Quantcast

What would you do?

Get Shadowing and a Virtual Clinical Education
This forum made possible through the generous support of SDN members, donors, and sponsors. Thank you.

ModernAlchemist

Transform and Transcend
10+ Year Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2008
Messages
1,270
Reaction score
18
Hey guys,
This forum has helped me a lot in the time I have been studying for the MCAT, so I thought that it would be a good idea to ask about my current situation.

I have been studying for quite a while and am scheduled to take the March 26th exam in about 3 weeks. I have been using pretty much everything out there with emphasis on Berkeley Review for all sciences except Bio (using TPR). I have been doing pretty well on all the Berkeley review passages (85%+ for most) and just started doing full-lengths. I've done AAMC3 (28), TBR 1 (29), and TBR 2 (28), which is not what I was expecting to get and is not within my target range. The consistent problem seems to be pacing and careless mistakes due to pacing. Otherwise, I think I know the material pretty well. I am going to take one more practice test to see if I get close to my desired range, but if not, what would you suggest I do?

Should I take a classroom course because I have been studying on my own? Should I postpone and take that time to practice my weaknesses more? Should I just keep taking tests and hope I peak the day of?

I kind of already know everyone's response to that third one. Let me know what you think. I've read soooo many posts like this on the forum, but in my case, I'm not sure exactly what to do. Maybe I'm too close to it to see the right decision, but either way, I could use some help. THANK YOU!

PS: I underlined the important parts for convenience haha
 

PeterPesto

Full Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2011
Messages
476
Reaction score
3
Take AAMC 7 and 8, and see where you're at. The old AAMC are useless in my opinion with the exception of the verbal section.
 

BerkReviewTeach

Company Rep & Bad Singer
Vendor
10+ Year Member
Joined
May 25, 2007
Messages
4,000
Reaction score
812
I've seen how well you know your material (you post some brilliant answers), so I personally think taking a class might prove to be a waste of time in your specific case. The time they'd spend reviewing material might not prove useful for you. The only thing a course could offer is a few short cuts and tricks here and there. And I'm biased of course, but I think one course does that better than the others and you've been through their material already.

What you need is speed training. I honestly think you can pick up your pace by forcing yourself to make faster choices and never second guess (aka reread) your first answer. Most people waste time on either (1) showing their work during calculations or (2) rereading answer choices multiple times in the hope they become clearer.

Have you considered tutoring someone? That would help to keep material in your head while exposing you to random questions. You might want to trade tutoring services. You help them with the subject matter and they go drill seargent on you during practice exams.

How are your nerves during exams? If anxiety is undermining your confidence, then that's an issue you need to resolve by your test date. I'd strongly suggest a rapid fire series of exams to get you acclimated to the speed. You are way too smart for the scores you posted. It has to come down to better test taking.

You'll get there in time. As a previous poster mentioned, see how you do on a couple more AAMC exams.
 

Ghayoour

Full Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2010
Messages
54
Reaction score
0
I know you registered for Jan exam just like me and rescheduled just like me to march, because we didnt feel fully prepared.

I will tell you one thing TBR CBTs are harder than the AAMC even though I only took 2 AAMC so far. So take another AAMC, to see where you stand.

One thing that TBR CBT really helped me with was the post exam review, throughly go over it and understand why, what, and how of correct and incorrect questions. I spent 7 hrs review AAMC 3 and 4 just to give you idea of how much time I spent.

I took AAMC 4 and got 10 on the PS section, after review the exam I realized that there were only 6 questions that i really did not know and other were silly mistakes. So I would work on narrowing that down.

Best bet is you should take another AAMC and see how you do.
 

ModernAlchemist

Transform and Transcend
10+ Year Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2008
Messages
1,270
Reaction score
18
Thank you all so much for your replies. The support of people on this forum is really inspiring.

@PeterPesto: thank you. I will do exactly that and I'll let you all know.

@BerkReviewTeach: I knew if you responded to this post, you would know exactly what I was having problems with. The two things that made me really think is the reading the multiple choices to try to gain clarity and second guessing my gut instinct. I think you're also right about the anxiety. I wish I could study with someone but I have like 6 friends studying for the mcat, none of which are taking it seriously or are interested in group study. Thank you for the kind words and advice. I am frustrated because I put in the time to really learn the material and I don't feel like that's being displayed in my scores. Should I postpone if these next couple tests aren't in my target range?

