MCATs: Best way to prepare?

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  • #54272
    juliesmomjuliesmom
    Participant

    Ladies, I would like to hear about your experiences with preparation for, and taking the MCATs. What do you think is the best course out there? Or the best books? Has anyone tried the online Kaplan courses? How long is the average time to prepare?

    I’m preparing for it now by going over my pre-med books (chem, phys, biology..), but i’m still looking for a good course, or books. (Planning on taking it in Aug’04.)I know that the MCAT was the reason I decided not to apply to med school after my Biology degree and try to look for another career. I was terrified of standard tests!! 😮 Any encouraging advice out there about handling the pressure of the test day itself?

    Thanks!

    #54274
    amandapremedamandapremed
    Participant

    I think taking a course is a waste of money. I paid $1299 for the princeton review course. I took the MCAT in April and only got a 23. I used the books that I got from Princeton Review religously over the summer and am waiting for my August test results. Spend the money that you would on a course on a complete set of MCAT prep books. I also used the exam krackers audio osmosis. If you spend a lot of time in the car this is a good option.

    #54275
    efex101efex101
    Participant

    Well I took the same course and did really well on the April MCAT so it just depends. If you are motivated enough and know from past experience that you will stick to a study schedule then you probably will not benefit from a review course. If on the other hand you tend to procrastinate, put things off, and are not self disciplined then a course may be best for you. The great thing about this course is that you get about five mock exams on Saturdays starting around 8:00 and it feels like the real MCAT. You get to take the books home with you and you are assigned homework for each section you review. It worked well for me. I started reviewing in December during Xmas break up until April. I spent a minimum of about 4 hours per day, somedays more somedays none. If you stick to it and *if* you can let go of the nerves and do not let the exam rattle you, you should be fine. It is an exam like no other I have ever taken, yeah it is standardized but it is mostly reading comp. Almost all my PS was conceptual with hardly any calculating and it was mostly gen chem. The bio was difficult with a lot of microbiology and genetics in it, the verbal was good. I highly suggest the EK verbal reasoning 101 passages, do not use the princeton review method for verbal.

    #54276
    juliesmomjuliesmom
    Participant

    Thank you both for replying! I thought I would get alot more input, but your info was very helpful and appreciated. Thanks again!

    #54278
    DrWuStar *DrWuStar*
    Participant

    go to forum search and search for “MCAT” – this has been discussed many times before and there is a wealth of advice and information on this sight. i am only going to post the short version of my story because i have written it several times before.

    i took the mcat twice. the first time, i thought the courses sounded like a waste of money, so i tried to study on my own. i fell behind on my study plan because other things were always coming up and seeming urgent. i didn’t do as well as i had hoped to. the next year, i took the kaplan course. the fact that i had invested so much money and the structure of having assignments due every couple days really kept me motivated. i raised my score by four points, bumping me up from the “probably would get in somewhere” range to the “confident i will get in somewhere great” range.

    all that really matters is how committed you are to studying and how hard you work at it. for me the class was really helpful because it forced me to stay disciplined. for someone who could be disciplined on their own, maybe the class would be a waste of money. i don’t think the structure and concrete study plan are what makes the class helpful. the books are good enough that it wouldn’t be hard to learn on your own.

    all right, so that wasn’t that short a version… :rolleyes:

    i wish you the best of luck! 😉

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