Newtonian21

2+ Year Member
May 11, 2016
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Hey everyone just a shout out here. I am prepping for my mcat in January. I have been using the Berkeley review since June. I don't know if it's me or just this is supposed to be harder. But it seems like the Berkeley review is way more advanced than what we are supposed to know for the mcat. From what I've seen so far, their book is more clinically oriented. Anyone seeing this as well? Would this be helpful for the real mcat?
 

Coltuna

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Nov 2, 2015
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Hey everyone just a shout out here. I am prepping for my mcat in January. I have been using the Berkeley review since June. I don't know if it's me or just this is supposed to be harder. But it seems like the Berkeley review is way more advanced than what we are supposed to know for the mcat. From what I've seen so far, their book is more clinically oriented. Anyone seeing this as well? Would this be helpful for the real mcat?
Are you just talking overall? General consensus is that Physics and Gen Chem are the GOAT, Bio is overkill. Organic chem has mixed reviews: Some people swear it's the reason they did really well in biochem on the MCAT and some people say it's way overkill. Kaplan quick sheets covered everything I needed to know for Orgo but N=1.
 
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Zenabi90

2+ Year Member
Jul 14, 2017
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TL; DR at the bottom:

I've gone through Physics I and half of Psych and Berkeley Review's approach to me seems like this:

Theoretically, let's say for the MCAT you need to know concepts up to a theoretical "depth" of 5/10. Berkeley Review teaches you to a "depth" of 7/10 with an emphasis on understanding rather than pure memorization, promoting mastery over regurgitation. With the idea that you'll only retain 70-80% of what you've learned, your true "depth" will be 4.9-5.6/10, more than sufficient to excel on the MCAT.

This approach is definitely not for everyone. I would only recommend TBR to the following subsets of people:
1a. You need a thorough content review (poor undergrad, non-trad, etc)
OR
1b. You have the time and energy to do a thorough content review
and

2b. You're looking for a great score (510+, arguably 515+), despite poor to middling testing abilities.

If you're any of the following, I suggest the TPR/Kaplan combo instead:
1. Amazing test taking skills (tends to get 70-80% on MC exams without any real content review)
2. Strong undergrad (high mastery in all prereqs, not just gpa) background
3. <10 weeks to prep

Example: 3.8 student with 2mos until MCAT, ok test taker. Do EK Bio, TPR for C/P, EK101 Verbal for CARS, Reddit's Khan Academy 100pg for P/S, AAMC Sample Exam and FL1/2 and NS FL1-5. Focus on Hat Trick and FLs for last two weeks.

Example: 3.4 student (needs 515+), 2 years out of college, doing part time ECs, 4 mos out from first MCAT take. Do full TBR, add TPR for P/S, and add EK101 Verbal for CARS. Do NS FL1-5, Altius FLs, AAMC FL 1/2. Add Hat Trick after first round of Content Review.

Personal Recommendation for you: You have roughly 5mos to prepare for your MCAT. I don't know what else you have going on, but you have enough time to do a full TBR-based content review for 2mos, utilize other resources like Anki decks and the Reddit P/S resources, and then implement a 3-month strategy like SN2ed, KoalaT, MCATjelly, etc. You'll get a 515+, maybe 520+.

Sorry for the long post, just trying to be thorough. I've read hundreds of threads on the different resources and strategies possible both here and on Reddit and here's the TL;DR

TL;DR: Yes it is harder. Yes it will help, yes you should do it since you have 5mos. Please read SN2ed and KoalaT and Jelly threads and their sub-threads. Work in = work out and you have the time.
 

Zenabi90

2+ Year Member
Jul 14, 2017
593
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Another way to think about it:

TBR takes the "track and field" approach.

If you've ever done track, you know sprinters aren't told to run 100m for the 100m dash. They're told to run 110m (at least that was the approach from my coach). We never timed 100m until the week before a meet. It was always work on your starts, and time your 110m.

Because if you end up only working at 90% peak performance, you'd still make it the 100m.

Cross country races are 5km. But the runners train for 10, 15, 20km. With hills. And face masks.

TBR is like that. It tries to prep you for more than you need, because you never know when/how you're going to fall short on test day. The MCAT is a marathon. So train like it.
 
