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Does ExamKrackers work?

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by Pursuing MD, Nov 4, 2002.

  1. Pursuing MD

    Pursuing MD Senior Member
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    Did anyone use ExamKrackers to prepare for the MCAT? IF yes, did it help? How well (or poorly) did you do?
     
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  3. Camden772

    Camden772 Senior Member
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    I studied on my own for the August 2002 MCAT using EK materials. I scored 13-15v, 10p, R, 13b.

    When I originally took the MCAT in 1994, I prepared by taking the Kaplan course. I did not put enough effort into the course and I scored 9v, 8p, N, 9b.

    I think you can score just as well with EK, as you would with TPR, Kaplan, or Berkeley Review. All of these materials are good, but I preferred EK. I thought the books were easy to understand, and I definitely think they have the best verbal strategy. I could not have scored 13-15 on verbal using any other strategies taught by other prep courses, or at least what's taught in their books (I read verbal strategies from TPR, Kaplan, Berkeley, and Columbia Review books, but I have not taken any of their courses recently, and the only course I ever took was Kaplan in 1994). I would read EK's verbal book, even if you take another course or use another course's science books. The practice materials are good from all of these companies, but AAMC stuff is the best. The most important thing is you but in the effort, both in learning/understanding the material and in practicing taking the test under real exam conditions. If you do that you will improve your score. Whether you are better off taking a course or studying on your own, or using EK instead of Kaplan or TPR, is all a matter of personal preference. I like EK because they make things simple and understandable and they don't go overboard by giving you too much science material to learn. Hope this helps.
     
  4. Pursuing MD

    Pursuing MD Senior Member
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    I took the MCAT twice...the 2nd time that I prepared with EK, my verbal score dropped by 2 points.

    I totally agree with what you said about EK...the pictures are great and they do not overload you with excess info.; they make things easy to understand.

    But, I read over the verbal study tips of EK about 1 week before I took the MCAT...and this is most probably why I dropped by 2 points on the verbal score; I really didn't get a good chance to practice with the tips they offered. But, nonetheless, I agree with their verbal strategies.
     
  5. franklinthedog

    franklinthedog Senior Member
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    possible theory on this....

    I have tried to post something similar asking how good EK really is, as I am considering taking the class itself.

    But, no one ever really replies, is this because all EK students that used them (esp. those that took the class) have done so well on the MCAT that they have moved beyond SDN MCAT discussions now? Or, is it due to the fact their students are so few in number as the class is limited in geography? Or, maybe nobody gives a poop, I know I do cause I may take the class.

    Just my $.02
     
  6. 2003Applicant

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    I bought their books from their website and liked them a lot. I especially liked the 1001 Questions books because I learned by doing, rather than passive memorization.

    I liked all of their materials -- so glad I used those books.

    Good luck everyone.
     
  7. Bevo

    Bevo Radiology, R1
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    i used the EK stuff for the August MCAT. I found that the Orgo and Physics book did a good job of explaining the materal. Well I thought so when studying it. I managed todo very poorly on the physical sciences section.

    I liked the verbal prep.

    I dont think the 1001 books are worth it. they provide discrete problems but no mcat style questions. the books should include a mix of both.
     
  8. 2003Applicant

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    I guess it depends on learning style. I did so many practice tests that I didn't need a book that gave me more MCAT style questions. These books allow you to study the material -- you use it in conjunction with the review books. You learn the facts, rather than learning how to take the test. Learning how to take the test is reserved for full length practice tests.
     
  9. Mudd

    Mudd Charlatan & Trouble Maker
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    Maybe I'm missing your logic here, but isn't the entire point of test preparation getting prepared for the exam? Shouldn't everything you do, in a perfect prep world, emphasize the material within the context of the exam?

    I fully agree that you need to take many practice exams to get ready for the MCAT, but books should not only teach subject content, they should teach how to apply that information to the exam.

    I still contend that the best set of preparation materials is a cocktail that includes selected materials from many different sources. No single company has established itself as the best at everything and it comes down to the individual student anyway. But whatever the source, you NEED passages and test strategy for every subject.
     
  10. WonderBoy

    Physician 10+ Year Member

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    The 1001 books are designed to help you learn the science cold. You still need tests to practice passages.

