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Post by jmoody » Wed Dec 18, 2019 1:50 am

Hi, my test date is April 24th and I have 4 days a week dedicated to studying. The schedule that was generated for me has me reading many chapters each day and I just started with chapter 1 of the bio book. I've been reading and taking notes on the important ideas and it has taken me 4 hours just to get through one chapter and i'm already WAY behind schedule because of it. Am I doing something wrong? Could it be that my note taking is too detailed for content review? I have a strong science GPA but I feel lost in content that I have studied on countless occasions. I've barely started and I'm already losing hope on ever doing well on this test.
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Re: Reading

Post by NS_Tutor_Mathias » Wed Dec 18, 2019 1:20 pm

Your note taking may be a little exhaustive for what is essentially a brief review of your undergrad science. Ideally, on a short timetable, you are just looking for concepts and ideas that are unfamiliar and making a note of those. But if going slow feels helpful to you, definitely do that. However, in my experience, I have rarely found anyone who benefits from spending 4 hours doing the exact same thing - so perhaps consider doing an hour of content review at most, stretching, taking a short break and then practicing for an hour, then taking another break and working on flash cards or CARS for a while, and only then going back to do some content review. Spice it up, take lots of breaks and whatever you do make sure to get in a lot of practice every day.

The schedule creators are definitely intended as a light or moderate-depth reading exercise for each chapter, not necessarily to try to master every topic every day. In addition, for general content review, I would make sure to also supplement with Anki, a free spaced-repetition flashcard program.

All that said, content review is a small part of MCAT preparation - as you may have noticed when I recommended practicing, I'm of the strict opinion that becoming very familiar with the test and its format is integral to doing well, and can also help shape the way you learn content and prepare for the exam.

And if you need a neat little content overview, these free review sheets are fairly popular: ... 6Pat1tbDgj

The author of those files is not affiliated with Next Step in any way, and I can guarantee you that those sheets are not comprehensive - but I feel they make for a very good baseline of content knowledge for the MCAT, and should possibly help you feel a bit less anxious, stressed and overwhelmed by what you all need to know. I would strongly recommend printing those out, sticking them in a binder and carrying that binder with you everywhere you go. Even if you'll get a few funny looks ;)
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