SDN members see fewer ads and full resolution images. Join our non-profit community!

Self prep for MCAT

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by ansu779, Nov 21, 2000.

  1. ansu779

    ansu779 Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    Sep 30, 2000
    Miamisburg, OH, USA
    After much thought (and discussion on this site), I've decided to study for the MCAT on my own. The fact that the class that I wanted to take is now full is also a big contributing factor to this decision!

    My questions are pretty simple. I have read everyone's suggestions about which books and courses worked best for them. I'd like to have this information all on one post. If possible, could readers of this post respond with there beliefs here? Should I buy a new edition of a book, or check at a used book store? Should I buy a couple of different books? I've read that I should take as many practice tests as I can. Does a certain book have more practice tests? Can I buy a book with just practice tests? What type of study plan did you have?

  2. SDN Members don't see this ad. About the ads.
  3. layne20

    layne20 Member 10+ Year Member

    Nov 2, 2000
    Morgantown, WV, US
    Don't worry too much about the MCAT, esp. if you did well in the prereq. classes. I studied for one week and never took a practice exam. I basically went through the entire book (it is huge) called The Princeton Review by Silver and some other author (I cannot remember). It was a 98-99 edition. I took the test in August, and I got the following: Verbal 11, Physical 10, Biology 12. I hope this helps you!!! BEST OF LUCK!!!
  4. misfit

    misfit Blinded Me With Science 10+ Year Member

    Apr 19, 2000
    I, too, studied for the MCAT on my own. It required discipline, but I feel the results were worth it, considering I also saved over a $1000 had I chosen the Kaplan program.
    I studied for two months straight, every night, using the 2000 edition of Flowers/Silver MCAT book by The Princeton Review (PR). I also cross-checked info., because the PR book was woefully lacking on some subjects, by using my old intro. biology, gen. chem, org. chem and intro. physics textbooks.

    On top of that, I used the AAMC MCAT Practice Tests 1-4 to simulate test taking under timed conditions.
    Check with a medical school bookstore, your undergrad bookstore or even on the Internet to find these items if you are interested in using them.

    I do recommend studying on your own, but you have to truly invest the time to make it pay off. Some people may post and tell you it only takes a week of studying. Maybe for them, that's all it takes to do well. But, you have to assess that for yourself.

    Did you retain specific concepts from your undergrad courses? Do you do well under pressure situations where time is limited? Ask yourself these questions, discover what concepts you are lacking info. in and get to studying soon. Take care.

  5. Djanaba

    Djanaba Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    May 4, 2000
    Minneapolis, MN
    I agree that the Flowers and Silver book is fantastic prep when combined with practice exams. And I would recommend actually studying and timing some exams, because most people can't do well without a chunk of dedicated studying (unlike the earlier poster). This exactly follows what I did and I was very pleased with my score. Good luck!
  6. ansu779

    ansu779 Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    Sep 30, 2000
    Miamisburg, OH, USA
    Thanks for all of your replies! The information (and encouragement) is much appreciated!

    If anyone else has any suggestions on how they studied, please post your plan here or email me.
  7. Bubakar

    Bubakar Junior Member

    Nov 30, 2000
    Detroit, MI

    I studied on my own. I got some Kaplan books from a friend of mine and studied X chapters a day (I went through all of the material 3 times). For me, repetition was a good thing. If you are comfortable with the test then the knowledge part is where you need to focus. BTW, some of us CAN'T study for a week or so and pull of 30+ (I studied for about 3-4 months).
  8. Oceandust

    Oceandust Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jun 23, 2000
    I took Princeton Rev, but only used the book--didn't go to the class. Studied for 2.5 months, 3-4 hours/day most days of the week. I would recommend using the "course manual" which gives a straightforward, lucid distillation of what you really need to know, and cuts out the extraneous stuff. Then followed the course manual review with doing 3-4 passages, timed of whatever theme I just reviewed in the manual.

    Did decently, 34R.
  9. wooo

    wooo Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Aug 2, 2000
    I would not bank on what these people have told you. You know what YOU need to do. The one guy that studied for a week is not the typical student. I have a 4.0 and never have had a problem with any course in college. I took the Kaplan and studied 20 hours per week for 2 months prior to the MCAT. I only scored a 25, 8-8-9. The thing is, I knew that I had to buckle down and study, the other guy knew he could breeze through w/o studying. You know what you need to do, so get after it.
  10. mjs419

    mjs419 Member 10+ Year Member

    Nov 15, 2000
    University Park, Pa.
    If you're on a limited budget in preparing for the exam, here's the way I did it (it worked like a charm).

    1) Go into your school's big, creepy stacks. Find the more recently published MCAT review books (believe it or not the library or the premed office will probably have them) and take them all out on your card. Read them and decide what's best for you. Buy those books!

    2) Borrow your second semester senior friends' Kraplan materials. Read them.

    3) MOST IMPORTANT. Buy every practise test and written MCAT guide that AMCAS publishes as soon as possible. AMCAS tells you what to study better than anyone else, because they make the test! (which is really, really hard ;-))

    I found that the biggest problem in studying for the test was not in the level of difficulty of the material in the review books but slightly off-the-mark prparation advice. For example, I thought that the Kaplan-made verbal reasoning sections did not reflect what I saw in the practise tests or the actual exam, and I felt that the Kaplan biology review section focused too intensely on physiology. This cost me a few hours' sleep in the two weeks leading up to the exam.
    Anyway, you should know your strengths and weaknesses, and if you think you've got the ability to take it without the prep course, go for it.

Share This Page