ArtsyArtist25

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Does anyone have advise on which full length practice exams I must take before I take the actual MCAT?
 

JimKimSlim

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Definitely AAMC FL’s. Third party wise, I would suggest Next Step or Altius, but nothing beats the quality of AAMC FL’s.
 
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Definitely AAMC FL’s. Third party wise, I would suggest Next Step or Altius, but nothing beats the quality of AAMC FL’s.

Agree 100%. Save the AAMC exams for the weeks before your actual exam so you have an actual gauge of your score. Not only is this fantastic practice, but it is also going to help you determine if you should postpone (if you're scoring substantially lower on the AAMC exams than you are shooting for, that's when you would consider postponing).

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ArtsyArtist25

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Thank you. I am planning on taking my exam next January and began studying a month ago. I was just trying to guage the time I need to leave for myself to just take all the practice exams and when to begin doing practice questions from practice passages given by MCAT and other MCAT prep companies.
 
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JimKimSlim

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In my case, the ratio between preparation period and practice period was 60:40. If you’re taking the test on January, I suggest start doing practice problems and FL’s around 10 weeks before the test.
 
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ArtsyArtist25

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I see, so I guess that means I should starting doing them around October then, would you suggest any specific testing company exam, or should I just stick with the AMCAS exams and pull practice passages from other books?
 

JimKimSlim

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I see, so I guess that means I should starting doing them around October then, would you suggest any specific testing company exam, or should I just stick with the AMCAS exams and pull practice passages from other books?
I suggest starting with third party FL’s to gauge your speed and practice endurance for the 7.5 hours test. I personally used 10 Altius FL’s for my third party (their C/P and B/B are very solid, but CARS and P/S aren’t reflective of AAMC). I’ve heard NS FL’s are decent, but I never used theirs. Regardless, you should tackle AAMC FL’s and their Sample tests after you used your third party FL’s, since it helps prime your brain into AAMC logic before test day.
 
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AquaticSunrise13

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Hi guys I was wondering if I could get some advice.

I will be taking the MCAT exam for a third time in 4 weeks and was wondering about the order of taking the AAMC FL Exams. In the past, I have analyzed them to death, but have never taken the AAMC FL 4. I was wondering if I can take AAMC FL 4 prior to taking 1, 2, and 3, that way I have a chance to actually analyze it since the last exam I will be taking will be 3 days before my real MCAT which won't give me enough time to actually analyze it fully. Is there a disadvantage to doing the last one first? Does anyone advise for/against this? I would appreciate the help as my exam date is getting pretty close. Thanks. FYI, my target goal is a 505.
 

JimKimSlim

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Hi guys I was wondering if I could get some advice.

I will be taking the MCAT exam for a third time in 4 weeks and was wondering about the order of taking the AAMC FL Exams. In the past, I have analyzed them to death, but have never taken the AAMC FL 4. I was wondering if I can take AAMC FL 4 prior to taking 1, 2, and 3, that way I have a chance to actually analyze it since the last exam I will be taking will be 3 days before my real MCAT which won't give me enough time to actually analyze it fully. Is there a disadvantage to doing the last one first? Does anyone advise for/against this? I would appreciate the help as my exam date is getting pretty close. Thanks. FYI, my target goal is a 505.
I would advise against taking the AAMC FL4 prior to taking others, since it is the closest thing to the real test. In my case, I took AAMC FL4 five days before test day to gauge what I would get and to decide whether or not I should postpone the test. I got a 520 on the actual test, and the individual scores were the exact same as those on AAMC FL4. I understand that other people like to use their resources differently, but in my case it doesn’t take me more than two days to review my mistakes on AAMC FLs. That last AAMC FL is very valuable and should be used very carefully,
 
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PlsLetMeIn21

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AAMC by a mile!

For non AAMC, I mixed and matched sections from different commercial vendors. I personally liked EK for the experiments and TBR for their explanations. TBR was probably the closest to my actual MCATs, but they weren't as close as AAMC. Altius and NS were okay, but the quality varied drastically from exam to exam.
 
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hkdude97

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I would advise against taking the AAMC FL4 prior to taking others, since it is the closest thing to the real test. In my case, I took AAMC FL4 five days before test day to gauge what I would get and to decide whether or not I should postpone the test. I got a 520 on the actual test, and the individual scores were the exact same as those on AAMC FL4. I understand that other people like to use their resources differently, but in my case it doesn’t take me more than two days to review my mistakes on AAMC FLs. That last AAMC FL is very valuable and should be used very carefully,

I've heard some people take FL2 before FL1. Is that still a thing? Or do you think it should just be taken in order of 1,2,3,4 for the FLs
 

PlsLetMeIn21

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As important as which exams you choose is when you take them. The AAMC exams will be the best ones you take, bar none. Time them accordingly. Do one early and then the rest during your last three weeks of studying. I studied for the exam twice, and nothing will be as good as those exams. But you have to take more than just five exams, so you'll need to bite the bullet and get some commercial exams. I took the advice of my big sib on this and it was pure gold.

Mix and match sections from different resources. Then use the sections you didn't take as problem sets, especially for CARS because you are going to run out of CARS passages. The first time I took a section from EK, a section from Altius, a section from TBR, and then for P/S I randomly selected. I'd rotate sections between the different companies each time I sat for a practice FL and this was super helpful. It mixes up the style enough to mimic the actual MCAT. Both times I took the actual MCAT my experience was different, so nothing will be perfect. However, mixing different exams is better than sticking to one source. My second time studying I mixed TBR and NS exams like the same way.

If you can afford it, get exams from two to three different places and mix them. If you can only afford one, then TBR is your best bet. NS or EK will be okay too.
 

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