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Let me know if this is how I should approach my final 1.5 months of studying

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by acetylmandarin, Jul 11, 2017.

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  1. acetylmandarin

    acetylmandarin 2+ Year Member

    987
    196
    Oct 20, 2014
    I've been doing content review on/off for like a year now because I kept postponing my exam, and I also had some personal stuff that came up that I had to deal with. I am now shooting to take the mcat sometime before this summer administration ends (sometime in August or September).

    I have taken 2 NS full length exams, and 1 EK exam, and the NS half length.

    I start a full time job on August 1st, so I will probably only be able to do full lengths on weekends, and a little bit of content review during the weekdays (going over AAMC material).

    From looking around, I've seen people saying that I should start AAMC material ASAP, so here is my plan:

    I wanted to take 4 FLs before my August 1st start date, and I'm still going to try and do that (2 exams a week), as long as I don't get too burned out.

    So I'll probably take another NS exam this week, and then I can take 2 more exams before August 1st. Should I take the AAMC sample exam and another NS?

    I also have TBR end of book review exams/passages that I am doing when I'm not taking/reviewing exams

    I was going to take more EK exams if time permits, but honestly, I like NS better than EK (probably because it felt easier). The EK exam I took was hard, and I felt like it was so hard that it was useless. I may be wrong though


    How should I fit in the AAMC materials?

    So 2 exams
    Sample exam
    Section bank
    Question packs
    Official guide questions

    This bundle is $204. Is this worth the price? How about the flashcards and 'official guide to the mcat' that are not included?

    (You can actually get them with the more expensive bundle that includes them in print form.)




    So here are my scores so far:

    NS half length (took on 6/20):
    Total: 505
    Physics/chem: 127
    Cars: 124
    Bio: 125
    Psych: 129


    NS exam 1 (took 6/29):
    Total: 509
    Physics/chem:127
    CARS:126
    Bio: 128
    Psych: 128

    EK 1 (took on 7/7):
    Total: 63%
    Chem: 51%
    Cars: 66%
    Bio: 66%
    Psych: 68%


    NS 3 (took today):

    So I was really surprised at my chem/phys score on this. As soon as I started, I started panicking because I wasn't in testing mode. I did not feel like I was really in the zone during the whole section.
    I totally screwed up my timing and literally blindly guessed on the last two passages because I didn't have enough time to do them.

    Total: 507
    Chem/phys: 127 (in addition to what I said above, I missed all but two questions in the last two passages after blindly guessing) (I was really frustrated at this point)
    Cars: 126
    Bio: 126
    Psych: 128



    In conclusion, I'm really most worried about chem/phys. I've never been good at math/calculations/physical sciences, and I get really nervous when I see numbers. I've been solely practicing gen chem and physics, and after taking that exam, I guess I need to go back and memorize as much orgo as I can. I feel like I forgot orgo stuff, and I don't really have practice material for orgo, so I can only look at my notes.

    At this point, I don't think I can do anything to improve cars. I think my time will be better spent practicing chem/phys.


    What do you guys think?
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2017
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  3. acetylmandarin

    acetylmandarin 2+ Year Member

    987
    196
    Oct 20, 2014
    Also, thank you in advance for any advice
     
  4. MoDiddy

    MoDiddy SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor

    197
    213
    Feb 8, 2016
    Working harder than U
    Great improvement. Review the topics you don't know for chem and physics. Other than that, go through all the AAMC material thoroughly. Take sample exam when you feel comfortable, finish Q packs (in one sitting then review each question over the next week), take AAMC 1 fill in any holes you have with content. Section bank save for last 2-3 weeks as it is most representative of the test. Take AAMC 2 a week before your test! Cannot stress post-game analysis of each test you take. Wish you the best of luck my friend you got this

    What have you been doing to study for Psych/soc?
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2017
    acetylmandarin likes this.
  5. acetylmandarin

    acetylmandarin 2+ Year Member

    987
    196
    Oct 20, 2014

    Thanks!
    I know everyone says to save AAMC 2 for the week before, but what are you supposed to do if you score lower on that than what you want for exam day? Does that mean you will know that you may want to void your exam? Because I think that's too late to cancel the exam date and reschedule.

    Same goes for the section bank; I've heard to start this earlier because it's so important and you want to make sure you can get through it?

    I have been reviewing my exams, but for some reason, I feel like reviewing cars, especially 3rd party cars is a waste of time. Maybe I'm wrong though. I just didn't review the cars for the EK exam I took. I just feel like it's difficult to focus on why you are answering questions incorrectly and actually make a change to how you will approach again in the future. Much easier said than done.


