aj716

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How should I begin my MCAT studying?? I am staring at the big stack of Kaplan books in my room and it is very daunting!!

Any tips?
 

Lardy Boy

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Take a practice test (even if you know you don't know anything) and you'll know where to start.


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Jul 16, 2017
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Depends on how much time you have and when you're taking the test. I personally made a schedule for myself leading up to my test day. I would do a mock section in the morning for an hour or so (I had princeton review), review what I got wrong for another hour (and take notes), then study a few chapters of info, alternating which subject you do daily, and reading my "things I missed on my mocks" every day too.
 
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Siromas

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Begin studying with your weakest subject and move towards your strongest.

Kaplan (every so often, I think) and Next Step offer free diagnostic tests- start with those. I wouldnt worry about your score too much from these tests, but they should point you in the right direction.

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Dox4lyfe

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You can either go one subject after another or alternate subjects each day. Unless you have a strong content base already because you killed your prereqs, I wouldn't bother with the diagnostic since you'll have no clue what's going on.

If you're going subject by subject, I'd start with gen bio and chem and then move on to the courses you've taken more recently (orgo, biochem). If you want to alternate subjects each day, then do that. Once you get ~50% through with content I'd start throwing in FLs and put more emphasis on practicing applying the content.

I'd highly recommend going through the mcat forum and looking through some of the study plans people have used in the past and were incredibly successful with. Good luck!
 
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Oct 13, 2015
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Brush up on any topics you aren't familiar with or don't know about

Testing Solutions for CARS
 
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DameJulie

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Start reading those books and see how much you need to study; then decide on a test date.
 
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DBC03

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I researched a few study schedules. If you can devote a serious chunk of each day to studying, then i recommend a 3 month/15-week schedule. I used the Berkeley Review for most of my studying (would recommend ExamKrackers for CARS and you'll need to supplement Psych/Soc with something else). I also listened to Khan Academy videos. I took 8 weeks for content review when I would go through one chapter in TBR daily and do at least 3 to 5 passages for practice. I skipped between topics, so maybe Physics one day followed by Ochem, then Bio, then Gen Chem, etc. Once I got through a week of review, I started going doing additional practice passages from chapters I studied weeks before to keep the material fresh. Then I took 7 weeks for practice exams, practice problems, and going over content I was weak on. I recommend the ExamKrackers and NextStep exams on top of the AAMC practice material. Definitely use all the AAMC practice material. PM if you want details. There are quite a few study schedules that you can look up - you will ultimately be making your own, but it helps to see what others have done.
 

Ninefingers

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I think a good method is as follows:

1. Read whatever review book series you've got (TPR, TBR, EK, etc.). Take notes if you want. This is the "first pass".
2. Second content review with quizzes/practice problems that you look up online (literally google "X practice problems") using a wide variety of sources like Khan Academy, online sources/textbooks/wikipedia/youtube videos etc.
3. AAMC question packs. Review thoroughly.
4. AAMC FL test. Review thoroughly.
5. AAMC section bank. Review thoroughly.
6. AAMC second FL test. Review thoroughly.

This took me ~6-8 weeks.

Also, I got up every morning at 6:30 to run 20-30 minutes because it has been shown to double hippocampal neurogenesis in mice. I took a lot of B vitamins, got 8 hours of sleep every night, and made sure to study 6 hours a day minimum. Pomodoro is a great study tool.

Result: 521
 
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Piglet2020

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Apr 21, 2016
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I studied for 1 month (3 weeks) for the MCAT over summer break and did reasonably well (511, 126/128/129/128). I used the Kaplan online course and books. Instead of reading all the books, just pick the topics that are high yield/you are weak on. Taking the diagnostic first will definitely help. Stick to the Kaplan schedule if you are taking a course.

Otherwise, for C/P: Watch Khan Academy videos and do practice problems
CARS: look over the strategies posted.
B/BCHM: Read high yield, watch Khan Academy
P/S: Flash cards (pure vocab really)
 
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kopftonmd

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What worked best for me was taking a diagnostic test (I got a free one with my Kaplan books), even though I knew I didn't know anything. Then you can make a list of things that you don't know off the bat and know what the style of questions on the MCAT are. Then pick your weakest subject and start churning through the books! I feel your pain though, that's a lot of stuff to get through. I went through a chapter every other night or so for content review then focused on question banks and practice tests closer to the actual exam.
 
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orthomyxo

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The MCAT forum has a ton of study schedules on it, but be prepared to spend a decent chunk of cash on materials. Overall I spent about $280 on used books and still need to dish out $200 for the AAMC question packs.
 
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Welshman

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start at ~The Beginning~



But really, just find one of the many guides to MCAT studying and just work your way through. There's a good one over in the MCAT forum 100days to the MCAT or something.
Also dont bother taking a practice test until you've covered a lot of material, you'll just get a depressingly low score.
 
