General Advice for Testing on June 15th, getting decent-good full length scores

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z3lan
Posts: 38
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2019 5:24 pm

General Advice for Testing on June 15th, getting decent-good full length scores

Post by z3lan » Fri Apr 12, 2019 10:24 pm

I started off at a 506 on my diagnostic in January after reading some second-hand Kaplan books my girlfriend got for me over the fall semester (specifically the gen chem, biochem, and ochem ones), and going through about half of the Khan Academy video series and the associated questions. By the time I finished those, I got to a 508 on NS FL1 and with some additional psych practice I got to a 510 on NS FL2. My scores on my subsequent two next step full lengths however went down to a 509 and a 507. The scores data I have from full lengths and qbanks seems to suggest that I'm doing well but can improve in most of the core concept categories (I'm getting mostly between 65-75%), with the lowest ones being around 50%. Given that I'm testing on June 15th, do you think it'd be a good idea for me to read the Next Step Books and go through the lessons at this point, or to continue to focus on Qbanks? Also, if I finish school on May 15th, do you think it would be safe to move to AAMC material then, or should I start AAMC material sooner? Also, has someone put together a document of the NS MCAT QBook with the Core Concept categories? Specifically, here's the ones that I'm relatively weak on (less than 60%)

microbiology
reproduction
organ systems
kinematics
light and sound
separations and purifications
cognition and memory
self and identity

Any advice on what resources and/or chapters would be good to take a look at to review those topics? Or would I be served best at this point by a broad review in general?
NS_Tutor_Will
Posts: 538
Joined: Fri May 25, 2018 9:15 am

Re: General Advice for Testing on June 15th, getting decent-good full length scores

Post by NS_Tutor_Will » Sun Apr 14, 2019 4:24 pm

I think the general temptation is to overemphasize content (especially at a level that's disconnected from how the MCAT actually tests the content). As we move into the second half of April and the beginning of May, I think you should start to target your content review toward areas that you feel weak in (or that FLs have shown you to be weak in). While the data that you're mentioning can be useful to look at, there's no substitute for a question-level review of your practice with an eye toward the specifics of the mistakes that you're making. Rather than thinking you're struggling with acids and bases for instance, you should identify that it's actually titration questions with diprotic or triprotic acids that give you trouble. Then you should seek out content review from a variety of resources that can help you close any gaps that you have. You want to be as specific and targeted as possible and then cast a wide net when reviewing that specific content (books, video, practice questions, past forum posts from this forum and others, etc.).

For AAMC material, I did all of mine in the last month before my MCAT. I typically have my students starting with the section banks about 4-5 weeks before their test. Then, do one of the AAMC FLs each week in the last four weeks before your MCAT. Make sure to review this material especially carefully both for content and strategies.

You might find this post helpful in thinking about getting those improvements: viewtopic.php?f=5&t=2088&sid=b2947a0e39 ... 286d2618ff

Thanks for the question and good luck!
z3lan
Posts: 38
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2019 5:24 pm

Re: General Advice for Testing on June 15th, getting decent-good full length scores

Post by z3lan » Sun Apr 14, 2019 11:00 pm

That's very helpful. So the impression that I'm getting is that it would be more useful to go through the Qbook questions in topics I find challenging and jump around Khan Academy for content review in the core concept categories where I'm getting less than 60% than to go read all the next step books. Does that sound like a decent plan from your perspective if I put in ~20 hours a week for the next 4 weeks?
NS_Tutor_Will
Posts: 538
Joined: Fri May 25, 2018 9:15 am

Re: General Advice for Testing on June 15th, getting decent-good full length scores

Post by NS_Tutor_Will » Mon Apr 15, 2019 8:09 am

That sounds good to me!

I would vary the source of the information you're getting, rather than just focusing on KA, though. You can use the NS books, NS videos, KA videos, reputable internet resources, forum discussions of certain topics, etc. Doing practice problems in the areas you want to improve is always useful, so long as you review thoroughly! Definitely make sure to do the AAMC practice, too.

As many hours as you can spare without burning yourself out is the best guidance in terms of a time commitment, but there's no reason that 20 hr/week can't work!

Good luck!
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