    So I was going to take my exam last September and studied last summer for it, but never did. Back then, I read through the Kaplan psych book. Now, I just use the reddit psych/soc document and anki cards. I also have the next step psych/soc passage practice book, but I haven't really used it.
     
  6. Ad2b

    Ad2b SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor 2+ Year Member

    2,102
    1,845
    Nov 3, 2014
    I would also suggest maybe starting the SB's earlier and redoing them 1.5 weeks before making sure you understand each concept well enough to teach someone else (graph, table, chart, experimental methods - gas chromatography, etc...)
     
    acetylmandarin likes this.
  7. MoDiddy

    MoDiddy SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor

    197
    213
    Feb 8, 2016
    Working harder than U
    I'd take AAMC 1 soon and see how you do. You're scoring pretty well on NS. If you take AAMC 1 now you'll have time to fix some stuff before the test.
     
    acetylmandarin likes this.
  8. acetylmandarin

    acetylmandarin 2+ Year Member

    987
    196
    Oct 20, 2014

    Thanks guys, I'll take this advice into account. Will take SBs and AAMC 1 asap
     
  9. DameJulie

    DameJulie

    540
    126
    Apr 23, 2016
    I am in the same boat as OP, and I haven't started AAMC material yet. Is this a good time to start? I am still behind on 3rd-party practice materials...

    What do you recommend the order of Qpack, OG, and SB? How far apart did you do them between each other?
     
  10. acetylmandarin

    acetylmandarin 2+ Year Member

    987
    196
    Oct 20, 2014
    Hey, I'm probably going to start the AAMC material next week. I'm not sure what order to do it in though....
     
  11. rabbott1971

    rabbott1971

    410
    237
    Apr 26, 2016
    The official guide questions from AAMC are short -- like a half MCAT. The order of AAMC materials? I think starting with Q-packs is a good idea. Those are questions from old MCATs, I believe pre-2015, which is why there is no P/S Q-pack. Then get into the SBs. I will be up front that personally my ego took a large hit in the SBs. They are murderous. But that's how you get better. WHen you've done all the Q-packs and SBs, I guess that's when you get rolling on the sample and practice exams.

    And again, personally, I don't understand why anyone would wait so long to start the AAMC materials, given that they are published by the test makers. They are roundly considered the most productive study materials, especially the practice exams. Good luck and enjoy!
     
  12. acetylmandarin

    acetylmandarin 2+ Year Member

    987
    196
    Oct 20, 2014








    I just took NS 4 today, and I'm getting worried. My scores have been dropping since I started taking full lengths.


    NS 4 (took today)
    : Total: 506
    P/S: 127
    CARS: 124
    BB: 127
    Psych: 128

    Just for reference, so you don't have to scroll, here are my other scores again
    NS half length (took on 6/20):
    Total: 505
    Physics/chem: 127
    Cars: 124
    Bio: 125
    Psych: 129

    NS exam 1 (took 6/29):
    Total: 509
    Physics/chem:127
    CARS:126
    Bio: 128
    Psych: 128

    EK 1
    (took on 7/7):
    Total: 63%
    Chem: 51%
    Cars: 66%
    Bio: 66%
    Psych: 68%

    NS 3 (took last week)

    Total: 507
    Chem/phys: 127 (in addition to what I said above, I missed all but two questions in the last two passages after blindly guessing) (I was really frustrated at this point)
    Cars: 126
    Bio: 126
    Psych: 128



    Yet again, just like the NS 3, I got really frustrated with Chem/Phys. I feel like that is my worst section, because I am often confused with what they are asking and how to interpret the passages. I know my scores have been consistently about 127 for that section, but I feel like it's inflated.
    Timing is always an issue for me here, because I get stuck on questions, and I just don't know how to determine whether I should try and figure it out or move on. I don't want to blindly guess on too many.

    For CARS, I'm really not sure what happened on this exam. I felt really confident in my answers actually. I always feel pretty confident with CARS, but then it ends up being my lowest section.

    For B/B, I got really frustrated with this too today. The passages were very convoluted and difficult for me to understand.

    Psych is fine I guess. Not really any issues there. Never been able to break 128 (except for the half length, which I'm not really counting). I'm realizing that the threshold for higher scores is actually pretty small...maybe a difference of just a few questions. I just want to raise the other sections haha.
     
