chinesedude

2+ Year Member
Aug 30, 2015
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Hi all,

I am currently thinking about the August 2016 MCAT and how I can prepare myself to score to the best of my ability. The only pre-reqs I have left to take are Physics and Sociology/Psych, all of which will be done by the end of this year.

Basically the reason I want to start early is because I only have time to take it ONCE and I want to score 520+ (yes, I know it's hard but that's my goal!) What can I do NOW that will help me prepare?

Also, I am looking to buy:
AAMC Official Guide
Kaplan 2015 Book Set
EK Book Set

Is that enough? Thanks.
 

GoljansRightBicep

Call Me Poppie
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Jan 11, 2015
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I would also buy all the AAMC Qpacks, their practice FL, and the rumored FL #2 coming out this Fall.

If you're looking to start now, I would begin content review and make a crazy thorough Anki deck. Anki flashcards have helped me tremendously in remembering and understanding the large amount of material that is required to be at the tip of your tongue for the MCAT. The challenging your cards are, the more you'll think and the better you'll understand the material.
 

Chelsea FC

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May 21, 2013
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you dont need 2 book set . Pick one and go with it .. the repeat of material makes it not cost effective. If you need extra content/practice use khan academy
 
Jul 15, 2015
14
5
Status
Pre-Medical
Hi all,

I am currently thinking about the August 2016 MCAT and how I can prepare myself to score to the best of my ability. The only pre-reqs I have left to take are Physics and Sociology/Psych, all of which will be done by the end of this year.

Basically the reason I want to start early is because I only have time to take it ONCE and I want to score 520+ (yes, I know it's hard but that's my goal!) What can I do NOW that will help me prepare?

Also, I am looking to buy:
AAMC Official Guide
Kaplan 2015 Book Set
EK Book Set

Is that enough? Thanks.
You sound like you're in a good place in regards to the pre-reqs needed for the MCAT. Finishing them by May and taking the MCAT in August should be fine, especially because some of the content will be easier to review since you just learned it.
I think if you have a solid foundation in the content, EK is the most straight forward and helpful in regards to just reviewing the content and what you REALLY need to know for the exam. Kaplan is more helpful if you are weak in a certain subject and really need to learn the material. I do not think you need both since the majority of the new MCAT is passage based and critical reasoning (using your content knowledge to infer answers to questions from the passage); it is not so much about memorizing little facts and knowing everything in a book.
Make sure to go through the AAMC Official Guide and know the content listed. Also buy all of their practice - sample tests, question packs, half length test, and the material they will be offering starting in November. Best of luck!
 

Dhooy7

5+ Year Member
Sep 29, 2014
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What exactly is the AAMC Qpacks, their practice FL? I would like to do well and prep a lot too. I don't know exactly what FL and Qpacks are and how much they cost. I wish you the best chinesedude by the way.
 

Doctor Dream

Eating the 5 pancakes
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What exactly is the AAMC Qpacks, their practice FL? I would like to do well and prep a lot too. I don't know exactly what FL and Qpacks are and how much they cost. I wish you the best chinesedude by the way.
Here's a link to all the material that they're referring to. FL = Full-length, Qpacks are a question packs (each are 120 questions I think) which AAMC has put out for extra practice. I know they have 2 packs for Bio, 2 for CARS, 1 for Chem and 1 for Physics. They also have an "Official Guide" (commonly referred to as AAMC OG on here), which is like a half-length exam. Definitely recommend getting your hands on all of these if you can. Test prep companies do their best, but nothing preps you better than material put out by the actual MCAT administrators.

EDIT: Looks like they came out with a new FL which is actually scored (original sample exam wasn't). Also looks like they added a "section bank". I didn't get to use those resources when I prepped but I'm sure they're also invaluable.
 

Dhooy7

5+ Year Member
Sep 29, 2014
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Docyor Dream, what are the most beneficial? I see these options:
Official MCAT® Question Packs,
MCAT® Online Official Guide Questions (half the full-length test?),
Official MCAT® Sample Test,
Official MCAT® Section Bank, and
Buy the MCAT® Practice Exam (Scored) 1. I guess I don't understand. The problem is I'm likely not gonna take these test till 2017 so I think I'll wait till they have more out for now. I will prep with the Kaplan books and see how it goes. Once I feel all ready I will take the practice exams. My friend said he'd allow he to take the practice exams of his.
 

Dhooy7

5+ Year Member
Sep 29, 2014
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What's the difference between these? It seems like the scored practice exam would be the most helpful.
 

Dhooy7

5+ Year Member
Sep 29, 2014
686
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I guess I am nervous because I did not do as well on the ACT, but didn't really prepare as much as I will for the MCAT. I took a prep course for 1 week and just took it. I really wanna get like at least a 510 and a 520 would be amazing!
 