    I used EK over the summer, I found their material to make stuff simplified. They just tell you to concentrate of the stuff that is important and not waste time on too much detail. Anyhow you still need to do a lot of practice something which I didn't do enough off. Thus I will be taking the test in April.

    However, I still highly recommend their books to anyone preparing the the MCATs. But remember to practice a lot!
     
  11. 2003Applicant

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    I apologize for being unclear.

    I thought the 1001 books were great for reinforcing the facts that you need to know. Rather than memorzing facts from a review book, these questions give you an opportunity to test yourself to be sure that you understand every concept that could appear on the test.

    The 1001 books should be used in conjunction with review books -- kind of like a self-test on the concepts.

    The full length practice tests prepare you for the exam format. First, however, you must understand each and every concept that could appear on the test. Then, you have to put this knowledge to use in the exam format.

    This is for my learning style, which may not apply to other people. I find that I have to actively do, rather than passively memorize.

    Hope this is helpful.
     
  12. WonderBoy

    Physician 10+ Year Member

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    Well said Mudd.

    Along with EK material, I used my old textbooks and TPR stuff. Sometimes you need a different perspectice on a subject so you get it. Don't limit yourself.

    One more thing, to the original poster. EK works but so do a lot of the other prep companies. It basically comes down to how bad you want it.
     
  13. Bevo

    Bevo Radiology, R1
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    Id also recommend trying to get a buddy or a study group started. When I was preparing for teh April MCAT last year I had 2 friends who I studied with. They kept me going when I felt like going bleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeh. We also had a weekly or biweekly review time where we'd discuss a topic that one or all of us didn't understand. When I decided to drop out of the April MCAT test (hindsight I think that was a mistake). I studied alone during the summer and my time to prepare varied with greatly with my summer classes. I missed having them around.


    I think that is one of the intangibles that you can't get from a book or prep course.
     
  14. Pursuing MD

    Pursuing MD Senior Member
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    No dount the EK books are good, but I think using a cocktale of texts is perhaps the best way.

    The EK books have great pictures that can aid learning and they point out what is important to know. Perhaps, using EK books with another company's book that explains everything in detail (such as Princeton Review's HYPERLEARNING books) might be the best way...you read over and get a general understanding of the specifics from the other book, and then look over EK to learn what you need to know. (I hope this is clear)...just wanted to tell you what I think.
     
  15. Mudd

    Mudd Charlatan & Trouble Maker
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    It looks like everyone is in agreement, which is kind of nice. It's funny how much more obvious an appropriate study plan is after the exam. But hopefully these insights will help future test takers prepare.

    The cocktail approach allows you to be ready for different writing styles and philosophies. The confidence one gains by being able to answer questions from many different sources is invaluable. The MCAT is written by different sources, so it makes sense to study materials from different sources.

    Without a doubt, everyone taking the MCAT should take AAMC exams 3-6. In addition, if possible, they should take at least one exam from each prep company so that they are exposed to stylistic differences.

    As far as preparation, every section on the MCAT has many different material soruces. Some are certainly more well written than others. Also, some get the tone of the MCAT better. But in all reality, it still comes down to the student. And as mentioned above by lmbebo, the study buddy approach is an absolute must. Teamwork really helps in motivation and understanding.

    My $0.02 on materials is that they MUST have passages to be of value. There are some books with great text and an "easy to understand" approach to the concepts, but those alone are not enough. You have to do passages! Descrete questions will help a little, but only when you do passages are you forced to read tables and decipher what is relevant and irrelevant. Half of the battle on the MCAT is filtering the minutiae.

    And Wonderboy hit the nail right on the head. It comes down to how much you want it. Even with the best mixture of materials, it's still up to the student.

    So for the many people looking for a magic bullet compliments of one of the prep companies, you'll find it right next to the fountain of youth near the entrance to Atlantis.
     
  16. woolie

    woolie Intermountain West
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    I agree about the 1001 books being good review for the nuts and bolts questions on the MCAT. Nowe that I have more than just afew short weeks to cram all this information into my (hurting) head, I am sitting down with the EK 1001 Physics and Chemistry and going through them from the most difficult sections to the easiest. I plan to do the whole books and then go back and do them again.

    I really need the black and white practice of these problems; it's not like the biology where I feel I can cover the ground with advanced study. The physics and genchem stuff was really hard for me so this seems to be working so far.

