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How early should one begin taking practice tests?

Discussion in 'MCAT: Medical College Admissions Test' started by Marjan Islam, Dec 21, 2008.

  1. Marjan Islam

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    I know it's obvious you should take practice tests more frequently as test day approaches, but how much time should you be giving yourself?

    I'm asking because I hear "half of what you learn is from practice tests". I'm taking the test March 28th, and plan on taking about 20 practice tests beginning Feb. 5th or something. About 40 days for 20 tests. I guess I'll take a test 1 day, review it thoroughly and look into areas I sucked at the next day; rinse and repeat.

    I'm doing plenty of passages from other sources though (BR for PS, EK 101 Bio for BS, and EK 101 Verbal for VR), and did a buncha topical tests and subject tests from Kaplan's online stuff also. I'm just saving ALL the tests for the last 2 months! Just wondering is that's a good idea? Or if I should throw in a few of them now. I just want to have "mastered" the material before taking on the tests.
     
  2. osumc2014

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    I think taking a test every 2 days would be insane, I plan on taking 2 a week.
     
  3. Vihsadas

    Vihsadas No summer
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    Check out the schedule in my signature link. I believe I did anywhere from 3-5 a week in the last month.
     
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  4. SN2ed

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    I think it's a good idea to take a practice MCAT every other day up until you take the test. Remember to take a break day after you've finish half of your tests and another day or two before your actual MCAT.
     
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  5. drhopeful10

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    Hey Vihsadas...
    sorry this post found itself on another thread..I've been following your study strategy for over the past month, and so far, have found it really helpful. I'm scheduled to take the MCAT Jan 31, and am feeling a little crunched, but I think I'm on track.

    I was wondering exactly in what manner you did practice passages/questions during your content prep phase. I'm using the PR/Kaplan combo like you suggested, and for now, I've primarily been doing the PR end of chapter passages. Did you supplement these with Kaplan topicals and section tests after reviewing a particular chapter in PR?

    It seems like reading through PR, taking notes, and doing its passages takes up a decent amount of time. I've been holding back on ramping up online Kaplan work until I've finished about 200 more pages in biology (almost done). Any advice on how I should allocate my time?

    Thanks!
     
  6. Dr.Clippers

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    PM Vihsadas then tell him to post a reply on this thread. Thanks!!!
     
  7. J ROD

    J ROD Watch my TAN walk!!
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    I like to take practice tests after I have done a solid content review.

    Then, I use the practice tests to gauge where I am at and where I need to review.

    I also do topicals/sectionals in between practice tests and during the content review.
     
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  8. swamprat

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    IMO i think taking a practice test every other day is way too much and may burn you out. I think maybe once a week while you have some distance between you and the test and maybe as you get closes 2. Some people may think differently, but 5 hours is a long time to be staring at a computer screen in full concentration. I got burnt out from it.
     
  9. Vihsadas

    Vihsadas No summer
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    I did any practice passages I could get my hands on when I was doing my content review. I did save the vast majority of my practice exams for when I would start doing timed full length practices...definitely save all of the AAMC exams. I did have the kaplan sectionals and topicals and those were really helpful throughout my content review and to solidify the concepts. I also bought the kaplan Qbank. It was good and bad...there are some mistakes in the kaplan Qbank but overall I liked it.

    I think you're probably doing fine in terms of time management. I wouldn't worry too much about holding back on the online kaplan work. As long as you have a good number of full length practice exams that you can draw from when you really start doing full lenghts, you should be okay.
    On the small scale, it's hard for me to say whether you are doing your time management effectively or not. Really it depends on how each person studies and how each person feels they will prepare the best. Check out my exam schedule in the link in my signature for a run down of approximately how much time I spent doing full lenght practice exams, reviewing those exams, and then also doing peripheral content review that I still wasn't completely solid on during my practice exam stage.
    This is a good example of why you must always be in tune with "What works best for you". Just because I studied one way and did well, doesn't mean that the way I studied will be the best for everyone. There are some basic ideas that I integrated into my study pattern that are more or less universal (IMHO: being solid on content review before really tackling practice exams, taking many practice exams and thorougly reviewing them, being mindful of attacking the test itself and trying to figure out the methodology of how they are testing you, and finally to always be thinking about the concept of what you are learning during your content review so that you will be better able to critically think during your exam.)
    The nitty gritty of how I studied, the exact schedule, the number of practice exams, where I focused my time may not be the same from person to person. That's something that you'll have to adjust to your own particular situation like I had to.
     
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