Jan 27, 2013
5
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Hello everybody. This is my first post on these forums (after lurking in the shadows for about 2 years reading everybody else's opinions). I'd like to preface this post saying that one of the major areas I was concerned with regarding prep for the MCAT was learning about different strategies, prep companies, etc... With that being said, please realize these are merely my opinions and should not be interpreted as the end all for MCAT prep. Here are my 2 cents on studying:

1. Which Prep Company Should I Use?

I went with TBR and bought their entire set. The Verbal and Bio books are pretty terrible IMO, so I supplemented with EK Bio and EK 101 for Verbal. TBR covers absolutely everything you will need to know, and more. I found myself reading TBR and saying, "there's no way they will ask me to know this." That became pretty frustrating while studying, but in the end it really prepares you for any scenario that you could possibly encounter on the MCAT. I will note that on my MCAT, it seemed as though AAMC merely copy+pasted a TBR pasasge, so that was very nice. The EK Bio book is PERFECT for somebody who remembers a good deal of Bio and just needs a refresher, so to speak. The EK 101 Verbal is IMO the best way to prepare for Verbal, since practice is really all you can do. If I were to do anything different, I would also order the EK1001 full series to help buff weak areas (I ultimately ended up ordering the Bio1001 because BS was my hardest section).

2. How Should I Study?

I wasn't going to waste a ton of money on a prep course. For some, that may be your best friend, but for me, I knew I was motivated enough to maintain a strong self-study schedule. I actually overheard people at my test center discussing how bad their Kaplan instructor was.

As for the schedule itself, I started out using the SN2ed schedule but soon found that I couldn't handle studying that many hours per day. So I changed it up and would read the entire chapter, and then do the corresponding passages the next day. Because of this, I stretched the schedule out much longer than it is intended to be, and ended up spending about 4.5 - 5 months of total prep time.

I also have an iPhone and downloaded the app "Quizlet." This thing is a gem. You can literally type in "MCAT <topic>" in the bar and it will pull up flashcards that various people have made. So whenever I was out and about, I would open my app during downtime and go through flashcards that other people made--and due to the diversity in studying preferences, each set was a different interpretation of the same material, which added a degree of diversity to studying the same topics over and over and over again (def helped!).

The last thing I would say that helped me during studying was that I maintained a gigantic outline of all the material as I went through the content review. At the end of it all, I reread the outline probably 5 times and really strengthened my understanding of the topics. The week before my MCAT, I again reread the outline so I knew if there was something that I didn't know how to answer, the solution probably had to be in the passage since I had mastered all of the content.

3. Any Other Notes?

I don't believe in dedicating uber amounts of time to studying Orgo. After covering all of the Orgo content, between 4 full length AAMCs and my real-deal MCAT, I found that the great majority of questions were not very detail oriented and rather stressed the big picture applications. I didn't bother memorizing synthetic chemistry or minutia about differences between reactions. If you got at least a B in orgo, you should retain enough "synthetic knowledge" to be able to make a very educated guess if you are ever given a synthesis type passage. I believe the average Orgo passage I encountered on full lengths was about 1.75 orgo passages per test + discretes, and I think Orgo requires the most studying time for the smallest amount of information. Of course, the MCAT is luck of the draw but I feel very successful with my Orgo passages on the real deal after studying very intensely maybe 40% of the Orgo in the TBR chapters.

4. Conclusion

With all of this being said, I just took my MCAT on Saturday and felt fairly comfortable with the material. I will say that there were several questions I was able to answer due to TBR stressing their importance in the chapters. I looked over my buddy's Kaplan book and it just doesn't compare in terms of Physics, Gen Chem, and Orgo prep. I am somebody who likes 100% coverage of material (so that I can then decide what IS and what IS NOT important), and I will tell you that if you want the most thorough review, TBR is the way to go, supplemented by EK.

I wish everybody the best of luck with this behemoth of a test. Suffer the pain of hard work now or you will suffer the pain of regret forever.

-Philly
 
OP
P
Jan 27, 2013
5
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Thank you, obvious employee of TBR.
You are mistaken. I am a 22 yr old Senior Neuroscience major in PA. And just for logic sake, why would I suggest only studying for 40% of Orgo when in fact TBR stresses that mastery of Orgo scores account for the differences between, say, a 10 in BS and a 12 in BS.