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Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by BloodySurgeon, May 26, 2008.

  1. BloodySurgeon

    BloodySurgeon Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Nov 19, 2006
    hSDN Member
    hSDN Alumni
    Here is a comprehensive list of information that can be very helpful in beginning your studies for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). For those of who are having difficulty knowing where to start, here is a great place to begin.

    Well here is BloodySurgeon's Guide To The MCAT:

    What is the very first thing I should do?
    I would highly recommend bookmarking the SDN MCAT Discussions page and then reading the AAMC MCAT Essentials

    What is on the MCAT?
    The MCAT is presented as follows:

    10 minutes of Tutorial (optional)
    5 minutes of Non-Disclosure Agreement
    70 minutes of Physical Sciences (52 Questions)- 50% Physics and 50% General Chemistry
    10 minute break (optional)
    60 minutes of Verbal Reasoning (40 Questions)
    10 minute break (optional)
    60 minutes of Writing Samples (2 Prompts, individually timed-30mins each)
    10 minute break (optional)
    70 minutes of Biological Sciences (52 Questions) - 75% Biology and 25% Organic Chemistry
    5 minutes Void Question
    10 minutes of Survey

    Total Content Time = 4 hours, 20 minutes

    Total "Seat" Time = 5 hours, 20 minutes

    What topics are on the MCAT?
    Biological Sciences and Physical Sciences Topics & Writing Sample Items

    Where can I sign up for the MCAT?
    All MCAT registration issues can be resolved by going here: http://www.aamc.org/students/mcat/registration.htm

    What are the dates and deadlines for the 2009 MCAT?
    Registration for the 2009 MCAT will begin in October 2008. The schedule for the MCAT examinations can be found here: http://www.aamc.org/students/mcat/deadlineandscorerelease.htm

    Is one date preferable over another?
    No, each test has a pre-determined curved according to its difficulty and there is no advantage between any two dates.

    What are the Testing Center Regulations and Procedures?

    How are the MCAT scored?
    Physical Science: 1-15
    Verbal Reasoning: 1-15
    Biological Sciences: 1-15
    Writing Sample: J-T
    Highest Composite score = 45T

    How is the Writing Sample Scored?
    Click here to see how the Writing Sample is Scored

    Is There a Curve on the MCAT?
    Each test is curved slightly different depending on difficulty, to find more information on this, go here: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=505032.

    Can I Write On My Scratch Paper Before the Test Starts?
    Yes. This question has been asked here: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=527021

    I Just Finished My MCAT, Where Can I Find My Results?
    Results should come in within 30 days and all scores will be released electronically here: https://services.aamc.org/mcatthx/

    How are the scores reported from the AAMC displayed on THx?
    Here is a good illustration of what it would look like: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showpost.php?p=7083947&postcount=6

    Which MCAT Prep Company is the best?
    Well everyone has their own style of studying. I can't answer which is better for you, but I will tell you what is out there and what you should expect from it. Other books as well as these can be found on the SDN Bookstore. An SDN user attempted to answer this question before with his own opinion here but keep in mind this is all subjective. Also check out this link to see how others have rated each company: MCAT Preparation Method Ratings and Opinions

    Kaplan adapted pretty well for the new MCAT CBT (computer-based test) and has made virtual everything online. The syllabus contains 25 Quizzes, 20 Subject Tests, 41 Topical Tests, 27 Section Tests, 11 Kaplan FLT (Full-length Tests) and access to the 8 AAMC tests. This is all online and also includes a Kaplan Q-bank that allows you to create a quiz by picking topics you want questions on. The review books are fairly detailed and the classes go over the more important topics of the MCAT. The lesson book does go over very important topics, however, the instructors go over the main concepts and refrain from going too much into detail. Most of their strength relies on the volume of their practices. Their FLT scores are quite inflated and give a false sense of hope, but they are still quite good practices. Many on SDN compare Kaplan and AAMC to the difficulty of the real test and you can read more about that here: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=524676&highlight=Kaplan+to+real+test.

    Princeton Review
    Many have taken note on the extensive detail The Princeton Review books and classes have. That being a pro or a con is quite debatable, however, knowing too much information is never an issue with the MCAT. The Princeton Review also has 9 Online Diagnostics and a great feature that has been implemented is an online writing grade. This means that you can submit your writing online to be evaluated by Princeton Review experts (normally takes 24-48 hours). The Prince Review also has a Science Workshop book which contains 800 pages (including solutions) of passage based and stand-alone questions. These passages are actually quite good and many people have found the Princeton Review bio and G-chem to be great, however they lack the same support for their verbal passages. Their Online Diagnostic scores are quite deflated, but their practices are well worth it.

