15: What is the Best Way to Use the Official Practice MCAT Exam?

Session 15 In today's episode, Ryan and Bryan talk about how to utilize the AAMC Practice Exams. As of this recording, the AAMC has just released their official practice test number 2 for the "new" MCAT. In this episode, you will learn about the key things about the official practice test and some differences in the practice tests made by Next Step Test Prep or other test prep companies. Here are the highlights of the conversation between Ryan and Bryan: Two things you must have: You have to get ALL the AAMC full length tests You have to get them as part of the program or buy them yourself. The Section Bank The full length exam's section bank is a set of online science passages for and administered as a part of the new MCAT. Other AAMC resources you can use: AAMC Flashcards - just think of it as a Q book of discrete questions Q-Pack - this is composed of repurposed old passages from the old MCAT (not a eally topline resource) The Official Guide aamc - this contains 20 passages (quite good and valuable) You don't have to spend $30 on the official guide. Just $10 for the online access is good enough. How to get the most value out of them: Full length tests should be taken as full exams. You have to take them like you do in the actual test. You have to simulate test day. Get out of bed early at 7:30 am. Get to the library by 8 am. Sit down to start the test at 8:30 am. Get used to the idea that you're taking the MCAT first thing in the morning. Stick very strictly to the timing. Give yourself the exact length of break normally permitted. Do this near the end of your prep, preferably once a week, leading up to test day. The idea is to get the most test-like practice you can one week before the exam. One week before the exam, take the unscored AAMC sample test (you can't freak out about your score one week before the test so take the unscored test one week before test day) One week before that, take AAMC scored practice exam 2. One week before that, take AAMC scored practice test 1. (If at this point, the AAMC has released more scored exams, simply go back to space it out once a week working your way backwards from test day.) Why take the AAMC tests last versus practices from Next Step: You want to get the best possible simulation and the best possible look and feel and estimate of how you're doing Next Step practice tests are very precise. But Bryan admits that no test prep company or any of the national chains is as accurate as the real AAMC test. Using off the official exams too early in your prep and relying on test prep companies right near the end, won't give you an accurate assessment of your current skill level. The benefits of taking the AAMC practice exam near the end: You get in the zone. You get the exact editorial style of the real test. You get a really good prediction of how you're going to do on test day. Can you take the AAMC practice tests multiple times to stretch out your test-taking if you're on a budget? Sign up for a free account with Next Step. (They offer free full length diagnostics) Then use Next Step full length one as your mid-point check. Other companies offer free exams but they're usually only half-length or 1/3-length but it can still be good practice. Should you retake the AAMC practice tests? In roughly four months since the last time you did something, you can do it again without having the results be skewed as a result of the "practice effect" (when you assess over and over again using the same assessment, performance goes up even if the underlined skill level hasn't changed) So you want your practice test to be an accurate assessment of your skill level and not just floating upwards due to the practice effect. Links and Other Resources: As of this recording, AAMC has three practice exams (2 scored and 1 unscored). Next Step offers a lot of practice exams. Visit www.nextsteptestprep.com and use the promo code: MCATPOD to save some money off their products and services. AAMC full length tests The Section Bank www.mededmedia.com Next Step Test Prep AAMC Official Guide AAMC Flashcards

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