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MCAT not significantly improving please help

Discussion in 'MCAT: Medical College Admissions Test' started by mnmoore, Aug 6, 2015.

  1. mnmoore

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    I signed up for a Kaplan course and took the diagnostic test an scored 483 :( .

    I have been studying for 3 weeks and my score has only improved by 2 points. I am getting very frustrated that my score is not significantly improving. My worse section is chemistry/physics.

    Please help!!
     
  2. mnmoore

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    Thank you for your tips, I have downloaded the AAMC content, I did not realize there was a list of everything I needed to know.

    I have been studying by reading the book and high lighting but I don't learn things by just reading them once so I have to reread chapters. I have also been watching some of Kaplan's videos.

    Any tip for what I can do different?
     
  3. El-Rami

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    Honestly, if you have to reread a chapter, you're doing something wrong. If you aren't able to grasp something the first time you read it, then likely you haven't learned it in your classes. This suggests significant deficiencies in material. Perhaps you have not taken enough classes over the subjects that are covered. Revisiting chapters is okay, though, as long as you're glancing through notes you took just as a quick refresher over a few details (i.e. effects of Hormone X or mechanism of action of Receptor Y).

    As far as studying goes, simple content review is low yield; it won't prepare you for really weird questions that make you think about something in a way that was not covered in your content review books. You need a broad understanding of how things work (e.g. interconnectedness of respiratory, renal, and cardiovascular systems through knowledge of modulation of pH and osmolarity) then immediately challenge yourself with questions (Khan Academy, passages, etc.) to reinforce those concepts and force you to see the bigger picture more clearly.
     
  4. dushash

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    I just finished Kaplan content review and took my second ever timed test FL 2 - 497. My Diagnostic was 483, so I was in exact same position as you.
    First of all - finish your content review. That took me 2,5 months. And that is only first run, as I'm sure there's tons of details I've missed. I'm going to hone it down while doing FL's.
    Secondly, don't get discouraged, content review is just 50% or even less of MCAT success. The rest is practicing. When you'll finish content review, start practicing FL's - every 4th day. So during 1 month you'll cover at least 8-9 FL's. In between FL's during the rest 3 days do - mistake review with going back to content, do AAMC Q's packs and do Q-bank and section/passage based questions. Also watch videos on topics you made mistakes and your weak topics. During next month do EK FL's and AAMC FL (last). I can guarantee that in 2 months studying (after been done with contetn review) you will be somewhere close to 505 or so on Kaplan, which means more on real test. So in total it takes 3-4 months - but it's expected to be like that coming from 483 to around 505 (I'll assume a bare minimum you want to be).

    If you want to make it happen faster - then you can study more every day and do FL's every other day, but there's limit to our capabilities and I don't think it's possible (for majority of us) to improve from that low as 483 to 505+ in less than 3 months no matter how you cut it.

    P.S. If you are trying to keep with Kaplan course schedule - don't even try - it's crazy fast pace and they did it for those who review material NOT learn it for the first time. I was learning it for the first time and so I did it in my slower pace. Your 3 weeks is nothing yet, so keep calm and continue read and practice.
     
    #4 dushash, Aug 6, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2015
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  5. ready2go2

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    You can't just read. You have to actually do practice problems along with each chapter. Doesn't kaplan books come with chapter questions?
     
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  6. GrapesofRath

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    When physical science scores are that low it indicates a clear lack of content knowledge and there's a very good chance that clear lack of background knowledge is true for other sections as well.
     
  7. El-Rami

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    To be honest, the Kaplan end of chapter questions are not that great.
     
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  8. nomdeplume1234

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    Hi there. 3 weeks is not a very long time. how many hours are you studying? also they can't cram everything in to each test. so one test will be full of optics and magnetism but won't even show up on the next. so maybe you will be a kung fu master in those topics but sound waves and acid-base chemistry is the big thing on test two.
     
  9. GrapesofRath

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    Kaplan in general is not the source I would use for MCAT prep. The way they write their questions would be great for a DAT, but unfortunately the MCAT isn't a test of knowledge and facts the way so many Kaplan questions are.
     