    Berkeley Review
    There are ten class books: two for biology, two for general chemistry, two for organic chemistry, two for physics, one for verbal reasoning, and one for the writing sample. Each of the science books is divided into sectional lecture topics. Each section begins with information important to the MCAT and ends with MCAT-style passages and questions and detailed solutions. The verbal reasoning book contains ten practice sets of ten passages each, and the writing sample book has twenty essay topic statements, suggestions for good essay composition, and numerous samples of good writing. Taken together, these books contain about 2,600 pages of material, including more than 550 MCAT-style passages. The books can be bought separately and can be used as supplementary practice or as a complete prep (includes classes as well) package. The Berkeley Review has excellent G-chem and Physics practice, but I have not found the same support on their biology. There are also three full-length practice tests if you would like to purchase and after taking the first one, they give the same vibe as the other simulated tests. This thread thought very highly of Berkeley Review, however, remember that it is only an opinion and everyone is DIFFERENT... you must find what is best for you: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=466138

    For those of you who prefer the self-study approach, ExamKracker is an excellent self-study prep. They have been noted as one of the best verbal practice book from those of us on SDN; however they do not receive the same recognition on their other books. They include the EK Bio, Physics, G-Chem, and O-Chem review books and the, 101 VR, 1001 bio, g-chem, and physics book. The bio review book is amazing in the fact they hit on the key MCAT topics and basics with easy to read visual illustrations and mnemonics, however they lack the thorough detail that is needed to score well on the MCAT. Overall, the EK bio review is a great supplemental book for those who just started and have a hard time understanding those thick textbooks however it will need to be reinforced later down the line with more detailed resources. I did not have the experience to use the EK 1001 science practice problems and will leave that for others to comment on. They do have simulated practice tests, 1g (1h if you bought the complete package), 2f, and 3g. They are good practices but are more like the old paper-based test than the new CBT and have been known to have a few print errors. To find more information about Exam-Kracker, it has been discussed more over here: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=280566&highlight=EK+1001

    Gold Standard
    I did not have the privilege in using Gold Standard MCAT, however, from most previous poster it seems like a last option when most of your resources have been exhausted. There are 10 GS CBT, all of which are curved very unfavorably. They do present unique approaches to solving problems in the sciences, however, others have noted that their verbal passages are short and not like the real test. Yet, the tests are cheap and good to use if you are low in cash and remaining tests. They also have a complete study package that includes review books, DVDs, and more however I am unfamiliar with them and you can find more information here: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/forumdisplay.php?f=409.

    Audio Osmosis
    Using the philosophy of listening is sometimes better than reading yourself, Jordan and Jon use humor and charm to sink in the MCAT concept in a 12 set CD called Audio Osmosis. You can listen to it in your car, at home, or even in your sleep. I am a little skeptically of this approach, since I prefer reading however others have testified that this approach does work and it was helpful. This, however, would be more of a supplemental tool since visualizing diagrams and practicing problems would be key in doing well on the MCAT but I could be wrong. I did not actually use Audio Osmosis but others have commented on its success here: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=490819.

    Nova Press
    Actually, I don't know much except that it does exist and it can be purchased here: The MCAT Physics Book If you are interested in finding more detail I advise you to do a Google search or ask around on SDN.

    Also a good thing to note is that most companies allow you to take a free practice test. Try one from each company and see which you prefer best. It sometimes pays to be a little choosy.

    I just did very poorly on my first diagnostic, is it possible to do well on the real test?
    Of course it is! No matter what your score is now, it can always get better. Unless you have a 45T, but I never heard of anyone actually scoring that. Also remember, most companies (if not all) deflate their first diagnostic and you may actually be potentially higher. Remember there is only one score that truly matters though and that is your MCAT results. All others are just to give you a ball park of where you are. So don't be so fixated on your numbers and concentrate more on learning from your mistakes.

    Here is a great thread that explains why diagnostic tests are worthless:

    I just did sub-par on my MCAT, is it possible to get into medical school?
    Of course it is! Check out MDapplicants or this thread out: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=351659

    Are you having trouble on the MCAT? Here is a list of strategies and guides that others have applied to become successful.

    BloodySurgeon Verbal Guide- http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=509702

    QofQuimica & Shrike - http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=516521

    30+ MCAT Study Habits- http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=503250

    Tips for MCAT Studiers- http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?p=3719232

    A Very Good Verbal Guide - http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=206944

    mterp45 - http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=526316

    Vihsadas Verbal Guide- http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showpost.php?p=6022602&postcount=96

    Bozz- http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=499207

    gecko45- http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=499808

    Rabbit36- http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=578461

    Official Please Help Forum - http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=535393

    Are there any additional websites that can help me on the MCAT?

