Content Review VS. Practice

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Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2018 10:58 am

Content Review VS. Practice

Post by Kevbot » Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:48 pm

Hello! I am three months out from test day. I am having trouble feeling like the content review is actually going to translate to a better score in the end. For example, reading the book chapters. Do most successful students read every page of every book? It is taking a lot of time, and I am starting to feel like I would just be better off doing practice problems upon practice problems. But when I don't read the books I feel like I am missing out on something for some reason.

Are there any "must read" chapters, or for that matter, "must master" resources?

Any guidance or thoughts on how to balance content review vs. practice would be much appreciated!

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Joined: Fri May 25, 2018 9:15 am

Re: Content Review VS. Practice

Post by NS_Tutor_Will » Sun Jan 13, 2019 1:59 pm

Hi Kevin,

Thanks for your question. I think the best approach is to do what I call an initial content "blitz" where you're covering all the material from the books, but not obsessively. I think it's a good idea to read all of the chapters, but if you're an expert or confident in a given area, perhaps you don't need to spend as much time on that. Only you can determine where your strengths and weaknesses are. It can feel stressful to learn all the material, but you don't need to learn it on a single read through of the books. You'll have plenty of time to come back to review anything that gives you trouble on practice questions. The big picture goal for this "blitz" is to build a foundation that you can continue to build on as your prep proceeds -- it might not feel important, but it absolutely is. This phase should take maybe 3-5 weeks.

Then you can transition into the next phase which includes more practice -- maybe a FL every or every other week -- along with targeted content review that allows you to strengthen your weak areas.

Then, in the final phase, the balance is tipped even further toward practice and review, but you should still be reviewing content in this phase, too.

As for "must-knows" there are sections at the end of each chapter in the NS books that includes "must-knows." On their own, I'm not sure they're sufficient, but as a supplement and a guide they are helpful.

You'll get to the phase where you're doing practice problems upon practice problems, so don't worry about that! Just make sure to develop at least a foundation of MCAT content knowledge before you do that.

I hope this helps and good luck!
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