Kaplan vs AAMCA practice tests / general mcat questions / Kaplan Questions

coyfish

5+ Year Member
Mar 21, 2010
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Hi guys,
For those of you who have taken Kaplan or at least their practice exams . . . Have you noticed that they are harder than the AAMC practice tests (offered by Kaplan)? I have been scoring ~35's on the aamc practice tests and 30's on the Kaplan ones. Its kind of confusing because I have also been praticing off of a few free online sources. Some feel very easy while others more difficult. I have the "mcat question of the day" website as my homepage when I open the internet. Those questions feel too easy. Better too easy than too hard I guess though . . .

Also some general Kaplan questions: I have read a few threads in here regarding what people feel towards Kaplan. It seems pretty mixed. But one thing is certain. Kaplan emphasizes a lot of memorization / equations. I have read through all of the review books and I know there is no way I remembered even 50% of the details in there. For instance how much NADH / FAD / etc is produced during cell resp in each stage. Or all of the endocrine system hormones / function / location of function / etc. They say knowing that stuff will yield points but im yet to see a question on a practice test that requires that type of knowledge. In the bio sections usually everything seems to be given in the passages that you need to solve most of the problems. Or at least some very general knowledge of how things work. The chemistry problems however seem to require more "precise" knowledge if that makes any sense.


Would it be more worth my time to continue doing nothing but practice and reading the solutions or going back and rereading those those review books again and gaining a better grasp on some of the details I didn't remember. I would reread bio,genchem, and organic. Physics / verbal don't really need to be reread.

It just worries me because Kaplan makes things out to be so specific while the MCAT seems quite the contrary.

Thanks for your help / time !
 

Redoxify

7+ Year Member
Feb 20, 2010
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I'm like you, i'm averaging around a 35 on AAMC's and around a 33-34 on Kaplan. You're right - Kaplan is a lot more detail-oriented, but honestly, their approach makes me feel confident and good.

I have my test in 6 days and I'm seriously feeling really calm about it BECAUSE of Kaplan. After Kaplan FL's I feel like I can handle anything. They are difficult BECAUSE they want you to walk into the real thing and feel like, "hm. that's it?"

The truth is, nobody knows what's gonna be on the exam. Might as well know it all, right? Leave nothing to chance. I know there are a ton of hormones to know/ton of equations, but I promise you, you don't want to walk into the real test and get a question about somatostatin and just blank.

You got this - consolidate all the equations from your notes into one notecard and carry it around with you everywhere. And just look at it whenever you get a few minutes. Same thing with the hormones.

Better to know everything than leave a few gaps in your knowledge. You wont regret it, I promise.

I'd rather do the tests/topicals/sectional tests. Save the AAMC's till the end. Do maybe AAMC 3-6 to get a feel for how they present the questions, but stick to Kaplan for practice problems. Use the q-bank. It's money (but difficult). Two, three weeks, before the real thing, hit the AAMC exams hard. Good luck!
 

coyfish

5+ Year Member
Mar 21, 2010
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Thanks for the feedback. I haven't done too many of the Kaplan full lengths because im really busy. I don't have the hours (at one sitting) necessary to complete a full test and they are timed unlike the aamc tests which you can do at your own pace. Im taking my test in may or june so I haven't been practicing pacing yet.

The Kaplan full lengths are always timed right? No way to do it at your own pace?

But you are right. The kaplan tests go after really specific concepts instead of the general ones the AAMC tests cover.
 

Drexon

10+ Year Member
Apr 26, 2007
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i do agree redoxify about kaplans full lengths vs the aamc.
but i think you should focus on taking test timed and make it a priority to take a full length test (5.5hrs with breaks) because you're just building up bad habits for test taking and in my opinion wasting a full length.

no offense but perhaps maybe your scores that you're getting from your practice aamc aren't even very reflective of your current ability. To take a full length test (all 5.5hrs) you have to have the physical and mental stamina. Due to your pauses in test taking (probably in between sections) you're giving yourself mental breaks and physical breaks. Thus when you return perhaps you're returning more refreshed than usual or perhaps you're returning after some more studying and hence your scores might be higher. but then again this is all speculation

and speculation just makes a spec out of you and some guy named lation...

sorry had to insert joke for comic relief

i know you dont have the time to do a full length and your test is very far away but dont build bad habits is my bottom line. but yeah keep at it with the tests. I've noticed that tests provided by the test companies ( kaplan, princeton , berkley etc) are slightly different and perhaps harder than the aamc tests because these companies what to prepare to do your best on these tests. Remember don't be discouraged the difficulty and the scores that you're getting. just keep up the practice.

lastly i'm sure everyone here would agree with me with the fact that you do have to remember a lot of stuff because you're just not sure what's going to be on the test. perhaps you'll get questions in your bio section concerning hormones or perhaps you won't . It's the luck of the draw. best of luck with the draw and the test =)
 
Oct 6, 2009
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kaplan tests are great to see what you need to review, aamc tests are great to work out the timing.

the week up to your test you should be taking timed AAMC tests in an MCAT like environment.
 

Ahsan

MCAT SLAYER
Dec 22, 2009
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I just took my FL 4 after a long long break that I had to take because of family problems.
Anyways score came out to be in the low 20s; should I keep taking FLs and then move to AAMC in May-- the month of my MCAT?

Any suggestions on how to improve your scores drastically with Kaplan?
 

Redoxify

7+ Year Member
Feb 20, 2010
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I just took my FL 4 after a long long break that I had to take because of family problems.
Anyways score came out to be in the low 20s; should I keep taking FLs and then move to AAMC in May-- the month of my MCAT?

Any suggestions on how to improve your scores drastically with Kaplan?
Wish I could tell you how to improve your score with Kaplan. I get in the 30s with Kaplan but my raw score in each section is horrendous. For example, I missed 11 questions in biological sciences and still made a 13. That's ridiculous.

My suggestion is don't pay any attention to the score. Rather, go back through the exam and figure out what you were thinking (or not thinking) as you answered a question. That includes right answers too, not just the wrong ones. I find that I sometimes get a question right, but for the wrong reasons.
Check your inbox Ahsan, I sent you some tips on Kaplan's online material.

Good luck!
 

IndianVercetti

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Jan 4, 2009
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Based on what the 1/30 test takers said, the real MCAT is far less memorization based than Kaplan's Bio passages - apparently they said it was like a science verbal section almost. I'd know the basics cold (like what is in examkrackers), but some of the stuff in the Kaplan tests is going a bit overboard (I hope)