    The SDN Bookstore - http://www.studentdoctor.net/bookstore/shop.php?c=mcat&x=MCAT

    SDN Suggested Links - http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=279209

    MCAT mnemonics and memory aids! - http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=42149

    Prep101- http://www.prep101.com/mcat/study_aids.html

    StudyTips- http://www.studytips.org/mcat_test.htm

    HyperPhysics- http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/Hbase/hph.html#hph

    Organic Chemistry- http://riodb01.ibase.aist.go.jp/sdbs/cgi-bin/cre_index.cgi?lang=eng

    MIT Classes- http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/Biology/index.htm

    Medical School Material- http://www.medicalstudent.com/ and http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=298847

    The MCAT is stressing me out and I don't know what I am going to do about medical school applications!
    First of all, relax! The MCAT is a stressful period for all of us. It is a right of passage for all medical students and it foreshadows the rigors of a potential future. Take comfort in the fact that the MCAT is only a piece of the application and medical school will look at other facts. To help with this stressful period, I have gathered links that I hope you will find resourceful.

    The Official SDN Medical School Admissions Guide

    The Not So Short Introduction To Getting Into Medical School

    MCAT Scores and GPAs for Applicants and Matriculants to U.S. Medical Schools

    The Official Personal Statement Guide and PS Readers List

    The Official Guide to Special Masters Programs and List of Post-Baccalaureate Programs

    Great tips for entering your "Work/Activities"

    AAMC Grade Conversion Guide

    Offical 2008 Secondary Essay Prompts

    Click here to see what the big fuss about applying early is is

    BloodySurgeon, I love surgery and I want to be more like you, where should I start?
    Well here are some great sites I love to go on:


    Surgical Specialties

    The Underwear Drawer (Click on scutmonkey)

    Medical Specialty Aptitude Test

    Amateur Surgeon Game

    The Inner life of a Cell

    Panda Bear, MD Blog

    Final Note
    I wish everyone best of luck and if you have any question or suggestions you may PM or email me at [email protected]
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2008
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  3. lastcall

    lastcall 7+ Year Member

    Nov 5, 2007
    Great post, Bloodysurgeon, thanks for taking the time to do this! :thumbup:
  4. rocuronium

    rocuronium 7+ Year Member

    May 11, 2008
    Canadian Forces
    Great job, BloodySurgeon.

    A lot of new threads will be directed toward this post! :D
  5. Junkie06

    Junkie06 2+ Year Member

    May 18, 2008
    Awesome, thanks for all the info
  6. NeuroChaos

    NeuroChaos 2+ Year Member

    Mar 26, 2008
    Thanks surgeon, Can you make this a sticky so It does not get lost after a day or two?
  7. rocuronium

    rocuronium 7+ Year Member

    May 11, 2008
    Canadian Forces
    Good call on the sticky.
  8. calvinhobbes

    calvinhobbes Member 10+ Year Member

    May 24, 2006
  9. Vihsadas

    Vihsadas No summer Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 5+ Year Member

    Oct 17, 2007
    An Igloo
    This is an amazing contribution to the forum! A new Asst mod, and rightly so! Awesome post. I'll help you keep it updated if you would like.
  10. BloodySurgeon

    BloodySurgeon Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Nov 19, 2006
    hSDN Member
    hSDN Alumni
    Sure that'll be great. Let me know if you think of anything else to add.
  11. 193250


    Mar 10, 2008
    I'm finishing my sophomore year right now and was wondering when I should take the MCAT. How many months before the MCAT should I prepare? Because I have not taken physics yet, should I take the MCAT during my senior year and apply after my Senior year?
  12. BloodySurgeon

    BloodySurgeon Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Nov 19, 2006
    hSDN Member
    hSDN Alumni
    Here are some great threads/links to consider, but remember each person is different and some take longer than others. Ideally you would like to have your MCAT finished before May of your Junior year of college. This will allow time after your results in June to write your PS and have your application ready during the beginning of June (first day of applications). This way you will start medical school right after you graduate. However, it is very important that you take the MCAT when YOU are ready! If that is in the end of your senior year, then so be it.

