Nov 15, 2013
9
1
Status
Pre-Medical
Hi guys,

I'm currently a junior pre med student at a University in the US. I am planning on taking the MCAT a year from now and was wondering what's the best game plan for relearning the material from my classes?
I did very well in the classes but I pretty much forgot a large part of what I was taught (especially for orgo).

Should I re-read my textbooks or focus on waiting 4 months before the MCAT and just use review books?
I am more inclined towards the latter but I'm not entirely sure if it's sufficient for doing well.

Should I focus on reading dense literature and scientific publications and wait 4 months prior before studying or should I relearn everything from my classes?

Appreciate the help. THanks!!
 

1TB4RKSB4CK

wussup doge
5+ Year Member
May 6, 2010
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I wouldn't. I came into my study (currently finishing up content) knowing nothing about Gen Chem (5 years out) and I seem to be doing fine percentage-wise on TBR. You have to do more than just use the book though. Supplement from websites like wikipredmed, or Chemwiki ucdavis. Find and do a lot of practice problems. For Bio I watched a lot of those Mcgraw Hill Videos before I dove into content. Orgo was my strong point so all I did was read through my notes a bit. I would highly suggest reading pubs before starting your study. It's something I wish I could've done. Honestly, I would probably just lightly read and browse through whatever is in mcatreview.org for a week before starting a study schedule.
 

michigan1212

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Oct 13, 2013
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Absolutely do not do not do not bother trying to study very much right now as your efficiency will be very low. Most likely anything you try to learn now will be forgotten. Wait until three to four months before test day to begin. Find a study resource like the SDN program or a prep company. Those will point you in the right direction to study efficiently. Many of the things you have forgot you won't need to remember or at least not as in depth so just wait. I tried to study five months before my first attempt and studied super inefficiently. My retake involved a test prep company and less than two months. My score improved dramatically just because I was studying efficiently.
 
OP
T
Nov 15, 2013
9
1
Status
Pre-Medical
I guess I'll go with the second option. Thanks guys. @Czarcasm: strong response.

Would you recommend going through published articles in science? I'm doing that, as well as reading some philosophy (Plato, John Locke, Dan Dennett)
What's the best way to tackle scientific papers? Read the abstract or read every section? What type of info should you be able to easily extract?

Would appreciate any answers. thanks!
 

michigan1212

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Oct 13, 2013
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I guess I'll go with the second option. Thanks guys. @Czarcasm: strong response.

Would you recommend going through published articles in science? I'm doing that, as well as reading some philosophy (Plato, John Locke, Dan Dennett)
What's the best way to tackle scientific papers? Read the abstract or read every section? What type of info should you be able to easily extract?

Would appreciate any answers. thanks!
What was Czarcasm response? All i see is --
 

mcloaf

7+ Year Member
Jan 21, 2012
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Resident [Any Field]
I guess I'll go with the second option. Thanks guys. @Czarcasm: strong response.

Would you recommend going through published articles in science? I'm doing that, as well as reading some philosophy (Plato, John Locke, Dan Dennett)
What's the best way to tackle scientific papers? Read the abstract or read every section? What type of info should you be able to easily extract?

Would appreciate any answers. thanks!
You could read all the way through the papers if you choose, but the critical ability is being able to look at a table or figure and figure out what the hell is going on. IMO if you're interested in the paper then go ahead and read the whole thing, but if you're just interested in what will help you on the MCAT go straight to the results and make sure you can look at their tables/figures and then check your understanding of what's going on with what the authors say the data show.
 

michigan1212

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Oct 13, 2013
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I'll probably follow mcloaf's advice.

@michigan1212:
sar·casm
ˈsärˌkazəm/
noun
  1. 1.
    the use of irony to mock or convey contempt.
    "his voice, hardened by sarcasm, could not hide his resentment"
    synonyms:derision, mockery, ridicule, scorn, sneering, scoffing
Good luck on the mcat, you'll need it because your intelligence alone will not get you a competitive score
 
Jul 29, 2013
347
70
Status
Pre-Medical
Hi guys,

I'm currently a junior pre med student at a University in the US. I am planning on taking the MCAT a year from now and was wondering what's the best game plan for relearning the material from my classes?
I did very well in the classes but I pretty much forgot a large part of what I was taught (especially for orgo).

Should I re-read my textbooks or focus on waiting 4 months before the MCAT and just use review books?
I am more inclined towards the latter but I'm not entirely sure if it's sufficient for doing well.

Should I focus on reading dense literature and scientific publications and wait 4 months prior before studying or should I relearn everything from my classes?

Appreciate the help. THanks!!
Don't worry about all the undergrad material you forgot that shouldn't hurt you a bit. I doubt many people who take the mcat remember everything from their classes and many including myself remember very little especially from chem and physics. People who do well on the MCAT do so because of specific mcat prep. Undergrad classes give you a head start but never substitute. Many of the information you need to know requires a more conceptual understanding than you obtain via undergrad classes anyway. Even with the reading I would suggest forgetting about it and saving all your energy for your actual preparation. The exam requires very specific application skills and reading scientific literature now will likely not yield much. Wait until you can immerse yourself in the mcat mindset.
 