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OP
A

aj716

2+ Year Member
Apr 2, 2017
19
2
Status
Pre-Medical
Depends on how much time you have and when you're taking the test. I personally made a schedule for myself leading up to my test day. I would do a mock section in the morning for an hour or so (I had princeton review), review what I got wrong for another hour (and take notes), then study a few chapters of info, alternating which subject you do daily, and reading my "things I missed on my mocks" every day too.
This is very helpful. Thank you!
 
OP
A

aj716

2+ Year Member
Apr 2, 2017
19
2
Status
Pre-Medical
What worked best for me was taking a diagnostic test (I got a free one with my Kaplan books), even though I knew I didn't know anything. Then you can make a list of things that you don't know off the bat and know what the style of questions on the MCAT are. Then pick your weakest subject and start churning through the books! I feel your pain though, that's a lot of stuff to get through. I went through a chapter every other night or so for content review then focused on question banks and practice tests closer to the actual exam.
Thank you! I have the online Kaplan materials too so I have that diagnostic test, which I will definitely do.
 
OP
A

aj716

2+ Year Member
Apr 2, 2017
19
2
Status
Pre-Medical
You can either go one subject after another or alternate subjects each day. Unless you have a strong content base already because you killed your prereqs, I wouldn't bother with the diagnostic since you'll have no clue what's going on.

If you're going subject by subject, I'd start with gen bio and chem and then move on to the courses you've taken more recently (orgo, biochem). If you want to alternate subjects each day, then do that. Once you get ~50% through with content I'd start throwing in FLs and put more emphasis on practicing applying the content.

I'd highly recommend going through the mcat forum and looking through some of the study plans people have used in the past and were incredibly successful with. Good luck!
Thank you! Good recommendations. Definitely need to review gen bio, gen chem, and physics as I haven't looked at that content since freshman and sophomore year of college!!
 
OP
A

aj716

2+ Year Member
Apr 2, 2017
19
2
Status
Pre-Medical
I studied for 1 month (3 weeks) for the MCAT over summer break and did reasonably well (511, 126/128/129/128). I used the Kaplan online course and books. Instead of reading all the books, just pick the topics that are high yield/you are weak on. Taking the diagnostic first will definitely help. Stick to the Kaplan schedule if you are taking a course.

Otherwise, for C/P: Watch Khan Academy videos and do practice problems
CARS: look over the strategies posted.
B/BCHM: Read high yield, watch Khan Academy
P/S: Flash cards (pure vocab really)
This is really helpful, thank you!! Love Khan Academy
 

workaholic181

2+ Year Member
May 29, 2017
1,293
817
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Planning to take the MCAT possibly in March or April.
I started doing general content review of a Biology MCAT book because I felt most comfortable with this material. Start with something you like. Try to delineate a strategy (i.e. are you going to make notecards? take notes on a page? etc)
 
OP
A

aj716

2+ Year Member
Apr 2, 2017
19
2
Status
Pre-Medical
I think a good method is as follows:

1. Read whatever review book series you've got (TPR, TBR, EK, etc.). Take notes if you want. This is the "first pass".
2. Second content review with quizzes/practice problems that you look up online (literally google "X practice problems") using a wide variety of sources like Khan Academy, online sources/textbooks/wikipedia/youtube videos etc.
3. AAMC question packs. Review thoroughly.
4. AAMC FL test. Review thoroughly.
5. AAMC section bank. Review thoroughly.
6. AAMC second FL test. Review thoroughly.

This took me ~6-8 weeks.

Also, I got up every morning at 6:30 to run 20-30 minutes because it has been shown to double hippocampal neurogenesis in mice. I took a lot of B vitamins, got 8 hours of sleep every night, and made sure to study 6 hours a day minimum. Pomodoro is a great study tool.
Great recommendations. Thank you very much! I don't think I can do a 6:30 am run lol, but exercise will definitely be put into my study plan
 
OP
A

aj716

2+ Year Member
Apr 2, 2017
19
2
Status
Pre-Medical
I researched a few study schedules. If you can devote a serious chunk of each day to studying, then i recommend a 3 month/15-week schedule. I used the Berkeley Review for most of my studying (would recommend ExamKrackers for CARS and you'll need to supplement Psych/Soc with something else). I also listened to Khan Academy videos. I took 8 weeks for content review when I would go through one chapter in TBR daily and do at least 3 to 5 passages for practice. I skipped between topics, so maybe Physics one day followed by Ochem, then Bio, then Gen Chem, etc. Once I got through a week of review, I started going doing additional practice passages from chapters I studied weeks before to keep the material fresh. Then I took 7 weeks for practice exams, practice problems, and going over content I was weak on. I recommend the ExamKrackers and NextStep exams on top of the AAMC practice material. Definitely use all the AAMC practice material. PM if you want details. There are quite a few study schedules that you can look up - you will ultimately be making your own, but it helps to see what others have done.
Thank you for those recommendations, I appreciate it! Planning on taking the MCAT in March or April, so I do not want to get burnt out on studying obviously
 
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