In my last post, I talked in general about my study plan, what I planned to go back and cover in content review, and sort of the thinking behind certain aspects of the plan. Here, I want to detail the plan, partly because I’m hoping that making it public will help make me accountable. And also, if anyone reading this who is also taking the test wants to chime in or use a similar plan, that would be awesome.
To see the general plan, click here.
Now, down to the nitty gritty.
Here are the materials I’ll be using:
- The Princeton Review (TPR) MCAT set (old MCAT editions) for content review
- TPR Psychology and Sociology (for new MCAT) for content review/learning for the first time
- The Berkeley Review Full Set (for old MCAT) for extra passages, incl some biochem practice
- ExamKrackers 1001 series (biology, chemistry, organic chemistry and physics) for content refreshing
- Khan Academy – there are tons and they are free
- Testing Solutions five practice CARS tests (verbal reasoning)
- AAMC Official Guide to the MCAT
- AAMC Question Packs (for bio, CARS, physics and gen chem)
- AAMC Sample Test
- Next Step Half-Length Diagnostic
- TPR Tests 1-3 (access to these came with the psych/soc book)
- ExamKrackers Tests 1-3
- Kaplan free diagnostic test
- Next Step Tests 1-5
As you can see, I want to put most of my focus on practice tests, for timing, stamina, endurance and emotional preparedness, and I wanted to vary the prep companies.
Four nights a week, take one of the EK 1001 books and do questions for 30-45 minutes and then review anything I got wrong or didn’t understand. This way each week, I’ll do a little physics, a little gen chem, a little organic chem and a little bio, and plug any holes in my understanding of the subjects.
Starting May 24, do at least two verbal passages a day (except on days when I’m taking full-length practice tests).
Now the Schedule, broken down by week
TWENTY WEEKS TO ROCK THE MCAT
Week 1 – May 10 – May 16 – Biological Foundations of Behavior, Microbiology, Nucleophilic Additions
Week 2 – May 17 – May 23 – Interacting with the Environment, Reproductive System, Organic Chemistry Lab Techniques
Week 3 – May 24 – May 30 – Learning and Memory, Respiratory System, Fluid Dynamics
Week 4 – May 31 – June 6 – Personality, Motivation and Psych Disorders, Excretory and Digestive System, Phases
Week 5 – June 7 – June 13 – Muscular and Skeletal System, Electrochemistry, Sound
Week 6 – June 14 – June 20 – Self and Group Identity, Molecular Biology Lab Techniques, Optics
Week 7 – June 21 – June 27 – Social Structure, Circulatory and Immune System, Gases
Week 8 – June 28 – July 4 – Psych/Soc Research Methods, Nervous and Endocrine System, Electricity and Magnetism/Circuits
Week 9 – Week 11 – July 5 – July 25 – Do all Khan Academy Passages (I actually have it broken down more OCD into how many to do on which dates but that seems pretty tedious to put on here).
Week 12 – first half of Week 14 – July 26 – August 11 – Do all AAMC materials, including going through the Official Outline to see what still needs to be filled in, doing the (few) practice questions on the outline, doing the Official Guide questions, and going through all of their question packs.
Full-Length Practice Tests
Second half of Week 14 – first half of Week 20 – August 12 – September 22 – I’ve put these all on Sundays and Wednesdays because I want time in-between to review, I want Saturdays off for mental health and sanity, and because my real test is on a Wednesday. I’ll be taking these at 8am just like I will on the real test.
August 12 – Next Step Practice Test 1
August 16 – TPR Test 1
August 19 – Kaplan Free Diagnostic
August 23 – Next Step Test 2
August 26 – ExamKrackers Test 1
August 30 – Next Step Test 3
September 2 – TPR Test 2
September 6 – ExamKrackers Test 2
September 9 – Next Step Test 4
September 13 – TPR Test 3
September 16 – Next Step Test 5
September 20 – ExamKrackers Test 3
This is subject to change. I especially may move this last one back a day so I won’t have to do ANY reviewing the day before my test.
September 23 – go in there and crush that test! I realized this will be exactly six years to the day from when I moved off of Orcas Island to Portland.
September 24-27 – I will have four days of pure and total vacation before school and work start for fall. I need to go on vacation or spend the whole time at a spa, or something. Any ideas??
Scores come out, OMG.
So there you have it, that’s the plan. A LOT of practice tests. I feel I learn a lot from getting things wrong and going over them until I understand it, so hopefully this will be useful and not overkill.
I also will do a few other little things in the beginning when I have extra time, like write up psych/soc notecards, finishing transferring my reviews of the Sample Test and the Next Step half diagnosis into my MCAT binder so it’s all in one place, stuff like that.
Week 1 Progress Report
Now, you’ll notice that week 1 has already ended so I wanted to give a little update.
I started a little late in the week, and only got through two of the chapters I was supposed to. The one I didn’t get to, luckily, was the organic chem nucleophilic additions chapter. I say luckily because of all the chapters on my list for all the weeks, I wasn’t sure that one really needed to be there. I will have to find another time to squeeze it in.
I did all my EK work. Got through 50 questions in physics, 90 in gen chem (did an hour’s worth but then realized that was too much esp if I included time needed to review after), 70 in o chem and 57 in bio. So starting out on some slow, hopefully steady progress. I’m just going to keep on this schedule until I finish the books.
Also did some psych notecards, transcribed the review of my phys/chem section of the sample test into my MCAT notebook, as well as an old review of an old TPR sample test I took awhile ago (funny thing, I got a very similar question wrong on both tests, and wrong in the same way, too, gotta review Electricity and Magnetism).
Feeling okay so far. It’s actually kind of…fun and invigorating to have something so challenging to prep for. I feel like I’m a little bit obsessed with the MCAT. Hopefully that’ll pay off on test day. But I should go read about Interacting with the Environment from my psych book, and then I gotta go work on a take-home biochem exam.