HELP!!! PCAT 2013 - Best strategy using Dr. Collins material for 90+%????

Discussion in 'PCAT Discussions' started by arri, Aug 4, 2013.

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  1. arri

    arri 2+ Year Member

    Oct 9, 2012
    I know there are a lot of threads out there regarding this topic, however, I wanted to start an updated discussion considering the structure of the 2013 PCAT (aka the "New PCAT") has changed.

    This is to all of the individuals who mastered the PCAT scoring a 90+ percentile. PLEASE PROVIDE THE REST OF US WITH SOME HELPFUL TIPS =)

    My big question is HOW did you use your Dr. Collins material. Is it better to time yourself when going through the sections, OR is it better to understand each question - disregarding time, and just review, review, review? I feel that if I am able to understand each type of question asked, then time will not be a factor.

    Please also provide any other study material you used that you feel was beneficial towards your amazing score?

    Last edited: Aug 4, 2013
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  3. isanders


    May 23, 2013
    Oklahoma City
    There are many others with just as high and even higher scores then my 94 but I will share my opinion. I used Collins mainly, and supplemented it with the Pearson practice tests and kaplan (only for bio) I used collins mainly to practice practice practice the practice tests, timing myself, and the key is to go through every problem afterwards (even if you got it right) and make sure you fully UNDERSTAND the CONCEPT, because it will be asked differently on pcat but the concepts are what is tested. I feel that Pearson practice tests are better for timing because you have all the sections in an online format where it is similar to the real pcat and you can do all in one sitting. Once you really understand the concepts, on the pcat you can quickly see what it is asking, giving you more time. I think understanding should come first, then you can work on timing of the tests. My personal tip which helped me the most is to focus more on chem, quant, or bio and at least knock two of them out of the park. I say this because RC and Verbal can only improve a little in a small amount of time (you're either an avid reader of science journals or english major or something and then it just comes naturally to you). I got 58 and 76 in verbal and reading respectively, but I got a composite of 94 because i got a 99 and 92 in chem and bio respectively. So I would focus more on two of the 3 (chem, bio, quant) and do enough to be average in the others. Thats just my advice, but you need to find the best way to study for you, good luck:)
  4. arri

    arri 2+ Year Member

    Oct 9, 2012
    Thank you so much! Great advice =)
  5. ngloyson

    ngloyson Nicholas

    May 3, 2013
    I agree with Isanders, it is very hard to get 90%+ on verbal and reading, unless you are already comfortable with scientific literature, and words. Even if you learn 1000s of words, the chances of any of them showing up on the PCAT are very low, therefore try to focus on "easier" sections like biology, matth, and chemistry. By "easier" I do not mean you can just go into the PCAT guns blazing with no knowledge and expect 80%+. When i say easier, i mean that with lots of practice especially with chemistry and math, it can be easy to obtain 90%+ in those sections.
    When going through each section try to remember the basics. For example in chemistry, try to remember the molar weight of basic elements like carbon, nitrogen, and hydrogen, and even sometimes molecules like NaOH. Another example for chemistry is calculations... when you see the gas constant, you maybe thinking "man what is this super awkward number R = 0.082)", rather than trying to multiply my 0.082, why not just divide by 12..(It is roughly the same thing). By remembering these little things, it can make the chemistry calculations easier, allowing more time for conceptual questions.
    In the math section, try to remember log bases of 1-10, so that when log questions appear you can answer them in a snap. Also in the math section, try to do questions in the quickest way possible. For example if it tells you to calculate the average of a bunch of double digit numbers, do not add all those number and then divide by n...that takes way to long. An easier alternative would be set a number as 0, and use that number as a guide. let say you are told to find the average of 71, 80, 85,85,74. Set 80 as a base so the numbers become -9, 0, 5, 5, -6.. add them all up and divide by 5 :thumbdown:: -5/5 = -1....BOOM answer is -1 or 79.
    There are many other shortcuts, by I will leave you to figure them out on your own.
    medhopeful_ likes this.
  6. bigpapalapagus


