4 Ways to Maximize Your Winter Break While Studying for the MCAT

Winter break can be one of the most important study periods for the MCAT since school work is no longer getting between you and your MCAT studying. In this week’s MCAT tip, I’m going to outline 4 simple things that you can do to maximize your MCAT score this winter break! 

1. Finalize Your Study Plan

If you are just starting your MCAT studying, I’d start your winter break by finalizing your study plan. Winter break is no time to feel anxious and planning is one of the best ways to decrease stress. With a plan in your back pocket, you will feel confident about your ability to get a top MCAT score. My Create-your-own Study Plan Course will set you up with a customizable, individualized study plan based on your unique needs. Many students find that meeting with one of our elite tutors after finishing this course is the perfect way to put the finishing touches on their study plan. You will want to feel confident that you are on the path to getting a stellar score.

2. MCAT Bootcamp

If your winter break is long enough and your test date is in January, you may want to use this period of uninterrupted study time to complete MCAT Bootcamp. It entails studying 10 hours per day for 30 days, so it takes some serious commitment, but it may be worth it if your test date is just around the corner. You will be completing two practice exams per week and reviewing everything that you learned during the content modules. If you still have more than a few content modules left and your test date is in January, you may want to consider postponing your test date. The MCAT is the most difficult test you will take in your life up to this point, so give it the respect it deserves by setting aside the proper amount of time.

3. Dedicate More Hours to Studying

Another thing you can do if you are normally busy with school is to get in some extra hours of studying. Spending time with your family and friends during the Holidays is most definitely important, but if you are serious about getting a top score, you will need to make some sacrifices. When I was studying for the MCAT I was extremely busy with school, volunteering, shadowing, and working a part-time job. I am sure most of you can relate to this situation. During my winter break, I made sure to get in some extra studying without fully sacrificing my family. I decided to wake up at six o’clock and study for 3 to 5 hours every morning. Then I would be fully available for my family and friends the rest of the day. These study hours were crucial in my long-term effort in attaining a 99th percentile MCAT score.

4. Take Advantage of “Travel” Time

Even if you are staying home for the holidays, people tend to travel more during their vacations. And whether you are on a flight home or watching a movie with your family, you can maximize this time for MCAT studying. During my winter break, my family and I went on a ski trip. I took my notecards in the car with me and used this time to review the concepts that I had studied during my study session that morning. By upgrading to our Advanced Pro Plan, you will gain access to over 3,300 Quizlet practice problems that you can do from your smart phone. It is the perfect way to spend a little extra time working your way towards a top MCAT score during your holiday break.

No matter how you decide to spend your Winter Break, I hope you have a wonderful time with your family and close friends. Life will only get busier, and precious moments with those we loved are priceless. May we all have a very special time this holiday season.

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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