MST Resource Review: UWorld MCAT Qbank
- Jun 23, 2021
High-quality, passage-based questions are the gold standard of MCAT preparation, but unfortunately, they are perennially in short supply for our students. Luckily, UWorld’s MCAT Qbank is a top-quality resource for MCAT preparation. Read on for our review of UWorld’s MCAT Qbank, how best to use it for MCAT success, and why the MCAT is an important milestone for incoming medical students.
Why you want to ace your MCAT exam on your first try
It is highly advantageous to ace your MCAT the first time around. Apart from the frustration of a second study period added to your med school admissions timeline, all MCAT scores are reported to medical schools.
While many schools will take into account your improvement on a second attempt, many will average or otherwise consider both attempts when evaluating your application. As a result, it is in your best interest to do your absolute best on your first attempt!
UWorld MCAT Qbank: A top-tier MCAT resource
In 2017, UWorld introduced a 1,000 question passage bank for the MCAT. Since then, UWorld has nearly doubled the size of the qbank with almost 2,000 questions. While a relatively new name to most MCAT test-takers, UWorld has built top-tier resources for the NCLEX and USMLE exams, so we are excited to see UWorld continuing to expand their MCAT resources.
Why is this so important? Beyond the official AAMC practice materials, the offerings of prep companies have been of mixed quality. Given the limited quantity of official AAMC materials, we recommend our students save the AAMC content until their final preparation leading up to test day and use the UWorld MCAT Qbank for initial prep.
UWorld MCAT Qbank’s user-friendly UI: tons of great features
UWorld’s depth of experience is apparent in the quality of the question bank interface. In contrast to some of the buggier menu and tab-plagued designs of other MCAT question banks, UWorld’s user interface is technically sound and intuitively easy to navigate.
Built on the same software as UWorld’s other products, the question bank is accessible across both desktop and mobile devices. As is common with most passage-based question banks, UWorld’s bank mirrors the design of the AAMC’s official MCAT.
However, UWorld has added a number of thoughtful features you won’t find on the AAMC’s question bank. The qbank offers both tutor and timed modes, allowing a variety of practice options.
We found good granularity in questions – each passage is tagged by content area, allowing students to drill down to focus on a particular topic. Students can create flashcards in-browser, making it easy to retain difficult concepts. The app tracks performance, allowing you to measure your progress relative to other test takers as you progress through the bank.
UWorld MCAT’s high-quality passages
While many prep companies include a great deal of subpar passages to expand their question banks, we found UWorld’s passages to be consistently high quality. Passages are challenging, but not punishingly so – students should expect UWorld passages to be on the upper range of difficulty relative to what they might find on the exam.
We found the quality of passages to be reliable across subject areas, and particularly strong in the sciences. UWorld impressed us with passages testing complex interpretation of lab results, a particular area of difficulty for many students.
Top-notch answer explanations: UWorld MCAT’s best feature
Standing head and shoulders above any other available passage bank, UWorld provides detailed answer explanations for both right and wrong answers, complete with visuals.
Students have traditionally been frustrated by the opaque, limited answer explanations found in the official AAMC practice materials. Without a doubt, the UWorld qbank’s strongest feature is its answer explanations.
Excellent step-by-step walkthroughs are provided for questions related to physics and chemistry questions. All answer explanations include bolded words that emphasize important concepts and allow for students to know what is key information. Additionally, more complex terms have an “exhibit” feature, denoted by a blue highlight, which allows students to click on the term for more supplemental information.
As a student, there are few things more frustrating than missing a question only to be confused by an inadequate or incomplete answer explanation. UWorld’s detailed answer explanations ensure the questions you complete translate to effective learning points. The explanations evaluate the QBank to a virtual textbook targeted to your areas of weakness.
No full-length practice test capacity
No student’s MCAT preparation is complete without full-length practice tests mimicking the real exam. While UWorld provides an excellent, best-in-class range of options for creating timed section practice, it does not include built-in full-length exams.
Students in need of standardized exams for MCAT self-assessment should look elsewhere. UWorld has also stated its intention to introduce new features to the bank, so perhaps we can look forward to further functionality in the future.
Why use UWorld for MCAT prep?
UWorld’s high-quality passages and answer explanations place it above other question banks on the market. Outside of the official AAMC materials, UWorld is the closest you’ll come to a resource that mimics the real exam. The user-friendly interface makes it easy to create practice sessions targeted to your areas of weakness and track your progress.
How to use UWorld MCAT
UWorld’s question bank is an excellent fit for students who need additional practice outside of full-length exams. Students should use the timed study option with several passages to replicate exam conditions, then review their work in detail.
Once you are approaching exam day, start working with AAMC questions for your final push to prep for the MCAT exam.
UWorld MCAT study tips
While the untimed tutor mode is a useful option for other exams, a key aspect of the MCAT’s difficulty is tight timing across a full-length section. Accordingly, for the MCAT, timed practice is irreplaceable! Complete your practice sets in timed blocks to mimic the real exam. You may miss more questions now, but your dedication will pay off on exam day.
Read answer explanations in full. Completing a question is only half the battle; UWorld’s answer explanations are where the real learning is done.
Be sure to read the explanations for all the answer choices, not just the correct choice – even on the questions you get right! These explanations are intended to function as an outline textbook; don’t rush past them.
How to measure your MCAT preparedness
UWorld’s provides excellent feedback as you progress through the QBank. You’ll see data charting your success rates against other students as a percentile, a metric that will help you measure your preparedness for the exam. UWorld breaks this info down into granular metrics for each topic area, making it easy for you to see where you need to focus your efforts.
Benefits of UWorld MCAT Qbank
There is no replacement for the active learning provided by timed passage practice. As tutors, we want our students to complete as many passages as possible before their MCAT. To this end, UWorld provides a great resource for our students who are looking for additional passage practice beyond the AAMC’s offerings.
We love their detailed question explanations, sleek user interface, and the ability for students to to create their own flashcards.
The UWorld MCAT question bank costs $270 for 6 months of access to almost 2,000 practice questions. This makes it a very cost-efficient way to receive a significant volume of practice questions that mimic the MCAT exam.
Details regarding UWorld MCAT subscriptions
The Qbank can be accessed through UWorld’s standalone app, downloaded via the UWorld website. UWorld offers several subscription models for the QBank: $219 for 90 days, $269 for 180 days, and $319 for 360 days.
UWorld MCAT Free Trial
UWorld currently offers an 7 day MCAT free trial for students interested in testing the bank for themselves.
UWorld MCAT Qbank: the verdict
UWorld’s MCAT Qbank is a top-notch resource that will provide value to high-achieving students interested in resources beyond the AAMC’s tests and question packs. In our view, the question bank should be used as a resource for passage-based questions after students finish their initial content review but before students switch to their final test prep with the official AAMC materials.