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Reading through seven dense textbooks, with page after page of MCAT content, can get tiring. Over time, you may end up feeling burnt out. One good strategy is to combine textbook reading with YouTube videos.
Although reading the books is irreplaceable in getting a first look at content, there are two main benefits that come with incorporating videos into your study plan.
First, videos allow for repetition. When making your first pass through the content, I recommend watching videos relevant to what you are reading the following morning. This repetition of new content will increase retention and comprehension of material.
Second, videos allow you to learn the same content from a new source, which is deeply valuable because each source offers a different perspective or emphasizes different points. This helps you make connections amongst different topics. It is important to remember that the MCAT is not a recall- or vocabulary-based exam, as it emphasizes real-world application. On your exam, topics probably won’t be presented in the same manner as your books. By identifying relationships between various topics, you improve your application skills, which will take you to the next level on the exam.
There are several great YouTube channels out there, each with different purposes. Here, I review some of them and offer my advice on how to use them.
How to use Khan Academy MCAT videos
Khan Academy offers a wide range of videos, covering almost every topic in detail. One of the greatest benefits is that their videos are directly correlated to the Kaplan and Princeton Review books. In fact, you can find a Khan Academy Video Guide we created here.
Overall, I find Khan Academy to be a great resource during early content review. I don’t recommend that students set out to watch every single video, as there are quite a lot. However, I do emphasize watching those directly relating to the content you are currently reading, particularly when you find it confusing or difficult. By reading the book and taking notes, you make a first pass through the content. The next day, you can watch a Khan Academy video to relearn the same content in a new context while filling in any gaps in your notes. This repetition will solidify what you are learning for the long-term.
Moreover, Khan Academy offers 5-question practice passages. These questions, although quite detailed and difficult, can serve as a great way to reflect upon what you have read, and can help you identify gaps in your content review process. They can also help you identify subject-level weaknesses. I always remind my students to reflect upon what they are learning, and not blindly go through all seven books without ever checking in with themselves. Khan Academy’s videos and questions are a great method for doing so.
How to use PremedHQ Science Academy in your MCAT content review
PremedHQ Science Academy is another highly popular MCAT YouTube channel, and although their video selection is very limited, their videos serve a different purpose. PremedHQ videos are more of a summary of chapters from your books, as opposed to the comprehensive content details found in your book or Khan Academy. PremedHQ videos summarize the content covered in the C/P and B/B sections, although they do not cover P/S content or CARS strategy.
I highly recommend that my students watch all of the PremedHQ videos as a review tool. I often advise my students to set aside one day per week during the content review process where they review all of the notes they have taken since the start of their studying. This would be an excellent time to also watch the PremedHQ videos for the books that they have already completed. This is a great way to review high-yield material from a new source, ensuring you retain important information while creating new connections between topics.
How to use Ak Lectures in MCAT Content Review
Ak Lectures produces extremely detailed, high-quality videos related to the sciences. These videos are not directed only at the MCAT, and often go into much greater detail than students should expect to know.
I recommend that students watch Ak Lectures only for specific content that they might find difficult, perhaps after they have started doing practice questions. If you find yourself consistently getting questions wrong related to a particular science topic, this is a great resource to relearn and refine that knowledge. I find that Ak Lectures is especially well-made for biochemistry-related content, so if you’d like help with particular pathways or cycles, these videos are worth checking out.
How to use The Organic Chemistry Tutor videos in MCAT content review
Like Ak Lectures, The Organic Chemistry Tutor produces quite detailed videos. The name is a bit of a misnomer, as there are playlists covering organic chemistry, but also topics such as math, biochemistry, and physics.
I would again recommend that students watch these videos if they are having trouble with specific topics that they would like extra help on. The organic chemistry videos are especially well-done, although the depth of detail covered is certainly not required for the MCAT. While you should not worry about extra detail like specific reactions being discussed, you should focus on the underlying theory that is presented in these videos. For example, this is a great place to learn about the underlying concepts behind nucleophilic attack, but don’t pay much attention to particular reaction examples. So, if you find yourself getting many organic chemistry questions wrong on tests, you can review these videos.
How to use MedSchoolCoach MCAT Prep videos in your content review
MedSchoolCoach MCAT Prep is a great YouTube channel which covers all of the sections on the MCAT comprehensively, including CARS and P/S. Although the videos will not follow the chapters of your book as closely, they are quite comprehensive, and there are videos available on nearly all MCAT topics.
Similar to Ak Lectures and The Organic Chemistry Tutor, I would recommend watching these videos after completing content review. Once you begin practice questions or exams, these videos are a good way to learn content that you are routinely missing. If you find that there are holes in some areas of your content knowledge, this would be a great way to learn those missing topics and supplement your existing notes. You can also use these similar to PremedHQ as a review source.
Recommendation: Trevor Klee, Tutor CARS Strategy
We have made a CARS strategy video, which can be found here. This video covers our approach to the MCAT CARS section, including how we recommend reading the passage, and the systematic process on how we tackle the questions. We walk through a sample CARS passage and apply our strategy so that students can see how it saves time and increases comprehension.