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My opinion on the various test makers

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by Cerberus, Apr 1, 2004.

  1. Cerberus

    Cerberus Heroic Necromancer
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    I have taken a fair share of practice tests by this point. I have taken 2 TPR tests, 2 BR tests, most of the AAMC tests, and recently i have been looking at the Kaplan tests. Here is my opinion:

    I took the TPR tests B and C and while they were really frickin hard, I found them to be really useful for finding some weaknesses and working on hard passages.

    BR review tests VI and VII - again really hard but the PS section was fairly useful in regards to working on difficult passages.

    Kaplan: Absolute crap. These tests dont seem to be anything at all like the aamc exams. The style is completely different and seems to focus way more on calculation and memorization of obscure equations than aamc. I have only looked at PS so far though, maybe their BS and Verbal are better...

    Anyone else want to review tests? I think it would be nice for the August peeps.
     
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  3. farley is god

    farley is god Empty Tank.
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    I agreee about Kaplan - absolute crap (I've taken 2-4 and 8 thus far... I think I'll skip 9.) The passages seemed way too long and the questions were ridiculous. There were a lot less critical thinking style questions, which is what I expect more of. To me, they were harder than TPR A-C. I'm gonna take D next week.

    EK #1g was pretty consistent with what I've seen on AAMC tests... maybe a little bit harder, but nothing compared to the above two. Also a bit harder because I feel like some of those AAMC tests might be a bit too easy.

    TPR Diagnostic Exams: designed to show improvement by having questions/passages that correspond to coursework. That's not necessarily a bad thing, though... learning is learning.
     
  4. LUBDUBB

    LUBDUBB Freakaholic
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    Great thread guys....

    I heard that TPR A-D were really hard, so I got a hold of the book.
    I've taken A-C and found them to be useful, as far as learning material.

    I've also taken Kaplan 3 & 4 - passages seem to be wayy too long and wayyy too detailed.

    Interesting note: My raw score on kaplan 3 & 4 was exactly the same for PS and BS, 3 questions higher for VR - but my overall score went up by three points on test 4 just b/c of the curve. Also, my raw score on A-D has been 25 questions higher than kaplan exams, but since the scaling on A-D is tough, my score has been lower.

    If A-D is supposed to be hard (and it is hard), then kaplan must be ridiculous if the difference is thirty questions. I've heard various things from other about kaplan exams, "I scored the same on the real thing", "I scored much higher on the real thing" another poster said he scored 5 points lower on the real thing. Anyway, I'm off. Best of luck.


    BTW, Cereberus, Since you've been doing well on practice exams, do you think you could post (or PM) your A-D scores, if you don't mind, so I can see where I am relatively. Thanks
     
  5. Cerberus

    Cerberus Heroic Necromancer
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    After I took the first TPR exam I quit taking them that seriously. I think I dropped somewhere around 2-3 points per section on the TPR exams from my average aamc score (which have been around 33).
     
  6. superdevil

    superdevil planning my escape
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    TPR in-class diags are worthless. period. way too much reading for the science sections, and a little too hard overall.

    i did take test A from the A-D book. i got a 28 (PS-8 VR-10 BS-10), which really pissed me off!!!!! i was like, "wait a minute, how can i have gone DOWN so much from the last diag--one friggin' week ago?!" i'll probably but AAMC 7R tomorrow to see if i can regain some confidence (or lose the rest of it.........)
     
  7. farley is god

    farley is god Empty Tank.
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    A 28 is just fine for TPR A.
    good luck tomorrow.
     
  8. Cerberus

    Cerberus Heroic Necromancer
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    As bad as my feelings are towards Kaplan on their PS sections, my feelings are amplified X 10 for Berkely Reviews BS. I started taking BR VII (I took VI before and remember thinking that the BS was absolute garbage but thought i'd give them another shot) and woah! I got 20 problems into it and said "taking this test is going to do nothing to make be a better test taker or help me to learn the material any better". I think whoever writes those exams must have an incredibly weird fetish for biochem. The passages are all hard and require WAY more prior knowledge than the AAMC exams. Seriously, I can't possibly think that these BS sections could help you at all.

    My top choice for most realistic yet difficult passages definitely goes to TPR and their tests A-D.
     
  9. UCLAstudent

    UCLAstudent I'm a luck dragon!
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    BR exams ARE tough, but they are very good preparation (at least, they have been for me). I haven't used anything BUT BR for bio, and I really do feel like their passages have made the real MCAT more doable for me. Just my opinion. :)
     
  10. xadmin

    xadmin Senior Member
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    KAPLAN:

    I can tell you right now that the Kaplan PS and BS are based more on memorization and prior knowledge, but they are tough and uses weird logic or clever trick to derive the answer. Hence they are not much like the real MCAT. However, their VR section most closely resemble the real MCAT than any other tests I have seen. They focus more on structure instead of detail.