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chillingpanda

2+ Year Member
May 19, 2015
158
33
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Medical Student
TL; DR at the bottom:

I've gone through Physics I and half of Psych and Berkeley Review's approach to me seems like this:

Theoretically, let's say for the MCAT you need to know concepts up to a theoretical "depth" of 5/10. Berkeley Review teaches you to a "depth" of 7/10 with an emphasis on understanding rather than pure memorization, promoting mastery over regurgitation. With the idea that you'll only retain 70-80% of what you've learned, your true "depth" will be 4.9-5.6/10, more than sufficient to excel on the MCAT.

This approach is definitely not for everyone. I would only recommend TBR to the following subsets of people:
1a. You need a thorough content review (poor undergrad, non-trad, etc)
OR
1b. You have the time and energy to do a thorough content review
and

2b. You're looking for a great score (510+, arguably 515+), despite poor to middling testing abilities.

If you're any of the following, I suggest the TPR/Kaplan combo instead:
1. Amazing test taking skills (tends to get 70-80% on MC exams without any real content review)
2. Strong undergrad (high mastery in all prereqs, not just gpa) background
3. <10 weeks to prep

Example: 3.8 student with 2mos until MCAT, ok test taker. Do EK Bio, TPR for C/P, EK101 Verbal for CARS, Reddit's Khan Academy 100pg for P/S, AAMC Sample Exam and FL1/2 and NS FL1-5. Focus on Hat Trick and FLs for last two weeks.

Example: 3.4 student (needs 515+), 2 years out of college, doing part time ECs, 4 mos out from first MCAT take. Do full TBR, add TPR for P/S, and add EK101 Verbal for CARS. Do NS FL1-5, Altius FLs, AAMC FL 1/2. Add Hat Trick after first round of Content Review.

Personal Recommendation for you: You have roughly 5mos to prepare for your MCAT. I don't know what else you have going on, but you have enough time to do a full TBR-based content review for 2mos, utilize other resources like Anki decks and the Reddit P/S resources, and then implement a 3-month strategy like SN2ed, KoalaT, MCATjelly, etc. You'll get a 515+, maybe 520+.

Sorry for the long post, just trying to be thorough. I've read hundreds of threads on the different resources and strategies possible both here and on Reddit and here's the TL;DR

TL;DR: Yes it is harder. Yes it will help, yes you should do it since you have 5mos. Please read SN2ed and KoalaT and Jelly threads and their sub-threads. Work in = work out and you have the time.
How do you narrow down what's important for the MCAT from TBR? Like I usually make anki cards for anything I want to memorize/keep fresh, but I feel like there's so much info that it's hard to narrow down what I should make a card for
 

Coltuna

2+ Year Member
Nov 2, 2015
1,507
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How do you narrow down what's important for the MCAT from TBR? Like I usually make anki cards for anything I want to memorize/keep fresh, but I feel like there's so much info that it's hard to narrow down what I should make a card for
Buy Kaplan Quick Sheets and make cards from those.
 

foucault

2+ Year Member
Aug 6, 2016
42
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To add on above, TBR Biochem is way more than you'll likely need (fwiw, I scored >97% on B/B on the actual MCAT plus on the AAMC practice without knowing everything in there)
 
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Newtonian21

2+ Year Member
May 11, 2016
117
34
Thanks guys. I'll keep doing TBR, better to be more than prepared than to fall short on test day. Thanks!!
 

chillingpanda

2+ Year Member
May 19, 2015
158
33
Status
Medical Student
TL; DR at the bottom:

I've gone through Physics I and half of Psych and Berkeley Review's approach to me seems like this:

Theoretically, let's say for the MCAT you need to know concepts up to a theoretical "depth" of 5/10. Berkeley Review teaches you to a "depth" of 7/10 with an emphasis on understanding rather than pure memorization, promoting mastery over regurgitation. With the idea that you'll only retain 70-80% of what you've learned, your true "depth" will be 4.9-5.6/10, more than sufficient to excel on the MCAT.

This approach is definitely not for everyone. I would only recommend TBR to the following subsets of people:
1a. You need a thorough content review (poor undergrad, non-trad, etc)
OR
1b. You have the time and energy to do a thorough content review
and

2b. You're looking for a great score (510+, arguably 515+), despite poor to middling testing abilities.

If you're any of the following, I suggest the TPR/Kaplan combo instead:
1. Amazing test taking skills (tends to get 70-80% on MC exams without any real content review)
2. Strong undergrad (high mastery in all prereqs, not just gpa) background
3. <10 weeks to prep

Example: 3.8 student with 2mos until MCAT, ok test taker. Do EK Bio, TPR for C/P, EK101 Verbal for CARS, Reddit's Khan Academy 100pg for P/S, AAMC Sample Exam and FL1/2 and NS FL1-5. Focus on Hat Trick and FLs for last two weeks.

