How to use UWorld to study for the MCAT

UWorld is a terrific resource for the MCAT, but you can’t just use it blindly.

UWorld’s value is in its explanations. It’s a teaching tool, but it’s not imitative of the MCAT. In other words, you can’t get MCAT experience just from UWorld.

So how should you use UWorld? As part of a plan, but not the entirety of it.

  1. The first element of your plan should be content. It can be a book, if you like, although I think Khan Academy has really excellent MCAT content. I’ve actually created a guide for it. This is your foundation.
  2. The second element of your plan should be UWorld. Use it to test you knowledge and fill in gaps in your foundation.
  3. Finally, you need practice tests from AAMC. UWorld won’t test you the way the AAMC full lengths will. Plus, you’ll be able to see if your scores are improving (i.e. if you’re actually getting better at the MCAT).

In the meanwhile, to keep yourself organized, remembering all the content, and not overlooking any weak spots you should use an error log.

This is basically all the questions and content you find difficult, organized so you can see why and how you’re finding it difficult.

It might be a detail, a concept, or a process that’s off, but you can’t tell unless you reflect and analyze through your error log.

In the error log that I’ve designed, 21st Night, I’ve also made sure to employ spaced repetition. That is, difficult content comes back periodically, so you can make sure that you remember it and the lessons that you drew from it.

Neat, huh? Stick with this plan, and the MCAT will be a piece of cake.

Well, maybe not a piece of cake, but it’ll at least be clear how to succeed on it. And that’s almost as good.

How to use Magoosh for GRE

Magoosh is a pretty good resource for GRE. The questions are pretty good, as are the video explanations.

They also have pretty good study plans, and pretty good auxiliary resources.

In fact, if I were to describe Magoosh overall, I’d describe it as (drum roll please) pretty good.

But it’s not the most straightforward process to go from signing up for Magoosh to scoring well on the GRE. Believe me: I’m a tutor, and I get plenty of students who didn’t make that transition.

If you use Magoosh for GRE, the most important thing is to first of all realize its limitations.

  1. Magoosh questions are not official questions. They’re ok practice, but you need to do questions from ETS in order to get the real GRE experience.
  2. You need to do official practice tests from ETS! This is the same as point 1, but I wanted to emphasize. You need to do at least the 2 free practice tests from ETS before you take your official GRE.
  3. It’s easy to get in the habit of just watching videos. Don’t fall for it! You need to do lots of questions in order to do well on the GRE. Videos are only to be used to make you better at questions.
  4. Just doing questions isn’t enough. You need to reflect on what you get wrong.

Let’s talk about that last point for a bit: reflection. Reflection means looking at what you get wrong and learning what you can from it.

Magoosh, actually recommends that you use an error log to reflect. They says it’s the single best way to pinpoint weak areas.

Well…it just so happens that I agree. And, in fact, 21st Night is an error log designed to do exactly that and more.

Magoosh can be valuable, but you can’t just use it haphazardly. Using 21st Night with Magoosh will result in a lot more success.