3 Ways to Study for the MCAT During the Semester

With winter break coming to a close, it is a great time to start thinking about the upcoming semester of school. And if you are preparing to take the MCAT sometime this year, you will need to think about how you are going to balance MCAT studying with your coursework. It may seem cumbersome to take on both at the same time, but I believe that mixing your coursework with MCAT prep can be extremely effective, resulting in better grades in your classes and a higher MCAT score. Here are some ways to make this happen for you:

Align your MCAT studying with your class schedule. When I was taking Biochemistry, each week I would look at the syllabus and plan my MCAT studying around what I was going to be learning in class that week. For instance, if Tuesday’s class was going to consist of a lecture on glycolysis, I would study the section of the Kaplan book that dealt with glycolysis on Monday, making flashcards and learning the material the very best I could. Having done this, I found that I was able to pay much more careful attention during class and was more prepared to ask questions; thus, I did better in class thanks to my MCAT studying. My MCAT score was also enhanced because I saw the class through an “MCAT mindset,” giving extra careful attention to terms and topics that related to what I had read or watched while preparing for the MCAT.

Have a flexible study plan. It is impossible to perfectly plan everything during a school semester. Some weeks you will have a hefty load, full of homework and tests. Other weeks, your load may be extremely light. Because of such variability, your MCAT study plan should be flexible. Instead of mapping out exactly what chapters/videos you want to complete each day, simply make a goal for how many total hours of studying you are going to get in this next semester. Then just work your way through our eCourse lesson by lesson. On lighter weeks, you will conquer many lessons while on school heavy weeks, you might only get through a single lesson. The amount of lessons per week is not what’s important, rather your goal is to simply get in a high volume of MCAT studying overall. For more help knowing how many hours you personally need to spend on MCAT studying this next semester, be sure to work your way through the Create-your-own Study Plan Course.

Make some sacrifices. If you need to study an average of 20 hours per week for the MCAT this next semester, and you are planning on taking 6 or 7 difficult classes, you are going to need to make some adjustments. Perhaps that will entail dropping a class and taking it this fall. Maybe it will entail giving up one of your extracurricular activities. Or perhaps it simply entails giving up your weekends to study 10 hours per day. Whatever it is, you need to be realistic and remove any obstacles that might prevent you from reaching your MCAT goals. Making sacrifices will be difficult, but it will be more than worth it.

Most of my private tutoring students are busy with school, shadowing, research, etc. I help each one of them know how to adjust their study plan to account for their busy schedule. If you need help with this, be sure to reach out. I’d love to work with you towards making your dream MCAT score a reality.

Warm regards,

Andrew  George

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How we Matched up the Khan Academy Passages with the eCourse Lessons

Each lesson of the eCourse contains links to 1 to 5 Khan Academy science passages for the purpose of providing you with non-AAMC material to practice your science passage reading skills on. By completing all the linked passages within every lesson, you will have finished all the freely available Khan Academy science passages.

To match up the Khan Academy Science Passages with the eCourse lessons, we carefully examined the passage and question content of each one. Then we decided which lesson of the eCourse best correlated with that content. You may notice that some passages don’t match up perfectly with the current lesson. If they don’t match up with the current lesson, they should match up with one of the previous lessons in the module. We did this carefully so that you could practice your science passage reading skills on passages that contain the content you’ve already learned.

Why we don’t recommend non-AAMC CARS practice questions

We recommend practicing CARS by reading non-AAMC CARS passages but not doing the associated practice problems. The reason we don’t recommend doing the practice problems is because the MCAT is written by the AAMC. They have a very unique style in which they write CARS practice questions that third-party companies (try as they might) are unable to replicate. When students spend time on non-AAMC CARS practice problems, they get familiar with the wrong style of questioning, leading them to overthink and incorrectly respond to the questions written by the AAMC. Thus, it is in your best interest to solely practice on AAMC CARS practice questions.

That said, we highly recommend practicing your reading skills on non-AAMC CARS passages. In our Ultimate CARS Strategy Course, we provide you with 1,000 free CARS passages and 100+ homework assignments, giving you ample material to practice on. Reading countless passages while practicing the proper reading habits and strategies will prepare you well to conquer the CARS section as it was written by the AAMC.

Which books do the lessons match up with?

The books we use in each lesson are linked below. We plan to stick with these older editions of the books since very little has changed and the older editions are much more affordable:

First Edition of the Kaplan 7-book Series
First Edition of the Princeton 7-book Series

Do the chapters match up perfectly?

The Kaplan Books, Princeton Books, and Khan Academy Videos were all produced by different authors. For this reason, there are some chapters in the Kaplan Book or Princeton Book that are not even found in the Khan Academy Videos and vice versa. For instance, the Kaplan and Princeton Books have chapters that cover certain experimental procedures that the Khan Academy Videos do not cover.

Our goal in matching up the books with the videos was to correlate the content as best as possible while also covering ALL the content from every resource. For this reason, when nothing in the Kaplan Books matched up with one of the video playlists, instead of leaving the reading assignment for Kaplan blank, we inserted material that did not fit in anywhere else (i.e. one of those chapters on an experimental procedure that was not covered by Khan Academy). So, when the assignment doesn’t appear to match up right, please know that this was intentional.

*If you follow the reading assignments outlined, you will finish the entire Kaplan 7-book series and/or Princeton 7-book series by the time you finish all 10 content modules.

Do the sections match up perfectly?

If the sections assigned in our eCourse do not match up with the sections contained in your content review book, you may have a different edition. The sections should still match up the large majority of the time, but in the rare instance that they don’t, I’d recommend simply reading sections that do match up and saving the ones that do not for a future lesson.

MCAT Launchpad Required!

Before jumping into our free eCourse, you’ll need to complete orientation by watching MCAT Launchpad. During this free 35-minute intro session with Head Tutor Andrew, you’ll learn 6 Keys to Earning a Top MCAT Score, the 5 Essential Elements of an Effective Study Plan, 12 Tips for Taking the Best MCAT Study Notes, and more! Andrew will also provide you with a detailed overview of the Free MCAT Prep Course, teaching you how to get started.

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