Example: 3.4 student (needs 515+), 2 years out of college, doing part time ECs, 4 mos out from first MCAT take. Do full TBR, add TPR for P/S, and add EK101 Verbal for CARS. Do NS FL1-5, Altius FLs, AAMC FL 1/2. Add Hat Trick after first round of Content Review.

Personal Recommendation for you: You have roughly 5mos to prepare for your MCAT. I don't know what else you have going on, but you have enough time to do a full TBR-based content review for 2mos, utilize other resources like Anki decks and the Reddit P/S resources, and then implement a 3-month strategy like SN2ed, KoalaT, MCATjelly, etc. You'll get a 515+, maybe 520+.

Sorry for the long post, just trying to be thorough. I've read hundreds of threads on the different resources and strategies possible both here and on Reddit and here's the TL;DR

TL;DR: Yes it is harder. Yes it will help, yes you should do it since you have 5mos. Please read SN2ed and KoalaT and Jelly threads and their sub-threads. Work in = work out and you have the time.
I was thinking about approaching the MCAT similar to what you suggested in the "Personal Recommendation for you". If I follow this method would I still do the passages in TBR or should I save them for when I follow a 3 month strategy from one of the stickies? I was thinking about thoroughly going through the bio, psychology, and maybe gen chem while making anki cards and have them done by the end of fall semester since I have a light course load & then go complete MCAT mode December-March (or April) since I'll be graduated by then. Also I have a competitive gpa, but definitely do not remember much of the content from the pre reqs. What do you suggest?
 

Zenabi90

2+ Year Member
Jul 14, 2017
593
431
Status
Medical Student
I was thinking about approaching the MCAT similar to what you suggested in the "Personal Recommendation for you". If I follow this method would I still do the passages in TBR or should I save them for when I follow a 3 month strategy from one of the stickies? I was thinking about thoroughly going through the bio, psychology, and maybe gen chem while making anki cards and have them done by the end of fall semester since I have a light course load & then go complete MCAT mode December-March (or April) since I'll be graduated by then. Also I have a competitive gpa, but definitely do not remember much of the content from the pre reqs. What do you suggest?
When are you graduating? The way I'm reading your post, it seems like you're graduating in December? I'll assume you will graduate in early Dec, and that's where I'll start your dedicated study period.

This is how I would structure your time using TBR for content review. Physics and Bio have 10 chapters, Gen Chem 12, Org Chem 8. TBR Psych has has 7+ appendix but lacks sociology, so if you want to go rigorous, I recommend studying TBR Psych (7 chapter plus appendix) and TPR Psych/Soc (6 chapters). Between those two, its heavy overkill but a definite mastery. Each book has something the other doesnt't, so since you have time, so more content doesn't hurt. Between TBR complete set and TPR P/S, it is a total of 54 chapters. Don't touch passages or discretes until your dedicated study period. We're just doing light learning because you have classes to worry about.

Aug 21-31: 11 days for you to skim the 10 books, and get TPR via Amazon. Skim through a book a day. Check out the formatting of each book, how they like to present things. So many people just jump into a book without trying to figure out how to use the book effectively, or where certain resources are within the book. Highlight formulas, bolded/italicized/underlined words and concepts (not the definitions, just the words itself). Look at the concepts provided and try to strategize on what types of Anki cards would work best. For my advice on this, see bottom. We're setting small goals, to help cement the mindset that MCAT studying isn't hard and to ease in. Both will help us avoid burnout, especially when taking classes concurrently. Also, make thorough standalone anki decks for amino acid properties/structures and for unit circle/common sqrt for faster mental math on the exam.

Sept 1 - Oct 31: Assigning Sundays as break days (9 Sundays total), that leaves 52 days for 54 chapters. Take 1 chapter per day, go through and make Anki cards for every formula, bolded/italicized terms. This should be quick to locate, because you highlighted them all back in August right?. Make a deck for each subject, with a subdeck for each chapter. 1 chapter a day leaves 2 chapters undone! That's easy, just combine TBR Psych chapter 6+7+Appendix on one day. A total of 46 pages, its still less than the first chapter of TPR P/S. Do 1 CARS-type reading a day. Jack Westin provides an email subscription that can help with that. Another option is to subscribe to a magazine with content you find boring (New Yorker, Atlantic, WSJ, etc) and read, read, read. Read critically, not passively. Sign up for your MCAT in October.