@Ghayoour: Thank you for the advice. I have been reviewing my exams by comparing explanations to my review books and trying to develop a method to solve that kind of problem next time. I've only done 2 so far but I just feel time slipping away. I wish you all the best in your studying and hopefully things work out for us. I don't know if I can afford to push it back again.
 

ridethecliche

Meep Meep Meep
10+ Year Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2011
Messages
8,051
Reaction score
7,627
Any particular reason you're dead set on march and wouldn't want to take in april or may?

Give yourself the time you need to study. You want to only do this once if possible.
 

ModernAlchemist

Transform and Transcend
10+ Year Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2008
Messages
1,270
Reaction score
18
Any particular reason you're dead set on march and wouldn't want to take in april or may?

Give yourself the time you need to study. You want to only do this once if possible.

I have postponed twice so it's not like I'm hellbent on march, but I set a great deal of time aside where I haven't worked and am just studying and the financial pressure is becoming more and more significant. I have a good full time job opportunity that said they would wait for me to finish my mcat in march.
 

MilkIsGood

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2008
Messages
1,052
Reaction score
131
Take AAMC 7 and 8, and see where you're at. The old AAMC are useless in my opinion with the exception of the verbal section.

i wouldnt say they're useless. they just arent as reflective in difficulty, but still good practice on concepts
 

ridethecliche

Meep Meep Meep
10+ Year Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2011
Messages
8,051
Reaction score
7,627
How many hrs a week do you think you'll be working?

I work about 45ish hrs a week and I still have enough time to do 2-3ish chapters of EK, a couple of passages, some reading, and 1 AAMC every week.

The thing about work is that it's structured in terms of hours and you don't normally have to deal with school work while doing it.

For instance, I got off at my subway stop at 5 today. Walked straight to a coffee shop, and left there at 11. Did about 2 hrs of passages and read a chapter of EK physics. I do this 2-3 times during the workweek and come in on a saturday or sunday as well (whichever day I don't do an AAMC or GS exam).

Edit: It would help to know why you've had to push it back already. Not enough time? Why?
Is it your organization? The content? etc...
 
Last edited:

ModernAlchemist

Transform and Transcend
10+ Year Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2008
Messages
1,270
Reaction score
18
How many hrs a week do you think you'll be working?

I work about 45ish hrs a week and I still have enough time to do 2-3ish chapters of EK, a couple of passages, some reading, and 1 AAMC every week.

The thing about work is that it's structured in terms of hours and you don't normally have to deal with school work while doing it.

For instance, I got off at my subway stop at 5 today. Walked straight to a coffee shop, and left there at 11. Did about 2 hrs of passages and read a chapter of EK physics. I do this 2-3 times during the workweek and come in on a saturday or sunday as well (whichever day I don't do an AAMC or GS exam).

Edit: It would help to know why you've had to push it back already. Not enough time? Why?
Is it your organization? The content? etc...

That is impressive. I'll have to think about doing a schedule like that if I can't get my scores up in time. The first time I just postponed it a day to change it from a morning test honestly. Then, I postponed until march because I got that 28 on aamc 3. Now, I'm considering postponing because of these full length scores. Thanks for the advice though. I'll think about it.
 

ridethecliche

Meep Meep Meep
10+ Year Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2011
Messages
8,051
Reaction score
7,627
That is impressive. I'll have to think about doing a schedule like that if I can't get my scores up in time. The first time I just postponed it a day to change it from a morning test honestly. Then, I postponed until march because I got that 28 on aamc 3. Now, I'm considering postponing because of these full length scores. Thanks for the advice though. I'll think about it.

I think your scores go up as you get used to the timing and format of the exams as well.

I'm slightly familiar with how you're studying but not completely sure.

I went from a 26 (aamc 3) to a 29 (aamc 4) in about 2-3 weeks. I'm planning on taking another one the 2nd weekend of march because I've been traveling. I think *just* taking full lengths makes your scores go up because it's not a surprise to you anymore. I wouldn't recommend 'wasting' them without studying though.

The AAMC's are there for you to use. Use the other tests to practice and the AAMC's to gauge progress. AAMC4 is calling your name. Give 'er a go this weekend!

