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These FLs look legit from Altius. Has anyone checked them out? I'm just shocked that every thread is either about EK 3+4 and/or NS tests. No one ever talks about Altius tests but from the looks of their website and diagnostic, they seem like a reputable source. Anyone have experience using their tests? Curious to know if they are representative of the real thing... or are they just another Gold Standard type company with bold claims and inferior products?
 

Ryomagoku

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I won't answer your question because you'll think I'm biased, but I can give you one of our free full-length exams to try out if you are willing to give us feedback after you take it. PM me.

I was going to purchase Altitus because I liked the half length. I haven't tried full length so I cannot speak much of it. What prevented me from purchasing is that only one option is available which is 10 FLs for 300. If more options are available, such as 3 for 100 or something, people would buy more I'm sure.
 

GiantPanda1

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These FLs look legit from Altius. Has anyone checked them out? I'm just shocked that every thread is either about EK 3+4 and/or NS tests. No one ever talks about Altius tests but from the looks of their website and diagnostic, they seem like a reputable source. Anyone have experience using their tests? Curious to know if they are representative of the real thing... or are they just another Gold Standard type company with bold claims and inferior products?

They're not as popular because you have to bulk buy. The questions they have, along with the passages they have are similar to the practice exams given by the AAMC. I've only ever tried Kaplan but they're far better than Kaplan.

While I enjoy the fact that their test design is better, my only criticism is that they don't feel like they've been as quality-checked as thoroughly as Kaplan's. There were repeat questions in the same exam. There were questions that had two correct answers. It was along the lines of, high levels of pyruvate are correlated with higher lactate levels. A figure shows high pyruvate levels. The question was along the lines of what does the figure show. I put down high pyruvate levels. The correct answer was high lactate levels. Technically, both are true. This was FL2. It is possible that it was a fluke that this exam was not up to the standards of quality I expect and it is totally possible that they fixed all this stuff since I last took it.

Overall, they're worth the money.
 
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They're not as popular because you have to bulk buy. The questions they have, along with the passages they have are similar to the practice exams given by the AAMC. I've only ever tried Kaplan but they're far better than Kaplan.

While I enjoy the fact that their test design is better, my only criticism is that they don't feel like they've been as quality-checked as thoroughly as Kaplan's. There were repeat questions in the same exam. There were questions that had two correct answers. It was along the lines of, high levels of pyruvate are correlated with higher lactate levels. A figure shows high pyruvate levels. The question was along the lines of what does the figure show. I put down high pyruvate levels. The correct answer was high lactate levels. Technically, both are true. This was FL2. It is possible that it was a fluke that this exam was not up to the standards of quality I expect and it is totally possible that they fixed all this stuff since I last took it.

Overall, they're worth the money.

How many Altius FLs have you taken and what are your scores? Have you taken any AAMC FLs? Curious how your scores on Altius compare to AAMC
 

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How many Altius FLs have you taken and what are your scores? Have you taken any AAMC FLs? Curious how your scores on Altius compare to AAMC

Chem/Phys CARS Bio/Biochem Psych/Soc
NextStep 1 Diagnostic: 506 126 126 126 128
Kaplan FL1: 503 127 126 125 125
Kaplan FL2: 508 127 127 127 127
Altius 2: 506 126 126 127 127
AAMC Unscored: 517 80% 89% 88% 78%

These are in chronological order with the unscored being the latest. Supposedly you add 11 points to Kaplan and the unscored is done with statistical correlation with real vs unscored with SDN and Reddit users.
 
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I won't answer your question because you'll think I'm biased, but I can give you one of our free full-length exams to try out if you are willing to give us feedback after you take it. PM me.
I'd be more than willing to try out a free full-length in return for my feedback of it. I've been looking at getting the 5 pack of exams but have been a little hesitant due to the pricing. It seems like a good deal overall but as someone without any meaningful source of income until school starts back up in a few months I've had to be very frugal with my finances
 

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I'd be more than willing to try out a free full-length in return for my feedback of it. I've been looking at getting the 5 pack of exams but have been a little hesitant due to the pricing. It seems like a good deal overall but as someone without any meaningful source of income until school starts back up in a few months I've had to be very frugal with my finances

Send me a PM, I may be able to get you a trial exam.
 

aldol16

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While I enjoy the fact that their test design is better, my only criticism is that they don't feel like they've been as quality-checked as thoroughly as Kaplan's. There were repeat questions in the same exam. There were questions that had two correct answers. It was along the lines of, high levels of pyruvate are correlated with higher lactate levels. A figure shows high pyruvate levels. The question was along the lines of what does the figure show. I put down high pyruvate levels. The correct answer was high lactate levels. Technically, both are true. This was FL2. It is possible that it was a fluke that this exam was not up to the standards of quality I expect and it is totally possible that they fixed all this stuff since I last took it.