Nov 1-30: Do your anki cards. Total how many cards you've made, divide by 15. That number per day will get you 2 exposures per card. If its too much, then just divide by 30. You'll only get 1 exposure per card, but it'll be ok. You'll have had 1 exposure from Aug, the equivalent of a 2-3x exposure from making the cards (double for P/S since you've done 2 resources). Magic number of exposures in advertising is 7 +/- 2. We're aiming for the same thing here. Get to 4-5, and then your dedicated content review will get us to 9+ exposures. Continue with your daily CARS reading.

Dec-Mar: 120 day plan from SN2ed/KoalaT. Exposures include reading chapter (1), doing passages and discretes (2), doing detailed analysis (3), Hat Trick (4), and FLs (5). For your 120 day plan P/S review, use TBR ch 1-7 + TPR ch 7-8. Daily anki cards will help us here as well. Once you start doing FLs and detailed analysis, you can start to see where your content review is weak, focus on those anki subdecks. Change your daily CARS work to TBR CARS/EK Verbal 10/TPR CARS. Do 1 a day. Good luck on your exam.


Anki Card suggestions for those who might ask:
For example: Physics is all about formulas. So those are generally simple to memorize. I would put on the front the properties used in the equation, and then the actual equation on the back like so: Front: Resistance in series. Back: Req = SUM(Rx) or perhaps Req = R1 + R2 + ... + Rn. Or Front: "Translational motion, no distance" Back: Vfinal = Vinit + a(delta t).

Psych/Soc is all about terms and definitions. But its important to go both forwards and backwards in your definitions. This is an option in Anki if I remember right. You could make a card like "Law of Closure"/"Individuals perceive objects such as shapes or letters as being whole when they are not complete." which is fine, but then I'd also select the option for the card to present the back first, and have you guess the front. It's also important to try, as much as possible, to not "give away" the answer in the question. If you note the previous example, I was careful not to use the word "closure" in the sentence definition. A poor back side would probably be something like "Perceiving outlined objects as closed, when they are actually open." The closed/closure connection may appear to strengthen, but it's relying on a prompt/cue to activate the neural net, rather than a general understanding and will lead to greater recognition but poor recall later.
 

chillingpanda

2+ Year Member
May 19, 2015
158
33
Status
Medical Student
When are you graduating? The way I'm reading your post, it seems like you're graduating in December? I'll assume you will graduate in early Dec, and that's where I'll start your dedicated study period.

This is how I would structure your time using TBR for content review. Physics and Bio have 10 chapters, Gen Chem 12, Org Chem 8. TBR Psych has has 7+ appendix but lacks sociology, so if you want to go rigorous, I recommend studying TBR Psych (7 chapter plus appendix) and TPR Psych/Soc (6 chapters). Between those two, its heavy overkill but a definite mastery. Each book has something the other doesnt't, so since you have time, so more content doesn't hurt. Between TBR complete set and TPR P/S, it is a total of 54 chapters. Don't touch passages or discretes until your dedicated study period. We're just doing light learning because you have classes to worry about.

Aug 21-31: 11 days for you to skim the 10 books, and get TPR via Amazon. Skim through a book a day. Check out the formatting of each book, how they like to present things. So many people just jump into a book without trying to figure out how to use the book effectively, or where certain resources are within the book. Highlight formulas, bolded/italicized/underlined words and concepts (not the definitions, just the words itself). Look at the concepts provided and try to strategize on what types of Anki cards would work best. For my advice on this, see bottom. We're setting small goals, to help cement the mindset that MCAT studying isn't hard and to ease in. Both will help us avoid burnout, especially when taking classes concurrently. Also, make thorough standalone anki decks for amino acid properties/structures and for unit circle/common sqrt for faster mental math on the exam.

Sept 1 - Oct 31: Assigning Sundays as break days (9 Sundays total), that leaves 52 days for 54 chapters. Take 1 chapter per day, go through and make Anki cards for every formula, bolded/italicized terms. This should be quick to locate, because you highlighted them all back in August right?. Make a deck for each subject, with a subdeck for each chapter. 1 chapter a day leaves 2 chapters undone! That's easy, just combine TBR Psych chapter 6+7+Appendix on one day. A total of 46 pages, its still less than the first chapter of TPR P/S. Do 1 CARS-type reading a day. Jack Westin provides an email subscription that can help with that. Another option is to subscribe to a magazine with content you find boring (New Yorker, Atlantic, WSJ, etc) and read, read, read. Read critically, not passively. Sign up for your MCAT in October.

