Hey Guest! Check out the 3 MCAT Study Plan Options listed in the 'stickies' area at the top of the forums (BoomBoom, SN2ed, and MCATJelly). Let us know which you like best.

Also, we now offer a MCAT Test-Prep Exhibitions Forum where you can ask questions directly from the test-prep services.
Visit this thread to beta-test StudySchedule.org. StudySchedule is a free nonprofit site that builds dynamic MCAT study schedules unique for your needs and timeline.

30+ MCAT Study Habits- The CBT Version

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by omegaxx, Feb 18, 2007.

  1. SDN is made possible through member donations, sponsorships, and our volunteers. Learn about SDN's nonprofit mission.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. ponyo

    ponyo 人魚姫 7+ Year Member

    Aug 11, 2009
    North of Key West
    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    PS =14
    VR =13
    BS = 15
    Composite: 42Q

    2) The study method used for each section

    Physical Sciences
    Read through TPR, wrote down the formulae I didn't have memorized (appx 30-40 flash cards), memorized those flash cards. I also did a bit from the EK1001 but barely.
    Physical Sciences wasn't a problem for me, not because I am actually good at math, but because I took the MCAT right out of a year of p-chem.

    Verbal Reasoning
    Just did the passages while doing AAMC practice tests. Tried to look at TPR and EK101 but they didn't make any sense so I gave up.

    Biological Sciences
    I really struggled with BS. I had the biochemistry and the o-chem down, but I had absolutely no understanding of human physiology at all. My first score on AAMC #3 was a 9 (compared to 14s in PS and VR), and retrospectively that was really quite an easy exam.

    At first, I thought maybe I could just read the books and memorize them, but soon I realized that I didn't actually understand the concepts as I read them. I would basically read through a passage, think that I have it down, and then miss all the relevant problems. For instance, no matter how much I stared at the heart diagram, I just had no idea how the blood was actually flowing.

    So I decided to essentially write my own MCAT bio book. Here's a time-lapse video I made while incredibly bored, of a day when I was doing neuro and cardiovascular:


    Basically I got the outline from the AAMC website and filled it in with information from TPR, Wikipedia, other people's lecture notes, and any other source I could find. I also referenced Boron & Boulpaep although retrospectively that was entirely unnecessary. This didn't actually take as long as one might imagine; I had a lot of spare time in lab and that video above was from a single day. The end result was that I had a REALLY good understanding of MCAT-level physiology because I wrote so much of it myself. Even for the things I pasted I made sure that I knew exactly what was going on and could easily reproduce it.

    About 1 week before the exam I re-formatted everything in pretty fonts and colorful headings, printed it out, and just walked around reading it over and over again. :)

    Didn't study for writing (I actually skipped the prompts on the AAMC practice tests--probably wasn't the best idea).

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)
    TPR, Wikipedia, AAMC #3-7 (I think; I did 4 in total). I did some EK 1001s but really didn't like their problems; I thought they were not representative of the ones on the AAMC exams.

    I want to mention that every other 40+ I know used EK and I would have gotten that too, but I had to go back to China on short notice and all they had at the bookstore were TPR and Kaplan, and I wasn't going to pick Kaplan.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    AAMC (the first 4)

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    Chemistry and Psychology.

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    Make sure you really understand the concepts...

    And you can do it! Before I started studying, I didn't know the heart had valves or that the kidney and the adrenal glands were different things. If I can get a 15 on BS, anything is possible :)

    Lastly, do not schedule the MCAT 2 days after your birthday. It is just the worst idea.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    About 8-10 weeks. On a few especially panicky days I studied a lot (7-8hrs). On most days I studied maybe 2-3hrs.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2011
    Sauce Boss likes this.
  2. SDN Members don't see this ad. About the ads.
  3. liveoak


    Jan 21, 2011
    share your book ponyo!
  4. MCATlover


    Sep 13, 2011
    ponyo, it looks more like you had a solid UG training.

    How did you get the Verbal so high?
  5. jonesmish2011

    jonesmish2011 Banned

    Sep 30, 2011
    I should also throw in that I was taking it several years removed from my undergrad classes in organic chemistry and physics. I probably would have done better if the material was fresher in my mind. I have always sucked at verbal, but practicing with EK in the month before the exam helped me out.

    Most on SDN would say that 32R isn't that wonderful anyhow, and truth be told, I knew that it was really only good enough for my state school. Most prep course instructors in my area barely cracked a 30 themselves.

    My .02--the MCAT science tests are mostly passage-based, and they test your understanding and ability to apply what you know more than rote memory (unlike med school in my experience). As such, the prep courses and so forth will not take you from a 6 to a 10 (more like 6 to 8, still usually too low for admission).
  6. lolcat

    lolcat 5+ Year Member

    Sep 9, 2009
    Orlando, FL
    You're the man! :thumbup:
  7. Morsetlis

    Morsetlis I wish I were a dentist 7+ Year Member

    Jan 22, 2010
    The "Garden" State
    Do you really memorize all this? I worked for six months teaching the MCAT and TA'd Bio 2 for a year and now can't remember any plants/bio/chem/ochem stuff besides the obvious ones. Physics will be gone the end of med school. Biochem is the only thing on the MCAT that's still clear in my mind, mostly because I'm currently taking the Medical version :D

    Also, congratulations to ponyo. You will be AOA in medical school, if you don't have a meltdown and kill a few people first ;p
  8. DryHopped

    DryHopped 7+ Year Member

    Dec 30, 2009
    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    PS11/VR10/BS10 Composite: 31M

    2) The study method used for each section
    -I took the Kaplan on-site course, but before the course started I went through all the chapters of TBR Gen Chem and Physics because according to my diagnostic test I was really bad at MCAT Physics and GChem. Once the course started I did all of the Kaplan materials for Physics and GChem.
    -I found out early in my practice tests that VR was also a weakness, so I started doing full timed verbal tests every other day. This did not lead to much progress, I did not start making progress in VR (went from averaging 7s to 10s) until I started breaking the tests up and doing timed VR passages every day like SN2ed advises.
    -For the Bio section I didn't really study much because I had a real solid physiology background and recently took OChem 1 and 2 during a post-bacc and received A's. My studying for Bio consisted of reading the Kaplan books and taking notes on flashcards, then doing some of the section and topical tests online.

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)
    PS: TBR and Kaplan
    VR: EK101 and Kaplan
    BS: Kaplan

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    These are the test I took in order
    Kaplan Diagnostic - 24
    Kaplan 1 - 27
    Kaplan 2 - 30
    Kaplan 3 - 33
    AAMC 4 - 31:D
    AAMC 3 - 25:eek:
    AAMC 5 - 29:shrug:
    AAMC 7 - 26:scared:
    AAMC 8 - 29:confused:
    AAMC 9 -33:idea:
    AAMC 11 - 27:wtf:
    AAMC 10 - 31:xf:
    *As you can see my practice test scores are all over the place. I had some big gaps in knowledge that were exploited on certain tests, I also bombed the VR on my lowest scores because I did not finish in time.

    5) What was your undergraduate major?

