When to Start Taking MCAT Full-length Exams

It is always a good idea to take as many full-length exams as you can before test day, but it can be hard to know when you should take them. Here are a few tips to help you sort through this:

Finish Content Review First. The reason I suggest finishing your content review before taking a full length will make sense as we discuss the three-fold purpose of taking a full-length exam:

  1. Put your knowledge into practice and get better at test-taking skills. The MCAT doesn’t just require you to memorize content, but it requires you to critically think about that content. In order to practice critically thinking about content, however, you must first have it memorized.
  2. Get an idea of where your scaled score currently stands. Because you can’t critically think about what you haven’t memorized, taking full-length exams before you have memorized all the content will give you an inaccurate representation of what score you might expect on test day.
  3. Develop test-day comfort and confidence. Taking full-length exams before you are ready for them will result in a false sense of what test day is going to be like, resulting in decreased comfort and confidence on test day. When you take a full-length, you want to feel like you are taking the real thing, which can only truly happen after you’ve covered all of the content.

Start Small. Although I don’t recommend taking full-length exams during the content review phase of studying, I highly recommend doing some form of practice every step of the way. For this reason, I’d recommend taking advantage of the thousands of Quizlet practice questions contained in each lesson of each content module. Also, be sure to regularly complete the AAMC Mini Exams (composed of AAMC Question Bank, Section Bank, and Flashcard questions) at the end of each content module of our Free MCAT Prep Course. These Mini Exams will allow you to put what you are learning into action, get a feel for what the actual MCAT will be like, and give you a sense of how your score is improving over time.

Save Your AAMC Full-lengths. You will want the last two full-lengths that you take right before test day to be from the AAMC. The reason for this is that AAMC full-lengths are known for giving you the most accurate estimate of how you will perform on test day. Getting a top score on an AAMC full-length right before test day will leave you feeling 100-percent confident as you walk in to take the actual MCAT. That top score is within your reach!

If you are not sure where to begin with your MCAT studying, be sure to start your MCAT study journey with our Free MCAT Prep Course. From there, if you need extra help making a customized study plan, be sure and reach out to one of our elite tutors. And if you have any questions along the way, be sure to reach out. I am here to help!

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!

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