Using UWorld for MCAT Prep
When preparing for the MCAT, students can often feel overwhelmed by the vast number and variety of resources available.
As you build out your study strategy, considering UWorld for MCAT prep is a good place to start. Determining a small number of resources to regular and consistent use is critical to success when considering how to study for the MCAT. The best way to think about the resources that are optimal for your studying is to determine which ones can reinforce and support the skills and knowledge you need to excel on the exam.
The MCAT requires you to not only know the necessary content, but also necessitates that you be able to interpret questions and apply the content to those questions over the course of the whole exam.
Knowing this, you can break down your resources based on their ability to:
- Strengthen your content base
- Improve your question interpretation
- get you in the mindset of the exam.
In this post, I will talk about how to use UWorld for MCAT prep. It can support positive development in each of these categories.
Why Practice Questions Are Important
Completing practice questions is a great way of preparing for most exams. After all, practice makes perfect. This value comes from their unique ability to address each of the categories mentioned above.
By working through practice questions, you are actively assessing your content knowledge. While it is certainly important to have a resource dedicated to learning the content and develop your fundamental understanding of the concepts, questions can help you assess how well you learned those concepts. You can think about questions as a way to triage your strengths and weaknesses. Using UWorld for MCAT prep will allow you to spend more time and focus on those weaknesses.
Aside from strengthening your content base, completing practice questions allows you to practice your test-taking skills. As you work through more and more of these practice queries you will begin to think about question interpretation. A good portion of the challenge some students face is determining what exactly a question is asking and how test-makers want you to apply the content. There are only a certain number of ways that examiners can ask particular questions. The more questions you review, the more you will begin to recognize these patterns.
Lastly, working on timed and blocked questions can get you in the mindset of the exam. This will allow you to be cognizant of your timing. Additionally, you will begin to build your endurance. This will make sure that when you get to test day, there are no new surprises.
UWorld for MCAT Questions
UWorld is good for MCAT prep as it provides 2,000-plus questions that are designed to be comparable to the AAMC questions.
The questions are categorized into the seven subjects assessed on the exam. You have the option to complete these questions one by one (in tutor mode) or in a block similar to the exam. You also have the option to complete these questions on a timed or untimed basis.
Arguably, the best part of UWorld for MCAT review is the robust answer explanations and figures corresponding to the question prompts. This allows you to determine if the reason you missed the question was due to a content deficiency. It also provides you the information you need to address that error and perform more strongly in the future.
Integrating UWorld Questions Into Your MCAT Prep Schedule
There are several ways in which you can integrate UWorld into your study workflow.
One especially effective way in which I have seen students use UWorld for MCAT study is through completing the questions in parallel with their content review. For example, after reviewing a biochemistry section on amino acids and proteins, you could work on the corresponding UWorld questions to assess how well you understood and remembered the content. This can also give you an idea of whether or not you need to go back and review the content again in a more focused manner.
While you can start working on your questions in a tutor and untimed mode to get an understanding of the questions and the format, as you approach your exam date it will be better to shift out of tutor mode and into timed question mode. This will help you regularly be in the mindset of the exam and, as mentioned above, will leave no surprises for your MCAT exam day.
One important concept to keep in mind when approaching any question bank: Quality is better than quantity. With more and more questions created across many resources, it is critical that you avoid the trap of setting out to complete all unique questions that are available.
It is much more productive to focus on ensuring that you are getting as much as you can out of one or two main sources of questions — another reason why, with its deep bank of questions, UWorld is good for MCAT prep. After answering the questions, you should make sure that you are spending an adequate amount of time reviewing those same questions.
Be sure to think about why you missed a particular question. You should also have a system in place to avoid making the same mistake again, whether that be using UWorld’s in-built flashcards or creating Anki cards relating to your weak topics.
Effective Tutoring for MCAT Prep
UWorld MCAT prep can lead to some very positive outcomes, but it can’t address every question or concern for every student. Despite plenty of attention paid to lectures, coursework and self-guided study, it’s all too normal to feel like you need more direct and targeted support in your preparations for the MCAT.
Elite Medical Prep offers tutoring for students who are dedicated to studying for and completing the MCAT on their path to a career in medicine. Our tutors are accredited physicians, meaning you can count on their experience, knowledge and expertise to guide and empower your med school prep strategy.