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To: Those who've used EK mainly for taking the MCAT

Discussion in 'MCAT: Medical College Admissions Test' started by jh8cw, Dec 27, 2008.

  1. jh8cw

    7+ Year Member

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    This is especially geared towards those who have received high scores (35-45) on the test: is EK sufficient to answer all of the science questions on the acutal AAMC test?

    I am asking this question, in light of all the diverse discussions in threads about EK failing to cover all of the necessary material for the science sections, and a little bit of my own insecurity after seeing questions on the Kaplan practice exams that require more more than EK knowledge to answer. I've got to admit my suspicions, this is because Kaplan is testing you on what they teach rather than simulating the actual test.

    My personal experience with the AAMC practice exams (5,8,9) says EK is more than sufficient. Of course it does not cover all of the subjects and equations mentioned in the passages, but when questions are asked about things not on the EK, they are explained in the test. However, we all know that the actual AAMC tests are harder, and my own experience with an actual AAMC exam (last August) unfortunately cannot answer my own question, since it is tough to objectively know if the questions I've had trouble with are those not covered on the EK.

    I know there is much speculation as to EK is not enough. But I am wondering how much of it is really a content based problem or an inability to infer from passages in the actual test? Does anyone have any strong contradictions to my opinions while taking the real exam?

    Thanks.
     
    #1 jh8cw, Dec 27, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2008
  2. TheBoondocks

    TheBoondocks StreetFighter 4 Virtuoso
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    EK is enough to score 12-13 on each section. However, in order to get 14-15 requires memorization of random facts. A big help is upper level classes. Almost everyone who got a 14-15 on BS using EK took upper level classes which played a larger role in their scores. Finally, EK is weak in electromagnetics/electricity. Most MCATs don't emphasize this. However, what if you get 3 electromagetic passages, are you going to be Ok? The MCAT is a skill test as you know but also a luck test in what you draw. I've read through EK and it is sufficient when coupled with good test taking skills. Finally, EK is review. I found it SUFFICIENT for areas that I was COMFORTABLE with. However, the areas I wasn't strong in, EK wasn't enough. An example is the Nervous system in biology, it is horribly written. I read it last summer. I took neurobio this past semester and reread and although it is still poorly written, it hits the main points. So if you have a strong background, EK is sufficient. In addendum, the advantage of knowing details is that it makes it easier to extract stuff from the passage. If you have some idea about development, and you get a tough looking passage, all the details will be easier to extract. Finally, the MCAT doesn't provide all the equations, and don't always expect to see the equation you need in a passage. If you look at the 30+ forum, almost everyone combined materials to avoid this problem or used more in depth material like Kaplan or TPR. I hope this helps.
     
  3. 229141

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    I haven't taken it yet but for me...

    Physics = BR + EK + textbook for extra problems and details
    Gen Chem = BR + EK
    Biology = Kaplan + EK + Relevant chapters in campbell biology
    Orgo = EK + Kap (have a good background in this already however)
    VR = EK

    I bought like 900 dollars worth of books and am using everything...each one tackles it from a different angle imo and it helps me A LOT to think about each topic from every possible way. My motto is study to get a 45..and when you fall short you'll still be in great shape with over 35....
     
  4. TheBoondocks

    TheBoondocks StreetFighter 4 Virtuoso
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    Great plan Alaska. EK is very good at summarizing the concepts and BR gives you the nitty gritty. They are the best combo imho.
     
  5. jh8cw

    7+ Year Member

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    Boondock,

    Thanks for your earnest response. You are right, 36 is probably my ceiling given my circumstances. I will get ahold of the Kaplan books and study them for the next ten days. It shouldn't take too long given that I know most of the EK content pretty cold. I plan on taking a marathon of AAMC/Kaplan tests afterwards, followed by a quick EK review on the subject material. Content is my biggest concern overall.

    The fact that I am a graduate student roughly 7-8 years removed from the subject material that MCAT is testing me puts me at a disadvantage as well as giving me little bit of an advantage. The advantage comes from the fact that I've taken a great deal of upper level biology and physiology classes, while conducting research for about three years. I'm more than capable of handling topics I've never seen, given that I've the right amount of fundamental information. This test is pretty much the last piece of the puzzle for me.

    The last time I took the exam, I severely underestimated the content depth for the MCAT. I studied intensively for 3 weeks, including taking a few practice AAMC exams: got around a ~34 on them (AAMC 7 and 10). When I took the real exam, I received a shocking 28 (10-9-9), which nearly knocked me out of the application process this year. I was a bit of an idiot for not realizing that a broad grasp over the MCAT material is the only way to compete against the average, ie. some people are going to be better prepped than you are at chemistry while others at physics, while overplaying the practice test scores.

    This time around, I've reviewed for a month and a half so far using EK. I've taken 10 exams so far, and my test scores are around 36 with more consistency (in the sciences) requiring less guess work on my part. However, in the last week, I've felt like I'm hitting some sort of a plateau, as there would be a few questions that I simply do not have the content information for, so I've been really fretting about supplementing my studies. Given my past experience, I am not at all comfortable with my test score average. I want it to be a lock this time around on the real thing.

    I think the one huge lesson I learned from my past mistake has been to review (all) of my test questions (including the ones I've missed) as it gives me a chance to evaluate my strengths and weaknesses. You pretty much nailed it right on about EK: my weaknesses are in electro-magnetism, themodynamics, and conservative and non-conservative forces, and EK doesn't really elucidate the advanced points. I suppose I should really try to clean up my understanding of these concepts through Kaplan and maybe even through textbooks, if I am still cloudy about them.

    Good luck in your efforts, Alaska21. Remember to save some tests till a month left before you decide to take your exam.
     
  6. Myuu

    Myuu 例えば、貴方の名前を忘れてしまうとか。 。。
    Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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    I used EK for... well, everything. As standalones, the review books are pretty good as a review of classes you've had already, except for the organic book, which is rather abysmal, but may have changed significantly since I used it. I had to supplement that one with Organic Chemistry as a Second Language, which was far better-written and comes loaded with practice problems (not MCAT-like, but very helpful).
     

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