    That's my "cocktail", plus my kitchen floor is pilled high with all my TPR/Kaplan and other text books, etc. I agree that doing everyones tests is good practice. I will buy the previous MCAT exams later on and churn through them as well.
     
  17. BobbyDylanFan

    BobbyDylanFan Senior Member
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    i think there 101 passages in verbal is a must have for anyone taking the mcat. as far as the other material, i hear it is some of the best stuff around, but again it would probably be a good idea to have a nice mix of everything.
     
  18. newfocus

    newfocus Senior Member
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    It seems that plenty has already been said but just for the record I scored a 9 8 8 in august using TPR and a 11 10 9 in april using EK
     
  19. AegisZero

    AegisZero Senior Member
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    That probably has more to do with your familiarity with the test and that the april administration is considered by many to be slightly easier percentile-wise due to the larger test-taking pool.
     
  20. Mudd

    Mudd Charlatan & Trouble Maker
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    While that may play a role, according to AAMC statistics, the average person retaking the MCAT goes up by only a point total. So familiarity with the exam is over-rated. A person may be less apt to freak out the second time, due to familiarity. A 5-point increase is pretty substantial, although it still falls in the region of random variation. The score may have gone up by simple luck, due to better passages. The score may have gone up because of superior preparation.

    Actully, you have the percentage fact backwards. From the AAMC website:

    • 4/00 25,405 test takers
      8/00 29,413 test takers

      4/01 24,941 test takers
      8/01 29,571 test takers

      4/02 25,629 test takers
      8/02 31,942 test takers

    Where do these rumors and myths start from?
     
  21. AegisZero

    AegisZero Senior Member
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    I was referring to the scores for people taking the MCAT "early" in August as compared to their classmates who take it normally in April and "late" the following August. Two different Kaplan instructors told me this.

    Also, familiarity might definitely be overrated, I agree. I cannot speak from personal experience because I took the test once and have no reason to take it again. But yeah, it really depends on your motivation I bet more than the type of test prep you do. They basically all cover the same material from what others have told me.
     
  22. BobbyDylanFan

    BobbyDylanFan Senior Member
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    I agree with you all but the bottom line is that there must be some reason they have done better! Not to mention that their company has grown 200%-300% in the past year...from word of mouth alone:eek: Stuff like that just doesn't happen
     
  23. Mudd

    Mudd Charlatan & Trouble Maker
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    Considering the information the two Kaplan instructors told you is completely the opposite of public information available from AAMC, I'm not sure I agree with the comment about all prep materials being the same. If they can't even do their homework to have their instructors presenting valid information, I wonder what else is wrong. I'm sure their science is correct in most cases, but for a company that big, you'd think they'd have some control over the accuracy of the information diseminated by their instructors.

    Your seem overzealous about something you haven't taken. The accolades they get are no doubt well deserved, but be careful not to only look at one-sided comments. You must realize that it comes down to the student, so if you enroll thinking it equal automatic success, you might be disappointed. I have no idea if the 200% to 300% comment is valid, but any small start up company better grow that much or they'll be out of business.
     
  24. BobbyDylanFan

    BobbyDylanFan Senior Member
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    Your seem overzealous about something you haven't taken. The accolades they get are no doubt well deserved, but be careful not to only look at one-sided comments. You must realize that it comes down to the student, so if you enroll thinking it equal automatic success, you might be disappointed. I have no idea if the 200% to 300% comment is valid, but any small start up company better grow that much or they'll be out of business. [/QUOTE] [/B]


    I understand and agree with your points. It does come down to the individual student. But when you haven't taken the test, I think that the best way to find out what is the best to prepare with is to ask other people and do a little research. I feel that based on what I have heard and seen (Even check out their website, they are going above and beyond any small company I've ever seen to cater to us pre-meds) they are the best. Everything from the president of their company answering phone calls and posting answers to questions on their bulleting board, filling out an errata sheet for their books (most companies are scared to do this), and the numerous people that have said they are what would seem to be the best choice available.(I have only heard of one student that has done what one would consider "poor" after taking their course).
    But the fact of the matter is, I will take a prep course for the MCAT. If it is not EK (because they don't come to Boston) it will be TPR because that will be my only choice.

    PS I can fully attest to their verbal 101 because I have used it and compared with other materials
     

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