Nov 1-30: Do your anki cards. Total how many cards you've made, divide by 15. That number per day will get you 2 exposures per card. If its too much, then just divide by 30. You'll only get 1 exposure per card, but it'll be ok. You'll have had 1 exposure from Aug, the equivalent of a 2-3x exposure from making the cards (double for P/S since you've done 2 resources). Magic number of exposures in advertising is 7 +/- 2. We're aiming for the same thing here. Get to 4-5, and then your dedicated content review will get us to 9+ exposures. Continue with your daily CARS reading.

Dec-Mar: 120 day plan from SN2ed/KoalaT. Exposures include reading chapter (1), doing passages and discretes (2), doing detailed analysis (3), Hat Trick (4), and FLs (5). For your 120 day plan P/S review, use TBR ch 1-7 + TPR ch 7-8. Daily anki cards will help us here as well. Once you start doing FLs and detailed analysis, you can start to see where your content review is weak, focus on those anki subdecks. Change your daily CARS work to TBR CARS/EK Verbal 10/TPR CARS. Do 1 a day. Good luck on your exam.


Anki Card suggestions for those who might ask:
For example: Physics is all about formulas. So those are generally simple to memorize. I would put on the front the properties used in the equation, and then the actual equation on the back like so: Front: Resistance in series. Back: Req = SUM(Rx) or perhaps Req = R1 + R2 + ... + Rn. Or Front: "Translational motion, no distance" Back: Vfinal = Vinit + a(delta t).

Psych/Soc is all about terms and definitions. But its important to go both forwards and backwards in your definitions. This is an option in Anki if I remember right. You could make a card like "Law of Closure"/"Individuals perceive objects such as shapes or letters as being whole when they are not complete." which is fine, but then I'd also select the option for the card to present the back first, and have you guess the front. It's also important to try, as much as possible, to not "give away" the answer in the question. If you note the previous example, I was careful not to use the word "closure" in the sentence definition. A poor back side would probably be something like "Perceiving outlined objects as closed, when they are actually open." The closed/closure connection may appear to strengthen, but it's relying on a prompt/cue to activate the neural net, rather than a general understanding and will lead to greater recognition but poor recall later.
Wow this is great! Thank you so much for this detailed schedule. I am definitely going to implement and follow this as best as I can.
 

Zenabi90

2+ Year Member
Jul 14, 2017
593
431
Status
Medical Student
Wow this is great! Thank you so much for this detailed schedule. I am definitely going to implement and follow this as best as I can.
The best advice I can give you is to thoroughly read the pinned posts in this subforum. Especially the SN2ed study schedule thread, why diagnostics are bad thread, KoalaT schedule thread, KoalaT Golden Rule thread, etc. I took the standard SN2ed 90-day and added the chapters for TPR P/S and then changed the FLs because there are only 2 so far for the MCAT2015, and also added NextStep 1-5. You'll also notice some of the TBR books now have a Phase 1/2/3 system, and I will follow that in place of the first 1/3, second 1/3, third 1/3.
 

Zenabi90

2+ Year Member
Jul 14, 2017
593
431
Status
Medical Student
What are your thoughts on Kaplan for main content review then doing TBR passages as well as EK passages?
Was this directed towards me?


Thoughts: Materials don't matter, as long as you have some. If I had to proportion time, I'd say 1/5 detailed content review, 2/5 for passages/discretes with detailed analysis (not just what you got wrong, but also what you go right, and WHY it was wrong or right), 1/5 for FL and detailed FL analysis, 1/5 for Hat Trick, and daily CARS work. Asking for advice is good, working it out for yourself is better. NO ONE knows you better than you do (except God/Allah/whatever overarching deity you believe in). Asking strangers on a forum for advice on how you should repair is like asking your neighbor what you should have for dinner. Your neighbor may be an amazing cook, or a world famous food critic, but they don't know what you like to eat. Read, use the search function, sticky threads, formulate a plan, present it, then ask for advice.