    PS: Average
    BS: Average
    VR: Good


    Princeton Review:

    Tough PS and tough BS. They are harder than the actual MCAT, but they are representative of what the MCAT test and this is CONCEPT. However, the Princeton VR section is CRAP. It focus too much on detail and much less on the main idea. This is not how the MCAT is.

    PS: Good
    BS: Good
    VR: Poor

    Berkeley Review:

    Their PS and BS are tough, not representative of the real MCAT, but they prepare you for it. Although, I still think the Princeton Review PS and BS passages are better. Berkeley Review VR section sucks too. They are too long and tend to focus more on detail than real MCAT.

    PS: Average
    BS: Average
    VR: Poor

    ExamKrackers:

    Their PS, BS, and VR kind of representative of the real MCAT, but are a little harder. I think the ExamKrackers test might be the most representative out of all the Prep Company test. However, ExamKrackers explanation for their test sucks!! Kaplan Explantions are the best, yes even better than Princeton Review.

    PS: Good
    BS: Good
    VR: Good

    MCAT Success 2004:

    Their 4 full length tests are not representative. VR, PS, and BS focuses too much on memorization and not much on critical thinking. Their VR is alright

    PS: Poor
    BS: Poor
    VR: Poor

    The Gold Standard 5th edition:

    Their 3 full length tests are hard, not representative of the real MCAT. Their PS and BS focuses more on computational works and less on critical thinking. Their VR are alright.

    PS: Average
    BS: Average
    VR: Average

    NOVA MCAT's Physic:

    Their PS do not represent the REAL MCAT one bit!! Although they explain the physic concept well.

    PS: Very Poor



    Well that is what I can say when I compare all these tests.
     
  11. IndyZX

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    The Nova Physics book doesn't have any practice tests in it. They do have some passages, that are very unlike the MCAT stuff I have seen, but the problem sets after each chapter are just that, problem sets.
     
  12. TheFlash

    TheFlash Playtime Is Over
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    The Kaplan tests are much tougher than what you'll see on test day. Practicing them will boost your confidence when you face the actual MCAT in two weeks. It'll be like taking candy from a baby compared to the Kaplan material, especially those insane topical tests. Flash-approved. :thumbup: The AAMC tests are much, much easier than either Kaplan or TPR and give you a sense of complacency. Then you get caught with your pants down on test day. They are, however, extremely valuable in relating question formats and content that you can expect.

    Oh, and if you don't think that the real MCAT focuses on "memorization and obscure formulas," you'll be in for a surprise. Last April, one my of PS questions was "What is Boyle's Law?"
     
  13. gdk

    gdk Senior Member
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    that's just cruel and unusual. like you need to know boyles law versus charles law to actually solve a problem...

    <mental note to self - memorize which is which>
     
  14. dfleis

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    #13 dfleis, Apr 5, 2004
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2010
  15. farley is god

    farley is god Empty Tank.
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    ....I think that just might work.

    :)
     
  16. farley is god

    farley is god Empty Tank.
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    oh, and thanks Flash... it's good to see feedback from someone who's completed the MCAT process.
     
  17. MrTee

    MrTee Senior Member
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    I've used BR, Kaplan, and AAMC tests before. I didn't like BR tests at all because they were all ridiculously hard and unrealistic as compared to the aamc's. I kind of blew them off because of that--I didn't feel that subjecting myself to that was necessary to do well on the mcat. If you want an analogy, the BR tests are like using 405 pounds in the bench press to train for a 225 pound bench press. You get crushed under the weight and feel like it's impossible...and hope that when you go through with the real thing, it'll feel better.

    Kaplan's verbal and bio tests were good as far as content. The verbal seemed pretty realistic to me, and the bio contains some trivia type questions and some where you have to think things through. The ps sections were focused far too much on calculations and memorization as compared to aamc and the real mcat I took last August. However, the scoring on the Kaplan tests was very accurate, and compared well with my aamc scores. Their system of using students' performances to set their grading scales works.

    AAMC tests are all good preparation for the real test (except the particular verbal form I got in August, which was outrageously difficult). I think most people agree that whatever you score on the AAMC's is what you'll get on the real think +/- a few points.
     
  18. nikibean

    nikibean Tip your guide.
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    I'm in Kaplan right now, but I also study with a bunch of TPR students. It seems like the Kaplan students are a lot less freaked out, but that could be personality related. I don't think it really matters as long as you practice something - anything- and don't be complacent. Even if you get a good score on a practice test, keep working. I have friends who were scoring well in practice last year who had a disappointing reality check in June, and those who felt hopeless but kept working and are now deciding between Harvard and UCSF. Just stay the course. . .

    And as to Boyle's Law (no boiling in Boyle's Law) - I've got two bio ones for you: C-G form three hydrogen bonds because C's the third letter of the alphabet, and when remembering heart valves, think "Tr(ight)cuspid" and "Mitral(eft)". It works.
    Deep breath, and keep goin'. Good luck to all, including myself. . .
     

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