I am taking the first one right now (I have the old version), and I was wondering how realistic/representative TBR practice tests were? I got a 10 (54 right out of 77) on the physical sciences, and I must say it was pretty tough. If I hadn't taken quantum mechanics or inorganic chemistry (not gen chem), I would have struggled with a lot of passages.
PS was doable. I just probably made some silly mistakes. I also haven't touched any of the GChem or Physics materials... so I am hoping to improve after doing those.
You pretty much answered your own question here. Just like the actual
MCAT, there are passages that seem highly intimidating, but the questions are all
doable using the information and concepts from freshman general chemistry and physics. If you've read the threads following the real MCATs, you'll hear people saying pretty much exactly what you just said. The test is weird, but the questions can all be answered with simple concepts. Careless mistakes are the biggest nemesis of any test-taker.
I wasn't doing too well on them for the most part (like maybe 26-28) and it scared the heck out of me.
When I took my first real AAMC practice MCAT sometime after that, I was shocked by how much easier it was and how much better I did. I called my buddy and told him, and he said he didn't want to tell me about it so soon but admitted his course instructors had told them that TBR's exams were much more difficult than the real thing.
So, to answer you question...TBR is not representative. It is more difficult (except, IMO, the verbal section which I did much better on and found to be too easy). The main problem is the science portions test a lot of things you are not expected to know for the MCAT. Now, my buddy insisted that this was helpful because it prepared you better and allowed you to feel more relaxed when taking the real MCAT since you've become accustomed to harder exams. Personally, I think the TBRs are useless because they test you on information you don't need to now and can damage you confidence in the efficacy of your studying.
Your comment about the tests covering things that were not on the MCAT made me curious enough to go back into the archives and look at the PS section of Exam 1. Here are the topics:
1. Enhanced solubility due to chelating agents
2. Phase Difference between Two Periodic Systems
3. Solubility Table involving Silver Salts (Ion Exchange Column)
4. Releasing Objects from top of Icy Slope
5. Absorption and Emission of Visible Light (Colors)
6. Physics Experiment Comparing Efficiency of Brakes
7. Nuclear Fission and Fusion
8. Quantum Numbers and Orbital Shapes
9. Solubility Experiment Comparing Two Salts/Impact of pH on Solubility
10. Perpetual Motion Machine (Underwater Atwood Machine)
11. Coordination Complexes
Having been through this exam twice this morning, I cannot find the following: (1) Quantum Mechanics, (2) Topics you're not expected to know for the MCAT, and (3) Questions based on upper division inorganic chemistry.
I just have a feeling the test freaked you out, much like the real MCAT freaks people out after they get used to the relatively easy
AAMC practice exams. I tend to think your friend had a great attitude and probably scored in the mid to upper 30s on his MCAT. You are right about a positive attitude and confidence, which it sounds like your friend had.
: You PMed for the scales for the 2001
version of that exam. In looking through the archives this morning, that is four editions ago and many things have changed since then. Hopefully you realize that the BS section of the MCAT underwent a major
change in 2003, where they reduced organic chemistry, increased genetics, and increased molecular biology on the exam. They omitted a few topics in organic chemistry from the testable material. Part of your problem is that you are using a pre-2003 version of that exam. Your opinion of organic chemistry being dense on that exam is accurate, because that's what used to be true on the exam. That's the price you pay when you use materials from 2001 that you get from eBay (or wherever you bought it). Perhaps you could invest in current exams.
You needed quantum mechanics?? I think that should say something as to how accurate the test is of the real MCAT
No, you didn't need quantum mechanics. You needed to be able to read the passage and interpret that there are four quantum numbers: N, L, ml
, and ms
. If you see quantum mechanics on your MCAT, it's there to mess with you and you won't need it for the questions.