  13. MoDiddy

    MoDiddy SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor

    197
    213
    Feb 8, 2016
    Working harder than U
    I would take AAMC 1 or the sample right now. Next step is good but AAMC will be much more accurate. As far as NS exams, do some research. Some of the tests are known to be harder than others
     
  14. acetylmandarin

    acetylmandarin 2+ Year Member

    987
    196
    Oct 20, 2014
    My plan was to take 2 exams last week, then a 3rd exam this coming week, along with AAMC 1 or the sample. Looks like that will get delayed a little bit, because I only had time to take one exam last week and then one today. I will take either the AAMC sample or AAMC 1 this coming wed/thurs/fri after I review this exam I took today.



    Do you know if people recommend the sample or AAMC 1 as being more predictive for actual test day performance? I've seen a wide range of opinions, and I'm not sure if I was just looking at people who had extreme score jumps or drops.
     
  15. acetylmandarin

    acetylmandarin 2+ Year Member

    987
    196
    Oct 20, 2014
    Also, I stopped consistently doing cars practice awhile ago because I basically used all of my materials. Since I studied last summer for the exam, I have exhausted
    The old EK101
    The new EK101
    TPRH hyperlearning
    NS108 verbal
    Part of TBR verbal---Not good
    Old EK30 minute exams
    2.5 verbal exams from Testing Solutions----Very very difficult
    Khan academy verbal practice passages


    Do you know if there is anymore CARS practice worth doing? Other than AAMC stuff?
     
  16. DameJulie

    DameJulie

    540
    126
    Apr 23, 2016
    That's really impressive!! Have you seen significant improvement while you are doing them and afterwards?

    I believe you have exhausted the popular CARS practice materials there. If you are in the comfortable score range, I would just take it easy and focus on other sections. If you want more practice, maybe crack some FL's CARS?

    I'm going guess you have done more than 500 practice passages...that's more than enough in my opinion.
     
  17. acetylmandarin

    acetylmandarin 2+ Year Member

    987
    196
    Oct 20, 2014
    Based on my scores on next step exams...I don't really know if I'm scoring well. I think I might just start doing the cars q packs.

    Honestly, I think I messed up with how I did it. Quality > quantity. I think I burned through a lot of material unnecessarily.
     
  18. acetylmandarin

    acetylmandarin 2+ Year Member

    987
    196
    Oct 20, 2014
    Took the AAMC sample today:

    C/P: 78%
    CARS: 83%
    B/B: 81%
    Psych: 81%


    Just for reference:
    NS 4: Total: 506
    P/S: 127
    CARS: 124
    BB: 127
    Psych: 128
    NS half length (took on 6/20):
    Total: 505
    Physics/chem: 127
    Cars: 124
    Bio: 125
    Psych: 129
    NS exam 1 (took 6/29):
    Total: 509
    Physics/chem:127
    CARS:126
    Bio: 128
    Psych: 128
    EK 1 (took on 7/7):
    Total: 63%
    Chem: 51%
    Cars: 66%
    Bio: 66%
    Psych: 68%
    NS 3
    Total: 507
    Chem/phys: 127
    Cars: 126
    Bio: 126
    Psych: 128




    I know the AAMC sample is not really indicative of performance on the actual test day, but does anyone have advice based on my percentages for that exam?

    Even though every section was easier than the real thing, I still had a hard time with P/S, not being able to do very simple calculations quickly, etc. I actually stopped the exam in the middle of that section because I wasn't feeling into it, but then I came back a half hour later and finished the exam anyway

    Felt hyper focused on CARS, and I went through passages very fast. I think the coffee I had also contributed to that. I was just focusing as much as possible and trying to maintain an electrical gridlock with every word that laid upon my retina..........hahaha


    Used all of the time in both CARS and P/S.

    Finished with B/B with 20 minutes or so, and I thought some of the passages were hard to interpret.

    I finished P/S with 37 minutes left.


    So based on this, I would just say I need to mainly focus on physics/chem I guess? I probably need to study everything though

    Any tips on what you guys think I should do to improve? Thanks guys
     
  19. MoDiddy

    MoDiddy SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor

    197
    213
    Feb 8, 2016
    Working harder than U
    Great job! Your predicted score is 515 but range is 513-517. Take this with a grain of salt I plugged it into some google doc calculator. Keep working bro.

    As stated many times, AAMC 1 & 2 will be best predictors
     
    acetylmandarin likes this.
  20. acetylmandarin

    acetylmandarin 2+ Year Member

    987
    196
    Oct 20, 2014
    Thanks!
     
