In my mind, there are two main phases to studying for the MCAT: (1) Content Review Phase, and (2) MCAT Bootcamp. During the Content Review Phase, your focus is on developing a very solid content foundation. Only once this foundation is fully established should you start doing full-length exams as part of MCAT Bootcamp, your final month of MCAT studying.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do any practice problems during the Content Review Phase, but the purpose of doing them is different than during MCAT Bootcamp, when you are trying to mimic test day and develop stamina. Practice during the Content Review Phase has several purposes:

  1. Gain a feel for how the AAMC will test you on the content you are learning. By doing the AAMC Mini Exams at the end of each Content Module (lesson 15), you will begin to gain an idea as to how you need to understand the content in order to properly tackle questions from the AAMC.
  2. Adjust your studying based on your progress. By taking AAMC Mini Exams at regular intervals, you will be able to see how and in what ways you are progressing. In lesson 15 of each module, Basic Pro Plan Members receive guidance as to how they should adjust their studying for the next Content Module based on their AAMC Mini Exam results. Adjusting your studying every step of the way based on real-time progress is an essential aspect of a solid study plan.
  3. Test yourself to confirm that you are correctly learning the content. Oftentimes, students will learn a concept from a video or book, think they understand it, but then fail to answer a question based on that concept. This reveals that the student didn’t truly understand the concept as it was taught. To prevent this from happening, I believe it is crucial to test yourself immediately after learning concepts to confirm that you learned them correctly. Advanced Pro Plan Members are easily able to do this using the Quizlet sets at the end of each eCourse lesson. They are completely comprehensive for all the content taught in the Khan Academy videos, Kaplan Reading Assignments, and Princeton Reading Assignments contained within each lesson.
  4. Practice passage-reading strategies. Developing passage-reading skills should not wait until MCAT Bootcamp. They need to be developed slowly over time through consistent practicing of proven comprehension strategies. I teach these strategies in my Ultimate CARS Strategy Course and Science Passage Reading Strategy Course (half-price as part of the Deluxe Pro Plan Bundle). Each course includes 10 Strategy Modules, each walking you through an essential and proven comprehension strategy. Learning the strategies is important, but practicing them on a daily basis is the key. This is why each course includes 100+ homework assignments that allow you to slowly practice these strategies over time in a consistent, proven manner. The best part is that the 10 Strategy Modules integrate perfectly with the 10 Content Modules of the eCourse. For instance, within each lesson of the eCourse, you’ll find science passages that relate to the content of that lesson, on which you can practice your passage reading strategies while reviewing the content you just learned. It is very effective.

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!

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