The AAMC is making some changes with their MCAT practice material. Some students don’t like it. Also, we talk about MCAT registration and what to look for.
[01:35] A New Practice System
Recently, we have some MCAT changes, the biggest one being that the AAMC is reopening their practice system, but different from what it is before. The system was shut down for a brief amount of time and then they reopened using BenchPrep, a new interface. There are changes to the system that students should be aware of.
BenchPrep is a content diagnostic platform that hosts content. And they now host the AAMC practice materials on their platform. They made some changes to their platform to make it more test-like according to AAMC’s specifications. But it’s still the BenchPrep system.
This is both for taking practice tests and QBanks. Practice tests on the BenchPrep system haven’t changed very much. It’s obvious that they designed this interface to look really almost exactly like the previous interface. So it’s still good to highlight, strikeout, flag questions, navigate. All this would be normal.
What’s different is the practice. The question banks and packs are now in a different interface that is probably more similar to what BenchPrep provides for other companies. Currently, the practice system doesn’t have any highlighting. So try this out when you get to your AAMC practice.
[04:04] Is This Free Stuff? Should You Buy It?
Clara recommends that you buy this. The AAMC has always sold some of their own practice materials. They sell their own practice tests as well as a limited variety of other practice materials. So they recommend their students to buy these as they obviously come from the test-makers, hence, they’re going to be great practice. Although you’ll most likely use them a little bit later in your prep, not at the very beginning while you’re still learning your content.
[05:20] MCAT Registration
2019 MCAT registration has opened on October 25, 2018. Once registration opens, it doesn’t mean you have to register on that date. Say, you’re planning on testing in April or May, wait until you know when exactly you want to take it. Know more about what location you want to take it at. But if you really know where to go and want to make sure you lock down the testing center, then jump right in as soon as the system opens and get it set up.
This is something to look at because there are so many horror stories from students where they tried to register and the closest location with an available spot was four states away. So they had to stay at a hotel and it was miserable. This is so much added stress to the MCAT day which already has enough stress surrounding it. So you need to go and schedule as soon as possible. Those testing centers are limited in space and there are only limited seats in each testing center. And if those seats fill up, you are out of luck! This is especially true for high-density areas like New York or California. Again, register as early as you know that you want to take it.
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