OP
T
Nov 15, 2013
9
1
Status
Pre-Medical
Don't worry about all the undergrad material you forgot that shouldn't hurt you a bit. I doubt many people who take the mcat remember everything from their classes and many including myself remember very little especially from chem and physics. People who do well on the MCAT do so because of specific mcat prep. Undergrad classes give you a head start but never substitute. Many of the information you need to know requires a more conceptual understanding than you obtain via undergrad classes anyway. Even with the reading I would suggest forgetting about it and saving all your energy for your actual preparation. The exam requires very specific application skills and reading scientific literature now will likely not yield much. Wait until you can immerse yourself in the mcat mindset.
Wow, thanks for the reply. So, even reading actual publications will do nothing for me? I'm reading some philosophy for leisure with a slight incentive to strengthen my reading comprehension (for verbal section). Is doing this a waste of time, as well?
What about journals from Cell and Neuroscience? Wouldn't being comfortable with the "presentation" of scientific data in paragraph form be essential for a high score on the MCAT?

Since you mention "specific applicaton," would you recommend an MCAT course? Cause, if so, I don't have the money. I have books-Examcrackers, Berkeley, and Pricneton Hyperlearing.
Sorry for the crazy amount of questions. Appreciate your previous response and would really appreciate further help. Thanks!!
 

valkener

5+ Year Member
May 17, 2010
592
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USA
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Medical Student
Not everything from your classes is relevant to the MCAT but they certainly build the foundation. I would just use MCAT materials to prepare, but use class materials when you need to read-up on a concept. Understanding the concepts behind the questions is very important, but I would try to study MCAT-specific materials.

If you get EK and TBR/TPR you should have plenty of materials. Make sure you do a lot of practice questions and full-length tests, and you'll know where you stand.
 
Jul 29, 2013
347
70
Status
Pre-Medical
Wow, thanks for the reply. So, even reading actual publications will do nothing for me? I'm reading some philosophy for leisure with a slight incentive to strengthen my reading comprehension (for verbal section). Is doing this a waste of time, as well?
What about journals from Cell and Neuroscience? Wouldn't being comfortable with the "presentation" of scientific data in paragraph form be essential for a high score on the MCAT?

Since you mention "specific applicaton," would you recommend an MCAT course? Cause, if so, I don't have the money. I have books-Examcrackers, Berkeley, and Pricneton Hyperlearing.
Sorry for the crazy amount of questions. Appreciate your previous response and would really appreciate further help. Thanks!!
My pleasure! I can't say with certainty that it wont benefit you in some way and many people say it helped them so keep an open mind. My issue with casual reading as mcat prep is that it doesn't require you to read at a fast pace, look for critical info, or answer tricky questions. You are not challenging yourself to change anything about how you read. Now with the MCAT most people have to actively change some aspect of how they read when approaching the test especially for people like me who spend so much time memorizing details from biology notes. I am a heavy reader and have been since I was a child. I've always destroyed the verbal-type portions of standardized exams until my first MCAT when I got a 21 which hurt because I thought the amount of reading I do would surely make the test easier for me. Over three attempts at the MCAT I had to completely re-route my approach when it came to reading on the exam which meant lots of intense, proactive practice and ultimately got me a 38. My first inclination was to read as fast as I could and answer the questions but this just doesn't work because you have to learn how to spot the critical information and almost overlook the little details that distort the purpose of the passages. Reading for the sake of reading would have never helped me because I was doing nothing to change the way I read and was only solidifying the habits that were hurting me on the exam. I literally changed the way I read while preparing for the MCAT which involved shifting my focus from details to purpose, specifically the author's purpose which you will hear repeatedly during your mcat prep. To do well on the MCAT you must understand the author's purpose and this extends to all three of the sections. I am just speaking from personal experience/perspective and by no means am I saying my way is the best or only way to improve, just that it worked very well for me. Looking at it from a different perspective, reading dense literature and scientific articles could improve your basic reading comprehension skills which could very well benefit you on the mcat. Regardless, the only way to score well on the mcat is to prepare specifically for it so as long as your actual mcat prep is sufficient you will be just fine.

I did not take a course for financial reasons either haha they are so expensive! Once again, people have done really well with courses but all they do is create a schedule for you and teach you things that you have already learned and could learn again on your own. A lot of pre med's at my university took the Princeton Review and I think it is crazy that they spent so much money to be taught by people who qualified because they made a 9 or above in their respective section. I can't speak for all programs but from what I have heard, most of the effort with mcat courses is spent learning material rather than mastering the exam which is not an effective way to prepare or this test. I used the TPR books, TPR hyperlearning verbal and science, EK, EK 1001, TBR, and occasionally Kaplan. The TPR texts were my main study source and I would use TBR to help with difficult topics. EK was more of a review tool but a good one and all the passage/problem books(hyperlearning and 1001) were fantastic. Making a study schedule is difficult though and I had some trouble with that. Everyone on SDN seems to love sn2 so maybe check that out and see what you think.
 
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