First Impressions After Writing An AAMC Practice Exam For The First Time


5+ Year Member
Aug 11, 2009
Medical Student
Having just spent 4 weeks reviewing the entire EK complete study package (ie. I made notes as I read through chapters, did the in chapter questions and completed the 30 minute ‘in-class' exam after each chapter), I decided to write my first AAMC practice test (the free test #3, which is believed by some to be one of the easier versions) under timed conditions emulating exam day.

I scored PS 9/ VR 9 / BS 9 with a mild post-St. Patty's day hangover and without taking the extra 15 minutes I had at the end of each section to re-check my answers. After writing the exam, I was incredibly surprised at how low yield the information presented in the EK study package was. EK is touted as being the ‘bare bones' alternative to the more comprehensive TPR and Kaplan et al. programs with respect to required knowledge for the MCAT. However, I feel as though I could have done comparably well had I wrote the exam before having ever opened an MCAT prep book! More than 80% of the questions could be answered without a priori knowledge of the basic sciences, particularly in the passage based questions that presented all the necessary details but required analyzing the information presented. I wrote the exam without reviewing the notes I made or making any conscious effort to memorize any of the ‘required' material. My intention was to generate a point of reference to see how well I would do before going over my notes to actually ‘study' the material (ie. memorize it). I think I was required to recall only one or two formulas in PS, two rather simple organic reactions among the dozen or so presented as being required information and virtually none of the detailed physiology or anatomy given in the last 5 chapters of EK bio.

That being said, the EK books undoubtedly helped me develop an MCAT mindset with respect to multiple choice answering strategy (I have been out of undergrad for a few years, so haven't been in ‘exam' state of mind for some time), but I'm now re-evaluating my study approach to spend far less time than I had planned memorizing formulas and other ‘required' material. Anyone else feel the same way about how low yield all this 'required' MCAT material is? Or is test #3 an exception in that it does not reflect more typical 'detail heavy' MCATs? Any thoughts on how to spend the rest of the 6 weeks I have to study before writing?
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