Oh you wanted advice? Sure thing.
Advice: It will work, if you do it right. Read in Kaplan, then do EK1001 discretes and TBR passages? With proper item analysis afterwards? Beautiful. Don't forget your 7+ FLs and Hat Trick.

Ok real talk? There's no one concrete thing that puts one company completely ahead of another company. If there was, either there would only be one company, or every company would be doing it. Each thing has its strengths and weaknesses. Your job is to try to decipher which company has the strengths you need to succeed, and the weaknesses that you can ignore.

For example: TBR has (generally) the most thorough content review. Note I didn't say best content review, because THAT is subjective. The problem with thorough content review is that its LONG. And its also money if you buy new. So you have to ask, A. do I need thorough content review? and B. do I have time for it?. If you answers yes to both, guess what, you can take advantage of its strength and don't have to worry about its weakness. Is Khan Academy good for P/S? Again, strengths include full coverage of materials, video format, and its free. Weakness is that it can be quirky, its video format, and its purely online. No highlighting this one. So for many, its great! For me, it sucks. I hate videos as a first resource. I especially hate this new trend of the mass media to present information in data-heavy, 10 min visual mediums with ads, when a short article I could have read in 1 minute would have done fine. I zone out in videos. I watch videos aka Netflix to turn off. So this resource is TERRIBLE for me. But for you it might be great. Even Hat Trick has its strengths and weaknesses. Strength is that it promotes lateral thinking, out of the box connection formation, and forces you to properly gauge your mastery without lying to yourself. Weaknesses is that its hard, its time consuming, and sometimes it just doesn't work. If you have 1 week, I suggest you skip trying to learn how to efficiently do the Hat Trick. Just spam FLs and take your test. It's bad in that particular situation.


Everyone is going to have an approach that works for them. When I originally took the MCAT in 2012, I didn't like how Kaplan wasn't comprehensive enough, and TBR was more of an unknown back then compared to the old big 3 (Kaplan, TPR, EK). EK was too childish for me, with its artsy fartsy orange kiddy covers, so I went with TPR. I was just unhappy across the board. I got a 27 and decided I wasn't ready for the commitment and rigors of medical school. Fast-forward and I've come back and now I'm gearing up for a serious push. I want this now, badly. So I read the SN2ed thoroughly, I read KoalaT, MCATjelly, MeVamp and all that. Multiple times. Like I went through, printed out the threads, and highlighted/underlined/TERed the damn things. I searched across Reddit and SDN in general to see what people were having success with for MCAT2015. Cross referenced them, found overlaps, things I like and things I hated.

Here's what I know about me:
1. I need detailed content review. It's been 6 years since I took Physics, 7 years since Bio and OChem, 8 years since GenChem. I don't know jack.
2. I want to learn. Not memorize, I want to learn. Master the concepts. I'm not doing this to pass some test. This is me, setting up the groundwork for medical school. There's a reason these are prerequisite subjects. Example: Physics Conservation of flow will tell you why blood slows down in capillary beds. A1V1 = A2V2. Remember Area is radius squared, so a vessel that has twice the diamater, has twice the radius, four times the Area, 1/4 the velocity. BUT the number of capillaries far outweighs the major vessels, so A2 becomes so large, V2 must drop. Then you must realize that this drop in blood flow allows for increased time for diffusion aka O2/glucose dropoff and CO2/waste pickup. Also the reduced diameter is often so that only 1 or 2 RBC may pass at a time, so the diffusion distance is much smaller and more efficient. Instead of memorizing all that, you can work it out. And that is always more reliable than pure recall in high pressure situations (if you excuse the fluids pun).
3. I have time. I'm not in school, I have the full support of friends, family, and S/O. I can take my time and do proper, deep review.
4. I need to schedule my review down to the hour, or I WILL go off task. Because studying is hard and I prefer to do other "constructive things" like cook and clean.