    Exercise Physiology

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    Try to keep a positive mindset while studying and after you take it. It is easy to get discouraged during this process but try your best not to because it is not beneficial. If you have weaknesses work hard to improve them, but don't neglect your strengths either.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    3 months, 6 hours/day
  9. UrshumMurshum

    UrshumMurshum 2+ Year Member

    Sep 19, 2011
    Ponyo, I can honestly say I've never seen such raw determination and efficient studying before. That video was hugely inspirational for me to watch as it shows me just how weak my own studying has been (well technically I'm just beginning). I think that's a really great idea and I'm going to try to mimic writing my own mini book for the biology topics. The only thing though is that I don't have access to my old lecture notes, but from the brief overview it seemed like you got most of your information from wikipedia, at least for the neuro and cardio section.
  10. ponyo

    ponyo 人魚姫 7+ Year Member

    Aug 11, 2009
    North of Key West
    I wish I could! TBH I started writing it hoping to be able to share it, but I stole wayyyy too much info from TPR so it would be totally illegal.

    I read a lot... :/ I didn't really know how to study for it so I just... didn't...


    How do you know that hasn't already happened? ;)

    Yes, the vast majority of my info came from Wiki, some from TPR and some from random lecture notes people put online. I never took physio or cell bio, so my lecture notes weren't very helpful anyway. I think it just REALLY makes sure that you understand absolutely everything. The actual memorization portion was a breeze in comparison.
  11. BurntFlower

    BurntFlower 7+ Year Member

    Mar 31, 2009
    Ponyo, how many pages was your mini-book? And congratulations on such a great score!

    Edit: Whoo, 100th post!
  12. Wow Ponyo, that is a lot of determination. I'm just wondering, how did you feel when you came out of the test? I thought I had failed and I actually had a 2 minute debate with myself whether to void the score.
  13. UrshumMurshum

    UrshumMurshum 2+ Year Member

    Sep 19, 2011
    Ya, I don't think I'm going to be doing as much notes as was shown in the video, I think it just depends on your gut feel, when you think you have it concrete enough to have a mental conversation on the topic.
  14. Itwashambone

    Itwashambone 5+ Year Member

    May 4, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2012
  15. Beejer


    Oct 4, 2011
    Hey guys I just got my scores in today. And just so happens that today is also my birthday and luckily there is cause for celebration! I've been mooching off these forums for a while now and I recommend you look into all the hints on here. There are some really great threads and stickies about verbal strategies and just general info. Use these forums, they help.

    1) Your individual scores and composite score.
    40O, 11V 14P 15B

    2) Everything else
    I'm poor. I couldn't afford a prep course but after this experience I can truly say that there is enough material out there for a home study. You don't need to dole out 1200$ for a course.

    Physical Sciences
    I've never been confident with math or physics. I started studying for this section right away because I knew it would be the most challenging for me.
    EK Physics - this was a good book, good practice problems and definitely goes over everything you need to know. It isn't very detailed and I sometimes felt I wanted more background info or further explanation. But that kind of thing isn't hard to get online.
    I also used the MCAT Physics Book by NOVA mostly after EK to get different perspectives. It is an alright book and approaches some subjects differently. For me it was very valuable to go over subjects I struggled with in a new book, to look at it a different way. I didn't go through the whole thing.
    EK Chemistry - Really good book. Great practice. I didn't feel like I lacked any knowledge. The practice questions were perfect for showing what you need to study further.

    Verbal Reasoning
    EK 101 Passages in VR - pretty decent but I would say harder than the real thing or the AAMC practice tests. LOTS and LOTS of practice. I didn't finish the whole thing. I think EK's verbal strategies are good but ultimately I got so much practice in the end that I made my own strategy that worked for me.
    Practice - Do every AAMC exam. It is the only way to get truly legit VR practice. I think EK was close but too hard and a little exaggerated in the trickery, TPR and Kaplan were probably next. But I felt it was really only the AAMC that helped in the end.

    Biological Sciences
    I wasn't worried about this section. I started studying for last. Mostly review if you have finished a BSc Dbl Major in Chemistry and Biology like me. Pay attention in school and this will not be much of a problem. I know Orgo is scary to a lot of people but really it's just about gaining an intuition about it. I took almost 3 years of Orgo and I think it wasn't until 2nd year that I gained this intuition. But once you got it, Orgo is easy as pie. Try to take further organic chem if you think you can hack it. Or just practice until you automatically know what electrons or reactants are going to do.
    EK Biology - Perfect book. Everything was in there. Went over it once, practice problems told me what I need to go over twice. Perfect. Don't need anything else except this book for Bio.
    EK Organic Chemistry - Pretty good book. Great refresher to get back to basics. They know what is going to be on the test. Listen to them and practice!

    Writing Sample - didn't care, never looked at anything. Didn't do very well in this section, still don't care.

    My strategy:
    I needed 3 months no more no less. Make a plan from the very beginning that gets you finished studying 2 weeks before test date. I mean plan out every single day. Stuff comes up but 2 weeks should cover that and you should peak just before test date. If you are a procrastinator give yourself more sh*t happens time.

    There is content studying and then there is practice.
    Get solid content material. I would recommend EK.
    Get as much practice material as you can get your hands on. I got 11 Kaplan full lengths, 4 EK full lengths, 3 TPR full lengths, there are 2 free online tests, and I took all the AAMC practice exams. Plus EK has good little exams in their books.

    Go by section. Start with your hardest section first. For me was physical sciences. I started with EK phys, finished it then did physics practice Qs out of Kaplan full lengths just until I felt comfortable. Then I did EK Chemistry and did the chemistry questions out of those same exams until I felt comfortable.

    For verbal I just practiced everyday. It is a matter of how much time you spend practicing so do it everyday to get a feel for it. By game time you will have already practiced enough. Don't learn speed reading, don't just read things. Do verbal reasoning passages.

    Once you've Finished content studying and got a good amount of practice for each section, and all the while you've been practicing verbal. Then it is time to time yourself and do full length exams. I did a full length everyday toward the end. I did the AAMCs last and in order. Keep track of your scores. Time yourself. At first I looked at why I was getting most Qs wrong. Turned out time was a big factor in VR and PS for me. So I practiced going faster until I eliminated time as a factor. Then the next problem was stupid mistakes. So then I practiced focusing while going fast. Eventually I eliminated stupid mistakes as a factor. All the while I went over EVERY SINGLE QUESTION I GOT WRONG and EVERY SINGLE QUESTION I WAS UNSURE OF after each exam. By practicing and going over mistakes, targeting your weaknesses and identifying your problems while working hard to solve them I eventually became an MCAT machine. By the time I got to the AAMC practice material I was confident. Then the AAMC got me into the rhythm. This is important. You need to have been doing real MCATs up until the real MCAT. I mean 10 min breaks, exact timing on the computer if possible.

    Be systematic, be thorough, be self critical and always work to improve. Believe that every question you go over will be a question you will now get right on the MCAT. Practice Practice Practice. Get your rhythm. You will get 30+.

    Oh and nerves. Try to relax the day before the test. I watched movies slept in and worked out. Get a good amount of rest. I only got up 2 hours before exam start. At the end just take it easy. As long as you know you've done everything possible then you should have at least a little confidence. It's after the exam that the nerves really start going so chill out now.

    Good luck
    bambam92 likes this.
  16. Tots

    Tots c/o 2018 Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Nov 24, 2008
    1) Your individual scores and composite score

    40Q VR: 13 PS: 12 BS: 15

    2) The study method used for each section

    Science Sections​

    • I took TBR class so I had a lecture on each subject.
    • I outlined all the information I learned/reviewed from the class. I would copy my notes a few days after I took them and then review all the notes a couple times a week.
    • I went chapter by chapter through EK and did all of the 30 minute exams.
    • Did about 1/3 of the TBR physics passages.
    • Listened to Audio Osmosis every evening when I went jogging. Listened 2-3 times through.
    • I did not study Ochem because I had a good understanding of the concepts.
    • 2 weeks before my test I did the Kaplan 45 passages.