Doctor Dream

Eating the 5 pancakes
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Docyor Dream, what are the most beneficial? I see these options:
Official MCAT® Question Packs,
MCAT® Online Official Guide Questions (half the full-length test?),
Official MCAT® Sample Test,
Official MCAT® Section Bank, and
Buy the MCAT® Practice Exam (Scored) 1. I guess I don't understand. The problem is I'm likely not gonna take these test till 2017 so I think I'll wait till they have more out for now. I will prep with the Kaplan books and see how it goes. Once I feel all ready I will take the practice exams. My friend said he'd allow he to take the practice exams of his.
Oh yea, if you're not planning on testing until 2017 then please DON'T buy any of these right now. You're only able to take the exams for a year after purchasing them, it'd be a huge waste of money buying them now. I honestly wouldn't even start prepping if I were you. I know it seems like a good idea to get after it early, but you're so far away from testing that most things you do now are not going to benefit you a year and a half from now when you test. Ideally, you want to take ~3 months to fully commit to MCAT prep, and take your exam at the end of those 3 months.
 

Dhooy7

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Sep 29, 2014
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I am going to start preparing because I am not always the best on standardized tests. Over break I will look over organic chemistry and biochemistry. I am taking a CNA class as well so I won't have a ton of time. I heard biochemistry is helpful for cellular biology which I am taking in the spring though.
 

Doctor Dream

Eating the 5 pancakes
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I am going to start preparing because I am not always the best on standardized tests. Over break I will look over organic chemistry and biochemistry. I am taking a CNA class as well so I won't have a ton of time. I heard biochemistry is helpful for cellular biology which I am taking in the spring though.
I understand that, but I really truly think that you're going to retain very little, if anything from your MCAT prep a year and a half from now. It's just too far away, and just not a good use of time. Obviously do what you want, but I would HIGHLY advise holding off on your prep until you're closer to your exam. Just focus on doing well in your classes. It makes sense to start prepping earlier if you don't feel confident in your abilities and you're busy, but a year and a half is so long. Maybe cut it back to six or eight months of prep.

If you really want to do something, print off the AAMC content outline, and when you're sitting in biochemistry or whatever pre-req courses, follow the outline and start noting the topics that you're going to need to know for the MCAT. Taking a prep course a year and a half from your exam just seems way overkill to me, to the point that it's actually a complete waste of time and money for the reasons I already mentioned. Your friend's exam you were planning on using is also going to be expired by the time you want to use it, assuming he already bought it. Do as you wish though.
 
Feb 21, 2016
4
0
I am so stressed in studying for MCAT. I kept getting sick, and it really put me behind of my study schedule. Is anyone in North NJ and want to be a studying pal?
 

TestingSolutions

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For CARS, I'd recommend doing one or two passages a day and working yourself up to over a span of weeks. This allows you to get your timing down and also build your stamina gradually. It can be exhausting to properly take a CARS test and few people can start off doing 9 passages at their best. It's important that you do questions too, not just "read" as some people suggest. The CARS is a very special test and is unlike anything you've ever done before. You have to practice reading in the context of doing questions, otherwise it's usefulness is limited. Best of luck!
 
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reluctantoptimism

Shrews and Trucks
Feb 3, 2014
300
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Pre-Medical
I planned on taking the MCAT in May but Man plans God laughs, so I'm taking it in August know and I just wanted to check in. My advisor said he recommend me to one of my state's best school with the caveat being I score a 510 or better- do you guys think 3 months is sufficient time to study (I'm not taking classes)?
 

mega_tron

2+ Year Member
May 16, 2015
22
11
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Pre-Medical
Anyone who is planning to take it this Aug want to hold each other accountable for studying?
 

chocolatelover55

2+ Year Member
May 15, 2016
9
0
Status
Pre-Medical
I'm also planning on taking it in August! im a bit late to the game it seems
anyways, i think im done w content and im doing exam now...pretty early i know but this is my third time taking the exam

im hoping for a 510
any tips out there???
 
Mar 15, 2016
21
13
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
I take my MCAT on the 9th, less than a week away. I have heard of a strategy where students are writing out an entire page of equations during the first 10 minutes of reading the rules/how to highlight/etc. Have any of you done this or are planning to do this? For those of you who have taken it already, did it help or do you think it would have helped? I have been spending most of my time on concepts and not much time on memorizing equations since I was under the impression that they would give you most of the equations needed to answer the questions. Thoughts?
 

Doctor Dream

Eating the 5 pancakes
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Mar 2, 2014
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I take my MCAT on the 9th, less than a week away. I have heard of a strategy where students are writing out an entire page of equations during the first 10 minutes of reading the rules/how to highlight/etc. Have any of you done this or are planning to do this? For those of you who have taken it already, did it help or do you think it would have helped? I have been spending most of my time on concepts and not much time on memorizing equations since I was under the impression that they would give you most of the equations needed to answer the questions. Thoughts?
I wrote out a few chemistry and physics equations I knew I struggled with remembering, and may very well have forgotten during the MCAT. Writing a bunch of equations already ingrained in your brain seems like a waste of energy though.
 
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