So I'm going the deep route.
Materials: EK1001 discretes, EK101 Verbal, TPR CARS, TPRH Verbal, TBR complete set, TPR P/S, Reddit's Khan Academy P/S materials.
Timeline:
Aug-Sept: Shallow content review of all my TBR books. Allows me to setup anki cards I might want (formulas, P/S terms, amino acid memorization), prepare my hat trick topics. Get back into the mindset needed for daily studying for 10 hours. Cut out coffee, extra sugar, introduce regular workouts and a strict sleep schedule. Get up at 6. Brush, shower, eat, check emails, back at the desk by 7, do my daily CARS warmup until 8. Get to work. Just as if it was an MCAT day. Take a 10 minute break at 9:30, a half hour break at 11:30 for lunch and email check, 10 minute break at 1:30, (so far just like the MCAT) 30 minute break at 3 for calisthenics and a snack. Finish everything by 6-6:30. Eat dinner, check email, do another CARS, re-confirm my schedule for the next day, play some piano to unwind (re-learning after 15 years) and to stretch the brain in a different way, brush my teeth and get ready for bed at 9, meditate from 9:15 to 9:45. In bed, lights off, phone off, eyes closed at 9:50 until 6am the next day. Sundays = Fundays, but I still get up at 6, and go to bed by 9:50.

Mid-Oct to Mid Jan: Hard review, custom 120 day schedule. Then Exam. Continue spartan schedule.
 

Zenabi90

2+ Year Member
Jul 14, 2017
593
431
Status
Medical Student
It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle. -Sun Tzu, Art of War.

Everyone knows how to dissect the MCAT. Its been done for you. There's literally a "Guide to the MCAT" by AAMC. They want you to succeed. Do your part. Half the battle is knowing the enemy (MCAT). The other half is knowing yourself.
 

wildcherry

7+ Year Member
Jan 23, 2012
334
128
Status
Pre-Medical
Hey guys, I'm using the TBR books and while I did fine with the bio and ochem books (my strong subjects), I'm struggling very much with chemistry and physics, which are my very weak subjects. I've heard the TBR C/P is golden so I really want to make the most of it. What has been happening is that I'll read the chapter, kinda understand the theory, but when I do the practice questions I feel lost because I don't know the formulas very well and I have a hard time applying them. To be honest seeing numbers for chemistry and physics has always given me anxiety lol. I end up getting only 7-12 out of 25 and I'm very disheartened :( I'm starting to think I just can't learn C/P by reading text...

Any advice is greatly appreciated.
 

aromatic substitution

2+ Year Member
Jun 27, 2016
53
11
Status
Pre-Medical
Hey guys, I'm using the TBR books and while I did fine with the bio and ochem books (my strong subjects), I'm struggling very much with chemistry and physics, which are my very weak subjects. I've heard the TBR C/P is golden so I really want to make the most of it. What has been happening is that I'll read the chapter, kinda understand the theory, but when I do the practice questions I feel lost because I don't know the formulas very well and I have a hard time applying them. To be honest seeing numbers for chemistry and physics has always given me anxiety lol. I end up getting only 7-12 out of 25 and I'm very disheartened :( I'm starting to think I just can't learn C/P by reading text...

Any advice is greatly appreciated.
I think it would be helpful to take 10-15 minutes manipulating formulas every day at the end of your study. This will allow you to recognize the relationships and help commit the formulas to memory.
 
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BerkReviewTeach

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10+ Year Member
May 25, 2007
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Hey everyone just a shout out here. I am prepping for my mcat in January. I have been using the Berkeley review since June. I don't know if it's me or just this is supposed to be harder. But it seems like the Berkeley review is way more advanced than what we are supposed to know for the mcat. From what I've seen so far, their book is more clinically oriented. Anyone seeing this as well? Would this be helpful for the real mcat?
We aim at preparing students for the hardest of the passages you will see. Truth is, you will be overprepared for two-thirds of your exam and perfectly prepared for one-third. Hopefully it is that one-third that spreads the curve out. If you can avoid careless mistakes on the two-thirds and excel at the one-third where others struggle, then you will get an excellent score.

Also, we design our questions hoping people average 56% to 67% on homework, because our answer explanations are filled with test tips, shortcuts, and different ways to quickly answer questions. If everyone got all the questions correct, those tips would not be as impactful.

So please accept our apology for an psychological damage along the way, but once you finish this part of your journey, you'll be fine.
 

Jewels86

5+ Year Member
Apr 7, 2013
198
65
Texas
Status
Pre-Medical
I'm using TBR for content review and Kaplan self-paced for testing, synthesis of content review and for my FL's. So far, TBR has the best for content review. I like how TBR explains everything in detail plus has the Q&A's directly after the sections that provide more depth into the topic. I like to know the why behind the why and TBR offers that.
 