    30+ MCAT Study Habits

    Applying Early
  13. TamarMD

    TamarMD 2+ Year Member

    Dec 23, 2006
    Hi I am going to be a junior next semester and I am taking my final prereq course (which is orgo). I'm not quite sure when I should apply to take the MCAT. My original plan was to take it next May. However this plan was before I transferred schools. My new school has more gen ed requirements. It also has more requirements for my major. So now I won't be able to graduate in Spring of 2010 and will be graduating in the Fall instead. Should I go ahead with my original plan to take the MCAT next Spring or should I take the MCAT Spring of 2010 instead? I'm leaning towards Spring 2010 because then I'll have 2 years of studying under my belt. However I'm not sure. Also how many hours a day should I study for the MCAT if I do decide to take it next year?
    Posted via Mobile Device
  14. BlueElmo

    BlueElmo 10+ Year Member

    Sep 6, 2006
    hey bloodysurgeon, you mentioned in your very first post that TPR Diag scores are very deflated. Where did you get this information?
    I have just started TPR course, and I got a 26 on my first full Diag test. Do you know how this would correspond to a real MCAT score? Also, after full three months of studying TPR, what do you think my final score might be based on my first Diag test?
  15. BloodySurgeon

    BloodySurgeon Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Nov 19, 2006
    hSDN Member
    hSDN Alumni
    Each person has their own style of studying and some take longer than others. Personally, I think two years of studying would be overkill and exhausting for the MCAT, but I can't say it is a bad idea per se. Looking through the 30+ MCAT Study Habits you will find a wide array of studying lengths and scores (which may not always be related). I encourage you to go through them to get an idea of how you will plan your studying schedule. Keep in mind that if you were to take the MCAT in Spring of 2010, you will not be entering medical school the next fall but the following one (if everything works as planned). Since you will be finished with your last pre-req (orgo) next semester, hypothetically you could start as soon as right now. However, you should start when it is most convenient for you (for some, it may not be so convenient). When you do start, then only you can really asses when you are ready to take the test. Most test-takers don't feel completely ready, but you will come to a point when your going to feel that enough is enough. If that is from two years or two months of studying, so be it.

    First of all, TPR later exams are also called online diags. To avoid confusion, I will use the following definitions: TPR first exam will be called a Diag, while the rest will be called a full length exam. Also, I don't think TPR Diag and/or Full Length Exams are very deflated, but it was my experience that TPR scores were lower than my AAMC/Kaplan/EK and real MCAT. I am sure you could find people who have scored lower, higher, and exactly the same on their MCAT as TPR, so keep in mind this is only an opinion.

    Congratulations. A 26 is a very good start on the MCAT and you should be proud of yourself. The problem with predicting your real MCAT score by one exam is, it won't be accurate. Also, each person may respond differently to different companies since the style of questions and/or format will be slightly different. I have seen someone score a 30 on a Kaplan/TPR exam only to find out that they got a 23 on AAMC the following day and vice versa. The best thing to do is to take your score with a grain of salt and continue taking tests until you have a good amount to base your prediction on.

    That is a hard question to answer and I don't think anyone can predict that without truly knowing your capabilities and even then it would be a lucky guess. It is definitely harder to improve your score if you are in the higher range of scores, but you should expect an upward trend with maybe a few anomalies. Again, take your first Diag score with a grain of salt and remember you can always improve.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2008
  16. Vihsadas

    Vihsadas No summer Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 5+ Year Member

    Oct 17, 2007
    An Igloo
    You spelled my name wrong! :mad:

  17. BloodySurgeon

    BloodySurgeon Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Nov 19, 2006
    hSDN Member
    hSDN Alumni
    lol. :laugh:

    Fixed. :thumbup:
  18. scoutnj19

    scoutnj19 7+ Year Member

    Jul 7, 2008
    Thanks for all this information.... It certainly helps out a lot!
  19. Vihsadas

    Vihsadas No summer Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 5+ Year Member

    Oct 17, 2007
    An Igloo
    It does doesn't it?
  20. SarahMadison

    SarahMadison 2+ Year Member

    Aug 13, 2008
    Great Post! Thanks for taking the time!
  21. Evangeline

    Evangeline i can and i will :)

    This is a terrific guide and collection of MCAT resources. It will really help a lot to those who need it :D Thank you! And also me as well, if I take too much time off before applying.. I will probably have to take the MCAT again (hopefully not) and if I do, I will know where to go for resources :)
  22. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Jun 27, 2007
    It seems like there's quite a few posts that ask questions that are already answered in here. Maybe it might help if the title was changed to "MCAT FAQ: Read Before Posting."
  23. BloodySurgeon

    BloodySurgeon Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Nov 19, 2006
    hSDN Member
    hSDN Alumni
    That is a very good suggestion. I will make that change now.
  24. Vihsadas

    Vihsadas No summer Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 5+ Year Member

    Oct 17, 2007
    An Igloo
    I like it too. :thumbup:
  25. Vihsadas

    Vihsadas No summer Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 5+ Year Member

    Oct 17, 2007
    An Igloo
    Just making a note that I've update my verbal strategy a bit. I reviewed my notes from way back when and added/restructured it.
  26. iA-MD2013

    iA-MD2013 Moderator Emeritus 5+ Year Member

    Feb 17, 2008

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