Edit: Side note.
I've been studying with friends so that helps, especially if they're doing something different because I can take breaks in between passages/reading to talk to them. I also go to the gym 2-4 days a week and try hanging out or cooking with friends once every week or two at the least.
FWIW I'm signed up for a may 21st exam, but I plan on finishing content review by the beginning of April so I can go back to some stuff and start doing more passages. I bought the 10 GS exams to do passage review for BS and PS. I have ek 101.
I also have a friends old kaplan books and I'm going to do high yield starting in mid-late april.

I WILL SAY:
That you need to have a plan before you reschedule. Pick a date, then make a plan that you think will work. If the plan looks 'sketchy' push the test back a bit. I think you can easily manage a full time job with studying for the test as long as you're done with most of your content review before you start work. Reviewing/passages/exams don't take as much time as sitting down with the books to read everything, take notes, and learn/refresh it all.

Good luck :)
 

ModernAlchemist

Transform and Transcend
10+ Year Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2008
Messages
1,270
Reaction score
18
AAMC7
PS: 10, VR: 7, BS: 11

I officially think my problem is test anxiety causing me to over think and not keep pace. On PS, I had to guess on 7 problems that I definitely knew, but ran out of time. On BS, I guessed on an entire passage. Besides that, I missed 3. On VR, I got the first 3 passages 100%, then missed one in the 4th passage. With 16 minutes left, I had 3 passages to go. I freaked out and ended up getting most of the remaining questions wrong...

Anyone know how I can work on my pacing?


Should I just keep taking tests? I think I have a pretty strange problem. I know I would be scoring at least 6 points higher if I could actually get through the entire test.
 

enTropeeeeeeeee

Full Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2011
Messages
407
Reaction score
1
AAMC7
PS: 10, VR: 7, BS: 11

I officially think my problem is test anxiety causing me to over think and not keep pace. On PS, I had to guess on 7 problems that I definitely knew, but ran out of time. On BS, I guessed on an entire passage. Besides that, I missed 3. On VR, I got the first 3 passages 100%, then missed one in the 4th passage. With 16 minutes left, I had 3 passages to go. I freaked out and ended up getting most of the remaining questions wrong...

Anyone know how I can work on my pacing?


Should I just keep taking tests? I think I have a pretty strange problem. I know I would be scoring at least 6 points higher if I could actually get through the entire test.

It seems that your issue is definitely timing. Obviously you know the material (based on your post), so you need to arrive at the answer faster. How to do that? I'm guessing it's what you said....get over the anxiety. I hope that I get the test anxiety when I start FLs soon because it's better to experience it during practice...master it, and be calm on the real thing.
 

ModernAlchemist

Transform and Transcend
10+ Year Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2008
Messages
1,270
Reaction score
18
Okay I got another 28, but with 1 pt up in verbal and 1 pt down in bio on AAMC 8. My question to anyone, including the people who have been generously helping me so far, is when should I postpone to? April? May? My choices in my area right now are April 9th or May 21st, but I'd rather hold out for April 29th or something.

What do you all think?
 

ridethecliche

Meep Meep Meep
10+ Year Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2011
Messages
8,051
Reaction score
7,627
FWIW, the may 21st date doesn't put you at a disadvantage.

I'm planning on finishing up review by the end of the month and dedicating 1-1.5 months to doing passages, specific review, and being able to finish passages with minutes to spare.

I just bought the EK 1001 books to add to passages at my disposal and those are going to be great to speed through.

You know the content and are getting it down. If you want to work on timing issues, practice and time are what you need. April might work for you, but an extra month of ironing stuff out can't be a bad thing, right?

You look like you have that 10 VR in the bag if you can get faster at doing the passages. That comes with practice, which requires time for practice. Once you have that down, you're already at 30-32.

Hence my RX of practice and time to practice ;)
 

enTropeeeeeeeee

Full Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2011
Messages
407
Reaction score
1
Okay I got another 28, but with 1 pt up in verbal and 1 pt down in bio on AAMC 8. My question to anyone, including the people who have been generously helping me so far, is when should I postpone to? April? May? My choices in my area right now are April 9th or May 21st, but I'd rather hold out for April 29th or something.

What do you all think?

