MCAT Self Prep Student Review

Thanks to MCAT Self Prep I was able to earn a 518 on my official MCAT that I took in April, 2022! I originally looked into MCAT Self Prep after browsing MCAT services online, but all the services I was coming across were extremely expensive and did not allow for as much freedom as MCAT Self Prep. After discussing with my parents, we believed that this program would be the best one to set me up for MCAT success. I started off by using the free version, but quickly switched to the Deluxe Pro Plan that I purchased on sale for less than $1,000. 

I ended up utilizing all the tools, including the Excel create-your-own study plan spreadsheet and the 5,300+ flashcards. What I believe helped me the most were the Mastery Courses. I loved the Amino Acids Mastery Course as well as the 100 Most Essential Equations Mastery Course, because these topics were purely rote memorization. I used a set of old Kaplan books from 2015 to supplement my MCAT Self Prep plan, and they worked out great even though they were from 7 years ago. It was a great surprise that the material had not changed much, and that I did not have to purchase a new set of expensive books.

When I first started using MCAT Self Prep, it was the summer before my senior year of college. At this point I was on my way to becoming a biochemistry major and had a decent understanding of biology and biochemistry, as well as psychology and sociology from my premed prerequisites. I still struggled a good amount with chemistry and physics, so I dedicated most of my time studying to these topics. I found that what helped me the most was doing practice problems, because memorization of chemical structures and physics equations can only get you so far when you are faced with a new, unique problem on test day. I ended up taking the MCAT for the first time in January of my senior year of college after studying a bit throughout the school year, and then doing MCAT boot camp over winter break to gear up for the test. On this January test in 2020 I scored a 512, and was very happy and proud of my score, especially because my diagnostic had placed me at a 498. My breakdown on this official MCAT was 125 Chem/Phys, 130 CARS, 128 Bio/Biochem, and 129 Psych/Sosh. I was extremely proud of my CARS score, but was afraid that my Chem/Phys score would hold me back in medical school admissions because I had heard about processes where schools screen out scores in Chem/Phys that fall below a certain cutoff point.

Fast forward, and I ended up getting my Master’s in Medical Sciences at an Ivy League school where we took first year medical school courses alongside the first years at the medical school. This program prepared me tremendously for medical school, and it was natural for me to retake the MCAT with my new foundation of medical sciences. After all, I now had completed and succeeded at the very rigorous courses that the MCAT was aimed at testing my aptitude for. I only had 8 weeks to study this time leading up to the test during a dedicated study block during my program. I mapped it out so that I took another diagnostic test at the start of this period, on which I scored worse than my official MCAT from 2 years prior. This forced me to double down on my studies, and primarily focus on chemistry and physics, because I knew that these were my weak points. 

I spent the majority of my time doing practice problems, with some content review sprinkled in when I was at a loss for how to solve a problem. I looked at the 100 Most Essential Equations Mastery Course every day to try to memorize these formulas, and I used the other Mastery Courses as well. I found that I did not have enough time to go back through the Khan Academy videos or the MCAT Kaplan books in depth, though I trusted the process this time around and knew that I had the knowledge base to build on that I had not previously had. I studied about 8 hours a day and took a practice test every week (and took that evening off, and spent the following day reviewing my test). I definitely recommend reviewing your mistakes and understanding not only why every correct answer is correct, but also why every incorrect answer is incorrect. I also recommend looking at things that you have to memorize a little bit every day, so that by test day they are fully ingrained in your head and you do not have to struggle to cram this information in the week or two leading up to the test. 

I was very fortunate to see my efforts reflected in my practice tests, which were mainly the AAMC practice tests and other free tests that I found online. My scores ranged from 514 to 517, which made me feel ready for test day. I am usually a very good test taker so I did not worry much leading up to the test, and I tried to maintain good health and wellness by taking care of my mind, body and spirit. On test day I studied a bit before heading into the test on the morning of, and then the test flew by. Even though I did not use MCAT Self Prep as much the second time around as I did the first time around, I believe this is because the first time I studied for the MCAT primarily using MCAT Self Prep I built a strong foundation of knowledge that I was only supplementing the second time around. In the end I scored 128 Chem/Phys, 130 CARS, 130 Bio/BioChem, and 130 Psych/Sosh. I am very proud of all the work I put in, and I know that I could not have done it without the incredible team at MCAT Self Prep!

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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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