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
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.
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
Med School Tutors