May 21st. Have everything done by then so you'll be ready to apply. Having an additional 2 months will totally clear your head and give you the peace of mind to focus on the important things.
 

Ghayoour

Full Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2010
Messages
54
Reaction score
0
I would tell you that if you are going to reschedule which I think you are looking at then make sure you practice and review your content like brush up on it. This was where my fault was I rescheduled from Jan to Mar but barely did anything in feb. I am also scoring in low 30 ranges on my AAMC i only took 3 so far, but I am tired of this crap and just want to get it over with now. lol.

Just keep up with it if you are going to reschedule, practice 2-3 hrs a day and be confident.
 

enTropeeeeeeeee

Full Member
Joined
Jan 7, 2011
Messages
407
Reaction score
1
I would tell you that if you are going to reschedule which I think you are looking at then make sure you practice and review your content like brush up on it. This was where my fault was I rescheduled from Jan to Mar but barely did anything in feb. I am also scoring in low 30 ranges on my AAMC i only took 3 so far, but I am tired of this crap and just want to get it over with now. lol.

Just keep up with it if you are going to reschedule, practice 2-3 hrs a day and be confident.

If I know iMed at all....he doesn't have any issues in that department. The guy is super motivated.
 

Renaissance Man

Saving the World
10+ Year Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2010
Messages
1,122
Reaction score
174
By pacing issues do you mean that the time expires before you finish questions, or that you are rushing? My organic professor always said that if you can't answer a question in time then you don't know the material well enough. I am not saying that is you, but just an idea. From what I skimmed it seems that a class would probably be a waste of money, but pushing back your MCAT would probably be a good idea IMO.
 

hiyaman

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2010
Messages
1,287
Reaction score
50
AAMC7
PS: 10, VR: 7, BS: 11

I officially think my problem is test anxiety causing me to over think and not keep pace. On PS, I had to guess on 7 problems that I definitely knew, but ran out of time. On BS, I guessed on an entire passage. Besides that, I missed 3. On VR, I got the first 3 passages 100%, then missed one in the 4th passage. With 16 minutes left, I had 3 passages to go. I freaked out and ended up getting most of the remaining questions wrong...

Anyone know how I can work on my pacing?


Should I just keep taking tests? I think I have a pretty strange problem. I know I would be scoring at least 6 points higher if I could actually get through the entire test.

Have you been doing practice passages with time?
When I did my practice passages I gave myself about 8 minutes or so.
Can you think of anything that is causing you to work slowly? I mean are you like re-reading passages multiple times? I understand how timing is difficult in verbal, that section......it's just practice.

I think if you keep practicing while timing yourself, you'll eventually get faster.

For test anxiety, every practice test I took I mentally told myself that this test is the real mcat. I know it's kinda hard to think like that when you are at home but get dressed get a desk put some earplugs in (or not if your not planning to use them) and do your test. Idk when I start working I usually get over test anxiety and I am immersed in the problems. unless I don't know any answers lol. but you know your content so that shouldn't be a problem.
 

ModernAlchemist

Transform and Transcend
10+ Year Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2008
Messages
1,270
Reaction score
18
Hey guys, thank you all so much for your responses. Sorry, I've been sorting out my MCAT stuff (making a new schedule, figuring logistics out, blah blah).

@entropeeeeeeeee: Thanks for the support, as always. My new schedule is something I'm actually pretty excited about. I'm zeroing in on my weaknesses and focusing on practice. Also, I'm going to try to take a little more break-time.

@ridethecliche: I agree. I think that it's all about the practice. I need to get my verbal consistent and eliminate my weaknesses. I really do feel like I'm close to a significantly better score.

@Ghayoour: Oh I definitely plan to study at least 2-3 hours per day. I don't plan to calm down at all, just to change my strategy.

@RenaissanceMan: The time usually expires before I can finish the questions. I agree with your ochem professor and I will take that to heart. I'm sure once I hammer out the weak spots in my content knowledge, the scores will go up significantly.

@hiyaman: I always have tried to practice with timing, but I was always going over. In the past few days, I've been pushing it down to 7 minutes per passage, so I think it just takes some practice. Sometimes its rereading and sometimes its me just trying to consider all things that factor into the question. The ironic thing is that I think that my anxiety on test day will be the same as my anxiety on practice tests. If I can get a handle on the practice tests, I am confident I will be able to have a handle during the real test.

