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Retaking the MCAT and prepping with the same materials

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by ihdihd, May 11, 2007.

  1. ihdihd

    ihdihd Member 10+ Year Member

    Jan 20, 2003
    I've been getting many questions from students who are retaking their MCATs and wondering how they should study. Most asked is whether it will hurt people that they remember material from their practice before. Here's one such question I received a couple of days ago:

    We get this question all the time. In reality, do you really care whether you're subconsiously remembering things. Hell, that's the whole point. The idea is that if you can get all the questions correct without really remembering that "the answer to this one is C", then whether you've seen it before or not shouldn't matter.

    Another thing you try to do to elevate your prep game is an old-school technique I throw at my students that we don't use as much anymore called post-phrasing. This is where you start a test, submit it blank, and go immediately into review mode. In the kaplan interface you can collapse the explanations so that you don't see them below the question (until you want to), but the right answers will be boxed in a green box.

    This is where the fun starts. For every question, instead of deciding what the right answer is, try to figure out why each of the wrong answers are wrong (the pathologies). After that click on the show explanations link for the question, and see whether you think like a test maker... The more you practice this technique, the more you'll attain what I like to call the "beautiful mind" effect, wrong answers will start to pop out at you like Russell Crowe on 6 anti-depressants.

    Hope this helps,

    -A Kaplan person
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  3. merlinwall

    merlinwall 5+ Year Member

    Oct 4, 2006
    WARNING: Kaplan traps people into thinking 1) the test is too hard, too big to learn everything 2) without Kaplan strategies we'd all be lost 3) their prep materials are the best (they're not-- PS are overly involved/complicated, VR is detail oriented rather than critical thinking) and now that it'd be better to go over kaplan questions again rather than seeking better exercises outside of their company.

    While I appreciate the time you took to give this advice, let me suggest that people rely less on KAPLAN "strategies" and more on improving their scores. Having taken Kaplan the first time I took the MCAT as well as having taught at Kaplan, it wasn't until I sought out other materials that my score dramatically improved...

    I'm just saying, don't pinhole yourself into a Kaplan world if you haven't tried EK, EK 1001, EK audio osmosis, all of the AAMC's, MCAT-PREP, etc..... (you can buy the KAPLAN q-bank), but practicing over the same problems is boring, feels and probably is a waste of time, and doesn't prepare you for test-day... Maybe the discussed method is helpful for one afternoon of study, but if you want your score to vastly improve, get yourself some new materials and practice. Read the economist; run through fresh science problems (I KNOW you haven't done all the MCAT science questions available)

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