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MCAT prep course

Old 12-09-2010 at 09:44 AM   #1
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MCAT prep course
Hey guys,

So I plan on writing the MCAT in September and I thought I would really benefit from taking a prep course over the summer, however I keep hearing that it is a waste of money and I should just study on my own. Never have taken a standardized test, aside from EQAO (lol), I'm not sure what I should do.

Any advice from people who have actually taken a prep course, not necessarily for the MCAT but even for GMAT, SAT, ect. I just wanna know if it benefited you or if you thought it was a waste of time and money?

Any advice, input would be awesome !

Thanks guys,
Hamnah S.
H. Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences III
Old 12-09-2010 at 10:12 AM   #2
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I personally have never taken the MCAT (lol engineering), but I had a few housemates last year in health sci who did. They all extensively complained about how the course is useless (like the actual classes you go to).

They did benefit greatly from the practice tests and practice problems that came with the course though (I think it was the Princeton one?).
Dillon Dixon
Software Engineering and Embedded Systems

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Old 12-09-2010 at 10:22 AM   #3
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shouldnt you be studying and worrying about this after exams?

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Old 12-09-2010 at 10:45 AM   #4
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study break?

Hamnah S.
H. Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences III
Old 12-09-2010 at 11:23 AM   #5
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I took the Princeton course this past summer and I am pretty divided about its usefulness. I must say, however, that from the first "diagnostic" I took, my actual MCAT score did not improve. This itself, would suggest that the course did not help.

Did it help me stay motivated to study? For sure! Having regular classes to go to definitely helps you want to stay on track and keep up with the material, but I think this is really all it was good for, and even so - to a very limited extent.

The material that they provide you with is fantastic as well. It's a great detailed overview of everything you would possibly need to know. BUT...this is just where the problem is

Princeton is a good course if you've been out of university and away from the sciences for too long because they provide you with the necessary details and explanations about certain concepts. However, for an undergrad, I don't think that a review of the material is what will benefit you.

The MCAT is structured so that you actually need VERY little science background. Although the background helps, I don't feel its essential. All the information you need to answer questions will be there in the passage (aside from the free-standing questions - of which there are few - and these can be answered from your general science knowledge anyways). So, having said that - if all the information is there anyways, then what you really need practice on, and what Princeton does not provide, is an understanding of how to answer the questions and how to tackle the passage. Namely, you need to get really good at strategizing. I can tell you for sure, that spending hours in a class will not do this for you. What you need is practice, practice practice. I would suggest buying the materials off of somebody and then studying on your own.

One definite good strategy is to buy the AAMC practice exams. These are very indicative of the real MCAT. and again...PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE!!
Honours Biology IV

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Old 12-09-2010 at 11:33 AM   #6
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I took the Princeton course this summer and I wouldn't say it's usefulness justified the cost.

However, I found the course useful for a number of things.

I found that the structure that Princeton uses for the writing sample to be very effective and I found the books to be comprehensive enough for the actual MCAT.

Their classes and their verbal material was pretty useless to me, and I never did one of the extra MCAT exams they offer you, I was fine just doing some of the 10 AAMC ones.

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