  10. dushash

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    I would say Kaplan has good content review set of books - just right amount of what you need to know. And they offer AAMC Q's pack - which is really golden. But I would agree that maybe their FL's aren't that representative. However, most people who got 503 on Kaplan FL - got roughly 510+ on real thing. So that's not bad. IMHO if one does all 12 Kaplan FL's that alone will build up endurance, time sense and good knowledge base.
     
  11. GrapesofRath

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    a) yes Kaplan is solid for review in some subjects. There biochem book is good. There psych/soc book? Not so much. I've heard mixed things on the physical sciences. Their verbal in general is horrendous.
    b) The AAMC Q pack is hardly a reason to invest in 2K of Kaplan while nice. Tons of review companies supply you with the AAMC stuff.
    c) The fact most people do well on the actual MCAT doesn't really have to do with Kaplan. There are just alot of really smart people and while content review helps, what carries them on test day is their reasoning skills and reading comprehension.
    d) Yes the FL's build up endurance, but won't doing any companies 7 hour tests? Also the time sense thing to me I didn't agree with; the verbal seemed too short, physics too long etc.

    That said Kaplan still has material worth doing. I'm a believer in practice problems making the difference and in the idea that you don't do all this study to memorize info to spit back on tests but rather to be comfortable and fluent in all areas so wehn you see a weird and dense passage you can interpret it faster, jump to appropriate conclusions and know what does and doesn't make sense, and be able to speed up your comprehension on those passages etc. It's just if I were to rank the material I would recommend for each section, Kaplan wouldn't be my top choice for any( if you are wondering CARS: AAMC, TPRH workbook, EK 101 in that order Physical sciences: BR, TPRH workbooks, KA then Kaplan Bio: BR, EK, KA then a tie between PR and Kaplan and Psych/soc: PR and KA).
     
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  12. ready2go2

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    The end of chapter questions are good for one thing and that is answering the question of did I retain any of the information from the chapter. They are a starting point. Obviously not representative of the MCAT, but solid content checks.
     
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  13. mnmoore

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    Many people are saying that content is only a small part of the MCAT, and reasoning is the largest part. Any suggestions about what content would be high yield?
     
  14. El-Rami

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    It's not so much high-yield vs. low-yield as it is that you simply learn more from making mistakes on questions and learning why certain answers are correct (or more correct) than others. Content review only gets you so far, but mistakes on questions take you the extra mile.
     
  15. dushash

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    It's too long to write. Kaplan has a special book that is separate from usual book set. It's called High-Yield Problem Solving Guide. Every topic there is high-yield. There are 13 topics in Biochem only that are high yield: Peptide Structure, Lineweaver-Burk Plots, Isoelectric Focusing, Isomerism in carbohydrates, Lipid Saponification, DNA replication, Operons, Membrane traffic, Glycolysis, ETC and Oxyd.Phosphorylation, b-Oxydation, Hormonal regulation of Metabolism. Same goes for other subjects (Behavioral, Biology, Gen and Org Chem, Physics and Math). Too long to list.
     
  16. studentdocftw

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    Though the MCAT is a reasoning test...content IS required. You can't simply reason through a test if you don't understand the fundamental concepts behind the questions...so finish the content review through and through..then move on to practicing "test taking" skills. 3 weeks isn't a significant amount of time...start to worry if your score is the same in 2 months.
     
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  17. StudyLater

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    No one does. Literally no one. It's funny to me how many people say this like it's some unique characteristic. None of us have that kind of memory, particularly in the high volume context (it's pretty much everything you've learned in UG that matters) and taken over any significant time scale. The human mind won't remember the particulars about something it encountered once in a low-stress scenario 3+ months ago.

    Maintenance rehearsal might be a good term to know for the psych/soc section.

    All the content is high yield. You can't avoid studying at least the vast majority of what they've outlined for you and expect a decent score. I also don't know why you're worried about practicing @ 3 weeks, unless you have a very strong background in the material. According to your scores, it doesn't seem like you do. No need to jump the gun. Wait until you're ready (i.e. you've studied fully and feel you have a good grasp of the material) to start practice.
     
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  18. sara7221997

    sara7221997 Zekey17
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    Hi mnmoore,
    I'm scored around this range when I was taking my Kaplan FL,
    Do you mind if I know what you made on the real MCAT, because I wanna get am idea if I need to push my test date?
     

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