  21. acetylmandarin

    acetylmandarin 2+ Year Member

    987
    196
    Oct 20, 2014

    Just took AAMC 1, and not happy with my results (mostly not happy with CARS).

    C/P: 130
    Cars: 123
    B/B: 128
    P/S: 126

    Total: 507

    CARS was a nightmare for me today, and I'm not really sure if my score is accurate or not. During the second passage, my exam froze and I had to reopen it. I lost only a few seconds from this, but then I completely freaked out and thought I had to reread that passage because the freezing broke my concentration. This screwed over the rest of that section.
    Through the rest of CARS, I thought I needed to go back and look over that one passage. I raced through the subsequent passages as quickly as possible, picking the first answer choices that looked correct without considering other choices, skimming through passages with no regards to pacing or anything, panicking the whole way because I thought I was behind.
    Basically, the stress of my exam freezing out pushed me over the edge, and I feel like I need to take Xanax now.
    I finished the CARS section with 7 minutes left, which means I completely screwed up because I should be finishing that section with 0 minutes left. I messed every passage up.



    I'm also surprised by P/S. Don't really know why I scored so low.

    Both CARS and P/S were the lowest I've ever scored in those sections


    I would like to know if you think it's possible for me to have a higher CARS score based on what my other CARS scores have been.

    AAMC Material:
    Sample exam: Phys/Chem: 78%
    Cars: 83%
    Bio: 81%
    P/S: 81%
    Physics/Chem section bank (untimed)(not sure how people normally report this, because it gives you multiple percentages): Biology: 100%
    Chem: 74%
    Biochem: 65%
    Physics: 54%
    Chem Q pack: 80%
    Physics Q Pack: 79%
    Bio 1 q pack: 80%
    CARS 1 q pack: 68%
    NS half length (took on 6/20):
    Total: 505
    Physics/chem: 127
    Cars: 124
    Bio: 125
    Psych: 129
    NS exam 1 (took 6/29):
    Total: 509
    Physics/chem:127
    CARS:126
    Bio: 128
    Psych: 128
    EK 1 (took on 7/7):
    Total: 63%
    Chem: 51%
    Cars: 66%
    Bio: 66%
    Psych: 68%
    NS 3 (July 11, 2017):
    Total: 507
    Chem/phys: 127
    Cars: 126
    Bio: 126
    Psych: 128
    NS 4 (July 16, 2017): Total: 506
    P/S: 127
    CARS: 124
    BB: 127
    Psych: 128
     
  22. MoDiddy

    MoDiddy SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor

    197
    213
    Feb 8, 2016
    Working harder than U
    That's ok bro. Obviously the CARS freezing messed you up so no need to worry about the score. Let's talk about P/S. That section is the easiest to study for. I would review that section intensely for whatever of the reminder time you have left
     
  23. acetylmandarin

    acetylmandarin 2+ Year Member

    987
    196
    Oct 20, 2014
    Thanks for the response. I've done pretty well on P/S on all of my other practice exams (on the Next step exams, I always got 128 on that section). I really want to make sure I am narrowing my focus since I have such little time. I feel like there is a lot I could review/go over for bio, chem, and phys (For example, I don't really know the metabolic pathways very well, and I also just completely guessed on the lens/mirror questions on AAMC FL 1 because I barely remember that topic)

    Do you think it's more important for me to get through the AAMC material, or just address whatever weaknesses I see from the AAMC full length?
    I still have about 25 questions in the bio section bank, the entire psych section bank, one of the bio q packs, the official guide questions, and AAMC flashcards. Oh yeah, and full length 2


    Should I just review the CARS and Psych sections on the AAMC full length 1 since I'm limited on time and those were weak?

    Also, I've heard the psych section bank is quite difficult. Would it even be worth my time doing it if my score was poor for that section on AAMC 1? I mean, why should I try doing advanced section bank passages when my scores show that I am missing stuff that isn't necessarily as hard.

    I'm just trying to figure out the best way to budget the time I have
     
  24. Seikuken

    Seikuken

    24
    8
    Aug 10, 2017
    Psych/soc is a lot of terminology, and the section bank covers stuff that you wouldn't find in some review books. It's good to do that one to cover more terminology.

    Looking at the AAMC FL 1, it looks like your psych/soc definitely needs some work; I remember that exam having pretty high-yield topics. Go through that section and nail down those terms that you don't know.

    I also wouldn't worry too much about CARS since you did fine with CARS on the sample test. If you haven't already finished the 2 CARS question packs yet, keep on doing those for practice until test day. Good luck!
     
    acetylmandarin likes this.

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