    • Did a majority of the TBR verbal passages. I liked TBR verbal and thought it prepared me well to tackle AAMC verbal even if it was sometimes obscure or weird.
    • I did 7 EK exams and then stopped using EK. I did not like EK and almost through the book against the wall at one point simply because their answer explanations were frustrating.
    Verbal Practice Scores​

    • TBR1: 11
    • TBR2: 10
    • TBR3: 11
    • TBR4: 11
    • TBR5: 10
    • TBR6: 12
    • EK1: 10
    • EK2: 11
    • EK3: 10
    • EK4: 11
    • EK5: 11
    • EK6: 09
    • EK7: 10

    Most of the review above was done before I started taking practice tests.

    Practice Tests​

    • Practice Tests were easily the best resource I used.
    • Started taking practice tests 45 days out. 2 a week at first and then 3 a week as my test date approached.
    • I took my test in the morning and reviewed it the next day. I only reviewed problems I marked or that I got wrong. I marked anything I thought I didn't 100% know.
    • When I reviewed a test I made a sheet with all my errors and topics I needed to review.
    3) What materials you used for each section

    These were my favorite resources for each section:

    BS: Examkrackers hands down. I thought TBR was way to detailed and since I was quite comfortable with Biology and Ochem I only needed a refresher.

    PS: TBR. Both the books and the lectures. I had very good physical science instructors in TBR class. Also liked Audio Osmosis for the Physics and Gchem.

    Verbal: AAMC Practice Tests were the best practice. TBR verbal book and practice tests were not as reflective as the real test but were helpful.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?

    TBR 1-6 and AAMC 3 -5, 7-11.

    Test: Total (PS, VR, BS)

    TBR#1: 34 (11, 11, 12)
    TBR#2: 36(11, 13, 12)
    TBR#3: 31 (12, 9, 10)
    TBR#4: 35 (12, 11, 12)
    TBR#5: 34 (10, 12, 12)
    AAMC#3: 32 (10, 11, 11)
    TBR#6: 35 (11, 12, 12)
    AAMC4: 37 (11, 13, 13)
    AAMC5: 37 (13, 11, 13)
    AAMC#7: 40 (13, 13, 14)
    AAMC#8: 39 (14, 11, 14)
    AAMC#9: 38 (14, 11, 13)
    AAMC#10: 37 (13, 11, 13)
    AAMC#11: 37 (11, 11, 15)

    TBR Average: 34 (11.1, 11.3, 11.6)
    AAMC AVerage: 37 (12.4, 11.5, 13.25)
    Total Average: 36 (11.9, 11.4, 12.6)

    5) What was your undergraduate major?

    Microbiology & Immunology

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?

    • Take practice tests and review them in detail.
    • Find what works best for you. Do you learn better in a classroom setting? Do you need someone to create a schedule for you?
    • Plan ahead but its OK to change your study plan to suit your ever changing study goals.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?

    I started in the middle of June and ended in late August. I volunteered during the summer, read for pleasure and tried to have an exciting summer but did not take classes, work or continue research.
  17. almostkorean

    almostkorean 2+ Year Member

    Apr 13, 2011
    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    PS=11 VR=11 WS=O BS=11 Composite=33O

    2) The study method used for each section
    I followed SN2's study guide very closely

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)
    Berkeley Review + EK

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    AAMCs. My first AAMC score was 28, my scores gradually went up as I took them.

    My range was 28-35, but the average of my last 4 practice exams was a 33

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    Computer Science

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    I'm a non-trad, I work full time as a software engineer so studying for the MCAT while working full time was stressful for me. The last pre-med course I took was 4 years ago (I started out undergrad as pre-med and then switched to CS and now I'm switching back!). I had very little free time all summer, but in the end it was all worth it.

    I changed my schedule around a bit to give me more time to study. I started going into work early at 7:30am so I could leave early at 4pm. I lived on a diet of straight up turkey sandwiches basically all summer just to save me time by not having to cook.

    The best way for me to relax was to work out. I highly recommend this to anyone. I worked out at the end of the day (every day) and it really helped me relax and clear my mind. If you can stand it, you can even listen to audio osmosis while you work out. And in addition to helping me relax I'm bigger and stronger now AWWW YEAAA

    I owe it all to SN2, without his guide I definitely would not have scored as high. I followed his schedule very closely, but one thing that was different was that I saved up my vacation days from work and used them all a week and a half before the exam day. In that week in a half I went over every section one more time, mostly just doing passages from each one. Not sure if that would be the best strategy for everyone, but I think it worked out well for me and I got the idea from my older brother who is in residency now and scored a 34 on his MCAT.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    4-5 months
  18. gettheleadout

    gettheleadout MS-3 Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Jun 22, 2010
    Wow, five SDNer's hit 40+ in a really short period!
  19. paul411

    paul411 ANES 7+ Year Member

    May 27, 2010
    Lots of high scores in the last two score releases.
  20. muhali3

    muhali3 7+ Year Member

    May 6, 2009
    This is why I feel so mediocre here...

    In non-SDN world, people are amazed by my score. "Jesus Christ, how did you study?"

    On SDN, 36 is like average.

    It's fine though, because I know I would have never received such a high score (97th percentile) without this site.
  21. gettheleadout

    gettheleadout MS-3 Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Jun 22, 2010
    Narmerguy has pointed this out before, so I'll give credit to him for formulating this answer: The average score of the vocal population of SDN is quite high, but if you look at the SDN population as a whole it tends to appear bimodal (below average scorers/applicants and way above average scores/applicants).

    And yes, 97th percentile is incredible, so no one scoring that high should feel inferior (even on SDN :rolleyes:).
  22. ponyo

    ponyo 人魚姫 7+ Year Member

    Aug 11, 2009
    North of Key West

    I felt like sh*t; completely sure I had bombed PS and thought about voiding as well. Good thing I didn't.

    Agreed--I wouldn't recommend it to most people. Like I said I got a 9 on BS the first time I practiced so I freaked and studied a lot. I didn't do notes for ochem/biochem for BS, or for the entire PS section, because I knew I had the material down. It's definitely about how much you personally feel about the topics.
  23. liveoak


    Jan 21, 2011
    seriously ponyo, i'd love a look at your book.

    try to reconsider ping pong playa. :cool:
  24. discipline

    discipline 2+ Year Member

    Aug 30, 2011
    Firstly, just last week I would have never imagined I would ever post here. Whether I got lucky or just underestimate myself I'll never know.

    .1) Your individual scores and composite score
    PS=14 VR=10 WS=S BS=10 Composite=34S

    2) The study method used for each section
    PS: I took 1st year physics 2 years ago, but I first sat the mcat last year so the material was fresh
    VR: The area I avoided preparing for. I would do at least one passage a day from Examkrackers or Kaplan
    WS: Went to AAMC prompt site, selected a prompt at random and prepared an essay. Rinse. Repeat. Built up my repository by following up on current events and browsing Wikipedia.
    BS: I feel that I underperformed due to comfort with the bio and struggles with organic. I did Kaplan and The Gold Standard questions. The Kaplan section tests really helped put me in my place and forced me to brush up on topics I thought I knew well.

