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Hello everyone

I have been taking practice exams (AAMC and Gold Standard), and I seem to have 10 minutes to spare on the science sections and 10-15 minutes to spare on Verbal Sections. However, I dont use GS Verbal, and instead use EK VERbal 101 as practice sections while takin GS exams. I have doing pretty decent, with scores ranging from 27-33 on these practice exams.

I am kind of worried in the sense that since I am finishing these exams with minutes to spare, I just dont want this to bite me in the butt come exam day. Of course if I had time left over on the real exam, I would use that extra time to check my work. Has anyone out there finished with time to spare on sections in the real MCAT, or is the real exam usually harder and more convoluted where all of the time will be used up? Is it not a good thing to finish with time to spare? ANy other thoughts? Any kind of advice or feeback is appreciated.

Thanks.
 

DrSmday

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On my practice exams I usually ended up with a few minutes to spear on the PS section (enough to go over my marked questions) and slightly more on the BS (I took AAMC practice exams). with the EK 101 exams I had a couple of minutes to spear or finished right on time for the verbal but almost always ran out of time on the AAMC verbals...

On the real thing I finished on time but had no time to review my marked answers either on the BS or the PS. This was not because the exam was much harder but mostly because since it was the real thing I chose not to rush through my answers and think twice before moving on... also your nerves kind of get to you on the real thing.. so be prepared...

for the verbal i ran out of time and had to guess on the last passage... if you have a lot of time left on your verbals i would recommend spending more time on the questions the first time around since when you go back to the passages at the end the passage info is not fresh in your head... pace yourself... also, i think the best practice for the Verbal section are AAMC exams.. so do a couple of those and see how your timing is.

Good luck!!
 

luckyducky87

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I usually had 15-20 minutes to spare on both the BS and the PS from nearly all AAMC and TBR FL exams (usually none on VR: EK, TBR FL, or AAMC FL).

On the real deal, which I've taken twice:
#1: ran out of time on PS and guessed entirely on one passage; no time left on VR; maybe 5 min to spare on BS but got so fed up and just finished the exam then.
#2: had 2 minutes left on PS to "review"; no time left on VR; no time left on BS and had to guess on a 4-Question passage in the remaining few minutes because I didn't have time to even read the passage.
 

Vanguard23

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I'm getting 10-15 min on the BS and PS *now* on AAMC, but it's been a while since I've taken the real MCAT. That's actually a little disheartening to hear because I utilize that spare time so much.
I think I'll just have to expediate myself on the real deal as much as I do on the practice tests.
When I took the real deal, I had maybe 5 minutes on BS....very little on PS but on PS I DID sort of get cocky and take my sweet time because it was easy at first and then got exceptionally more difficult at the half way point.
 
Mar 29, 2010
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Those having very little time on PS section for the real MCAT, is it because there are more calculations involved?

For BS section, why is it that you all may have little time left on the real MCAT?
 

luckyducky87

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well, in all fairness, yeah, that was partly it for me too.

on the PS, i chugged along fairly well. don't tell EK's salty master, but i did skip around; answered chem passages and discrete questions first since i felt better about them. then went back to phys passages and worked on the ones i actually understood. then i spent 17 minutes on one physics passage that i had to read 4 times slowly to understand... and THEN i had 2 minutes to spare. since i knew that was my last passage (and last set of questions left to answer), i did have the mental leisure to spend more time on that one passage. and that's probably why i only had 2 minutes "to spare."

on the BS, on my first orgo passage, i took my sweet time figuring out silly stuff about gigantic molecules (totally not worth the time for ONE question out of 52) thinking i'll have plenty of time (esp since i finished PS with [gasp] 2 minutes to spare, bio/orgo should be a breeze). that happened not to be the case b/c all the bio passages were so darn time consuming. had i known what was coming, i would have paced myself so much better.

i also spent 12 minutes on the first VR passage, though that wasn't out of cockiness, and more due to being legitimately lost.

i think as long as you tell yourself that you have SO MUCH MORE TO DO beyond the first couple of passages, and chug along no-matter-what, it might be better. but i will also say that the first time i took the MCAT, i walked in exactly with this mindset (chug along; pace myself; don't get stuck on one question b/c it's not worth it), and still had time issues that i never had on the practice MCATs because i was so frazzled. i think it's partly how you handle testing under stress :)
 

luckyducky87

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Those having very little time on PS section for the real MCAT, is it because there are more calculations involved?

