URGENT: Adjusting study schedules after COVID Update

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LB8*
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Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2020 10:23 am

URGENT: Adjusting study schedules after COVID Update

Post by LB8* » Mon Mar 16, 2020 10:16 pm

I was supposed to take the MCAT next Friday March 27th and was feeling pretty good about taking it. Only had planned to do AAMC questions this week. Since Pearson said they will suspend all testing dates for at least a month (could be more) how should I adjust my schedule? Should I do more questions or content review? Any tips on how to improve cars within a month?

I don't want to lose momentum and could use this time to increase by score but I also do not want to burn out within the next month. Any help would be greatly appreciated!!
NS_Tutor_Mathias
Posts: 535
Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2019 8:39 pm

Re: URGENT: Adjusting study schedules after COVID Update

Post by NS_Tutor_Mathias » Mon Mar 16, 2020 11:04 pm

To avoid burnout, probably figure out what subject or form of practice you enjoy most - and schedule a few days where you just put some time into that and take it easy otherwise. It is nice to be good at your best subject, and it doesn't hurt to stay on top of it.

Other than that, consider:
1. Postponing AAMC FL material, but continue doing QPacks as planned (including CARS)
2. Using NS FLs or any other material to fill the gap in practice
3. Reviewing largely content where you're a) still pretty lost (good time to dive deep on a subject for a day or two!) or where the details tend to slip your mind
4. Keeping up with spaced repetition programs in Anki
5. With the added time, doing passage synthesis exercises. Write a quick overview of each passage: Is this a lab manual, an experimental passage or an excerpt from a textbook? What did the background state? What experiment if any is described? Draw out or write out any pathways described. Draw out or write out any logical steps involved in proofs. Specifically highlight any positive and negative controls. Describe the materials and methods. Mention some strengths and weaknesses of the experiment as it is described. You can do this easily for passages you've already read, even in FLs. Preferably take the ones from your AAMC FLs that you had trouble with.

And if that is too easy, just pull up some good articles in nature and play this same summary-game for those. Doing this (somewhat time consuming) exercise can vastly improve your passage-reading and passage-synthesizing skills. And a lot of practice tests contain highly useful information outside of what the questions ever ask about.

Also, if you haven't done any AAMC FLs, do consider doing 1-2 before taking your 'AAMC break' due to the reschedule. Although considering your timing, I assume you have done so.

Remember to get sunlight whenever possible, get vitamin D if you're stuck indoors for an extended period of time and try to remain as not-sedentary as is possible and responsible considering the circumstances.
LB8*
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2020 10:23 am

Re: URGENT: Adjusting study schedules after COVID Update

Post by LB8* » Tue Mar 17, 2020 9:49 am

Thank you for the help! Given my schedule I only had one AAMC full length left so I pushed that back. I think I will take today to find areas that I am not confident. I was planning to take MCAT diagnostic and science diagnostic this week and maybe that will help clarify areas of weakness?

And thank you for the passage reading, I think I will try that with the CARS Qbank and also some other newspaper articles if you think that would be effective?

If I rest the study builder do you think that will reflect what I have and haven't done? or Should I make my own in powerpoint
NS_Tutor_Mathias
Posts: 535
Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2019 8:39 pm

Re: URGENT: Adjusting study schedules after COVID Update

Post by NS_Tutor_Mathias » Wed Mar 18, 2020 3:17 pm

The study builder should remember what you've done, but I went and checked and right now it seems to not do that. I will reach out to our team, this may be a temporary change in functionality.

As for good things to read:
I would suggest things that are either discursive, letting you summarize the arguments (somebody arguing that x or y is good, or outlining pros and cons), things that are secondary or tertiary sources (people writing about people who wrote about stuff or people) and that your materials use modern language but at a higher grade level. Newspaper articles are a mixed bag - they are often written to a low grade-level, but they can be a useful reading exercise for spotting euphemisms for instance.

I will try to collect some resources for you later this afternoon. But even going back to AAMC CARS passages you have already read and making a summary out of these can be very useful, as you'll notice a whole bunch of stuff in the construction of arguments and the depth of content that you may not have caught the first time around.
NS_Tutor_Mathias
Posts: 535
Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2019 8:39 pm

Re: URGENT: Adjusting study schedules after COVID Update

Post by NS_Tutor_Mathias » Thu Mar 19, 2020 8:45 pm

Here you go, some reading and associated questions to write up. This could easily take you 2-3 days:

IBRAM X. KENDI: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archi ... te/605608/
ABDALLAH FAYYAD: https://www.theatlantic.com/membership/ ... ia/560702/
(Only "The Road to Moral Ambiguity")

Questions/tasks:
1. Make a list of terms that the author uses and defines, particularly those that are jargon for the subject material
2. What are the main arguments the author puts forth?
2.1 Is the evidence for the author's arguments strong or weak? Cite his evidence.
3. Does the author dispassionately put forth all viewpoints, or favor one or the other? Cite evidence.
4. Name 2 suggestions that the author might agree with.
5. Name 1 suggestion that the author might strongly disagree with.
6. What does the author stand to gain or lose by writing this piece? What personal stake might he have in this?
7. Find one article that completely disagrees
8. Make a list of people the author cites

Notice that these tasks line up pretty closely with the kinds of questions a CARS question will ask. The goal here is to build up your ability to recognize argumentation, be familiar with its style and predict questions you may be asked. Essentially, really mining a piece of text for all the information within will definitely help build up your passage reading skills - because in CARS passage reading, your ability to extract relevant information fluently is tested.

Note that news sources are inherently political, and my position as an employee is to not endorse anything or anyone. These articles were chosen primarily for their ability to lay forth contrasting arguments and perspectives that aren't essentially beaten to death, as can be the case with a lot of news material.
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