My new plan is to go through 200 questions of EK 1001 for each section per day. Then, I write down what topics are giving me trouble for each set and then focus my studying of content review around that for that day. Btw, I got that idea from Mazdave's 30+ post. Then I'm moving on and doing the same thing for the TPRH science workbook passages (certain number per day and then do content review for those weaknesses). Then I'm moving on to TBR Phase III (I only did a few sections) and doing the same thing again. All of this and I'm going to take 3 passages per day for verbal and do one or two Full Length CBTs every weekend. It's kind of a mix of the LostInStudy retake strategy too. It seems exactly what I need. If this doesn't work, I don't think anything will haha.

Much love, my MCAT brethren.
 

Silverfalcon

Do It
Joined
Oct 25, 2009
Messages
1,158
Reaction score
1
I always have tried to practice with timing, but I was always going over.

This is why you are facing this trouble. You were too generous on time for yourself! Personally, if you are not going to end up in target score anytime soon, I suggest you to delay it - what if you end up running out of time badly on the real one? The real MCAT is longer, just letting you know.
 

ridethecliche

Meep Meep Meep
10+ Year Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2011
Messages
8,051
Reaction score
7,627
Do yourself a favor and get the TBR or GS exams.

TBR's are better, yes, but GS will still help you with your issue of pacing for less $$$.

If you're postponing to may, consider getting both. You can burn through these for a month and a half and drill down your timing before coming back to the AAMC's. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Sign up for mayday!!! (hehehe).
 

ModernAlchemist

Transform and Transcend
10+ Year Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2008
Messages
1,270
Reaction score
18
Do yourself a favor and get the TBR or GS exams.

TBR's are better, yes, but GS will still help you with your issue of pacing for less $$$.

If you're postponing to may, consider getting both. You can burn through these for a month and a half and drill down your timing before coming back to the AAMC's. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Sign up for mayday!!! (hehehe).


I already have 5 of the TBR exams and took the first two when I was set on the march date. I am postponing until may when I find a date and thanks for the encouragement with the story about how you study because the job thing was definitely standing in my way. I am planning on buying GS 1-6 because I hear the other 4 are kind of a waste.

In all, my cbt set up is going to be:

AAMC 5,6,9,10,11
TBR 3,4,5
GS 1-6

I already took AAMC's 3,4,7,8 and TBR 1,2.

I think that's all I could fit in anyways, so I'm good with it. Like I said, I also plan to make my way through all the EK 1001 books, TPR Hyperlearning, and TBR Phase III passages (already did the other phases) by my date. I wish there were more options out there for verbal though.

@Silverfalcon: Thanks for the advice. I'm a big fan of your posts on here. I will definitely delay until March and will never slack on timing again.
 

ridethecliche

Meep Meep Meep
10+ Year Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2011
Messages
8,051
Reaction score
7,627
I already have 5 of the TBR exams and took the first two when I was set on the march date. I am postponing until may when I find a date and thanks for the encouragement with the story about how you study because the job thing was definitely standing in my way. I am planning on buying GS 1-6 because I hear the other 4 are kind of a waste.

In all, my cbt set up is going to be:

AAMC 5,6,9,10,11
TBR 3,4,5
GS 1-6

I already took AAMC's 3,4,7,8 and TBR 1,2.

I think that's all I could fit in anyways, so I'm good with it. Like I said, I also plan to make my way through all the EK 1001 books, TPR Hyperlearning, and TBR Phase III passages (already did the other phases) by my date. I wish there were more options out there for verbal though.

@Silverfalcon: Thanks for the advice. I'm a big fan of your posts on here. I will definitely delay until March and will never slack on timing again.

You mean May right?

Also, the GS exams can be had on ebay for 60-70 bucks for all 10 of them. I bought mine for 61.

I think you're fine though. You just need to time yourself on the EK passages from their books. I agree that I wish there were more verbal things out there, I only have EK101 as my main source. Lets hope it works out.

Get yourself together for this. It's your final countdown! *Cue music*
 

ridethecliche

Meep Meep Meep
10+ Year Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2011
Messages
8,051
Reaction score
7,627
Hey, how are you doing your calculations?

Are you doing the math the 'long' way or are you rounding and such?
 
Top