Sunday, May 1, 2011

Change to MCAT study schedule take 13, LOL!!!!

These days, I feel like my life is one big epiphany after another!!!

It occurred to me earlier this past week that having a study schedule like the one I first posted is a pretty dumb idea because for me, I have definitive strengths that don't require the same effort study wise as my weak areas and definitive weaknesses that require treating my study like I'm taking the class for credit. Case in point, my biology review has only required only giving a once over at the review materials in the EK biology book then diving right into the problems in the 1001 Biology Question book. OTOH, my Chemistry review has required that I regularly go through related chapters in the Chemistry book I used as an undergrad Chemistry major. And I suspect Physics will be the same as Chemistry, with my Organic review a little of which I've already completed, being a lot like my Biology review.

The really great news in all this is that I'm very pleased with my improvement in all the study areas, again owing this change in my performance to my approach to the questions/answers. For verbal, changing a test taking strategy I'd had for most of my life has been quite a chore (that is, NOT reading the answer choices before reading the passage), and while progress has been slow, it's also been quite steady in this area, from 7to 8. OTOH, I approach my science passages in the exact opposite way that is, I actually answer some of the questions BEFORE I read the passages, finding again that the right answer can often be gained by the info presented in the question itself (I hope that makes sense). I've also noticed that the strategy of reading science questions like verbal is paying off BIG time too, with my scores in Bio ranging from 11-13 regularly with very little review!

In the end, I think what nontraditional students preparing for the MCAT have to understand is that a rigid study schedule like the ones you see suggested by those test taking companies aren't very helpful to someone who hasn't seen this material in the classroom in 10+ years. In other words, you can NOT just say I'm going to cover Orgo chapter 7 in one week because you may finish your review in more or less time, and will likely need more time depending on how you did when you took the class and how long it's been since you've seen the material. So now, I'm just taking it as it comes, still starting off with the 1001 practice questions because that tells me where my strengths and weaknesses area, then tailoring my review for that week based on how I did on those questions.

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