Apr 3, 2018
76
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TL; DR at the bottom:

I've gone through Physics I and half of Psych and Berkeley Review's approach to me seems like this:

Theoretically, let's say for the MCAT you need to know concepts up to a theoretical "depth" of 5/10. Berkeley Review teaches you to a "depth" of 7/10 with an emphasis on understanding rather than pure memorization, promoting mastery over regurgitation. With the idea that you'll only retain 70-80% of what you've learned, your true "depth" will be 4.9-5.6/10, more than sufficient to excel on the MCAT.

This approach is definitely not for everyone. I would only recommend TBR to the following subsets of people:
1a. You need a thorough content review (poor undergrad, non-trad, etc)
OR
1b. You have the time and energy to do a thorough content review
and

2b. You're looking for a great score (510+, arguably 515+), despite poor to middling testing abilities.

If you're any of the following, I suggest the TPR/Kaplan combo instead:
1. Amazing test taking skills (tends to get 70-80% on MC exams without any real content review)
2. Strong undergrad (high mastery in all prereqs, not just gpa) background
3. <10 weeks to prep

Example: 3.8 student with 2mos until MCAT, ok test taker. Do EK Bio, TPR for C/P, EK101 Verbal for CARS, Reddit's Khan Academy 100pg for P/S, AAMC Sample Exam and FL1/2 and NS FL1-5. Focus on Hat Trick and FLs for last two weeks.

Example: 3.4 student (needs 515+), 2 years out of college, doing part time ECs, 4 mos out from first MCAT take. Do full TBR, add TPR for P/S, and add EK101 Verbal for CARS. Do NS FL1-5, Altius FLs, AAMC FL 1/2. Add Hat Trick after first round of Content Review.

Personal Recommendation for you: You have roughly 5mos to prepare for your MCAT. I don't know what else you have going on, but you have enough time to do a full TBR-based content review for 2mos, utilize other resources like Anki decks and the Reddit P/S resources, and then implement a 3-month strategy like SN2ed, KoalaT, MCATjelly, etc. You'll get a 515+, maybe 520+.

Sorry for the long post, just trying to be thorough. I've read hundreds of threads on the different resources and strategies possible both here and on Reddit and here's the TL;DR

TL;DR: Yes it is harder. Yes it will help, yes you should do it since you have 5mos. Please read SN2ed and KoalaT and Jelly threads and their sub-threads. Work in = work out and you have the time.
Just a little clarification, what do you mean by full TBR? Like buy all the books, but would I replace the psych and soci sections with TPO and EK101 for the CARS?? Or do you mean full TBR as in buy all the books?
 

Flipper19

2+ Year Member
Aug 23, 2016
21
1
Status
Pre-Medical
Make sure you don't slack on practice! Content review is great, but its not everything.
 

BerkReviewTeach

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May 25, 2007
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Make sure you don't slack on practice! Content review is great, but its not everything.
This is the single biggest truth when it comes to preparing. Too many people focus on content when they should be concerned with how to become better at taking a multiple choice exam.

Too little time
Aromatic substitution's suggestion is worth making time for. Converting formulas to sentences, and then rewording those sentences is a skill that helps develop the right mindset for analyzing answer choices.
 
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Zenabi90

2+ Year Member
Jul 14, 2017
593
431
Status
Medical Student
Just a little clarification, what do you mean by full TBR? Like buy all the books, but would I replace the psych and soci sections with TPO and EK101 for the CARS?? Or do you mean full TBR as in buy all the books?
A full TBR-based review means using all their books and all their practice problems. It sounds very intensive because it is. And augment sociology with Khan Academy or TPR.
 
Apr 3, 2018
76
89
Status
Pre-Medical
A full TBR-based review means using all their books and all their practice problems. It sounds very intensive because it is. And augment sociology with Khan Academy or TPR.
So when you mean add TPR for P/S and Exam Krackers 1001 for CARS that' supplemental to make up for the lack of those in the TBR or are they just suggested because they're so useful?
 

Zenabi90

2+ Year Member
Jul 14, 2017
593
431
Status
Medical Student
So when you mean add TPR for P/S and Exam Krackers 1001 for CARS that' supplemental to make up for the lack of those in the TBR or are they just suggested because they're so useful?
When I used TBR (and I believe this is still the case now), there was no Sociology material. I used TPR to supplement the sociology material, and as quick high-yield reminders for Psych.

I am always of the opinion that you should do as many quality CARS material as you can. Looking back, the entire exam has become a huge CARS exam, albeit some sections have themes and specific required knowledge. Nearly everything is passage-based, and CARS practice will develop skills that will apply across all subsections of the exam.