For BS section, why is it that you all may have little time left on the real MCAT?
the first time i took the MCAT, i ran out of time on the PS partly b/c i had 2 beast passages to begin the section with (but i was determined to not skip; and stubborn enough to just guess and move on). it also happened to be a calculation heavy MCAT (this march exam was not calculation heavy in comparison, at all). i ran out of scratch paper before the end of the PS section then. but i was also really freaked out and not focusing very well (partly b/c i had ID verification issues and all that crap right before entering the exam room; i was afraid they werent gonna take my score or something).

on the BS, back in the 2008 exam, i had time left. not much, but still a few min left. but the passages were much easier and straight forward. a lot of stuff that could be answered w/o reading the passages as well.

but this might be a new MCAT trend - this BS from 3/27 was tough. lots of fine details of molecular biology buried in literature-like passages that was tough to understand. and i'd say most of the questions could not be answered (besides the discretes) w/o understanding the passage fully. so for me, trying to understand relationships and interpret data took up so much time. but after that actually trying to understand the questions and all the possible answer choices... bleh. all were just time consuming. this was unlike in any practice AAMC where there was reasonable amount of physiology passages, which are faster to understand, with much more straight forward answer choices (and quasi-discretes where they ask you factual stuff about physiology that you probably knew already). with this molec bio stuff, in my opinion, 2-3 of the answer choices sounded similar and feasible, but with subtle differences in interpretation... which really made me stop and think about what's going on --> eats up time.

(but i might be alone in this opinion on 3/27's BS. not sure how many others will agree)
 

NYR56

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Don't let the stress get to you and the timing should be similar. On average, the real MCAT is the same as the AAMC tests and I had exactly the same amount of time on the real thing. The key is that if you come across a question you don't know, you mark it, pick your best guess, and move on. Don't let yourself get caught up, it's the single worst mistake you can make. It's particularly hard to do that on verbal but it's well worth it. Using this strategy I was able to read every passage casually and had plenty of time left in all sections.
 
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Don't let the stress get to you and the timing should be similar. On average, the real MCAT is the same as the AAMC tests and I had exactly the same amount of time on the real thing. The key is that if you come across a question you don't know, you mark it, pick your best guess, and move on. Don't let yourself get caught up, it's the single worst mistake you can make. It's particularly hard to do that on verbal but it's well worth it. Using this strategy I was able to read every passage casually and had plenty of time left in all sections.
Thank you. Sounds like a plan. When I take my practice exams, I always go in with the attitude of attacking passages. If I take this with to the exam, I guess it will do no harm?
 

NYR56

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Stick to whatever attitude works for you on the practice exams, the real MCAT is no time to change your strategy. I did push myself more on the verbal to get through it as compared to the science sections, where time wasn't an issue. The thing is, you don't want to skimp on understanding the passages because the time you save will be far less than the extra time needed once you get to questions that you're unsure of. If you need more time in a section, don't spend less reading - spend less time sitting there thinking about a question. The reality is, especially for verbal, the answer you would pick after 20 seconds is almost always the same as the one you would pick after a minute.
 

Vanguard23

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Yeah, lucky, spending 17 minutes on ONE passage after reading four times IS going to factor into less time...
also, your description of the 3/27 BS sounds sort of like a lot of TBR Bio passages.


Don't let the stress get to you and the timing should be similar. On average, the real MCAT is the same as the AAMC tests and I had exactly the same amount of time on the real thing. The key is that if you come across a question you don't know, you mark it, pick your best guess, and move on. Don't let yourself get caught up, it's the single worst mistake you can make. It's particularly hard to do that on verbal but it's well worth it. Using this strategy I was able to read every passage casually and had plenty of time left in all sections.
DING DING DING!

And circle gets the square.
As a general rule, if I end up spending close to 2 minutes on one problem after narrowing things down, I mark the best answer, press the mark button and then move on. If I have time to come back later, I will, but I will prioritize which questions I handle first on my review(ie, the easiest ones first, hardest ones last).
My reason for almost running out of time on the real PS was that I was cocky and took my sweet time. I won't let that happen again. You gotta have a fire under your ass the whole time.
 

luckyducky87

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Yeah, lucky, spending 17 minutes on ONE passage after reading four times IS going to factor into less time...
haha yeah. but i guess i also kinda did it becauase i knew i had ~20 min left, and only 1 more passage to go. so im sure the pressure was off, and i wasn't as efficient at that point. so ok ok, bad example to cite for timing purposes.
 

Vanguard23

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Well, like NYR said, if you time yourself and expediate the more difficult questions, it should be like the practices.