Where to Begin with Dr. Collins's PCAT Prep

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CPham

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Hello,

I am starting to study for the PCAT exam that I am taking this coming July using Dr. Collins's Self-Study Course (2013-2014 edition). I was told to focus primarily on Chemistry, Biology, Quantitative, Verbal, and Reading. I am unsure as to where to begin.

Should I do one subject a day? One subject a week? Do the review and practice test for that certain subject together? Start with what subject first?

I have just completed my freshman year of college. I have not yet encountered any Organic Chemistry or Microbiology, so I am hoping this study guide will assist me in catching up a bit.

I understand that how I study is ultimately my decision, but any advices or suggestions from experiences will absolutely be appreciated.

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I'm also using Dr. Collins packets, and I try to do a practice test from any subject like once 1-2 days and study my weakest subject within those days as well. Try to switch up which sections you do to see where you score high and where you need improvement.

You don't need 3-4 hours a day to study. I prefer short bursts of studying and concentration every day or so.
 
I would definitely focus on subjects/areas you already had exposure to to start off. Afterwards you can start reading into organic sections, etc. Don't expect to easily grasp the information or master them right on the spot as you haven't had the classes yet, but if you don't plan on taking the PCAT in the near future (yr or so), you still may have time to get a grasp of the knowledge when you do take those classes.
 
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I'm also using Dr. Collins packets, and I try to do a practice test from any subject like once 1-2 days and study my weakest subject within those days as well. Try to switch up which sections you do to see where you score high and where you need improvement.

You don't need 3-4 hours a day to study. I prefer short bursts of studying and concentration every day or so.

Thank you for the advice, Derozan! Do you just do practice tests to determine where you stand first or do you read through the study guide to get a review first before taking practice tests? I was thinking about switching up subjects every few days or so. With the amount of study materials in hand, it feels like 3-4 hours would not get me through the entire packet.

I would definitely focus on subjects/areas you already had exposure to to start off. Afterwards you can start reading into organic sections, etc. Don't expect to easily grasp the information or master them right on the spot as you haven't had the classes yet, but if you don't plan on taking the PCAT in the near future (yr or so), you still may have time to get a grasp of the knowledge when you do take those classes.

nxq875, thank you for the advice. I am starting off with studying inorganic chemistry study guide to trying to recall and master everything that I have encountered when I took General Chemistry courses. I am planning on taking the PCAT this coming July. If you were to prioritize the subjects, how would you do so?
 
I would definitely focus on chemistry and biology. The more you know for biology, the better your score, it's always a subject you can improve on.
 
Thank you for the advice, Derozan! Do you just do practice tests to determine where you stand first or do you read through the study guide to get a review first before taking practice tests? I was thinking about switching up subjects every few days or so. With the amount of study materials in hand, it feels like 3-4 hours would not get me through the entire packet.

I used the First test for each to see where I was at. Then I hit the study material in my weak areas especially for bio. The more practice tests you do, the better you'll do.
 
I used the First test for each to see where I was at. Then I hit the study material in my weak areas especially for bio. The more practice tests you do, the better you'll do.

I will definitely work on this. Yesterday, I tried Kaplan's Free Practice PCAT Test to see where I stand, but I have heard to just stick with Dr. Collins's packets.
 
I will definitely work on this. Yesterday, I tried Kaplan's Free Practice PCAT Test to see where I stand, but I have heard to just stick with Dr. Collins's packets.
Yea the Kaplan diagnostic test in the book is harder than the actual material from what I've heard. I did better on the Dr. Collins packets. The Kaplan chem and quant diagnostic was very hard to complete on time.
 
The PCAT is not a difficult exam but it could be if you have time management issues like myself. I took the test earlier this year and ended up with a composite of 47%.I know...that sucks but again i know what my biggest problem is TIME MANAGEMENT. Also if you are already average in chemistry ,biology and maths, pay attention to the verbal and reading comprehension sections cause those could mess up your score like nobody's business lol. There will be a BUNCH of words that you have never seen in your whole life.Believe me its true. Well i will be retaking the test in September i have my dictionary handy So happy studying people LETS DO THIS!!!
 
