All you can do is keep studying.
     
  3. I used EK for a total of 10 weeks prior to the MCAT. That was all the studying I did. I went from a 24 before studying to a 31 on the real thing. I found that my verbal score did not change that much, but I definitely improved my PS a good amount.
     
  4. deaftoan

    deaftoan Member
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    in the last 5 weeks, i went from like a 24 to a 35+. most of this progress was in the last 2 1/2 weeks or so. what did i do? hmm... i read my butt off, alot of harpers, new york times, new yorker, atlantic. i found that waking up about an hour early on test days and reading a challenging book was great....i eased right into the first physical science passages instead of forcing my brain into some kind of work mode immediately.
    in the last few weeks...understanding why i got answers wrong really started kicking in. sometimes w/o even understanding the passage it was easy to spot some outrageous answers.
    after doing so many passages, it became easier to spot the parts that weren't really so important.
    i guess what i'm trying to say is that of course, content is necessary, but after i really understood all content that was expected of me, it was only then that i could start understanding the workings of the test itself. i think the last week and a half i only did practice tests, thoroughly trying to understand why i got questions wrong...usually it wasn't b/c i didnt know certain information, but more b/c i was tricked by the phrasing or some other stupid thing...
    and if you're having trouble with any content, try really understanding what the underlying concepts are, or what the bigger picture is...biology was the only subject i actually had to memorize stuff, b/c of all the cell and anatomy vocab. even though you have to memorize physics equations, most of them make sense conceptually. afterwards, most of that stuff gets really easy...for example, most mechanisms in o chem make total sense if you understand the basics that were taught in the first few chapters...the hard part is having a thorough understanding of the basics.
    i also think a very important part for me was not spending too much time being consumed w/ the mcat. i'm sure its different for different people, with obligations to work, school, etc. but i would never study at night, that was my time to watch movies, go to bars, whatever, i just had something to look forward to so i wouldnt get burnt out...and there was always tomorrow to finish going over electrochemistry...
    dont freak out, you have tons of time left...most of my TPR classmates, and me included, didnt crack a 30 until about 2-3 weeks before the test, good luck!!
     
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  5. CalBeE

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    Everyone reaches a plateau in MCAT score. If you haven't reached that yet, there's much potential to improve. If you have reached that already, I wouldn't expect the score to jump
     
  6. Well, considering the course I took (Kaplan) was only around 8-9 weeks, most of my improvements came in the second half. :) I think on the initial diagnostic I scored in the mid-to-high 20s, and by the time the last few tests (and the real thing) came around I was scoring in the mid-30s.
     
  7. Wahooali

    Wahooali The Real Sydney Bristow
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    Thanks for the input guys, it's encouraging to read for us people starting to freak out as the test is starting to approach more and more rapidly. Eep!
     
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  8. felipe5

    felipe5 Fingerpickin' Good
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    yes, the last month before the test is one in which many (including myself) freaked out........I did improve 4 points from my final practice test, but I improved 14 from my initial diagnostic. Hang in there....its okay to freak out right now, but I suggest switching to chill-mode the week of the test, it'll be better for you overall :horns:
     
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  9. matthew45

    matthew45 Rock Chalk.
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    I do hope to OP realizes they're going to have to do a lot of work to get that score up. My suggestion would be to take as many full-length timed practice tests between now and test day as possible. I would say shoot for at least one a week, probably more. If you need more tests, get with people in different classes or with different books and share. Study what you didn't know on the test after you take it, then take another one. You can't underestimate the importance of stamina and pacing.
     
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  10. medic8m

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    Dont get a false sense of security from practice scores.

    I took Kaplan and started out getting scores in the low twenties . After I became more comfortable with the format of the test I increased my scores. On the actual AMCAS released tests I was getting 35+ consistently. Then I dropped to a 30 on the actual MCAT. Still good enough to get several acceptances (I have great ECs) but i was a little disappointed. I heard most do better on the actual test. I probably shouldn't have taken it before I finished OChem.
     
  11. OP
    OP
    OnMyWayThere

    OnMyWayThere OMS-III
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    Thank you all very much for sharing your experiences. Your taking the time to write them is really appreciated. I will step it up another notch. I started studying 5 weeks ago so I'm only half-way there. I'll keep ya posted. Thanks :thumbup:
     
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  12. Super Rob

    Super Rob Senior Member
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    I felt "stuck" in all three subjects until about a month before the actual exam. I made up my mind that in that time I would do what it took to improve at least a point in each section. It worked.

    This is ONLY what worked for me:

    I purchased the online AAMC material, because it's as close as you are going to get (especially in verbal) to the real thing and after you pay the $80, you own it.

    Next step: determine whether or not you know all of the material you need to know for the mcat. This may sound redundant, but every year the AAMC publishes a list of what is likely to appear on the test. Now, some of the stuff that makes the list has a snowball's chance in hell of actually appearing in your exam booklet (T-tests and Chi Square analysis... huh?) But if you've been taking a prep course (EK, Kap, TRP, etc.) then your teacher SHOULD be able to show you what is high yield and what is simply NOT on there (or represented in some abstract and inconspicuous fashion). You are left with a finite amount of material to prepare for in the biological science section in the physical science section.

