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StandardName

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Hey SDN,

I have one month left until my exam (Aug. 4) and have been studying all summer for the MCAT (2 months so far).

The first month I did content review. The 2nd month I've been taking these exams (in this order) and scored this :

  • Offical Guide - 509
  • TPR FL 1 - 501
  • Kaplan Diag - 501
  • NS Diag - 508
  • Kaplan FL1 - 503
  • Qpacks
    • Chem - 88%
    • Physics - 91%
    • CARS - 69%
    • Bio Vol 1 - 83%
  • NS FL 1 - 513
  • TPR FL 2 - 502

These scores have been all over the place and I'm not sure how my performance really is. I know that TPR and Kaplan are harder so I've been giving myself some leniency for those but I took the TPR FL 2 yesterday and I did not improve much from FL 1 which scared me. Am I on the correct path? My goal is a 520+ in the next month. This is what I have left to use:

  • Qpack - Bio Vol 2 and CARS Vol 2
  • Kaplan FL 2 and 3
  • AAMC Section Banks
  • AAMC Scored and Scaled FLs
  • (Considering buying EK or NS FLs)

I am taking another FL Thursday (probably Kaplan) and next Tuesday take the scale AAMC FL.

I guess my questions are these:

1) I have heard that NS has better FLs - should I just buy those and take them instead of the Kaplan ones? I felt more comfortable with NS, but I don't want them to be easier than AAMC.

2) Am I on the right track? How can I really improve from here? I think my content can definitely use some refreshing so I will be focusing on that. Any other advice?

3) How do you improve CARS?


Thank you!
 

StandardName

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I just took the Kaplan Review 2 and scored 504.. I'm really not making much progress on improving scores? Any tips on how to improve scores?
 

Ad2b

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Well... I HOPE you're on the right track because my scores are somewhat similar:

Bio QP1 - 98%
Physics QP - 97%
Chem - 88%
Kaplan FL 3 - 508

I have the schedule attached for how I'm going through the rest of the time. In between FL and OG and others, I'm reviewing (which I'll also attach; this was from last year; will update in another post this year's stuff as last year's junk is like, "OMG, how did I miss that?!?!?"). While I work out, I have the drawings for pathways and AAs on the panel; I'm also reading all the science, peer-reviewed materials that I can grab on genetics, physics, cancer, etc. Can attach them as well.

To me, when I was ready last summer (dad's heart attack stopped my exam and that cycle), I wish I'd done more of the peer-reviewed material so I'm doing that now based upon comments I see on reddit and here.

FOR CARS: I'm reading The Economist and other articles related to the art (painting, sculpture, drawing), music, literature reviews (Chaucer, Shakespeare), and philosophy articles... because, if I don't read the latter I won't learn how to not fall asleep ;)

Keep at it - our scores will improve. One additional thing, do you go through the Q-packs on accommodated mode so you can get the answers and solutions/rationale right then?
 

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StandardName

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Well... I HOPE you're on the right track because my scores are somewhat similar:

Bio QP1 - 98%
Physics QP - 97%
Chem - 88%
Kaplan FL 3 - 508

I have the schedule attached for how I'm going through the rest of the time. In between FL and OG and others, I'm reviewing (which I'll also attach; this was from last year; will update in another post this year's stuff as last year's junk is like, "OMG, how did I miss that?!?!?"). While I work out, I have the drawings for pathways and AAs on the panel; I'm also reading all the science, peer-reviewed materials that I can grab on genetics, physics, cancer, etc. Can attach them as well.

To me, when I was ready last summer (dad's heart attack stopped my exam and that cycle), I wish I'd done more of the peer-reviewed material so I'm doing that now based upon comments I see on reddit and here.

FOR CARS: I'm reading The Economist and other articles related to the art (painting, sculpture, drawing), music, literature reviews (Chaucer, Shakespeare), and philosophy articles... because, if I don't read the latter I won't learn how to not fall asleep ;)

Keep at it - our scores will improve. One additional thing, do you go through the Q-packs on accommodated mode so you can get the answers and solutions/rationale right then?


Thank you so much for the reply!

I have a similar schedule with more practice problems. I really think I am lacking on content, so a lot of the focus will be on that for me.

I have 4 more exams to take before the real thing. I have 1 Kaplan exam left.. I think that I will be buying one EK exam. And then I will be taking the two AAMC exams.

Also, thanks for the CARS advice! I'm reading the econmist now and it really has the CARS passage feel. I wish I'd seen these earlier. Also, how do you go about reading the peer-reviewed papers? Do you read for content and just understanding?

One additional thing, do you go through the Q-packs on accommodated mode so you can get the answers and solutions/rationale right then?

I do! I go over them in chunks, but I really did not do well on the first 4 passages in the pack. Only got 14/28 and that really affected my overall score. So I am learning from that.
 

Ad2b

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@ Peer-reviewed articles.

First, I skim them. Make sure I didn't pull something so out-of-my league that I won't even understand at a high level.

2nd, I read the intro, then the test methods very loosely - kind of like outline in the sidebars

3rd, I look at all the charts, graphs, data tables and see if I can come to any conclusions

4th, I go back and read the whole thing through BEFORE the conclusion

I conclude what I think on my own.

Last, compare it against what the researchers found and concluded.

I think for me it's the reading crap that's above my head to a large extent but if I see a p53 or an L-Lysine or LYS, I know what the structure looks like, what kind of PI it might have, etc and then see what else I can glean from it. My understanding is that many of the passages on the actual exam are drawn from these types of articles.

For CARS? Oh all-things-holy, I just am trying to get used to reading @#$t that I get bored reading and try to do the same. So, with The Economist, I read an article to the last paragraph and write down what I think the author is saying - then compare to the conclusion.

My hope is that it helps...

And on all answers wishy-washy or flat-out wrong, I write why, the topic and then review it again using my Kaplan books, or ugrad text books (which I've kept).
 
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