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)
    Kaplan course (didn't attend classes, just used online materials and texts), Examkrackers Verbal, and The Gold Standard MCAT.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    All the AAMCs. I had access to the Kaplans but felt they weren't indicative of what I would see on test day.

    My range was 26-31

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    Biology and History of Religions double major

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    Over the course of 2.5 months I completed around 4500 distinct questions (discrete and passage-based). I did not work, I did not take any other courses, I did not do research. All I did was volunteer and MCAT. If you have the time, dedication, and the discipline, you can score above 30 no problem.

  25. kobemd54

    kobemd54 7+ Year Member

    Aug 24, 2009
    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    In the 30's

    2) The study method used for each section
    PS: About half of the passages for both Gen Chem and Physics for TBR. Also did TPR Workbook and EK.
    VR: Did passages from TPR, EK 101.
    WS: Did not prepare and score reflects that.
    BS: Did TPR Workbook and EK 1001. Read a little TBR but stopped after noting it was too dense.

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)
    A little from every source except Kaplan: TPR, TBR, EK 1001, EK 101, AAMC.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    TPR 1, 2, 3--> Scored in the low 20's and AAMC 3, 4--> Scored in upper 20's.

    5) What was your undergraduate major?

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    Confidence and good rest is key. Normally, I get nervous on standardized tests but on the night before the MCAT, I slept well. On test day, I was unusually confident, even though I never hit a score above 30 on any practice test because I knew I had a solid conceptual foundation. Many of the mistakes I made were memorization related, and between my AAMC practice and my actual MCAT, I made sure to cover those deficits in memorization that I had. In retrospect, I should have taken more AAMC's but I was saving them in case I needed to retake. On my particular MCAT, biology was nothing like AAMC 3 or 4 (which seemed a little bit outdated) and luckily, the physics section was tailored to my strengths. I found that paying attention in my undergraduate classes also helped out a lot as well. My biggest advice is to not let the test intimidate you. Whatever you put in, you will get the score you deserve.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    Off and on for about 9 months. Altogether probably 3-4 months.
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2013
  26. Chrome19

    Chrome19 2+ Year Member

    Sep 1, 2011
    I probably shouldn't be posting here since my prep was a bit hasty and is a bad template to prepare for this test, but I'll try.

    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    PS=12 VR=9 WS=Q BS=12 Composite=33Q

    2) The study method used for each section

    PS: I used Examkrackers for this. I reviewed all of EK physics in about two days. I spent another day doing all the 30 min chapter practice exams. I scored 8-11 on these with a mean of about 10. For chemistry, I used EK as well. Chemistry review took about 2 days as well with another 2 days spent doing the 30 min chapter practice exams, averaging 10-11.

    VR: By far my weakest area. Used EK101 for practice. I did the 1st 12 tests and averaged 9.5, range of 8-11 with mostly 9's and 10's. I usually did an EK101 VR test at night/weekends and reviewed their answers. I often disagreed with about 2-3 answers per test. I started prepping for VR roughly 3 wks before my test

    WS: Absolutely nothing.

    BS: Went through EK Bio in about 3-4 days and EK Orgo in 1 day. I averaged 12's in EK Bio 30 minute exams and 11 in EK Orgo.

    I then spent another 2 days reviewing all the subjects solidifying certain concepts, for example lenses in physics, chemical cells in chem, nervous system in bio, and certain o. chem reactions.

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)

    EK and the Official Guide to the MCAT by AAMC. I received the Guide in the mail 5 days before my test and I think it helped. After going through the problems, I understood organic chem could be tough if I got a lot of it on the test (even though I have a very strong O. chem background), but I had confidence in everything else. Yeah, verbal still seemed like an 8-10 :rolleyes:.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?

    Didn't have much cash to pay for all the AAMC's, but I didn't have the time to take most of them anyways, though I knew I had to get AAMC 11.

    EK #1H: PS 9, VR 10, BS 8 (27)-4 days before test
    AAMC 3: PS 11 VR 10 BS 13 (34)-2 days before test
    AAMC 11: PS 11 VR 10 BS 12 (33)-1 day before test

    5) What was your undergraduate major?

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?

    Just try to understand why every question is correct or wrong. Know at least 80% of the necessary facts. And try not to make too many mistakes. In my practice tests mistakes always kept me from 35-37, but I didn't practice enough to get them under control. Oh, and good luck on verbal. May you have more luck than me. And if you believe in God, pray. :luck:

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT
    Just over 2 weeks. I put in around a 100 solid and focused hours of prep. I averaged about 8-12 hours per day 4 days before my test. Because of the short time I had for my prep, I had to be efficient and take my chances on certain topics, but very very few. In addition I learned my sciences pretty well in the past, and thanks to EK's conciseness I was able to do a rapid review, but it was very TOUGH.

    Regardless, I wish I didn't procrastinate and started studying hardcore 2 months earlier. Maybe I would've scored 35+ :D

    Good luck.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2011
  27. Appoggiatura

    Appoggiatura 2+ Year Member

    Jun 8, 2011
    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    PS=14 VR=12 WS=S BS=14 Composite= 40S

    2) The study method used for each section

    For all sections, I used a combination of TPR Hyperlearning books, old high school AP textbooks and miscellaneous college class notes I brought home.


    I felt I had a lot of catch-up to do, because I haven't taken any physics since AP Physics in high school. I knew nothing about fluid dynamics or optics, and the stuff I did know were rusty. I also am not particularly strong at General Chem.

    Basically, I did content review for the first two and a half weeks, outlining key diagrams and equations in a separate notebook. I paid special attention to recurring problems that appeared throughout practice exams and problem sets, such as pulley systems for mechanics or Archimedes' Principle for fluids. I try to visualize concepts in terms of concrete examples (for example, I thought of gas solubilities in terms of soda pop...room temperature Coca Cola tastes crappy because the bubbles all escape etc.etc.).


    Verbal was a wake-up call. I'm an avid reader, used to reading lots, but I kept tripping up on the convoluted questions on the verbal section. From doing many, many, many practice passages, I realized that I was terrible at inference questions and tended to bring too much "outside" information to answer the verbal questions. The important part of my prepping was mainly to get used to the dense language of the passages and the questions as well as to train myself to focus solely on the passage information to answer verbal problems.


    I wrote a few practice essays and did some digging and research two days before my test, but that was it.


    I did content review for the first few weeks, recording difficult and hard-to-remember concepts in a separate notebook. I found that keeping a written record that I could carry around with me to refresh my memory was extremely helpful.

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)

    TPR Hyperlearning Books (the set cost around $300), AAMC tests, old school textbooks, old class notes.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?

    TPR #3
    TPR #9

    AAMC #5
    AAMC #7
    AAMC #8
    AAMC #9
    AAMC #10

    I don't remember the exact scores for each, but I started out around 26 and was averaging 37-38 by the end of my study period.

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    Science/Humanities double major

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?

    You don't need to know everything about everything for the MCAT. Especially for the BS, some questions are passage-based and test you more on critical thinking and assessment skills (i.e. interpret this graph or figure out what this diagram means) than straight-up cold facts. A good place to start would be looking through old biology or physics lab reports for experimental setups. This is not to say you shouldn't know any facts, but understanding general concepts for PS and pathways and procedures for BS are more important, IMHO. Verbal's weird, and I don't know what more to say about that.

    Try not to second guess yourself, and just believe!

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT

    About 1.5 months for about an hour or two a day during the week (I was doing a research internship from 9 am-6 pm the rest of the time) and more during the weekends. I self-studied, since I just didn't have the time to go a prep course.

