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really light MCAT review?

okayyyalx

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Jun 17, 2019
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Hi, I'm not planning on taking my MCAT until way next summer so I won't be doing any intensive studying anytime soon, but is there anything I can do in the meantime? Maybe try to get a little bit of content review or something in

If so, what do you all suggest i do?
 
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I'd start CARS now if you're not a natural at AAMC logic, try to read daily, sources matter. I majored in philosophy and I still wish I started 9+ months in advance for CARS.

I say that because it's the hardest section to improve on as it takes the most time and there's no real "studying" for it other than grinding out timed passages and identifying your mistakes.

Reading speed and comprehension were never my issues, it was really getting into the mindset of "what would you infer about what the author might think on a cloudy day on tuesday" i.e. inference beyond the text and it took time to get accustomed to AAMC logic and strategies on how to eliminate choices.

I also think a strong foundation in CARS will leak over to the other sections and help improve those subsection scores; otherwise, compartmentalizing CARS from the rest of the exam seems prudent for one's sanity lol
 

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Agree with CARS. Start with non-Gold standard resources and just work on your form and technique with no pressure on you.

Also, find the science you are worst at and read it cover to cover. Back in my day, Bio and Physics were my two worst so I got the Princeton Review book (which is very comprehensive, too comprehensive to use for all subjects but great for weaknesses) and then spent a month going through both with a fine-toothed comb so I was ready when dedicated came along.

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skeptastic

Cleans his metal mask with gasoline
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Jan 12, 2017
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Agree with CARS. Start with non-Gold standard resources and just work on your form and technique with no pressure on you.

Also, find the science you are worst at and read it cover to cover. Back in my day, Bio and Physics were my two worst so I got the Princeton Review book (which is very comprehensive, too comprehensive to use for all subjects but great for weaknesses) and then spent a month going through both with a fine-toothed comb so I was ready when dedicated came along.

David D, MD - USMLE and MCAT Tutor
Med School Tutors

Would you recommend using resources outside of those you're planing to use for dedicated, and just stretch them out until dedicated time? I definitely want to do this with CARS, but was also planning to just use TBR science books over time, yet only covering the content and Phase 1 passages during summer, Phase 2 during fall, and then jumping into phase 3 and FL's during the dedicated period starting in December or January.

I spoke to someone at TBR recently and they think using their books over an extended period like I've outlined here is an excellent idea since their passages are tough and force you to review content constantly, stretching out the time it takes to get them done in general. But, I have also been considering grabbing something like the Kaplan books to start content review early, then switching to TBR only during dedicated. This reminds me of what you're suggesting, but I'd love to get your input on what you think about what I've written here.

I do wonder if getting non-gold standard CARS resources for early, lengthy review might lead to some bad habits, if the materials do a poor job of explaining answers or teach subpar strategies. Please, let me know what you think!
 
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GreenDuck12

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Check out Jack Westin's free CARS passages. I'm not personally sold on his methods and of course the questions that are presented are different from the AAMC. However, his free passages will expose to you a broad range of topics and challenging texts. Practicing reading challenging texts is essential.
 
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skeptastic

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Check out Jack Westin's free CARS passages. I'm not personally sold on his methods and of course the questions that are presented are different from the AAMC. However, his free passages will expose to you a broad range of topics and challenging texts. Practicing reading challenging texts is essential.

Thanks again! It does seem like ay exposure to CARS passages will be helpful, even if you just read to try and grasp the overall theme of the passage and don't answer the questions or worry about the explanations. A lot of folks say that general exposure to the MCAT's passage style is helpful, at least in the early stages.
 

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Would you recommend using resources outside of those you're planing to use for dedicated, and just stretch them out until dedicated time? I definitely want to do this with CARS, but was also planning to just use TBR science books over time, yet only covering the content and Phase 1 passages during summer, Phase 2 during fall, and then jumping into phase 3 and FL's during the dedicated period starting in December or January.

I spoke to someone at TBR recently and they think using their books over an extended period like I've outlined here is an excellent idea since their passages are tough and force you to review content constantly, stretching out the time it takes to get them done in general. But, I have also been considering grabbing something like the Kaplan books to start content review early, then switching to TBR only during dedicated. This reminds me of what you're suggesting, but I'd love to get your input on what you think about what I've written here.

I do wonder if getting non-gold standard CARS resources for early, lengthy review might lead to some bad habits, if the materials do a poor job of explaining answers or teach subpar strategies. Please, let me know what you think!

Yeah, I think that's a great idea. especially for subjects that you maybe are weak at, using a different resource for pre dedicated than you will for dedicated will let you see the material in two different ways. Sounds a little silly but the more times you see the material presented slightly differently the better the chance that something will stick we will get that light bulb moment. In addition, using multiple resources for weak areas allows you to see what spots and topics are heavily emphasized on both or lightly emphasized on both. That can give you a clue to what's actually high and low yield.

And almost all cars resources that have any decent reviews on Amazon will help you start to work on the technique. The most important skill to develop is how to read actively and synthesize a main idea while doing so, and it's pretty hard to write passages that mess that up haha.

David D MD - USMLE and MCAT Tutor
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skeptastic

Cleans his metal mask with gasoline
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Jan 12, 2017
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Yeah, I think that's a great idea. especially for subjects that you maybe are weak at, using a different resource for pre dedicated than you will for dedicated will let you see the material in two different ways. Sounds a little silly but the more times you see the material presented slightly differently the better the chance that something will stick we will get that light bulb moment. In addition, using multiple resources for weak areas allows you to see what spots and topics are heavily emphasized on both or lightly emphasized on both. That can give you a clue to what's actually high and low yield.

And almost all cars resources that have any decent reviews on Amazon will help you start to work on the technique. The most important skill to develop is how to read actively and synthesize a main idea while doing so, and it's pretty hard to write passages that mess that up haha.

David D MD - USMLE and MCAT Tutor
Med School Tutors

Thank you for your reply! I definitely can see the value in having alternative source for content review, as a way to get a slightly different perspective and solidify concepts. I did end up deciding to just do the extended content review with the TBR books alone (for the sciences). Between the large umber of chapters and passages associated with each of the 3 phases of the TBR set, I'll be constantly reviewing topics. I plan to do one chapter and its passages for each science, then move to the next one, and so on, cycling between Gen Chem, O-Chem, Physics, Bio, and P/S, then repeat. CARS will be done every single day. So basically, while I'm still in school, I'll be finishing a chapter and its passages every 2 days, then I'll see that same subject again around 9 days later. Making Anki cards and reviewing throughout the process will also help keep the content fresh, while passages will help everything gel. I will be using Kaplan Biochem in addition to the TBR Bio books, so Biochem should be heavily covered and reinforced.

I agree with you about CARS. The consensus seems to be that you gotta do em constantly and determine the main point the author is trying to make, even if you choose not to answer questions to avoid questionable answer explanations.
 
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