2+ Year Member
Mar 13, 2015
Hi, I am a 28 year old undergrad student. I still have a lot of courses to finish before I take my mcat. I saw a method that I think will prepare me in the future and I would like some feedback. Searching on YouTube it was recommended to purchase a content review book or set. Next as I complete my prerequisite courses I should annotate in the book as I take the course. Then when it's time to take the mcat I can refer to the content in the book and my annotations which should be very important for my studying. Note I will not be studying for the mcat as I take my prerequisite courses. I will only be adding information I have learned which is relevant to the review book. Would this pay off down the line?
Jun 6, 2015
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Tremendously. This is where many undergrads mess up, so when it comes time for mcat studying they must essentially re-learn that same material.
Oh, I don't agree. As long as you pay attention in your classes and make connections between concepts in other subject areas, you should have fairly good retention of information; you certainly aren't having to "essentially re-learn material" if you study the correct way. However, for some people, this method may be useful to keep track of information that is important for the MCAT, but keep in mind that this may not be the most efficient use of your time and the books are inadequate for doing well on class exams. You are far better off, in my opinion, working on problems in your textbook with the time that you would spend on this.

Since we tend to lose information after finals, you could try looking through your notes between semesters to stay fresh on concepts in a broad sense and try to see how they relate to concepts in different subject areas. For example, think of how you can think of the nervous and cardiovascular systems in terms of circuits.

If you really want to go ahead and try this, then maybe use the Berkeley Review books because they are more detailed and are designed very well when it comes to linking concepts in different subjects together. They may even cover material not covered in your textbooks, but the downside is that they are expensive ($70 for a 2-book set for 1 subject). Just do not answer/look at the passages at the end of each chapter because you'll need those when you actually study for the MCAT 3-4 months from your scheduled exam date. SDN users may be selling them for $100-150 for all 4 subjects, though, if you check out the Classifieds section.
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Company Rep & Bad Singer
10+ Year Member
May 25, 2007
Have to agree with El-Rami that retention of material is far better than people give themselves credit for. Besides, a vital part of reviewing for the MCAT is learning how to relearn. The material is in there, and reviewing serves to make you better at accessing it. The one thing that could prove very helpful though, and you've have to be very committed to do this right, would be to write multiple choices questions with detailed answer explanations so that a few years from now you can take your self-written exam on the material. It will be a good review tool and writing an answer key can help solidify information.
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May 30, 2015
I have to agree with Skyjumper. I wish someone had told me this before I started ugrad. In hindsight I'd have gotten the TBR books right from the start. And if I couldn't have found time during the semester, certainly in the summer after freshman and sophomore years I'd have made use of some free time to read TBR books and add or clarify topics from class notes and try to do all the problems. Then in a 3-4 month dedicated schedule I'd have redone the TBR problems and focus on FLs and whatever other practice material I could find cheaply. As bummed as I feel for not having done this, I'll just implement it in med school I guess
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