MCAT Re-booted: Study Block Part 2
February 18, 2013
Continuing our discussion from ‘Part 1 of Study Blocks’ we ask what is the most efficient way to study during our block. Looking back at the sample schedules, note that we are trying to get in at least 20 hours of studying a week at the very minimum, included in that time would be 1 full length examination a week. At the minimum you should be trying to get in at least:
- 2 Topical Tests
- 1 Verbal Section Test
- 1 Science Section Test
- 1 Full Length Test
I understand that a lot of the content people are comfortable with. The key to approaching the MCAT is figuring out which information you can study that will result in the biggest increase in points. During your study block, just pick one thing to do… i.e. a Section Test, maybe 2 Topical Tests, or some Review Note Chapters and their corresponding quizzes. The key to finishing up the block strong is filling out the WHY I MISSED IT CHART. An example of a template:
We find the better a student fills out the chart the more they get out of the exercise. For example:
TEST – For this column just fill in which topical/ section/ or full length test you are working on
Q# – Just the question number of that specific test so you can look it up later
Passage/ Discrete – Was this a discrete question or was it associated with a passage?
Subject – Some people like to fill this in different ways. I have found the best way to do this is to make your subjects just Physics/ General Chemistry/ Verbal/ Organic Chemistry/ Biology
Topic – The reason I have students fill in topic is so you can look at what specific topics of a subject you don’t know. I find the best way to do this is to take out the Review Notes and organize your topics by the chapters in the books. This is how to figure out what you need to review so you can go directly back to that specific chapter in the book.
Why I missed it? – This is the KEY to making the whole chart. You need to honestly ask yourself why you are missing a specific question. Are you missing it because you don’t know the concept? Did you misread the question? Did you simply make a calculation error? Did you not understand what you read in the passage?
Now remember when you are taking FL exams you are going to study longer than 2 hours. That is the only time you are really extending your studying much beyond that time frame. The key here is understanding and recognizing patterns along the way! Remember we want to turn those weakness into STRENGTHS! Stay focused! The hard work pays off!
I am a former Kaplan MCAT student that excelled on my exam through the Kaplan methods and began teaching for Kaplan at the University of Illinois – Urbana – Champaign center. Upon graduation I moved back to the Chicagoland area and became a full time teacher in our Chicago centers. I really strive to bring enthusiasm and energy to the classroom believing a positive attitude sets the tone for success! When I am not teaching the MCAT, you can find me training for triathlons or picking which bow tie to wear next!