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MCAT Prep

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by I'mJustCurious, Aug 8, 2015.

  1. I'mJustCurious

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    Hey guys! Just wanted to ask you guys what's a great way to study for the new MCAT. What I mean by that is should I buy a complete set of MCAT books on Amazon, take quizzes online, and go to classes for the MCAT? I just wanted to make sure that I am not overspending if there's another alternative way to study for this. Thanks for any help.
     
  2. genericpremedstudent

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    take a look around the MCAT sub-forum, people discuss their various studying schedules and materials they used. some seem excessive to me, so its ultimately up to what methods work best for you.
     
  3. Meeehai

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    Buy a full set of books that covers all the material you need to know. Don't take a class, they're usually overpriced for what you get out of them - it typically ends up being tutors reciting the information from the book. Any little hints they would offer you can figure out yourself by doing enough practice tests.
     
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  4. genericpremedstudent

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    heres one thing i've done that has helped me out quite a bit. i went out and bought the kaplan set of books, its not all that expensive. as i go through my pre-req classes, i'll make notes in the prep books. it gives me a good idea about how much im learning in class will be covered on the mcat, and gives me a good reference to what i'll need to self study. i haven't taken the mcat yet so who knows how it'll turn out.
     
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  5. efle

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    Do NOT order a prep class. It's a waste of several thousand dollars and prevents you from correctly allocating study time with more on your weak spots and less on your strong areas. Just get a set of prep books and prep exams and create yourself a schedule to stick with across a couple months.
     
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  6. allantois

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    In a nutshell:

    Get EK for new MCAT set (use all but their Psych book). Supplement it with TPR Psych book and Kaplan Biochem book (or TBR Bio 2 book). You do the content review with those, then you do as many practice tests from various sources. Also, do CARS passages from day one (start with EK 101 book). If I could go back, I would spend less time on planning my studying and jump right on it instead.
     
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  7. bee17

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    Buy AAMC's official guide to the MCAT. It has practice passages and an outline of topics. Browse the mcat sub-forum to help you decide which prep books to buy. Also, check out Khan Academy's MCAT videos and passages. They are not comprehensive, but there is a lot of free information.
     
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  8. GrapesofRath

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    From my personal experience and those of many others; both of the many I've talked to and the many on this site here is a general guideline I might give for the test. Others would disagree but I feel the general order I list things seems to have a fair consensus(ie avoid Kaplan for verbal). Here is how I would rank company resources for each subject

    Bio/Biochem:
    Content: 1) BR Bio books(both) 2) EK Bio(2015 version) 3) Kaplan Biochem Review 4) PR Bio Review(low because it's not heavy on biochem). This is variable on your background knowledge; if you are a bio whiz with a 3.9 from Northwestern or something BR's comprehensive review probably isn't necessary.
    Practice Exams: 1) Anything new AAMC material 2) EK: both 30 minute exams and FL(which are gold). 3) Old MCAT material(it's not biochem related but it's very good practice) 4) Khan Academy(hit or miss but the ones that hit are good practice and free). 5) PR FL and online questions: I'm not a huge fan but there are some solid passages in there.

    CARS:
    1) Anything the AAMC has put out in the past year 2) Any of the old AAMC tests(CARs really hasn't changed) 3) TPRH Hyperlearning workbook 4) EK 101 passages 5) Khan Academy(it's 11 passages but they aren't bad) 6) Berekley Review(they're passages themselves are MCAT esque it's just the questions are pretty lackluster) 7) Kaplan(use only if you have nothing else). Note: I'm a believer that if you are doing this over a long time that reading abstract passages and persuasive writings in music, art, history and the like can help, particularly in terms of visualizing things which was key for me. The Economist and other sources people always recommend on here are good things to look into as well.

    Physical Science
    1) Any AAMC material for the new test 2) BR Physical Sciences 3) Khan Academy(people have given good reviews of it) 4) TPRH Hyperlearning Science Workbook 5) Old AAMC Material(this is the one section where old practice tests aren't really that valuable) .5) Kaplan and other PR material(good for nailing content this is probably Kaplan's best subject area)

    Psych/Soc
    1) Anything the AAMC is offering(they don't have Psych/Soc question packs) 2) EK FL(these are rather good) 3) Princeton Review book(I've heard the TPRH science workbook for 2015 has some psych/soc passages that are apparently pretty solid) 2) EK(people have split opinions on what they prefer between PR and EK) 4) EK content book 5) Khan Academy(I'm not huge on these because it is basically there questions are basically force feeding definitions but it's good practice)

    I don't think a class is a good use of time, particularly since many of these classes are adjusting to the new test themselves just like us(it was actually told by many that the classes this spring were telling people there's no need to memorize the Amino Acids which is about the worse advice you could give someone). Even though SN2 hasn't updated his schedule for the new test, it is still a very good reference to check out.
     
