How many hours did you study?
I would guess approximately 700 hours.
How far in advance did you start to study?
About 34 weeks.
What was your study plan?
It was a self-designed, three-phase study plan that required 3-4 hours of studying per day: The first phase was about 18 weeks long. During that time I used the Kaplan 7 subject review. I went through the science subject books (bio, biochem, chem, o-chem, physics, & behavioral) one at a time, allowing about 3 weeks to get through each one. Each day I would begin by reviewing all the flashcards I made for the science subject I was currently studying. I would then read the next subsection, convert everything into flashcards, and solve the problems for that subsection (adding flashcards as needed). There were some days off, and some days just dedicated to studying flashcards. The flashcards for each science subject were not carried over once the 3 weeks were up, rather they were put aside so I could focus on one science subject at a time. The second phase was about 10 weeks long. At this point all 6 science subject books had been converted into flashcards. During this phase I went through the flashcards for each science subject again, allowing about 2 weeks per subject. About half the study time each day would be dedicated to reviewing flashcards that were made for the science subject I was currently studying in those 2 weeks. The other half of the study time would be dedicated to solving problems. In addition to going through the Kaplan 7 subject review problems again, I used Princeton resources and the AAMC section question bank. The third phase was about 6 weeks long. Every Saturday leading up to the exam I completed a full-length practice exam. The exam would be completed in one sitting in order to simulate the real exam. Additionally, I planned out a food and drink schedule for the real exam that was optimized during the practice tests. Every Sunday leading up to the exam I reviewed the full-length practice exam that had been completed the preceding day. Monday-Friday were usually dedicated to doing more flashcards and solving problems. Again, about half the study time each day would be dedicated to reviewing flashcards. The other half of study time would be dedicated to solving problems. The problems during this phase were focused just on the behavioral sciences and CARS. There is really nothing to memorize for the CARS section, so I did any many passages/problems as possible. During the last 2 weeks of this phase I studied flashcards around 8-10 hours per day.
Did you take an exam prep course?
I did not take any course to prepare for the exam. I used the Kaplan 7 subject review.
Did you focus on learning content or test-taking strategies?
I focused on learning content with flashcards and solving problems.
How many practice exams did you take? Were those scores similar to your actual score?
A total of 5 full-length practice exams. I started with the 4 exams that were provided by Kaplan, and finished with the one AAMC practice exam that was available at the time. The first score was around 505, and each subsequent score was equal to or greater than the last. The score I received on the AAMC practice exam matched the score of the real exam (519).