MCAT Prep?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by jenl81, Nov 29, 2001.

  1. jenl81

    jenl81 Junior Member

    Aug 30, 2000
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    Hi. I'm planning on taking the MCAT in April, 2002, but cannot enroll in a Princeton Review/Kaplan class. So, I have a lot to do on my own. I am anxious to start right away. What is the best way to prepare? What are the best study books? Are flash cards helpful? How many sample tests should I take before April? Where can I find them?
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  3. Bruin4Life

    Bruin4Life Senior Member

    Jul 29, 2001
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    What is the best way to prepare?

    Without a prep course, your best bet is to start as early as possible. Make yourself a schedule and keep to it. Study preferablly outside the home (to many distractions in the house).

    Pull out a piece of paper right now and prepare to take notes if you want double digits in the sciences. I didn't do well in VR but that's another story:

    1.) Visist and bid on the complete set
    of Princeton Review material they offer for
    their class, including the diagnostic
    tests. Don't worry if they're used: you
    can always use an eraser.

    2.) Bid on all Kaplan full length tests and
    Kaplan VR tests as well.

    3.) Go to and order thier g-
    chem, physics, and o-chem books. Do not buy
    thier Verbal and biology books (they suck).

    4.) On ebay you an also get AAMC tests II
    through V for cheaper than on the offical

    For all the material above, you'll need no more than $300 bucks and as low as $100 for everything if you find a deal on ebay where someone is selling everything as a package.

    4.) The TPR material should be your number one
    reference. The big TPR science review book
    should be your sole Science review ( you can
    use your college texts if you wish to cross
    reference or have something cleared up).
    The book is huge so you do not need to
    review the whole thing. Only trouble areas
    you have.
    5.) The most important step is to work
    passages. Start working on the Science Work
    book. Dont time yourself initially but once
    you get the hang of passage-based questions
    go to radio shack and buy a timer. Don't
    give yourself more than 8.5 on a passage.
    If you do well on the passage great. If
    not, ask yourself what went wrong. If
    it was difficulty with the concept hit the
    big fat review book and read over the
    concept. This is key: Do passages, then
    review stuff you couldn't do.
    6.) After working through a handful of passages
    both from TPR and Berkeley Review. Start
    taking practice tests under timed
    conditions. Do the whole test. Do the TPR
    and Kaplan tests, space them out every five
    days or so, that way in between you can
    review what you got wrong.
    7.) Lastly do the AAMC tests II through V under
    timed conditions.
    8.) For VR I worked as many passages as I could
    but I still didn't do well. I think you
    need some sort of technique. Maybe someone
    can offer some advice. Spanish is my
    primary language so maybe that is why I
    didn't fare well on that section.
  4. none

    none 1K Member

    Jul 27, 2001
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    Immediately take a latter AAMC practice test. I emphasize AAMC. This will tell you exactly how much prep you will be needing to put yourself through.
  5. brandonite

    Moderator Emeritus

    Oct 19, 2001
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    And in what areas you need help in...

    Taking an AAMC test (preferrably one of the first two - save the good three for the end) will help you get an idea of the kind of material that they emphasize. Which is a big part of studying - once you have a pretty good feel for the type of questions they ask and the level of detail that you need to know, then you'll have a big head start on things.
  6. Nicholas

    Nicholas Junior Member

    Nov 11, 2001
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    Hi Jenl81,

    I was pretty much in the same boat as you and didn't take a prep course. I was really worried before the test but I don't regret it now. I studied over the summer, bought the big Kaplan book, and did all of the practice tests I could find. The Kaplan book has great summaries of all the courses covered (organic, biol, general chem, and physics.) I studied these as if they were my notes.

    Definitely try to buy the AMCAS old tests...these are most like the MCAT. Your public and school libraries will probably have practice books. Also, does your school have an education/ tutoring center? Often these have practice MCATs and prep books. Try to do as many practice questions as possible. Even if you feel that some of the questions are not like the MCAT (like the Barron's books), I would go ahead and do them anyways. It's really good practice just to do a variety of questions where you're not really familiar with the format, especially if they cover the same material as the MCAT.

    The key, I believe, is knowing the material really well and doing lots of practice questions and tests. The questions are unlike most tests you've probably taken, but with practice, they'll become easier. Also, do timed practice tests to make sure you're able to pace yourself well.

    Good luck!

  7. Nicholas

    Nicholas Junior Member

    Nov 11, 2001
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    I meant to say AAMC tests, not AMCAS.

  8. Amy B

    Amy B I miss my son so much
    Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved

    Aug 7, 2000
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    Resident [Any Field]
    I would 100% agree, buy the AAMC practice tests and take one now to see where you will need to work the hardest. ANy Kaplan tests that someone can give or sell to you are also good indicators as to your weaknesses.

    START NOW. April will BE HERE BEFORE YOU KNOW IT!!!!!!!!!!!
  9. half_full

    half_full Junior Member

    Nov 24, 2001
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    I went and took the MCAT without ever taking a practice exam or looking a practice materials. Bad idea.

    If you have the time and money, I strongly reccommend you take a practuce exam. I heard AAMC V and IV are good. :rolleyes:

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