    Good luck :)
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2011
  28. nickmx50

    nickmx50 5+ Year Member

    Dec 2, 2009
    Your individual scores and composite score
    PS=11 VR=9 WS=Q BS=12 Composite=32Q

    2) The study method used for each section
    Read section, did questions in TBR and corresponding EK 1001 sections
    Verbal 101 Passages. Did a test every 3-4 days.

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)
    TBR : Gen Chem, Ochem, Physics
    Examkrackers : Bio

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    Gold Standard tests 1,2,4,5,7,10 AAMC #3

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    Molecular Biology: Also took genetics and Biochem classes.

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    Don't get bogged down doing a lot of calculation questions. Study the theory. Do as many practice tests as possible, and only take 10 minute breaks in between.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    3 months. 5-6 days a week. 3-4 hours a day.
  29. liveoak


    Jan 21, 2011
    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    PS=12 VR=10 BS=11 33Q

    2) The study method used for each section
    PS: Started with chemistry first, then moved onto physics. I felt chemistry takes a bit longer to review. I used my old textbooks over the prep companies. I followed the AAMC outline
    VR: Did around 270 practice passages. Averagee a 9.0. That's it. No technique
    BS: Hardest section. I've never taken organic two, and the only bio i've taken is my big state schools massive "biology for non-bio majors" class. I had to study the majority of the AAMC topics by myself. I first studied molecular genetics, then physiology. A nice progression.

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)
    Don't care. They are all the same.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    Never took a full FL. Just a bunch of sections. AAMC, GS and some TPR

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    Electrical Engineering :luck:

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    Believe in yourself. Don't listen to those that claim it's solely a "critical thinking" or "smart persons" test. It's not. It's how much you study. Period. Keep fighting. Keep going. Don't listen to the academic elitists trying to psych you out. F*ck them.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    2 months, probably 3-4 hours a day
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2011
  30. happilywallowin


    Oct 11, 2011
    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    PS: 14
    VS: 13
    BS: 11 (LOL since I'm a biology major)
    WS: R
    Composite: 38R

    2) The study method used for each section

    FYI: I took TPRH course.

    PS- I have a strong background in introductory physics and chemistry. If you notice, the questions in this section are extremely similar to questions in AP Chemistry and AP Physics B (MCAT might even be easier than AP!), so I literally brought back my AP Physics book from home to use for a question-bank and clarifications of some content review. It wasn't hard for me, since I've been doing these sorts of questions for years in highschool and freshman year of college. In fact, when I took my first practice test, I didn't realize that I was allowed scratch paper, so my PS score wasn't so hot in the beginning. But then it essentially hopped 4 points in a few weeks after I began using pencil and paper for calculations.
    --I did all the questions in the TPRH science workbook for physics but not chemistry (only did 2 sections). I did little content review except for a few chapters in the TPR review books.

    VS: Okay, so this was the crap-shoot section. No matter how many passages I did, no matter how much I reviewed the questions and was like "Aha! So that's why I got it wrong! I will devise and remember a new trick/strategy so that I never commit the same mistakes again! HAHAHAHA," my score never really improved for weeks and weeks and weeks. Then, it just jumped on the real MCAT (whose VS section was SOSOSO easy compared to the ones I had done, surprisingly). My only advice for this section is to readreadread. There's little else you can do. Read The Economist, if anything, because I think that the opinion-articles on there really help develop your critical thinking. Of course, the challenge is not to fall asleep as I often do, from having my brain work so hard.
    --I also finished the entire TPRH verbal workbook. Didn't pay attention to their verbal strategy, skipped 80% of my verbal classes (on second thought, I pretty much skipped 80% of my classes in general hahaha I wasted so much money), just practiced and made a strategy that worked for me and me alone.

    BS: I just studied TPRH materials diligently and did all the questions in the massively humungous science workbook--I thought I was going to die from question overload. I'm pretty strong in molecular biology, but I'm weak in physiology. I would takes notes in the margins of my TPRH biology book, basically summarizing a massive paragraph into a tiny diagram and adding a few descriptions to the already-printed diagrams to clarify. I underlined sentences that seemed to embody the entire paragraph, and I would re-read chapters to really understand and memorize. I think I was pretty set for the biology section.
    --But then Orgo happened, and I was one of the people who didn't study orgo-- only SEVEN chapters in TPRH book, and I didn't realize that everything was important. So I essentially didn't study orgo. So I got owned. I deserved it--only did half the homework and skimmed the rest of the concepts the day of the test.

    WS: Almost everytime I did a practice test, I did a WS section. The online TPR materials had live graders who would grade your essays. My scores fluctuated wildly (I think I went from O to S to N to T to N again, etc.), so, after a while, I was like "whatever" as long as I don't get lower than N.
    --For more practice, I joined internet forums and talked about different issues. I joined collegenet.com and typed up responses to people's questions (which were quite similar to MCAT prompts). It was fun and nice, because people actually responded to you and you could make a few online friends at the same time. It forced me to think carefully and critically, especially when I felt like arguing against a side that most of the people were rooting for.
    --I also used one sample essay from TPRH verbal book as a reference and as a model of what I should aim for. I glanced at the other essays, but forgot about them quickly.
    --Btw, on the real thing, I was totally taken aback by my WS of R. I thought I bombed it, and when I lurked on this forum and read how people thought it was a "break," it was even more discouraging, because I truly had a dearth of ideas when I was writing my essays. I used examples about sex. Yeah, that's how bad it was.

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)

    I used TPRH materials all the way. Nothing else. I joined the classroom course, which were 7-9:30, Monday through Thursday. Unfortunately, I was bored easily, and I never had time to eat dinner before the course and after working in lab. So I brought in dinner to class or came in late and pissed off several people. The biology instructor yelled at me once for coming in late and asking what I missed. Also, they don't like it if you ask questions that are not covered in the books--aka questions that would be more appropriate in a real college course than a prep course, so I learned that lesson the hard way.

    Eventually, though, I just found that the material taught in class was EXACTLY the same as the books. Being my typical lazy self, I ended up skipping a lot of classes and thus wasting a lot of money. I would do 1-2 homework sections per week and then cranked it up to about 7 per week the month after the end of the course and before my real exam. Each section took anywhere from 1 to 5 hours for me to do, just because there was so much stuff and so many questions. I sometimes would read the passages with one eye closed; that was how tired of them I was.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?

    I took a practice test almost every week. Then, in the last month, I took 2 per week. I wanted to do 3, but I was too tired.

    In short: 28O-->38R

    I used TPR and AAMC practice exams, all available online through my TPR course student tools
    First diagnostic TPR: 8/10/10 O
    The scores eeked up a few points every week for a while until I hit TPR #5, which dropped me back to 11/7/10. Not very encouraging.

    After the end of my course, I went back home for a month and took 2 exams/week:
    TPR MCAT review exams were absolutely insane; I scored 8/8/9. Two days later, I got 13/11/13 T on AAMC #7.
    So I switched over to AAMC and did #7-11. The scores were pretty similar. I averaged around 37-38, with my range 37-39.

    I do think think that the AAMC scores are representative of what you'll score on the real thing. Of course, there's always variation, but you have to make sure that you're realistic about it. Don't inflate your hopes/predictions. Just keep a very tight control over your knowledge base and, in fact, don't even think about the scores. Do your best.

    5) What was your undergraduate major?


    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?