    Next step: figure out each section.

    physical science: this is the one that wants to you remember f=ma, the shorter the wavelength equals the longer frequency, and all of those other little equations and tidbits that you can only hope to memorize. Basically, if you know the concept and you recognize what the question is asking you for, you'll get the question right (or not, if you screw up your addition or forget the direction of a vector). For instance, one of the people I was studying with was stumped by a particular question. She had written down all of the variables and could not figure out what the question was asking her. I looked at it and said, "Oh, that's a Young's modulus problem!" She was like "What's a Young's modulus???" There was the problem... Young's modulus appears on that sheet AAMC publishes and for all intents and purposes it's medium yield and usually you just have to plug numbers into the equation... don't need to know much more about it. In another instance, my same friend was spending minutes on a problem. As soon as I said "They're just in a roundabout way asking you for the resultant force," she multiplied mass by acceleration (I think the actual numbers were something like 5 x 10^something and 1 x 10^ something else... three second problem once you recognize what they're asking).

    biosci. on the August exam, most of the correct answers came right from the passage or figure provided. Every now and then, they expected you to understand a little bit of basic organic chemistry or to know the difference between insulin and glucagon, but this section was basically a sciency verbal reasoning section with more concrete answer choices.

    verbal. In the few weeks before the real thing, I stopped looking at Kaplan verbal. It just didn't cut it. I dove into the AAMC stuff because it is highly representative of the actual exam. I haven't mastered this section, but it seems like the reasoning Kaplan uses and the reasoning AAMC uses contrast just enough to mess up tens of thousands of test takers annually. Kaplan (and presumably other review courses) offer great strategies to adopt early on (at least while you are NOT timing yourself)... this close to the test, however, there really isn't enough time for you to be underlining and paraphrasing and drawing cute, little diagrams in the margins. As with other sections, after you finish verbal reasoning, go over each and every question... scrutinize it to death to see where you went right or wrong, and then redo the passage a week later... and redo it two weeks later. You'll develop a certain mindset that will help you "see" correct choices faster.

    And, perhaps the most important thing that I could have done to improve in under a month... a TIME STRATEGY. So many of my friends and classmates thought they would plow through the MCAT without paying attention to the time. There were people at my school who missed three or four passages!!!! They're not going to med school. I suggest you do something sort of like I did:

    I grouped passages in each section into time blocks. For example, in biosci, I think I did freeQs1, freeQs2, and freeQs3 followed by psg1, psg2, psg3 and then psg4, psg5, psg6... etc. I gave myself so much time to complete each group and so much time to complete each passage within each group. If I ran out of time, I moved on. With each problem, if an answer didn't come to me immediately, I would give myself thirty seconds to "work it out," and if that didn't happen I would guess. If I still had four choices at the end of thirty seconds... innee, minnee, mynee... you get the picture. I was sure to finish on time and on the actual exam, I had a good ten minutes to go back in the first two sections and a ridiculous amount of time left over in biosci. Also, note that if you ARE able to narrow down your answer to two choices, it is NOT always helpful to go back and make changes... only do this if you were absolutely stumped by a problem, or if you did not have time to do a ridiculously long calculation that was required to distinguish between choice A and choice B.

    Good Luck!
     
  13. vmiskin

    vmiskin Eph.
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    i thought some of the devices tpr suggests were pretty helpful - just about how to attack the problems. but the rest of the course sucked - their tests were definitely not representative of the real thing. the aamc exams are really good to prepare - by reading and practicing about an hour a day i went up by 18 points from my first daignostic - things went really well in the end.
     
  14. lukeday99

    lukeday99 Nooby
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    I think something alot of people are mssing here is taking care of yourself prior to the test. Excercise and eat really well. Get enough sleep. The trick is to get your brain's motor revving, and then keep it there. I think the suggestion of reading alot is usefull. Do crosswords. Sit outside in the sun. Walk your dog. Oh, and supplement yourself nutritionally. I took a bunch of supplements that are thought to be neuro-transmitters precursors, ie, good for the brain. If you've got the bank, look into some phosphitydal choline, acetyl L-carnitine, ginko biloba, and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid (ie fish oil) supplements, as well as a good multi-vit. I've done a nutritional loading program like this several times, such as when I was writing my senior thesis, when I was taking physics, biochem, and orgo concurrently, and when I was studying for the MCAT, and I swear by it. It's easy to look this up online.
    Good luck. Oh, and relax.
     
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  15. missbonnie

    missbonnie floating
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    i went up alot from my first test (aamc 1) to the actual. i think it was sumthing like 9v,7p,9b to 10v,12p,12b. took the EK course in nyc which was only like a 9week course and i stopped studying the thursday before the test. study consistently and be chiill is my advice.
     

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