Quality control is an issue with many FLs, including Altius. From what I've seen on here, their FLs do have some issues with either incorrect answers or misleading wording. But I note that these QC issues are not limited to Altius and extend to all the test prep companies I know. But since this is a new MCAT and these are relatively new exams, hopefully these problems get hammered out in due course. As for now, the best resources are the AAMC materials as well as Khan Academy practice passages. From there, various people will have varying opinions on the best test prep company but they all seem fairly similar to me (except TPR and maybe NS - don't like them).
 

Dr. Stalker

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Altius is a hidden gem. That's why nobody mentions it. I too was a bit doubtful of them, so I went with EK and NS. Halfway through studying, I decided to go for Altius (big driver was the fact that they had an awesome promo/sick deal for the exams to be honest). It was the best way I've ever spent my money. I tend to comment a lot on altius and how great they are with this generic message. I've written this on other threads, so it is a copy and a paste.

I personally enjoyed Altius FL's the most. They tended to be the most AAMC like in style, difficulty, and overall feel. The questions and passages were all from peer reviewed journals just like how the AAMC does it. Unlike other companies, you also get the most for your money, because you can take the exams an unlimited number of times.

I'd strongly suggest you purchase the altius exams. You can find them here.

DO NOT waste your time or money on Kaplan or Princeton. Their exams are just not representative of the AAMC. The question style, overall difficulty, test format, and passage length are sporadic and not useful.

A lot of people (including me) used EK, NS, and Altius. EK is alright, but you don't get a score at the end of it which sucks. NS gives you a score and has decent exams (only exams 1 - 5 though - anything beyond is poor quality).

Altius excels cause they mirror the MCAT style perfectly. They only use scientific journal articles for all of their science passages which gets you used to the AAMC style entirely. The questions themselves are phenomenal and really hit home when talking about MCAT style. They have a nice diversity in difficulty and topic per exam as well as per test. For example, the AAMC likes to occasionally throw in some biochemistry here and there in the physics/chemistry part of the exam; Altius does it just as well. The altius exams ALSO give you a score which is great. One of the best parts of Altius is also you get the most for your money. By that, I mean the exams are unlimited attempts. EK and NS only give you 4 or 5 attempts, respectively. Altius lets you take any of their full lengths as many times as you care to. I (personally) like to do a FL per week, on Fridays. M-Th, I take another full length, divided into quarters. I can't do that using NS or EK.

Lastly, I believe one of the best parts about Altius FL exams is the detailed answer keys. Here's a popular type of MCAT Question.

The protein sequence discussed in the passage has a D residue in the catalytic core domain. When the scientists blocked the D residue, no enzymatic function was observed. If the scientists were to switch D with another Amino Acid, which one of the following would most likely retain activity in the catalytic core domain?
A) Lysine
B) Asparagine
C) Glutamate
D) Glycine

Most testtaking companies will say the following: "The answer is C, glutamate, because it is acidic."

That doesn't tell me squat. What the heck does acidity have to do with the D mentioned in the catalytic core domain?!

Altius explanations are very thorough and clear. The altius explanation would be something like "Notice how the scientists discussed D, which is the one letter abbreviation for Aspartate, one of the acidic amino acids. Remember the sidechain for aspartate is R-CH2-COOH. The passage and question are implying that this acidic residue, aspartate, is vital for protein function. This is known because the question stem states when the scientists blocked D, there was no enzymatic function at all, so this D residue is VITAL. Now, let's go back and read the question. We're being asked what amino acid substitution, in place of D (Aspartate, an acidic amino acid) will most likely retain activity. This implies you need another acidic amino acid. What is another acidic amino acid? Glutamate! Lysine is a basic amino acid, so in place of D, it most likely won't retain activity. Asparagine is polar uncharged amino acid with no acid activity, so it most likely won't retain activity either. Glycine is an achiral non-polar amino acid, so it certainly won't mimic the acidic properties of D. Thus, Glutamate, the other acidic amino acid, in place of D, should most likely retain enzymatic activity."

Notice how thorough the answer explanation is. It not only tells you what the correct answer is, it tells you why, how to get there, what key details from the passage and question stem you should have picked up on, and finally, why all the other choices are wrong.