    Jul 18, 2013
    I got a 98 in verbal, 91 in RC, 99 in bio, 99 in chem, and 98 in quant. I reread all of my textbooks and then used collins. What worked for me was taking test after test. I didn't time them because I am a fast test taker and always finished well before the time limit. On the actual pcat though, I barely finished on the quant and RC, seconds to spare. The tests didn't so much as teach me but showed me deficiencies in my knowledge base and I would then study those concepts more in depth. Immunity related questions is my example, I brushed up on that topic due to lots of questions relating to immunity. The quant tests themselves are great for studying. Keep taking tests to learn the concepts. Read the explanations on the answer keys even if you get it right, it is monotonous, but you can still learn something. I memorized the top 300 GRE words and the collins verbal list and not a one was on the pcat, so it's hit or miss what words will show up. It's also hit or miss which questions will show up on the actual pcat. Some of the tests, I wouldn't miss any, others I would miss eight. It all depends on which questions show up. That bit of info is just to say don't get discouraged if you bomb one or two tests because you can't know everything.
  7. Ayase

    Ayase 2+ Year Member

    Jun 20, 2013
    This is exactly what I did for my 99 comp. I studied around 5-6 hours a day for a month.

    I mainly used Dr. Collins to study and I bought 3 of the Pearson practice tests. Most (if not all) of the material was review for me, so I zipped through the Collins information booklets and went straight to the practice tests. I did 1 or 2 tests every day and would mark down the questions I got wrong. I compiled these mistakes into a Word document and made sure to go over them once in a while. Other than Collins, I also used the Kaplan 2013-2014 book for Biology, but I found that it had a lot of unnecessary details. Being a pharmacology major, I didn't need to spend much time on Chemistry or Biology. If you need extra help on the Bio/Chem you could use Kaplan or just look for self-study guides at your local bookstore.

    For Quantitative, I did each of the Collins practice tests two or three times. I also found problem sets for Precalc/Calculus online and did a number of them. I had a feeling I would struggle with QA since I haven't done anything related to math since first year, which is why I put extra time into it. A tip I can give you for doing QA on the actual PCAT is to skip a question if you can't figure out how to do it within 5 seconds. You can go back and try to figure them out once you've gone through the test. You might end up skipping a lot of questions, but at least you'll be able to answer all of the easy ones.

    For Verbal, I did the Collins tests and also decided to memorize the 1500 GRE words (you can find them online). Some of these words did show up on the PCAT and I probably wouldn't have been able to answer those questions if I didn't memorize the words.

    For Reading, I did the Collins and also used this:

    It costs $5 to have the author send you a copy of the answers, but it's worth it. I also did a lot of reading (I don't normally read very much) during that time period.

    For the essay portion, I found a list of Pearson sample essay topics and wrote point-form outlines for each of them. I also did the same for the Collins sample topics. The essay is honestly the part you should worry about the least, so don't spend too much time working on it.

    Overall, the key to succeeding on the PCAT is to identify your weaknesses and focus on improving in those areas.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2013
  8. sleepyhead129

    sleepyhead129 2+ Year Member

    May 1, 2012
    I got a 99 composite using Dr. Collins and the PCAT destroyer.

    don't just look at what you got right, look at the wrong answers and figure out why they're wrong too.

    PCAT destroyer also really helped ! for quantitative, i felt. haven't touched math/calc in a while so it was nice to have lots of q's to practice on :)

    personally, I felt the verbal section on the actual PCAT was way harder than on pearson, but maybe my vocabulary is lacking :( definitely saw a few repeats off of dr. collins though, so make sure you go through the verbal section on it thoroughly :)

    good luck on your pcat!
  9. Superfans


    Jul 27, 2013
    98 Comp studying lightly for 4 days about 4-5 hours a day. Did not use collins, but lightly skimmed over kaplan anatomy stuff ( though, Kaplan lacks an microbiology/immunology/joints section thats quite important). I found trends in the practice tests and abused them on the test. Every question I predicted was on there..
    Though im quite strong in math, chemistry and especially strong in biology (Biochem Major)
    Not even kidding, youtube filled the gaps in addition with iTunes U App on my ipad. :)

    99 Bio
    91 Chem
    99 QA

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