Explaining the Official AAMC Prep Material for the MCAT
The MCAT is more than pure content memorization. It requires knowing the “language” of the exam — how questions are asked, how to interpret data, and the logic used to reach each answer. For this reason, many of my students question how their content knowledge will translate on the actual exam. After working with hundreds of students, we’ve found that the MCAT prep materials created by the AAMC are one of the greatest tools in preparing students for the real deal.
The AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) creates each MCAT exam, so working through the official AAMC practice questions and full-length exams gives my students the most accurate benchmark of their MCAT knowledge and skills. The MCAT Self Prep Course also includes assignments from these resources throughout students’ study plans. This FREE eCourse seamlessly integrates all of the official prep material released by the AAMC. And since there are so many resources available through the AAMC, I’ve compiled a list and brief description of each AAMC product in this article.
1. What’s on the MCAT Exam? This webpage provides an extensive overview of the MCAT and its subsections.
2. Create a Study Plan This downloadable pdf provides instructions and tips for creating a personalized MCAT study plan. However, it doesn’t walk you through your own personal timeline or adjust the hours that you will need to study on the improvement that you are looking for. Although this AAMC resource can be a helpful supplement to MCAT Self Prep, I would highly recommend using the Create-Your-Own Study Plan Course instead. This course allows for seamless integration of your progress with other MCAT Self Prep resources.
3. MCAT Official Prep Sample Test This full-length practice exam is a valuable study tool, and best of all — it’s free! Most of my students use this resource in conjunction with MCAT Self Prep resources in their last month of studying.
1. MCAT Official Prep Practice Exams (Online Only): In my opinion, these four online practice exams are absolutely essential. They accurately reflect the timing, material, and language used by the AAMC on the actual MCAT. My students’ scores often skyrocket after implementing these practice exams into their study plans and increases their self-confidence as test day approaches. In general, most students will score within 2 points of their last AAMC test if they take it within a few weeks of the actual test day. So needless to say these tests are the best barometer of where you will stand on test day.
2. MCAT Official Prep Question Packs (Online Only): The MCAT Question Packs are also a valuable resource provided by the AAMC. These online practice questions feature both passage-based and discrete items that represent the language and logic of the actual MCAT. Each question pack contains 120 questions, all of which are utilized in the MCAT Self Prep Course.
3. MCAT Official Prep Section Bank (Online Only): The MCAT Section Bank is similar to the question packs — it contains online questions that accurately reflect the MCAT. The Section Bank contains 300 questions, focused heavily on the fields of biochemistry, psychology, and sociology. These questions are representative of the most difficult passages on the MCAT and so they are good practice for learning how to read and decipher passages. The Section Bank is also used extensively in the MCAT Self Prep Course.
4. MCAT Official Prep CARS Diagnostic Tool (Online Only): The CARS Diagnostic Tool is a new feature that includes extra CARS practice passages, strategy guides, and thorough answer explanations.
5. The Official Guide to the MCAT Exam (Print Only): The Official Guide to the MCAT Exam is a physical guidebook that includes everything you need to know about the MCAT. It also contains 120 practice questions, which can also be purchased separately in an online-only format. Most of my students use these questions as their first diagnostic exam.
6. MCAT Official Prep Flashcards (Online or Print): These flashcards include 150 discrete questions on MCAT topics. Most of my students purchase these flashcards in conjunction with other AAMC resources as part of their MCAT Self Prep studying.
So… What Should I Get?
With so many products available, you may be wondering where to start. The MCAT Self Prep Course assigns questions from the AAMC’s Section Bank, Question Packs, and Flashcards at the end of each content module, allowing you to accurately assess and track your progress. Our program also encourages students to use the AAMC full-length practice exams as part of MCAT Boot Camp, the final month of studying.
For these reasons, most students decide to purchase the Online-Only Bundle or the Complete Bundle. Both of these options include everything you need to implement AAMC materials into your MCAT Self Prep study plan. There is nothing more valuable than the source itself, and I highly encourage you to consider purchasing these AAMC products! If you need help deciding on which MCAT materials to purchase, consider signing up for a FREE consultation with the tutor of your choice!
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