JVixen

5+ Year Member
Jun 5, 2014
13
0
Status
Pre-Medical
So I am studying for my mcat in January. I am following a modified version of SN2ed study guide, I tried used TBR books but I have a hard time learning by reading and it was so much material it would take me three days to finish one section! So I switched to EK which has suited me way better I actually can recall what I learned. I even use any videos I can find to help reinforce the information. So far I am only on the second week of studying.

I am really discouraged though I keep doing passages and practice questions and I only am getting half or less of the questions right on practically everything. My undergrad is in Biology so I shouldn't be doing so bad and I feel confident going into the passages and like i know what I am doing and then review my answers and get disappointed. Will this change with more practice problems and review or does this mean I am not getting the material? This is making me think I will never be able to score high enough I am aiming for a 34.

Any suggestions?
 

MelloTangelo

5+ Year Member
Jun 17, 2013
152
66
Status
Medical Student
I don't think your score in TBR really reflects your score on the MCAT (unless you're one of those folks who hits the high 80-90% on every section!). It can be pretty discouraging at first, but I think it will get better. You're always going to be missing a bit of information if you're jumping from reading an EK chapter to doing TBR passages, but as long as you really work hard to review your answers and figure out why/where you went wrong, you should be solid! You might even try skimming/reading a TBR chapter after doing EK, and seeing if that helps you get through them (especially for the physical sciences!), but that's all up to what works for you.

Also, TBR Bio passages aren't very much like the MCAT, so don't stress out. Try to take them as an opportunity to increase your content knowledge!
 
Jun 26, 2014
62
29
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
I've never used them but I have heard that TBR passages are the toughest of the tough of what you could possibly encounter on the MCAT. Plus you are only in your second week of studying! That's understandable to still be struggling with content and passages. You've got plenty of time to improve if you keep working hard. Just keep at it every day -- January seems like its far away but it'll be here before you know it.

Like MelloTangelo said, make sure you're reviewing your answers after you do passages to see what exactly it is your missing. Then you know what area it is you need to go back and review. I like to keep notes of the things I learn when I review my passage answers. I do it on a word document on my computer and have 4 sections (for bio, gen chem, orgo, physics) where if I missed a question, or even if I got it right, I write down something new I learned. It can be a fact, equation, anything that you didn't know. Then you can read through this list every now and then to remind yourself of those things you had trouble remembering. You may see that you repeat things on the list, which is another good indicator of what you need to review.

I know tutors are crazy expensive but for me it has been worth the investment. Both for content and for the strategy aspect of how to approach passages and such. Not everyone needs one but I'm glad I invested in one. If you're still in undergrad you could also try reaching out to your campus tutoring center. I would bet that there are students who work at the tutoring center who have taken the MCAT and would be willing to offer some help/advice for a much cheaper rate than the test prep company tutors, maybe even for free!
 
Oct 16, 2014
148
37
Status
Pre-Medical
I would switch back to reading the TBR chapters instead of EK (except for Biology). I felt like the first two chapters for the TBR physics, chem, and organic were very long, but lately, they have all felt quite a bit shorter (some chapters are only about 10-15 pages now).

TBR bio passages are very hard, I can understand getting around only 50% for them. However, for the other sections getting only 50% is not good. That implies you don't understand the content very well. Don't get too discouraged though, I was scoring around 60% in most of the sections for each of the first couple of chapters, but have now been getting mid 70's and 80's on the later chapters. My advice is basically to follow Sn2ed more closely by reading the TBR chapters (it should not take you 3 days to read a section ever!), but when reading try to take minimal notes yet focus closely on what you're reading. When you do the questions within the reading, make sure you understand why you got it right or wrong, so that you get it right in the future.
 
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AM508

2+ Year Member
Sep 26, 2014
674
586
Status
Medical Student
Like MelloTangelo said, make sure you're reviewing your answers after you do passages to see what exactly it is your missing. Then you know what area it is you need to go back and review. I like to keep notes of the things I learn when I review my passage answers. I do it on a word document on my computer and have 4 sections (for bio, gen chem, orgo, physics) where if I missed a question, or even if I got it right, I write down something new I learned. It can be a fact, equation, anything that you didn't know. Then you can read through this list every now and then to remind yourself of those things you had trouble remembering. You may see that you repeat things on the list, which is another good indicator of what you need to review.
That. If you do not review your mistakes, doing more problems will not be useful. When I was studying, I would do a set of questions, then go back through the answers and any explanations and see what I did right and what I did wrong. It is also very important to look at the questions that you got RIGHT because you want to make sure you are getting them right for the correct reason, not just a blind guess as that can lead to a false sense of security.
 
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Sisu00

2+ Year Member
Sep 16, 2014
87
40
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
So I am studying for my mcat in January. I am following a modified version of SN2ed study guide, I tried used TBR books but I have a hard time learning by reading and it was so much material it would take me three days to finish one section! So I switched to EK which has suited me way better I actually can recall what I learned. I even use any videos I can find to help reinforce the information. So far I am only on the second week of studying.

I am really discouraged though I keep doing passages and practice questions and I only am getting half or less of the questions right on practically everything. My undergrad is in Biology so I shouldn't be doing so bad and I feel confident going into the passages and like i know what I am doing and then review my answers and get disappointed. Will this change with more practice problems and review or does this mean I am not getting the material? This is making me think I will never be able to score high enough I am aiming for a 34.

Any suggestions?
I felt the same as you did at the start. I am still not totally happy about my grades on passages, but it has improved. Stick with it, this is as much a mental as academic challenge!
 
Dec 12, 2013
701
59
I would suggest going back to reading TBR. EK is something you use for practice, when you're just doing very poorly on a topic. I used EK biol to get my biol knowledge up. However, TBR is the kind of practice you need. At first I was getting 50% - 70% WRONG and then over time it became 70% RIGHT! It takes a lot of practice, writing down why you got something wrong and just finding ways to understand what you're still having trouble with.

Even thought TBR is difficult, my MCAT (10/21/2014) had a PS section harder than TBR. It was good practice to sharpen my test taking skills and finding my weak spots! Don't give up!
 
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JVixen

JVixen

5+ Year Member
Jun 5, 2014
13
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Thanks everyone for the advice! I will switch back to TBR then since many had suggested that and keep reviewing my answers as I do the passages to check my understanding and knowledge hopefully I will see improvement soon.
 

NextStepTutor_1

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2+ Year Member
Apr 29, 2014
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It's hard to listen to someone else tell you not to be discouraged, but you shouldn't after 2 weeks of studying. It's normal to feel overwhelmed and treat a couple bad scores as representation of your capability in every topic. Maybe the content in the first couple of chapters just happens to be your weakness, but that doesn't automatically mean the rest is. Doing well on practice problems is not just about applying your content - it's also about accurate interpretation of the question and ruling out answer choices quickly, which are skills that come with practice.
Read, practice, review and repeat.


Good luck and keep your head up!