Today, we have a great discussion about reviewing full-lengths, QBanks, and everything else!
I’m joined once again by Clara from Blueprint MCAT (formerly Next Step Test Prep). Check out all of their free resources including a free full-length exam along with their diagnostic exam.
[02:35] Reviewing Your Full-Length Exams'If you don't review your full-lengths really carefully, they're essentially useless.'Click To Tweet
Full-length review has to be a lot more in-depth than students initially think it does. A general rule of thumb is to review twice as long as it takes you to take the test. This means that an 8-hour full-length means 16 hours of review. It seems crazy but it’s not.
At the very minimum, Clara suggests the same amount of time. So if it takes you 8 hours of taking full-length, then spend at least 8 hours on review.
[04:15] Reviewing Your Wrong and Correct Answers
You should review the questions you got wrong. But you also have to absolutely review the questions you got correct.
The questions you got correct can actually fall into a few different buckets. That’s why it’s so important to review them.
First bucket: Getting a Correct Answer
There will be some questions where you pick an answer and you’re 100% certain that it’s the correct answer and it turns out it’s the correct answer. But you should still review that because maybe the wrong answer choices are the terms you don’t know.
Maybe the explanation can also give you some extra insight. They could solve this a different way than you did, then you will have an alternate way to solve that problem.
Beyond that, there’s a lot of other ways you can get an answer correct and still need to review it really thoroughly.
Second bucket: Guessing the Correct Answer
You may just be guessing the correct answer. You want to review that just like you review a wrong answer because it was just totally random that you happened to get it.
Third bucket: Getting Right for the Wrong Reasons
Maybe you start reading the explanation and so you can get more insights.
[06:00] Keeping Track of Your Thoughts in the Moment
During a full-length that’s timed, you don’t want to stop and write down some notes. So you have to fall into this happy medium with this.
For timed full-length tests, Clara recommends that you utilize the actual features of the test as closely as possible that will help you in your review. You can strike out answers you think are wrong. This would then be a great red flag if you get to your review.
For instance, you pick C but you crossed out the right answer or the second closest answer. This is a really good way to jog your memory so you can remember the things you were doing when you crossed out this and that and here’s why.
You can also highlight the question stem and the answer choices or use notes. If you’re a note-taker, just quickly jot them down without necessarily stopping.
[08:30] Other Strategies: Creating Categories, Confidence Ratings, and Breaking Up Sections
Probably, students can create worksheets where there are columns across the numbers and they can check off different categories. Like “knew the answer,” “guess the answer,” “thought you knew.”
Or you can do confidence ratings where you can say you’re 80% sure on this or 10% sure on that. This would be hard to write down on a piece of paper though. But this is something you can try.'If you're nervous about the time it would take you to do the full-length, you can break them off into individual sections and do them individually.'Click To Tweet
Moreover, there is less pressure in just doing individual section. If it takes you more time, that’s fine since you’re getting a lot of insight about yourself in the process.
[11:00] Reviewing Questions
The nice thing about QBanks is you can opt to review each question immediately after answering it. So you can just review the whole questions and review the whole thing.'It's better to actually review immediately after you answer each question.'Click To Tweet
Clara recommends reviewing immediately after each question. This mitigates the problem of forgetting your thought process after you finished the test. So you get immediate feedback.
[12:33] Other Important MCAT Test-Taking Tips'Do not ignore the passage.'Click To Tweet
Reviews always gravitate towards the questions. It makes sense since you get the points from the questions.
But a lot of students will just go through it question by question and almost won’t even look at the passage. Or they will only look at the passage if the explanation to a question references you back to a certain point.
This is not ideal since there’s so much information you can get out of the passage. Hence, take three or four minutes before you jump right into the first question.
Look over the passage. Re-read the whole thing. Take a look at what you highlighted. This is how you’re going to get a handle on optimal passage strategy. The way you worked through the passage is fresh in your mind now. Then you can get these little hints and tips about ways you can modify your passage strategy.