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paper vs. cbt

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by coffeebeans, May 14, 2007.

  1. coffeebeans

    coffeebeans Junior Member 2+ Year Member

    Apr 7, 2006
    hi everyone,

    wondering if anyone has taken the paper and cbt mcat exam. if so was there a big difference between the two? did you have a hard time with the cbt? how did you go about prepping for the cbt that was different than the paper test? would you recommend taking a prep course just for the difference?

    thanks! any input would help.
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  3. MSTPbound

    MSTPbound student Moderator Emeritus 2+ Year Member

    Oct 1, 2006
    Hi Coffeebeans,

    I haven't taken the paper exam, but I can tell you that FWIW, taking all of my practice tests and most of my assignments online made the CBT a rather pleasant experience, in terms of format. I don't know how other test prep companies manage assignments beyond Kaplan since I was a Kaplan student - I can tell you that Kaplan's online syllabus and computer coursework delivery did a great job of helping me get comfortable with CBT functions. The AAMC practice tests also provide plenty of CBT practice. My guess is that regardless of where you go for test prep, once you've gone through a full AAMC tutorial (offered before each AAMC exam) at least ONCE, and then take about half a dozen AAMC CBT exams, any format issues disappear.

    I might even argue that the CBT is a better format for the exam than what preceded it, but I'd be biased. Of course, I have to wonder if VR would have been friendlier to me on paper? :rolleyes:

    Good :luck: !


  4. max_poWER

    max_poWER 2+ Year Member

    Oct 14, 2006
    I took the last paper version in August and then just took the May 11 one and don't think that its worth taking a whole course to prep for. At first, I was freaking out because I was worried that I wouldn't be used to taking it on the computer but now realize that its no big deal. As long as you take a couple of practice CBTs online before the real thing, I think you're fine. You just need to get used to navigating through the passages and working with the functions.

    For me, I actually even thought the CBT version was more convenient, it was definitely not as exhausting as the paper version since its so much shorter. It did take a bit for my eyes to adjust to the flickering of the screen during the real thing because the screens at my center weren't LCD, but other than that, there's not that much of a difference. I did most of my practice tests and passages on the paper version and then did about 6 practice tests on the computer and thought it was sufficient for the real thing.
  5. coffeebeans

    coffeebeans Junior Member 2+ Year Member

    Apr 7, 2006
    thanks for the help :) appreciate it.
  6. karakanvas

    karakanvas 7+ Year Member

    May 17, 2007
    I felt like the computerized format was well thought out and very convenient overall. The ability to type out the essays and the summary at the end of each section that flags questions you forgot to bubble seem like improvements over the paper test. The only thing that I didn't like was that one of the reactions for the org. chem questions required side scrolling because it was sized too large; it would have been easier to visualize the reaction all at once on paper.

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