    Don't think about the scores when you're taking the real MCAT. Take breaks and do whatever you need to do to relax and "get in the mode." For me, I swiveled in my chair a little bit, stretched, played with the headphones they offered me, and scratched myself to a glorious bliss. I ate a lot of lollipops and pizza-flavored goldfish during the breaks. Then, when I was doing the questions, it was complete concentration and even the tapping of people doing their essays didn't bother me. The only problem was when I began to worry about my scores in the middle of the test. -->Focus, believe in yourself, as corny as that may sound.

    Of course, the week after I took the MCAT was dark and depressing, but now that my scores have come out, I'm happy I don't have to retake.

    Also, I suspect that if I'd taken the AAMC exams first, not the TPR diagnostic, I would've scored around 33-34. I'm not sure whether it is the magic of the course or not, but I don't feel as though I actually changed that much, only the exams. My AAMC exams had the exact same raw scores each time, even though the scaled scores differed. My TPR scores fluctuated so wildly and the tests' difficulty were so variable that I can't help but wonder at how they manipulate the difficulty of the exams.

    Finally, I want to note that the AAMC reserves the right to make the test as easy or as difficult as they want. If you want to get an idea of the upper reaches of MCAT difficulty, you should definitely try TPR diagnostic exams. They will make you feel like crap. And spur you on to study harder.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    3 months(TPR course was 2 months long)
  31. crackajack


    Oct 11, 2011
    1) Your individual scores and composite score

    37Q (11V 14P 12B)

    2) The study method used for each section

    V - Basically practiced here and there. I didn't use any review notes or learn any 'special methods'. Just stayed fresh and to be honest, my range of scores didn't change. I did not spend much time on this.

    P - Used the EK Gen. Chemistry book and reviewed (annotation, repetition, etc.) all the chapters thoroughly, doing the included practice problems and any others I could salvage in secondary books. For Physics, it was mostly a once through content review, returning to the tougher concepts as needed, and most of all priming my problem-solving skills.

    B - Relied mostly on primary review books. Generally my first go-through was one chapter at a time, thorough with annotations/highlighting (get that boss Bic four-colour pen, love that thing), then lighter review the next day and an EK chapter quiz. I also had time for another light full review 2-3 weeks prior. Supplemental books for extra practice and tougher concepts. Some Orgo reaction flash cards.

    W - I spend a couple hours reviewing strategies and form, but then I just wrote some essays sporadically, more frequently as the the test approached. Probably 8-10 in total? Time them strictly! I felt really disappointed with my essays on test day compared to my practice, but I won't complain about a Q.

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)

    V - I worked through passages from library books, borrowed my friend's Kaplan book for a while. Heck, read the newspaper and practice a good balance of speed and detail.

    P - EK General Chemistry book, Kaplan Physics book. Some supplementary library books (Princeton, McGraw-Hill, Barron's) for extra practice.

    B - EK Biology and EK Organic Chemistry. I highly recommend these. I think Examkrackers is great - far more concise than Kaplan, which I find rambles on about stupid analogies you don't have time for. I made those EK books my bitch and used whatever secondary library books for practice when I had extra time.

    W - Google and Word.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?

    Oh boy, all kinds. Seven in total. A few from Barron's (library), one from McGraw-Hill (which kinda sucked), two from Princeton (harder than most), and one AAMC (the free one lol). I forgot all my scores, but I'll say something like: 32, 34, 36, 36, 30, 31, 35.. Yeah, they started going down and man, it was frustrating. (Don't take these number with too much weight, though. The low ones were harder and the early ones weren't as 'test-like' as they should have been.) Just remember you're probably not getting dumber, but you have to condition your mind be sharp. The Princeton ones were harder because that "guaranteed improvement" jargon, the AAMC was the most accurate. I would stress disciplining yourself to time strictly to mimic test conditions or else you'll feel overwhelmed on the test. And that's not cool.

    I structured my studying around practice tests, which helped me keep deadlines. My schedule might have looked something like this:

    Week 1: Initial total content review.
    Week 2: Initial total content review.
    Practice test 1.
    Week 3: In depth studying.
    Week 4: In depth studying.
    Practice test 2.
    Week 5: In depth studying.
    Practice test 3.
    Week 6: In depth studying.
    Practice test 4.
    Week 7: Review-style studying.
    Week 8: Practice test 5, 6, and 7; alternating days with light review, verbal/essay practice.
    Show time.

    5) What was your undergraduate major?

    Life Sciences (anatomy, physiology... all that good stuff). I just finished second year.

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?

    A whole bunch, I guess. Keep your eye on the prize and remember how good it will feel when you're done. If you are intelligent in your decisions and remain disciplined, you're going to feel good about your accomplishment and end up a better person in the end. Don't assume that taking breaks will hurt you. If you're in a rut, the best use of your time might just be to take the weekend off and go drinking with your buddies. You might come back on Monday morning with a new perspective, a more intense focus, and motivation to level-up your pace. Eat well. Wake up and go to bed at consistent times. Keep little rituals as you go a long to keep you disciplined. I listened to a lot of country music and brewed green tea before study sessions, for no reason in particular aside from that I associated them with studying. Be creative! Go study in the Zoo all day, and look at animals during your breaks. One time I drove 100 kilometers out to a small town park just for a change of scenery. The MCAT is as much a personal challenge as a competitive one. The satisfaction of hard work paid off is worth every minute.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?

    Eight weeks. I didn't take a course or anything and I was working about 50 hours a week, but I kept a disciplined routine and managed. About 2-4 hours/day for a few weeks, then up to 3-5 (I could do a couple hours during my day shift, it was real chill). By week 6 and 7, I was probably at 35 hours/week, and the last week was more relaxed.

    Good luck! A piece of wisdom for the road:

    "A little suffering is good for the soul." - Captain James T. Kirk​
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2011
  32. golf99


    Mar 2, 2011
    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    PS=11 VR=9 BS=10 Composite=30

    2) The study method used for each section
    Used the Examkrackers full set, 101 passages, and the new Kaplan books. No course was taken.

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)
    See above
    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    Princeton Review all the way.
    I bought all of the aamc's
    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    Don't over think the test, keep the stress to a minimum.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    3 weeks
  33. OrganicChemist7

    OrganicChemist7 SN2 - Size Does Matter

    Mar 1, 2011
    1) Your individual scores and composite score:
    PS=10 VR=10 BS=10 Composite=30

    2) The study method used for each section
    I used a modified SN2ed's Schedule, mainly performing content review. I found that the actual MCAT questions were not what my problem was: it was moreso the material. I used TBR, TPRH, EK, EK1001. I did not really do verbal practice - my AAMC VR average was consistently in the 11-13 range, so it didn't help much. My AAMC exams ranged from 24 (AAMC 11) to 39 (AAMC 5). AAMC 3, 4 (29); AAMC 7 (37); AAMC 8 (27); AAMC 10 (32).

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)
    See #2

    4) Which practice tests did you use?

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    Chemistry, Biology Minor

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    I cannot stress how hard it is to work and study at the same time. I was exhausted by the time I came home, so honestly I usually just read the content and stopped doing problems until my AAMC exam. In my opinion the MCAT is a thinking and content test, so if you know how to think you mainly need to focus on content review. Although I am absolutely grateful to SN2ed (truly appreciate your structure), I believe LostInStudy was more on the same page as me.