I'm relatively unbiased because I don't work for any MCAT company or represent anything. I'm just another pre-med that studied. Having been around the block and carefully analyzing which MCAT exams to use for tests, what books for content, etc., I really did my homework on the non-AAMC best FLs. I'm a big fan of Altius, ask me any questions you have about their exams and other companies exams and I'll be happy to elaborate.
 
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Yes. I know you can always upgrade for the difference in pricing, and last year they were usually offering one form of discount or another on upgrading from the 5 to 10 pack.

You should also be aware that the 10 exams are more than just "more practice X 10". Each full-length exam targets a specific TYPE of AAMC exam/section that has been used recently on the real exam form. For example, the reaction threads are always abuzz with "*$&#* that CP section; it was way harder than any practice exam," and then the next time it's the BB section that's filled with acronyms and SB-experimental-type passages. One form gets the complaint that there was TONS of physics, then the next one "very little physics..." The 10 exams give you that same variety so you won't be surprised by anything on test day--you get to see a CP section with lots of calculations, one with not so many, a BB section with tons of biochem, one with very little, a CARS with extra-long passages, and one that's average, a PsS light on Soc vs. Psych, one that's Soc-heavy. They have identified 100s of different permutations they've verified from former Altius test takers and they try to expose you to each of them at least once--even down to things like section layout; one student returned from the real exam recently freaked out because the CAR section had three 7-question passages front-loaded, which blew up his timing. All those idiosyncracies are in there, so you face that displeasure now instead of on test day.
 
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altblue

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Altius is a hidden gem. That's why nobody mentions it. I too was a bit doubtful of them, so I went with EK and NS. Halfway through studying, I decided to go for Altius (big driver was the fact that they had an awesome promo/sick deal for the exams to be honest). It was the best way I've ever spent my money. I tend to comment a lot on altius and how great they are with this generic message. I've written this on other threads, so it is a copy and a paste.

I personally enjoyed Altius FL's the most. They tended to be the most AAMC like in style, difficulty, and overall feel. The questions and passages were all from peer reviewed journals just like how the AAMC does it. Unlike other companies, you also get the most for your money, because you can take the exams an unlimited number of times.

I'd strongly suggest you purchase the altius exams. You can find them here.

DO NOT waste your time or money on Kaplan or Princeton. Their exams are just not representative of the AAMC. The question style, overall difficulty, test format, and passage length are sporadic and not useful.

A lot of people (including me) used EK, NS, and Altius. EK is alright, but you don't get a score at the end of it which sucks. NS gives you a score and has decent exams (only exams 1 - 5 though - anything beyond is poor quality).

Altius excels cause they mirror the MCAT style perfectly. They only use scientific journal articles for all of their science passages which gets you used to the AAMC style entirely. The questions themselves are phenomenal and really hit home when talking about MCAT style. They have a nice diversity in difficulty and topic per exam as well as per test. For example, the AAMC likes to occasionally throw in some biochemistry here and there in the physics/chemistry part of the exam; Altius does it just as well. The altius exams ALSO give you a score which is great. One of the best parts of Altius is also you get the most for your money. By that, I mean the exams are unlimited attempts. EK and NS only give you 4 or 5 attempts, respectively. Altius lets you take any of their full lengths as many times as you care to. I (personally) like to do a FL per week, on Fridays. M-Th, I take another full length, divided into quarters. I can't do that using NS or EK.

Lastly, I believe one of the best parts about Altius FL exams is the detailed answer keys. Here's a popular type of MCAT Question.

The protein sequence discussed in the passage has a D residue in the catalytic core domain. When the scientists blocked the D residue, no enzymatic function was observed. If the scientists were to switch D with another Amino Acid, which one of the following would most likely retain activity in the catalytic core domain?
A) Lysine
B) Asparagine
C) Glutamate
D) Glycine

Most testtaking companies will say the following: "The answer is C, glutamate, because it is acidic."

That doesn't tell me squat. What the heck does acidity have to do with the D mentioned in the catalytic core domain?!

Altius explanations are very thorough and clear. The altius explanation would be something like "Notice how the scientists discussed D, which is the one letter abbreviation for Aspartate, one of the acidic amino acids. Remember the sidechain for aspartate is R-CH2-COOH. The passage and question are implying that this acidic residue, aspartate, is vital for protein function. This is known because the question stem states when the scientists blocked D, there was no enzymatic function at all, so this D residue is VITAL. Now, let's go back and read the question. We're being asked what amino acid substitution, in place of D (Aspartate, an acidic amino acid) will most likely retain activity. This implies you need another acidic amino acid. What is another acidic amino acid? Glutamate! Lysine is a basic amino acid, so in place of D, it most likely won't retain activity. Asparagine is polar uncharged amino acid with no acid activity, so it most likely won't retain activity either. Glycine is an achiral non-polar amino acid, so it certainly won't mimic the acidic properties of D. Thus, Glutamate, the other acidic amino acid, in place of D, should most likely retain enzymatic activity."

