Really? 6 Chapters in one day?

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jrashaad
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Really? 6 Chapters in one day?

Post by jrashaad » Sun Oct 01, 2017 7:45 pm

So, Day 8 of my Study Plan says "Read Physics/Math CR Section 1". Going to Section 1 of the book "Motion and Force" I see that it is composed of 6 chapters!! Is it really NextStep's philosophy that good prep amounts to drinking from a fire hose? In the introduction to the Content Review book it says "It is critical to note that...it is not enough to learn MCAT content at the level of recognition that is required by most college classes. For the MCAT, you must absolutely master the content." However, I just don't see how someone can digest 6 chapters worth of material in one day. On Day 9, I'm supposed to take an assessment, which I'm assuming is over the 6 chapters I read on the previous day. Then on Day 11 I proceed to drinking from the hose again, but this time with 5 chapters from Chem/Orgo CR Sections 1 and 2. I just don't see how taking in so much at one time will lend itself to "mastering" the content.
NS_Tutor_Clara
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Joined: Mon May 23, 2016 1:45 pm

Re: Really? 6 Chapters in one day?

Post by NS_Tutor_Clara » Mon Oct 02, 2017 12:39 pm

Hi there! This is a really good question. I'm happy to help in any way possible.

First, I completely understand how reading several chapters in one day seems overwhelming. Part of this perception, though, might stem from the fact that the chapters in the Next Step books are considerably shorter than chapters in other books you might have read. For example, Section 1 of the Physics/Math book is approximately 56 pages of reading, which is certainly substantial, but is not nearly equivalent to 5 or 6 chapters in many other MCAT prep books - more like 1.5 or 2 chapters. Sections 1 and 2 from the Chem/Orgo CR book is around 49 pages of reading, but just splits this "early chemistry" content into 5 chapters instead of, say, 2. And regarding the assessment you mentioned - is it titled "Math Assessment (Section 5)"? If so, that is not an assessment of Physics Section 1 - the questions from Physics Section 1 will be assigned later in the plan. The Math Assessment is just an assessment of where you're at right now with regards to the math skills needed for the MCAT.

Now, as for the Next Step philosophy - of course it does not equate good prep with drinking from a fire hose, and I sincerely apologize that we gave you that impression. The principle the study plan is designed around is the enormous importance of spaced practice. Too many students come into MCAT prep with the idea that they will master content as they read it - for example, they'll read a chapter slowly and carefully over multiple days, taking copious notes and really thinking about each concept. This sounds like a really good idea, but in practice, it fails extremely often. It encourages focusing on every detail from each chapter - which takes up a large amount of time - but since this review is done early in the student's prep schedule, it often isn't paired with the practice needed to be able to discern which details are more important than others, or to emphasize how this material will actually look in a question or passage. Then this material is easily forgotten by the time they start taking full-lengths.

Back to spaced practice - the assigned reading from each book is only the first of many times you will see each content area. Instead of devoting many days to that reading before you even see any related practice questions, we assign the reading, then assign related questions 1-3 days later, then assign related QBank or QBook questions that you can complete even later than that, and even after that, you'll see the same material on the full-length, online section, and S & P section exams. Each time you see the content again in test-like form, you can go back to any notes you may have taken from the initial read-through - which may have been concise at the beginning - and add to them, giving you notes that are actually attuned to the way this material is tested, instead of how it was presented in book form.

If you have any questions at all, or if I can help with anything else, please let me know anytime.
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jrashaad
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Re: Really? 6 Chapters in one day?

Post by jrashaad » Mon Oct 02, 2017 2:11 pm

Clara,

I appreciate your response and explanation. My concern is that because I work a full-time job during the week and, at the moment, a part-time job on the weekends, the time I devote to my prep is extremely valuable. What I don't want to do is find myself just reading for reading's sake, especially if my study plan is built around a "one-size-fits-all" approach. While I see that working for traditional students, to a certain extent, for non-trads such as myself flexibility is just as important as other considerations. I want to, as much as is possible, maximize my value-for-time ratio so that the time I spend prepping will reap the highest reward.
NS_Tutor_Clara
Posts: 15
Joined: Mon May 23, 2016 1:45 pm

Re: Really? 6 Chapters in one day?

Post by NS_Tutor_Clara » Mon Oct 02, 2017 9:51 pm

Hi @jrashaad,

Sure, I absolutely understand! It can absolutely be tough to work while studying for the MCAT, and it makes it especially important to be efficient.

I'd be happy to give you specific tips/guidance for your situation, to help make sure the study plan works for you. If this sounds like something you'd benefit from, please feel free to shoot me a quick email at clara.gillan@nextsteptestprep.com (since this is an anonymous forum, that's the only way I could get your contact info). Then I can send you some tips for your specific situation. We really do want your experience as an MCAT course student to feel like it's individualized, rather than something that may be suited to students with a different schedule.
Bakuman
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Joined: Mon Oct 09, 2017 3:43 pm

Re: Really? 6 Chapters in one day?

Post by Bakuman » Tue Oct 10, 2017 8:13 pm

Yeah, jrashaad; I have a similar issue. I also have a full-time job and find that I can maybe get 2-3 hours a day to study in. Then I'll have things like "Read CARS SP Ch 4" along with two other "required" assignments on Wednesday and no catch up day for a week! Chapter 4 is like 100 pages! I have no idea how to fit all of this in, and it's pretty overwhelming. As I just started the process, it seems to take me more time to understand things as well.

I know the schedule thing isn't perfect, but I wish it considered how long most of these actually take to go through.
NS_Tutor_Clara
Posts: 15
Joined: Mon May 23, 2016 1:45 pm

Re: Really? 6 Chapters in one day?

Post by NS_Tutor_Clara » Wed Oct 11, 2017 11:40 am

Hi Bakuman,

Thank you for reaching out! It certainly can be difficult to study for the MCAT while working full-time (although it's more than possible - as you can see, many of our students are in the same position).

If I'm not mistaken, I see that you reached out to us via email as well. I'd be happy to give you some tips/help to make the study plan work better for your own situation! You can expect this response today. For any other student with a busy schedule trying to move through the plan, the same goes for you - feel free to reach out to us directly anytime. Every student's situation is different, and we're always happy to help tailor the plan's recommendations to your own MCAT experience.
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jrashaad
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Re: Really? 6 Chapters in one day?

Post by jrashaad » Sun Nov 12, 2017 5:53 pm

Bakuman wrote:Yeah, jrashaad; I have a similar issue. I also have a full-time job and find that I can maybe get 2-3 hours a day to study in. Then I'll have things like "Read CARS SP Ch 4" along with two other "required" assignments on Wednesday and no catch up day for a week! Chapter 4 is like 100 pages! I have no idea how to fit all of this in, and it's pretty overwhelming. As I just started the process, it seems to take me more time to understand things as well.

I know the schedule thing isn't perfect, but I wish it considered how long most of these actually take to go through.
Hey bakuman, how are things coming along with you? I hesitate to say that things are "better" now, but they are certainly improving. I'm still trying to figure out a way of covering all the material with the goal of "mastering" the content rather than just skimming over everything and hoping that I'm comprehending it. I still am not really answering a lot of questions, except those in the Coursebook.
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