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kaplan's mapping strategy

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by buggati, Mar 1, 2007.

  1. buggati

    buggati 5+ Year Member

    Feb 16, 2007
    how effective is kaplan's mapping strategy, i ran out of time on my first practice test and the maps werent really helpful and i only improved by 2 pts...any suggestions, i am taking the mcat in april :(
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  3. Schaden Freud

    Schaden Freud MiSanthrope II 2+ Year Member

    Apr 23, 2006
    Try a practice test without the maps and see what happens.

  4. TheAmazingGOB

    TheAmazingGOB It ain't easy bein' white 5+ Year Member

    Jan 8, 2007
    Well, as a whole the Kaplan method sucks. If you are a good student, do what's worked for you in the past. Do a ton of practice tests and focus on your weaker areas. The whole mapping thing is lame and is only really helpful in the verbal section. Don't bother writing dumb phrases next to each paragraph like Kaplan says, jot down one or two key words and move on. For verbal, read something you are not used to reading. I read the Wall Street Journal (science major, no interest in business whatsoever) and practiced marking up articles as if they were passages (again, a few words, not phrases).
  5. Mastac741

    Mastac741 Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    Nov 6, 2005
    I agree. Mapping is a waste of time. I took Kaplan's prep course and was very pissed off with the whole thing. The whole course didn't help at all. I wish I could have gotten my money back. Oh well, I got in, so I guess it's just the price of acceptance.
  6. johnboy12

    johnboy12 10+ Year Member

    Jan 1, 2007
    I am a former Kaplan instructor, and my opinion is that mapping is best utilized as a method to combat glazing, when you "read" an entire passage and realize that you retained little or none of the information. Particularly with VR. If you are an active reader, this hopefully will not be a problem. Bottom line, reading well is a skill.
  7. dsh

    dsh 10+ Year Member

    Jun 10, 2005
    The mapping strategy takes a while to get used to. Students typically start saving time and scoring significantly more points once they've had a good amount of practice and really incorporated the method and made it second-nature. Remember you don't need to write down full sentences, actually you'd ideally write as little as possible (and in some kind of shorthand that works for you) while capturing the gist of each paragraph/figure/etc.

    Take this with a huge grain of salt, as a Kaplan teacher I'm pretty biased.
  8. DocYuki

    DocYuki The Gamer Student 5+ Year Member

    Jan 28, 2007
    Took the Kaplan course last summer. It didn't really improve my score at all, but understand that I probably did not allow myself to truly develop those mapping skills.

    The way I see it benefiting one most is when you make a few marks (maybe a word or two) on the passage so that you have an idea of where important pieces of information are. When you get to a question that refers back to the passage, you've got your bookmark basically.

    Now....how will this work...when you're taking the electronic MCAT? *audible gasp*
  9. Guile

    Guile 1K Member 5+ Year Member

    Jul 26, 2006
    I agree with the above: mapping is a terrible strategy. Get the Examkrackers verbal book. They will REALLY show you how to improve your verbal score. I didn't even write words next to the passages. Verbal was my highest score.
  10. Jccripe

    Jccripe 2+ Year Member

    Sep 12, 2006
    Kaplan's strategies are worthless, just figure it out on your own. Kaplan is really only good for the material and time to spend on studying. You are most likely to create strategies of your own.
  11. AnEyeLikeMars

    AnEyeLikeMars Member 7+ Year Member

    Dec 2, 2005
    Carrboro, NC
    Is this increase in 2pts an increase over the half-length diagnostic? If so, don't worry. They say mose people perform about the same or slight worse on the first full length. I got the same score on my diagnostic and first full length, but my actual MCAT score was 10 points higher.
    In terms of mapping, I took the Kaplan class but didn't really map. I found underlying key points worked better for me. Just try to find out what's right for you.
  12. RichardParkr

    RichardParkr 2+ Year Member

    Aug 16, 2006
    :idea: Yep, whatever strategies you just make up out of the blue will totally help you ace the MCAT!

    Seriously tho, your score on FL 1 doesn't matter. Follow the advice about conciseness on this thread, work really hard over the next 4-6 weeks, and you'll do well.

    Examine why your maps didn't help. Were they too long, or did you focus on info that didn't help with the Qs? Mapping is only a tool to help you score points.
  13. wutwinb

    wutwinb Junior Member 5+ Year Member

    personally, i felt like the kaplan mapping strategies ultimately slowed me down during the test. since you can highlight on the CBT version, it's pretty much the same as mapping, so there i didn't think there was need to highlight and then write something on paper. i might have jotted some stuff down during verbal, since the passages are longer, but, like everyone else said, it's what you're comfortable with.
  14. jennifermov

    jennifermov 10+ Year Member

    Feb 16, 2005
    around the corner
    i took the Kaplan class and have been teaching for them for the past 3 years. from my own experience and feedback from students, i think some strategies are helpful and others are not useful at all. i try to be pretty straight-forward with my students about what strategies are worth-while and which aren't....

    i suggest that the maping strategy is less important during the science passages, but can be very helpful for the verbal....mainly for the reasons that johnboy12 gave. you CAN'T expect to be a pro at active reading/mapping overnight. your teacher should have given you the analogy about learning how to type properly....you are slower at first, but with practice you find that it is more effecient than using 2 fingers. with that said....you HAVE to practice the strategies consistently from the beginning of the course (during practice materials, tests, etc.) right before the REAL test, i tell my students that if they haven't been practicing the strategy, then it's way too late to start using it now. also, don't forget that an important component of the mapping strategy is also the active reading....asking questions to yourself about what the author is trying to say and anticipating where he is going with the passage from keywords, language, etc. this was really hard for me to master, but i can say with confidence that it helped me anticipate potential questions and is part of the reason i got an 11 in verbal.
  15. LunaMD

    LunaMD 2+ Year Member

    Dec 30, 2006
    New Jersey
    Mapping helps you learn to actively read passages and prevent yourself from falling asleep while doing practice problems, but when it comes test day, you would have to be crazy to sit there and waste your time mapping a passage. Hopefully by then you will have picked up the technique of effectively reading and understanding what is important in a passage.
  16. Michelle823

    Michelle823 2+ Year Member

    Feb 13, 2007
    I used Kaplan (class) and ExamKrakers (books) to study for the MCAT.