Notice how thorough the answer explanation is. It not only tells you what the correct answer is, it tells you why, how to get there, what key details from the passage and question stem you should have picked up on, and finally, why all the other choices are wrong.

I'm relatively unbiased because I don't work for any MCAT company or represent anything. I'm just another pre-med that studied. Having been around the block and carefully analyzing which MCAT exams to use for tests, what books for content, etc., I really did my homework on the non-AAMC best FLs. I'm a big fan of Altius, ask me any questions you have about their exams and other companies exams and I'll be happy to elaborate.
Somehow I'm a bit skeptical...
 
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Marsay

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I won't answer your question because you'll think I'm biased, but I can give you one of our free full-length exams to try out if you are willing to give us feedback after you take it. PM me.
I have heard great things about your exams, I would like to try one for free. Also, how often and when does your company offer discounts on practice exams?
 

aromatic substitution

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I've only done one altius exam so far, but they are pretty good. I don't have anything to reference them to tho lol. Altius exams are really good for getting a hold of experimental design and they offer full customization of their exams. You can take them section by section, by content area, by ease of questions, they provide thorough answer explanations, they provide access for a year, and you also get an unlimited amount of attempts.
 

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I just did an Altius free practice exam, and it definitely simulates the real mcat. But I have a timing issue. Trying to analyze convoluted questions, figures and passages in about 8 or 9 minutes. Does anyone have this problem right now?
 

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I don't know that they "regularly" offer discounts on any set schedule. They had a pretty killer "March Madness" deal for 50% off, but that is over now. I think that was mainly to spur interest and get more people taking them. Once in a while they offer one free full-length tied to a campus event or something to get feedback, etc. The strongest discount you can for sure get is through the group discount available to your premed-club or advisor at your school. They offer a group discount price for members of any premed club or organization that asks for one. Ask your club/advisor for a coupon code, if they don't have a group discount code already they can call Altius office and get one for their group.
 

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Primarily, just keep practicing and working on timing. It will improve if you keep focusing on it. Some students find it beneficial to take a few sections non-timed just to prove to themselves that it is genuinely do-able, you just have to get good at doing it a little faster than you're comfortable with.

You're on the right track, because it is very often timing, increased passage length, increased # of figures/passage, increased # of acronyms, etc., about which students complain most after taking the real exam. You're just seeing that now, and with time you'll get used to it and improve--making test day less surprising, more chill.

Lastly, some of my 1-on-1 students will really get bogged down on one or two sentences, or a particular figure. I remind them that when a passage has 3 or more figures/reactions/etc. it is quite uncommon that they will even ask one question on every single figure/reaction. They certainly cannot do that and also test every single paragraph. So, because there is a decent chance the part you don't quite understand won't be tested, do your best to understand it, but move on if it takes unusually long. If there does end up being a question on that particular segment you can go back to it.
 

Marsay

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Primarily, just keep practicing and working on timing. It will improve if you keep focusing on it. Some students find it beneficial to take a few sections non-timed just to prove to themselves that it is genuinely do-able, you just have to get good at doing it a little faster than you're comfortable with.

You're on the right track, because it is very often timing, increased passage length, increased # of figures/passage, increased # of acronyms, etc., about which students complain most after taking the real exam. You're just seeing that now, and with time you'll get used to it and improve--making test day less surprising, more chill.

Lastly, some of my 1-on-1 students will really get bogged down on one or two sentences, or a particular figure. I remind them that when a passage has 3 or more figures/reactions/etc. it is quite uncommon that they will even ask one question on every single figure/reaction. They certainly cannot do that and also test every single paragraph. So, because there is a decent chance the part you don't quite understand won't be tested, do your best to understand it, but move on if it takes unusually long. If there does end up being a question on that particular segment you can go back to it.
thanks that helps a lot, I bought five of the Altius full-lengths, doing the first one now. The CARS section is a time issue for me, and BB when I'm not familiar with the content being asked, but I'm going to do a practice test from this week until september when I take the real test.
 

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I used Altius Fls 2 months out before I tested. Besides the AAMC stuff out there, I think that they are the best tests out there. Yes they were really hard, but boy they helped me so much in preparing for the MCAT.
 

Coltuna

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Altius tests are the best hands down. The feedback offered by Altius representative(s) in the past on this forum has been scary accurate for the new 2017 tests as well. This company knows what it's doing.
 
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