lightblueskies

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Apr 1, 2012
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Hello all,

I tend to be a better learner on my own, reading textbooks, and using the occasional video when necessary. I am aiming for a 35+.

I have been out of school for a little bit, and I'm in need of some serious content review. I have already purchased The Berkeley Review books for physics, general chemistry, and organic chemistry.

I am now wondering if I should also get the Kaplan MCAT online course. I am wondering if it will be worth it just for the resources and practice questions and flashcards, etc. Money is not really a concern when it comes to this, although obviously I'd prefer to save the $2000 if it will not help me whatsoever. My meaning is that if it would help me get a single point higher on the MCAT, I would still spend the $2000.


Last question - I am trying to decide upon additional resources to buy, and I need a book for Biology review. I am leaning towards Princeton Review or Examcrackers, but I'm not really sure. Also, with money not being a concern, can you suggest me additional materials? I have TBR for Physics, Gen Chem, and Organic Chem - what else should I get? Thanks all.
 

farnk20

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May 24, 2012
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In short, there is no reason you NEED a course to do well (even 35+ well) on the MCAT. There's a thread that was made on here of habits of 30+ test takers which will tell you more than Kaplan could. I made a 34 using Kaplan content review, AAMC exams, and EK 1001 questions over about 4 months, but I was able to follow my own schedule religiously. If you're a person who needs structure and accountability, go for it, but you're better off saving your money for interviews. There's a degree of customizability (and pride!) in designing your own study schedule that allows you to shore up your weaknesses and hone your strengths which you won't get from a one-size-fits-all approach.
 
Jun 29, 2011
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If money is absolutely not a concern AND you have 3-4 months to devote to the MCAT:
TBR full set
TPR Hyperlearning Science and Verbal Workbooks
Kaplan online course

If you learn best on your own, don't bother with an in-person class. Get the cheaper Kaplan course that gives you access to the online materials. If you want additional Bio review, the Kaplan review notes will do that for you but you can also look into TPR Hyperlearning books. I wouldn't get Examkrackers.
 

BerkReviewTeach

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Last question - I am trying to decide upon additional resources to buy, and I need a book for Biology review. I am leaning towards Princeton Review or Examcrackers, but I'm not really sure. Also, with money not being a concern, can you suggest me additional materials? I have TBR for Physics, Gen Chem, and Organic Chem - what else should I get? Thanks all.
I read a post a few days ago that I think sums up a good wide range plan.

As for materials, besides TBR there is plenty of good stuff out there. Knowing what I know now, after going through everything I could get my hands on, here is what I'd recommend. The sequence is absolutely essential.

For general chemistry and physics use TBR for reviewing the concepts and applications. Their shortcuts are the best thing you'll find in any materials out there. They have brilliant ways to solve for pH, view lenses, answer kinematics questions in seconds, and so on and so forth. It will give you a prefect foundation. Then do half of the TBR passages right after you finish the chapter. This will take some time, especially going over the passages afterwards. Let it sit for a few days and stew, then try EK 1001 questions as fast as you can do them. Don't bother reading the explanations, because they are skeletal and not very helpful. But if you did TBR to start, then you probably won't need the explanations. After this, finish the TBR passages for that chapter.

Once you've done everything, you'll need to use the TPR science workbook, where passages are randomized (kind of). Mix in AAMC and TBR exams and you'll be completely ready to get a 12 or better.

For organic chemistry and biology use TBR for reviewing the concepts and applications in organic and either EK or TPR for biology (depending on how well you know it). If you find an error in what you are reading, consult TBR for the definitive answer. The TBR organic covers a good amount of biology too, so it's worth a good read. Like their physics and gen chemistry books, there are great tricks. After reviewing, do half of the TBR passages right after you finish each chapter. Go over every question and every passage in detail afterwards. Let it sit for a few days and stew, then do some TPR questions. Let it sit for a while again, and then finish the TBR passages for each chapter. This will help you get good at realistic passages and material in context.

For verbal, start with TPR. Read their intro if you have time and start into their passages. Do about half of their HLPR verbal workbook. Then move to EK and do their passages. Don't read the EK method until you're about halfway done their book. Only then will their strategies make sense, although you'll find that they are not much different than TPR or TBR. Everyone pushes main theme and question stems. If you have time and need more exposure, use the TBR book. Finish with the remaining TPR passages.

After you've reviewed, you should start with two or three AAMC exams (5, 7, and 8) then move on to TBR exams (1-5), and finish with AAMC 9, 10, and 11.

This is what I found to work and if you read through the writings of many successful people at SDN, it's pretty much the same thing. The one unique suggestion I have is about the timing. EK questions can be frustrating if you don't have a good review under your belt, because their answer explanations are worthless. If you are using them to learn, and you don't know your stuff perfectly, you'll get really pissed off at how unhelpful their answers are. If you wait to do them after you've done TBR passages first, which have great explanations, then you'll love them.