Yea the Kaplan diagnostic test in the book is harder than the actual material from what I've heard. I did better on the Dr. Collins packets. The Kaplan chem and quant diagnostic was very hard to complete on time.

I thought I was the only one that felt that way about Kaplan's diagnostic test. I agree that the Chemistry and Quantitative sections were difficult to complete on time on the diagnostic test. Time-wise, how much different is Kaplan's diagnostic test from the actual PCAT?

The PCAT is not a difficult exam but it could be if you have time management issues like myself. I took the test earlier this year and ended up with a composite of 47%.I know...that sucks but again i know what my biggest problem is TIME MANAGEMENT. Also if you are already average in chemistry ,biology and maths, pay attention to the verbal and reading comprehension sections cause those could mess up your score like nobody's business lol. There will be a BUNCH of words that you have never seen in your whole life.Believe me its true. Well i will be retaking the test in September i have my dictionary handy So happy studying people LETS DO THIS!!!

Time management is also an issue for me. My plan is to master the concepts and then work on pacing myself on practice tests. Studying for the verbal section is hard to do since the words are unpredictable. Sentence completion requires a bit of multitasking in my opinion since you need to take into account both words to be able to determine if it makes any sense in context. Also, reading comprehension is difficult because of the amount of time provided and the reader's focus on the passages. Question: What are some strategies on the Reading Comprehension section? Do you read the passage first and then look at the questions, or vise versa? I have heard to pay attention to the first and last sentence of each paragraph; does this method work? If so, how?

Wasting time is definitely not an option for many people, so I am determined to find out methods to save time on all the sections of the PCAT.
 
I thought I was the only one that felt that way about Kaplan's diagnostic test. I agree that the Chemistry and Quantitative sections were difficult to complete on time on the diagnostic test. Time-wise, how much different is Kaplan's diagnostic test from the actual PCAT?

Well I haven't taken the PCAT yet so I can only speculate. I think that the PCAT from what I've heard shouldn't be as time consuming compared to the Kaplan Diagnostic for Chem and Quant. I'm pretty good with Chem, and I thought the Kaplan diagnostic was ridiculous to complete in the time given with a good score.
 
I thought I was the only one that felt that way about Kaplan's diagnostic test. I agree that the Chemistry and Quantitative sections were difficult to complete on time on the diagnostic test. Time-wise, how much different is Kaplan's diagnostic test from the actual PCAT?



Time management is also an issue for me. My plan is to master the concepts and then work on pacing myself on practice tests. Studying for the verbal section is hard to do since the words are unpredictable. Sentence completion requires a bit of multitasking in my opinion since you need to take into account both words to be able to determine if it makes any sense in context. Also, reading comprehension is difficult because of the amount of time provided and the reader's focus on the passages. Question: What are some strategies on the Reading Comprehension section? Do you read the passage first and then look at the questions, or vise versa? I have heard to pay attention to the first and last sentence of each paragraph; does this method work? If so, how?

Wasting time is definitely not an option for many people, so I am determined to find out methods to save time on all the sections of the PCAT.

For the reading dr Collins recommends reading the questions first and highlight 1-2 key words then reading the passage with the key words in mind. I've found that to be pretty effective time-wise
 
That's what I was going to do and I believe this may have been possible when the exam was given on paper, but it's now via computer so I didn't know how going ahead to view the questions will exactly save time.

Which is why I'm looking for addition tips on time management for the RC section.
 
That's what I was going to do and I believe this may have been possible when the exam was given on paper, but it's now via computer so I didn't know how going ahead to view the questions will exactly save time.

Which is why I'm looking for addition tips on time management for the RC section.

I am also trying to find good strategies to get through the Reading Comprehension section under time pressure.
 
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