I think in my old age (30 yrs) I’m getting senile. I find myself actually enjoying the process of preparing for the mcat! Maybe that’s because I’m taking the Aug mcat and it’s still months away, no pressure yet. I’ll probably be singing a different tune come august.
Anyway, I have a question concerning the Flowers & Silvers mcat review book (97-98 edition). I’ve chosen Flowers because many recommended it as the best book available. However, as i go through it I am finding that is seems VERY simplistic and tends to omit a lot of material, is their coverage of material sufficient? Also, are the “mastery applied” sample passages and questions that follow each chapter similar to the types of questions and level of difficulty we will see on the mcat?
I also have the Kaplan review book from 97-98, which is more detailed oriented than flowers. I plan to know both flowers and kaplan cover to cover by the time august rolls around. Considering I normally fair pretty well on standardized tests would you think this type of prep would be adequate?
Any help I can get would be greatly appreciated, thanks
I don’t think the questions in the Flower’s guide are nearly as difficult as the ones on the real MCAT, but they are the same format. Certainly the book is a review text and that’s what it’s designed to do, just as Kaplan and all the others whose names escape me at the moment.
As I see it, a review guide has to be worked through with a quality text at the ready. All in all, I think Flower’s is pretty well written, but there are times when I read a section and say to myself, “Huh???” At that point, I go to the material in the text, read through it, make notes on cards as necessary, then go back to the review book. For me, the review book keeps me mindful of the fact that there are certain key items that are important for the MCAT. Yeah, there are some esoteric questions on the it – every test has a few – but I don’t know how to predict which little tidbit about which reaction or whatever, is going to be on the test. Since I can’t control that, I focus on what I CAN control. Hence, the value of review books. I figure if I can master everything in Flowers (or whatever text) that’s quite a bit of information to take with me to the exam room.
It will be interesting to see how others respond to this question.
Your statement about thinking you must be going senile as you enjoy preparing for the MCAT made me laugh It is scary, but I actually know how you feel. I don’t think for me I pre se enjoy preparing for the (August) MCAT as much as I enjoy the fact I am working my way towards medicine and it feels like genuine progress. I’ve been waiting a long time to get to this stage…
Regarding Flowers and Kaplan. I also have both. I think Flowers pretty much covers everything you need, but as Bill said, it is just a review book. I think the “depth” you feel is missing is not technically covered by the MCAT (reading the AAMC MCAT syllabus), just knowing it helps you understand the underlying principles that are covered in the MCAT. Kaplan seems to take more the strategy of covering superfluous things ‘just in case’. I don’t think it is as well tuned to the subjects tested in the MCAT. I think the questions in Flowers are more aimed at testing that you picked up and can use the concepts covered in the text. I don’t think they reflect the MCAT. For that you really need to try the old MCATs issued by the AAMC, test 4, 5 and 6 supposedly being most accurate (I have only tried 4, so cannot speak from experinence of the other two yet).
Best of luck
Just wanted to thank both of you for taking the time to reply to my questions, I appreciate it!
My plan is to use Flowers as my tour guide to the MCAT. What I mean by that is, I'm going give the material a once through using the Flowers review book, prior to taking any type of diagnostic or AAMC tests. Once I have completed the Flowers book, then I will take the AAMC test (i think i have tests 1-3) and see how I fare. After analyzing my test results for strengths and weaknesses I will revisit Flowers and then start supplementing with the textbooks for a more thorough understanding. I will then repeat the testing, analysis, and studying cycle again, and again and again… Until I am confident that I will be scoring where I need to be. I feel I'm gonna need a 30+ score, so I may be going through this process many, many times!
I have to admit that I like the way Flowers is worded, it gets right to the point with very little digression. And i do like how they stress the importance of understanding the proportionalities for the equations that need to be learned. The questions seemed to be geared towards making you consider the various proportionalities that one equation will give you and applying them in a number of different scenarios. In contrast, Kaplan seems just to be about crunching numbers. The questions in Kaplan definitely require a calculator, which is not the case with the mcat, so i don't know how applicable kaplan is to the real test.
Signs that the mcat is on your mind…
Today, driving to work on the highway a huge gust of wind almost blew my car into the next lane. I had to steer into the wind to avoid disaster. You would think I would be relieved at having narrowly escaped being crushed by a tractor trailer. But instead, i found myself in deep thought about vector analysis, and then after realizing that there was a big truck next to me, I started mulling over momentum, elastic and inelastic collisions, kinetic energy, and all the associated equations!!
This is gonna be fun, right? anyone? anyone?
I know where you are coming from. I am 29, and I am studying for the MCAT that will be administered in 2 days. I am enjoying the studying part, probably because I took a week off from my work to study! However, I am starting to get a bit worried about the test. I keep practicing the questions, and I am making very stupid mistakes. Today I took a VR practice, and missed 13 out of 65. It's an 80%, but I want to do better than that. I am not sure what that would be in MCAT score, as this test did not have a conversion (it was from a Kaplan guide).
I have done pretty well in my academic past, but I am afraid the MCAT might get the best of me on the first round. I guess there is always August…Hopefully April 20 will be my day, and I can focus on the application process in August.
Good luck to everyone taking it Saturday!
So how did your MCAT experience go? Hopefully well!