My Study Schedule and Week 1 Progress Report – MCAT 2015

mcatprepimagesIn 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:

Prep books:

  • 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

Practice Passages:

  • 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)

Practice Tests:

  • 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.

General Strategies:

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

Content Review

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

Practice Passages

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.

TEST DAY

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.

Afterward

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??

October 27

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.

~EJ

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7 thoughts on “My Study Schedule and Week 1 Progress Report – MCAT 2015

  1. Hi Emilia! I’m taking the MCAT in August! I am enjoying your blog! Maybe we can help each other throughout this wonderful and gruesome process!

  2. This is a very nice blog, stay positive and continue to work hard. Seems like you have a great plan, be confident!

  3. Nice Blog, M’lady. Very well though out and organized. I think a massage at the spa after your exam would be an excellent vacation.

  4. Hello! This is a great blog, sounds like you have it in the bag. But could you please post an updated article on how you are doing with everything? You should be on week 9 by now :)

  5. Hello!
    Helpful blog :D
    I have one question. When I do content review and answer exercise questions immediately following the contents I usually get them right. But when I try solving passage-based questions I get half right half wrong…. Could you please give me advice on how to tackle passage-based questions? When I review the content, I feel so confident and feel like I can answer any questions related to that topic….But once I head over to passage questions…. I get half wrong and really get discouraged… and close the book…

  6. Hello!
    Helpful blog :D
    I have one question. When I do content review and answer exercise questions immediately following
    the contents I usually get them right. But when I try solving passage-based questions I get half right half wrong…. Could you please give me advice on how to tackle passage-based questions? When I review the content, I feel so confident and feel like I can answer any questions related to that topic….But once I head over to passage questions…. I get half wrong and really get discouraged… and close the book…

  7. Pingback: Helpful Resources: – Site Title

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