Study specifics??

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Jul 29, 2007
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Well I'm going through bio right now and I've tried a few things. Been studying since May (I'm taking the test this upcoming May). I have OCD... clinically diagnosed... so i have a tendency to need a great deal of organization. I have 2 biology textbooks - one from my botany and zoology classes last spring and one from my micro class this fall. I've been using both as specific sources for studying this section of the test. Here are some things I've tried:
1 - printed out the AAMC study guide, under each section I've explained, as best as I could in my own words, the concepts that they list
--- this took too long, was way too monatonous...
2 - took my EK book, everything highlighted in brown, I did the same thing as above... still the same problem
3 - I got myself blank white paper, drew up some concepts visually (i.e. the combination of glycerol with fatty acids to produce mono/di/triglycerides ... I actually drew the whole molecular structure). Can't do this for everything
4 - Took a notebook, labeled it MCAT biology, took notes on each EK concept as I went through the lectures. This was way too boring, and it took like a half hour per page (I was going way too indepth on everything).

Any suggestions? I'm almost to the point where I just want to buy a whole bunch of practice tests (like the MCAT workout, like the kaplan 45) and do problem after problem and for the ones I get wrong, just use one of my textbooks or look at a reputable online source to review the material in depth.

I guess the bottom line is taking notes is way too boring, I tend to go into way too much depth. I just get anxious when I don't include certain things (for example, the reasons proteins fold into tertiary structures, I tried listing the 5 reasons... electrostatic interactions mostly btw acidic and basic side chains, hydrogen bonding, van der Waals, etc. etc.)... I get anxious because I feel like if I don't include it in my notes, then I'm going to miss some problems on the exam.

Anyone do any note taking or do you just do problems then go back to your resources for sections you have trouble with?


i'm goin' to Kathmandu...
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10+ Year Member
Oct 21, 2008
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Most of the MCAT prep materials are already condensed enough that everything included is important for the test, so I would not advise taking notes. As I go review my completed practice tests (Kaplan for now, but will be starting the AAMCs soon) and other practice questions (EK and TBR), I look for things that I consistently get wrong or tend to forget and write them out on a piece of paper with "Study Me" written on the top. It seems to be working pretty well, but I won't know for sure until after January 31 :)

Marjan Islam

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Oct 26, 2008
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Whoa dude, your studying method is NOT efficient! Do what ExamKrackers says at the beginning of its books:

-Read the Lecture once, and do the questions that come with the lectures as you read them
-Read the same Lecture again, and take the 30 min. Lecture Exam

Do this to cover all the material once, and get a good base on how you do with MCAT testing. Then move on to more resources (Kaplan, AAMC, Berkley, whatever your choice is).

Don't take notes, and DO NOT refer to college textbooks as your study resources, wayy to indepth. Kaplan, EK, etc. have all cut out what you don't need to study. Taking notes is killing time, and as you said boring.

Study hard, but study smart as well.