    Additionally, I think that studying as long as I did made it feel too long, and I would have studied about 60 days to change that. Also, I cannot remember which member did this, but he posted in this thread about only studying hardcore 4 days a week then relaxing and doing nothing else the rest of the week. That is how I study best as well - with some rest in between. I think that would have worked better than having monotonously studied almost everyday (with only the SN2ed scheduled breaks). It was too much, and it was counter-effective in the end.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    100 days
  34. Classof2013PreM

    Classof2013PreM 5+ Year Member

    Aug 18, 2011
    East Coast
    Total Score: (14 PS 13 V 15 BS S W) 42S

    Total Prep time (1.5 Months): I just read the EK prep books for all the sciences front to back and then finished the EK101 Verbal practice book. Basically if you feel comfortable with everything in all of these books, you can't score below a 30. If you know it down pat (like I felt I did), it's possible to get a perfect score. I never got a 15 in the BS section in practice, but I did on the PS and the V sections so it's not unfathomable to have a chance at a 45 if you really know your basic sciences.

    Took at total of 5 practice AAMC's:
    AAMC 3 (before prep): 33
    Average on the rest of the AAMC's: 38
  35. misplacedshadow

    misplacedshadow Underclass Hero 5+ Year Member

    May 28, 2011
    What was your undergrad major?
  36. Classof2013PreM

    Classof2013PreM 5+ Year Member

    Aug 18, 2011
    East Coast
    I'm a molecular biology major!
  37. misplacedshadow

    misplacedshadow Underclass Hero 5+ Year Member

    May 28, 2011
    Did your major help a lot in getting such a high score or did EK pull a higher weight?
  38. Classof2013PreM

    Classof2013PreM 5+ Year Member

    Aug 18, 2011
    East Coast
    Well I've always been really strong when it comes to taking tests (nearly perfect on the SAT too). But aside from my basic courses that I took freshman and sophomore years, EK did provide me will all the prep I used for the MCAT.

    I'd say that if you fully comprehend EK you should be able to do extremely well on the MCAT (and the books really aren't that long at 8 chapters each per science topic). Good luck everyone!
  39. alexandertg6

    alexandertg6 7+ Year Member

    Nov 12, 2009
    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    PS=11 VR=10 WS=M BS=14 Composite=35N

    2) The study method used for each section
    Lots of content review for all sciences, passage based practice, ESPECIALLY TIMED PRACTICE

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)
    Princeton Review + EK

    4) Which practice tests did you use?

    5) What was your undergraduate major?

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?

    Go over all science material within 6 weeks before test date. I did not feel that I would likely remember the things I studied 3 months ago or more. Also begin practicing verbal daily months in advance, as that requires more skill building. Didnt do that, but wish I had.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    6 weeks. # of hours/day varied, but spend 1 week on each section, two weeks on practices, and 1 week hitting areas of weakness
  40. toxicwombat

    toxicwombat 2+ Year Member

    Jul 27, 2011
    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    PS=10 VR=10 WS=P BS=10 Composite=30P

    2) The study method used for each section
    Verbal: EK 101 Passages
    Bio: EK Review Book
    Everything else: KhanAcademy.org

    4) Which practice tests did you use?

    5) What was your undergraduate major?

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?

    First, relax, it's not that bad. It's just something that needs to be done.

    Listen, I know I didn't get a jaw-dropping score, but I also didn't shell out $2000 on review courses/materials, and this was my first time taking it. I'm posting this simply to send a message to people out there: you don't need money to do well on the MCAT, and don't get sucked in to thinking you need expensive prep courses. KhanAcademy is the best thing to happen to global education since Wikipedia. Try using it. You don't like Khan's teaching style? Fine. But you don't lose anything.

    In addition, Berkeley Review books are excellent. Sadly I didn't get enough time to utilize them the way I had planned, but in retrospect they would have given me an extra edge. Don't let TBR's shady website (or some of the borderline-fanboy's posts) fool you: it's a great resource.

    Sn2 has provided a wonderful resource on this forum. I would encourage everyone to at least consider his strategy. Or, if you're more of a concept-driven visual learner, try KhanAcademy. Preferably both. Best of luck!!

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    2.5 months, 4hrs/day

    8) What's up with your written score, bro?
    Eh, to be honest I didn't practice at all. But I don't really care either. Even if I went back in time and had X hours to spend on written practice, I'd spend it on Physics prep instead.
  41. MedPR

    MedPR Banned

    Dec 1, 2011
    What's wrong with a P? Isn't the range J-T?
  42. vayntraubinator

    vayntraubinator 2+ Year Member

    May 28, 2011
    I was contemplating adding to this thread, but I think I was just too busy :) I feel obligated though to share my thoughts; I must repay this spectacular community somehow...

    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    PS=13 VR=9 WS=R BS=12 Composite=34R
    Administration: 8/12/2011: 8AM

    It's Interesting how my score fell in line with my initial predictions: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?p=11433384#post11433384

    2) The study method used for each section

    Kept all the questions and notes in separate journals using EK. I honestly think with EK and a solid class background ( I had a 4.0 sGPA going in but definitely not necessary) you can hit 35+ with just 3 months.

    PS=EK (a bit of TBR) Read all the chapters taking notes and answering in-lecture questions in the side on a journal. Saved the 30-minute exams for after reviewing the entire EK Chem and EK Physics Books. Studied the 30-minute exams thoroughly and reviewed any weak points in the 1001 EK questions until I understood the topic.

    Verbal- 6 EK tests and Hyperlearning Tests. My aamc scores here were all over. I never had enough practice to get good with this. Partly because I didn't consistently practice. Please don't screw yourself. The easy way to avoid this is by (1) practicing consistently, (2) practicing with the right mindset (3) being thorough with your review. Just like mastering any instrument, VR takes practice...Unfortunately I know I could have done way better with this section but I don't want to be selfish (time should be better spent than retaking a darned 34)

    Writing-Just practiced jamming out the essays during practice AAMCs

    BS- EK Bio/O (A bit of TBR) Biggest failure here was that I did extremely well on my OChem courses I and II so I assumed I could move on without the EK OChem 30 min exams. I would recommend you don't do that :( [Lets just say I got some OCHEM reactions on my test and regretted not reviewing more and in depth. 95% sure that was the only thing that got me this test. Oh and a biochem passage.] Otherwise, most of my time was spent on learning endocrine, physiology and the nervous system because my gen bio course sucked, and since I took this MCAT the summer after my sophomore year.

    Started Full Lengths 20 days before MCAT. Did one every 2/3 days (Take test, correct/review test, correct mistakes, repeat, review).

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)
    PS (Physics/G. Chem)- Berkeley Review 5%. Content & passages. EK 95%
    BS (Bio/O. Chem)- BR for passages & content 3%. EK 97%
    VR- EK and TRPH for passages. I USED HALF MY VR RESOURCES (bad bad bad :[ )
    Wiki for anything I didn't know and a bit of khanacademy.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    AAMC 3-11 (found older, longer versions and did those for AAMC 4-6 [not enough time to finish few others])

    I'll just give you guys the most useful info I have (my practice scores :cool:). If you just use EK, and are taking notes, and have enough time, I strongly believe you can hit 25+ science if you get my EK scores or better. Heres all my EK scores in add'n to my AAMC practices:

    AAMC 3: 11/9/10 = 30
    AAMC 4R: 12/8/12 = 32
    AAMC 5R: 12/10/13 = 35
    AAMC 6R: 12/9/12= 33
    AAMC 10: 12/8/13 = 33
    AAMC 11: 14/7/11 = 32
    AAMC Avg: 12.167/ 8.5 / 11.83 = 32.497

    I gave it my best on the real thing…
    Predicted worst case scenario: 11/8/11 = 30
    ACTUAL MCAT: 13/9 /12 = 34 R


    1 - 11
    2 - 9
    3 - 8
    4 - 10
    5 - 12
    6 - 9
    7 - 9
    8 - 12

    1 - 12
    2 - 9
    3 - 12
    4 - 10
    5 - 12
    6 - 11 (glomerular filtration passage)
    7 - 12
    8 - 14
    9 - not enough time

    General Chem

    1 - 13
    2 - 10
    3 - 10
    4 - 10
    5 - 13
    6 - 10
    7 - 12

    O chem
    1 - 8
    2 - not enough time
    3 - not enough time
    4 - not enough time

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    Neurobiology & History

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?

