Just how much scientific detail do I need to know for the MCAT?

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The Power of Intention
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Dec 23, 2001
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I have been studying the gen chem sections in the Flowers and Silver Princeton Review book. Is this book sufficient for MCAT review or should I re-read all my science textbooks for the exam?? (something I'd prefer NOT to do) I do plan to study for the test on my own and not take a prep course. Help!!:)


SDN Moderator
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Jan 18, 2001
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That seems like a good review book. Do not waste time re-reading your textbooks. Probably more important than reviewing is practicing. Get some practice tests. The later AAMC tests IV,V, VI are great. Even AAMC I,II,III are o.k. -- not quite as 'robust' as the later ones. Check your local public library and see if they have some other books that you could use to take practice tests like Kaplan, ARCO, or Peterson's. None of them are as good as the later AAMC but their better than nothing.


Charlatan & Trouble Maker
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Jun 6, 2002
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If you feel the burning need to look back at your textbooks, only read the chapter summaries. The only courses that might be beneficial to review are your lab courses, and even then that is overkill. Just consider the purpose, data (especially graphs), concepts, and conclusions.

I completely agree with mpp in that AAMC tests are a must. I tend to think Test 3 is pretty good, because it presents a few weird topics in the sciences. The verbal is pretty tough too, so that has to be useful. Exams 4 and 5 are useful as well. I think AAMC Exam 6 is way too easy and leads students to feel over confident. Still, even the worst AAMC exam (#1) is better than the best materials from anyone else.

Go to ebay and see what exams you can buy. It's a good idea to try to get at least one exam from each different company, to diversify your exposure. Each company has their own style, so doing them all will prepare you for a range of potential topics and styles.

If you opt to buy books, it seems EK is the way to go for physics, BR is the way to go for chemistry (orgo and general), and no one has set themselves as the standard for biology or verbal.