    ExamKrakers is great at teaching the material and Kaplan is good at teaching you how to take the test. I think the downfall of Kaplan is that if you can't immediately remember what you need to know, you waste time mapping rather than trying to remember what you need to know.

    I would NOT recommend only using examkrackers to study since really doing well on the MCAT comes down to how well you can read that paragraph and use the information they give you to answer questions.
  17. Phil Anthropist

    Phil Anthropist SDN Moderator Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Mar 14, 2004
    Moving to MCAT Discussions.
  18. Dmizrahi

    Dmizrahi Member 7+ Year Member

    Apr 29, 2006
    I took the mcat got a 5 in VR and took kaplan and came out with an 11 in VR the second time...i think it works relatively well, but i think the mapping strategy needs help.
  19. Guile

    Guile 1K Member 5+ Year Member

    Jul 26, 2006
    I thought Examkrackers was EXCELLENT at both teaching the material and teaching how to take the test. I ONLY did EK, and I did very well. There are many on the boards here who have similar stories.

    I WOULD recommend using only EK...and lots of practice tests. Kaplan's strategies were useless and only slowed me down. (I was in the class but dropped it.)
  20. MSTPbound

    MSTPbound student Moderator Emeritus 2+ Year Member

    Oct 1, 2006
    I'm preparing for the April test - for the first couple of months, mapping was a really tedious and annoying thing, but I forced myself to do it. Never really got through an entire VR section in time, but I did learn to read passages differently.

    Now, under my Kaplan teacher's advice, I have dropped mapping altogether... my pace has much improved and my practice scores are improving, but now I notice that I do read and think differently for this section and I'm convinced its a beneficial result of mapping practice. I'm able to move through the passages more quickly because I've gotten better at identifying the structure and essence of the passages - I really had no concrete concept of this prior to the mapping practice, so I think it was very helpful and training me to think this way.

    Just my two cents. Hope it'll reap fruit on judgement day.

  21. apricotattack

    apricotattack 10+ Year Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    Western US
    i'm going to defend kaplan (a bit) and say that the mapping is a good idea, but you have to make it your own.. don't just write exactly what they tell you to on the board in class and then panic when you're on your own. i'm a fan of mapping, but only with very small indicators of where stuff is. even if you don't use it, it focuses your mind when you write it down.
  22. Vanguard23

    Vanguard23 5+ Year Member

    Sep 5, 2006
    Some of the Kaplan Verbal stuff DOES help(not necessarily mapping) but could someone tell me exactly what is so great about Exam Krackers in this respect that would warrant me getting that book to improve my score?
  23. SFMAV


    Feb 28, 2007
    I've found to be useful in the science sections where its less about mapping the purpose of each paragraph and more the content covered (this makes it easier for me to go back and find the one piece of info that I need for a caclulation or something). As for verbal, I've been practicing mapping for about a month and, while I think it was useful in terms of getting in the habbit of picking out the main idea of each passage and pausing to summarize, it takes too long and I tend to lose my sense of the flow of the passage. So I have abandoned mapping in the verbal, and I have already started to notice my scores increasing. I got a 5 on my kaplan diagnostic in verbal and I haven't scored lower than a 36/40 in a while now. Still, verbal scares me.
  24. Guile

    Guile 1K Member 5+ Year Member

    Jul 26, 2006
    They just break it down for you and teach you how to take verbal from the ground up (starting with how to sit). It's very thorough and simply works. Get the book and see for yourself.

    You're willing to shell out all that money for Kaplan but you won't buy a cheap book that could really help your score?

    And for all the money it costs, Kaplan OUGHT to have at least SOMETHING useful to offer you. It's laughable that people even have to say that.
  25. christian15213

    christian15213 Banned Banned

    Jul 28, 2006
    Dude I love your name Milk of Amnesia aka propofol
  26. killinsound

    killinsound Physician 10+ Year Member

    Aug 30, 2006
    i think that sitting crap is BS. i sit curled up on my seat and do just fine.

    i also hate kaplan though. i am an equal opportunity hater.

    one thing i did take from kaplan was mapping out by paragraph in 3 words or less, just to help me actively read... i NEVER(rarely) look back at my map when answering questions. its just a method for me to keep my mind on the material.
  27. Guile

    Guile 1K Member 5+ Year Member

    Jul 26, 2006
    Whatever works for you. As long as you find something that increases your score.

    Thanks man. It's funnier for people who know what Propofol is.
  28. Vanguard23

    Vanguard23 5+ Year Member

    Sep 5, 2006
    Uh, money, time and effort. Is it at all practical for me to spend my time learning a whole new strategy.
    As for the money, I had already ordered the book before I even made my previous post. It's now here to my left.
    *Holds up EK VR book*

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