  9. I'mJustCurious

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    Say if I were to take the new MCAT early 2017, do you think studying summer of 2016 four times a week for ten hours and winter break for 10 hours a day would be suffice and prepare me?
     
  10. GrapesofRath

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    It is entirely different for everyone. I know people who glance at MCAT books for a week or two passively and end up with 35+ scores. I know some who take off months to full time study and still can't hit 27 even after multiple attempts. So any general rule about what is enough is entirely pointless. It's all about you, your skill set and what your background knowledge is.

    I however wouldn't particularly recommend making most of your study schedule in the summer for a test you want to take in January.
     
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  11. I'mJustCurious

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    I know for a fact that I will use my winter to prepare for the MCAT. I'm just confused as to how I'm going to squeeze studying for the MCAT during the school year. That's why I need some guidance from others who have been in my position or at least have some good advices.
     
  12. GrapesofRath

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    Well are you planning on applying for admission in the fall of 2018?

    The most common plans are
    a) study all summer for a significant period of time and take the test in the summer of 2016
    b) Study after school is over in spring of 2017 and take the test around the time you apply(with the goal of having the test results in by late July/early August at latest)

    You're trying to do something in between; take it in the winter. Some have pulled this off but they usually study a significant amount the fall before and not just during that winter break(and tend to forget a good bit about what they learned in the summer)
     
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  13. I'mJustCurious

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    I want to apply for admission in the fall of 2017 and I plan to take the MCAT earliest of 2017 which might be in the spring. I heard you'll get your results by summer so you'll be able to submit it when applying.
     
  14. GrapesofRath

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    I'm assuming you mean apply in 2017 and matriculate in 2018?

    The strategy of studying for the MCAT spring of 2017 and for a month after school and taking it June 2017 sounds alot better than studying in the summer 2016 forgetting alot of it then briefly studying over winter break and taking it January 2017.
     
  15. I'mJustCurious

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    That's correct I'm applying in 2017 and hoping to matriculate in 2018. I just thought it was a good idea to take the exam early January just in case I don't do so well and have time to take it in June. But if I were to take it in June, I don't know when I would have time to study when school is still in the way.
     
  16. efle

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    Are there even January test dates?
     
  17. Glazedonutlove

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    There are January dates I believe. I would take it over the summer. Don't plan to retake and don't study with a semester long gap in the middle
     
  18. efle

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    There used to be January dates, but I haven't seen anything about winter testdates for MCAT 2015!

    I would also recommend the summer method, it's great to have it as your primary focus instead of trying to jam it into a packed semester schedule
     
  19. edgerock24

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  20. I'mJustCurious

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    What's a good way to study for the MCAT in the summer when school is in the way?
     
  21. Glazedonutlove

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    Don't take classes so school won't be in the way lol

    Oh unless you meant just in general during the summer? Well I self studied but it was during school. if you are motivated to study a few hours each day (harder than it sounds, especially if you are a procrastinator), then don't take a class. Make a schedule and stick to it no matter what. Oh also, I started with practice questions rather than reading though those books bc I remember better that way. Depends on your learning style!
     
  22. I'mJustCurious

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    Lol yeah that's not going to work
     
  23. Glazedonutlove

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    Thought you meant you are taking classes during summer and that's why school would get in the way. Edited my post above
     
  24. efle

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    You very much can take classes in the summer and volunteer while studying for MCAT. 25ish hours per week across 10ish weeks is just fine if you are efficient / don't procrastinate and browse SDN during your study time
     
  25. Ad2b

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    people - le gasp - do that?!?! :rolleyes:
     
  26. Glazedonutlove

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    Agreed! I was talking about mcat classes
     
  27. raiderette

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    I began studying over my winter break, then continued to study all semester. I had planned to dedicate 3 weeks of dedicated MCAT prep but I landed a research job. I still scored well. It takes dedication but plenty of people study while in school.
     

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