Examkrackers Home Study Schedule (10th Edition)
This home study regimen is similar to the schedule of the successful Examkrackers Comprehensive MCAT course. We recommend you begin exactly ten weeks prior to your MCAT and take a “soft week” break in the middle during week five.
Preparation: This home study schedule utilizes the Examkrackers Complete Study Package (10th Edition) and EK-Tests 1-4 (Please note: The Complete Study Package and EK-Tests 1, 2, 3 and 4 are sold separately). It also uses the Online Practice Questions from The Official Guide to the MCAT Exam, Fourth Edition, which can be purchased from the AAMC and The AAMC MCAT Practice Exam (Scored) 1.
On Day One you will begin your preparation by doing the practice passages and questions from the Official Guide to the MCAT Exam, Fourth Edition from the AAMC. Notice the style of MCAT passages and questions. Gain a general sense of where your strengths and weaknesses may be. Aim to spend no more than 7-8 minutes per passage in the science sections and no more than 10 minutes per passage in the Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills (CARS) section.
Now, begin reading, taking practice questions, and completing the in-class exams for four Examkrackers lectures per week. Budget about 2-3 hours a day, six days per week. Attack the lessons in the following way:
- Pre-read the lecture. Read the lecture as you would a novel—quickly, and without worrying about the details.
- Read the lecture more thoroughly with a pen in your hand so that you can take notes and highlight areas of weakness. Take the 24 in-lecture questions during this reading.
- Take the in-class exam corresponding to that lecture. Allow yourself no more than 30 minutes to complete the exam. Review the exam with the explanations and post any questions you have on the MCAT forums on the Examkrackers website.
- Study a variety of material each week. Do not complete one full manual before starting the next. Instead, study one or two lectures each from several different manuals every week to broaden the range of material you cover. This will help ensure that you are prepared for all four test sections on Test Day and will help you measure your progress as you take the Online Practice Questions from The Official Guide to the MCAT Exam (MCAT2015), Fourth Edition and the Official MCAT 2015 Sample Test. A recommended sequence of lectures, modeled after the Examkrackers Comprehensive MCAT Course, is included in the detailed weekly study plan.
- Take practice exams. Taking practice exams will help you stay in touch with the MCAT to shape your study of the content and help you build endurance for Test Day. Taking practice exams forces you to actively engage with the material and practice MCAT skills. Studying without MCAT practice (i.e. only reviewing content) is passive. The MCAT rewards independent and active thinking. Reviewing and organizing science concepts is effective for MCAT success only when it is done in coordination with the approach the MCAT asks of you. The greatest score increases are seen in students who regularly do practice passages to build MCAT skills while also reviewing and organizing the needed basic science concepts. For maximum improvement, always approach these ‘simulated MCAT exams’ as if they were the real MCAT.
- Review your practice tests. This step is the singular step that will show increase in your MCAT score. While reviewing content is absolutely necessary to understand the language of the MCAT, preparing content does not change MCAT scores. What changes MCAT scores is coming to understand the test and learning from your mistakes. Questions that you get wrong or mark are the ticket to improving your score. Ideally you should repeatedly attempt to answer questions you got wrong until you get them right yourself because only when you practice MCAT style problem solving will you come to see improvement at problem solving. If you need to look up content and return to the question, do so. Careful: once you read an answer explanation, you can never again use that question for MCAT practice as you will know the answer without having reasoned your own way there. It is important to understand why you got a question wrong or marked a question in order to improve your test-taking skills. Recall what you were thinking and feeling as you approached each question. Once you determine why you’re getting questions wrong, make simple commitments to prevent these errors before continuing your MCAT practice. If you didn't feel comfortable with science, go back to the appropriate lecture and re-read a third time.
Summary of guidelines for reviewing:
- Before looking at answer explanations, retake questions you got wrong the first time. Identify why you answered incorrectly the first time, and if you got it correct the second time, determine what you did differently.
- Review questions on which you guessed correctly. Determine how you arrived at the correct answer and identify areas of weakness for further review.
- Notice any habits you have when taking test questions that do not work for MCAT questions. Write down a few specific and simple commitments to approach these questions differently in the future (“If I see this, I will do that”) to use on your next practice exam.
Stay current with your studying as Test Day approaches. If you miss one day, do twice as much the next day or use built-in makeup study days.