    Study in Hour fifteen increments. Your brain is a muscle too!

    Please use all the time you've been allotted. I procrastinated so much, and then I focused and studied like a laser beam. What really hurt my schedule was the fact that my grandma had knee surgery in July and then broke her arm following because all of my family was too busy to watch her at her home. The rest of the summer I had to help her check her blood sugar, inject insulin and make sure she wasn't being adventurous. The whole experience was emotionally taxing so be prepared as best you can for the unpredictable. You can do that by NOT procrastinating and doing RESEARCH and set up a regimented SCHEDULE. I would recommend SN2's ;)

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?

    June 18-August 11th. ~2 Months [days off from Holidays and for my grandma + a few rest days]

    Good luck everyone:luck: I wish that you all perform to your maximum potential :love:
  43. Warren Peace

    Warren Peace 5+ Year Member

    Mar 3, 2011
    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    Janurary - PS=9 VR=9 WS=Q BS=11 Composite=29Q
    September - PS=14 VR=11 WS=Q BS=13 Composite=38Q

    2) The study method used for each section
    SN2ed's schedule and books except for VR. I could not get the TPR verbal book and stopped doing the EK VR book 8 passages in. Instead, I reread the Harry Potter series and read the Count of Monte Cristo.

    3) What materials you used for each section?
    Mostly the same as SN2ed
    PS: Berkeley Review
    VR: EK VR, Harry Potter, Count of Monte Cristo
    WS: Nothing
    BS: Berkeley Review, EK

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    I used AAMC #3 for my first attempt and the rest for my second attempt.
    AAMC 3 - 10/10/10 = 30
    AAMC 4 - 12/9/11 = 32
    AAMC 5 - 11/10/11 = 32
    AAMC 7 - 11/10/13 = 34
    AAMC 8 - 11/11/10 = 32
    AAMC 9 - 14/9/12 = 35
    AAMC 10 - 11/8/11 = 30
    AAMC 11 - 13/10/12 = 35
    The main thing I found when reviewing the exams is that I knew the answers to almost all of the questions (solid knowledge base) but I would get questions wrong for stupid reasons (not reading carefully, quickly selecting an answer). On the real thing, I was able to concentrate much better (not burned out) and I think that reflected in the score.

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    Human Biology

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    Unless you have a deep understanding of the sciences from when you took the classes, take the summer off and do SN2ed's schedule. If you do it the way he recommends from start to finish, you will get a good score. The biggest downside to the schedule is burnout. I was especially dead at the end of content review and at the end of taking the practice tests. To get around this, I started cutting some corners (like not reviewing the problems that I knew for sure I got right and skipping some Orgo since I had a very strong background in it) and giving myself a week off before the exam. This, in combination of reading the Count of Monte Cristo made me fresh going into the real thing.

    I would also add that I did not have a good understanding of the sciences after taking the prereqs. That, in addition to studying for about 2-3 weeks during winter break using the Kaplan Premier book, resulted in a 29. After doing SN2ed's schedule over three months, I was able to really understand the science concepts and ended up with a 38. This just goes to show that if you work hard enough and smart enough, you can get a good score/substantially improve.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    3 months, 4-6 hrs/day
  44. ridethecliche

    ridethecliche Meep Meep Meep 5+ Year Member

    Feb 2, 2011
    Tied to a library chair
    You win the internets for using Harry Potter as verbal practice!
  45. PingPongPro

    PingPongPro 7+ Year Member

    Jan 28, 2010
    Merry Christmas to all

    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    PS=12 VR=09:confused: WS=Q BS=14 Composite=35M

    Can;t believe I got an M in writing. I think a lot of it is because of all the people on SDN saying writing doesn't matter. I hate all of you jk (sorta).

    2) The study method used for each section

    3) What materials you used for each section
    TBR = Sciences + FL tests (Thanks BRTEACH)
    EK= Bio + 1001s for all subjects + Verbal 101
    TPR: Bio + TPRH verbal workbook
    Kaplan: Used old tests for sciences (helped more than I thought!) Used their review book for a few things as well.

    Moral of the story is.... more books = to better in that section. Lol I'm just kidding (sorta), but I felt weakest in bio going into my studies, which is why I was I bought so many.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?
    AAMC: 3-11
    TBR:Forgot which ones but a few
    Kaplan: some old ones

    AAMC 6R: PS:12 VR:9 BS:11
    AAMC 3: PS:12 VR:9 BS:12
    AAMC 4: PS:10 VR:10 BS:12
    AAMC 5: PS:11 VR:11 BS:12
    AAMC 7: PS:13 VR:9 BS:12
    AAMC 8: PS:12 VR:13 BS:11
    AAMC 9: PS:12 VR:9 BS:10
    AAMC 10: PS:13 VR:11 BS:12
    AAMC 11: PS:13VR12 BS:12

    I also got roughly around the same scores on TBR CBT tests.

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    Psychobiology! Pretty much only had taken pre-reqs at this point, so major probably matters very little.

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?

    -Balance your life + mcat studies
    - Don't try to rush the mcat. I know so many people who have to retake, and i'd hate to be in their shoes.
    -Don't overvalue the materials/schedule. Using a certain company won't necessarily earn you a better score. Its about the student, not the materials.
    -Try to tie mcat topics into your every day life. If you are able to explain something you encounter in real life, it will help refresh concepts.
    -During my AAMC prac tests, I took my tests while recording the screen with "Camtasia" to see how my highliting, pace, etc. was during the tests. I also tried recording myself with a web cam. This helped me fix my posture and also fix some tendencies of mine that would slow me down. This sounds weird I know, but it makes testing feel more "real".
    - I feel like i have a lot of helpful insights, but cant' think of them at the moment. If anyone has any questions for me, they are welcome to me pm. I didnt realize this post would take so long, and i gotta go now lol

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
    Schedule was ~95 days. Lots break days in there. Totaled 514 hours of "real" study time. In my log, I only counted time as studying if I was actively studying. So I would sometimes go to the library from 10am-8pm, spend around 1hr eating lunch + dinner, but only credited myself with like 5 hours if I was ineffective or not focused the entire time.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  46. chi1216

    chi1216 7+ Year Member

    Jan 24, 2009

    You rock!!!!:D
  47. NY2MS

    NY2MS 7+ Year Member

    Nov 8, 2009
    God I really needed to read this. Grit, determination and rigor.
  48. MedPR

    MedPR Banned

    Dec 1, 2011
    Sucks that you got banned, but I'm definitely going to stop reading answers and try to find the right answer first. Brand new motivation. Thank you.
  49. Lunasly

    Lunasly 5+ Year Member

    May 17, 2010
    Just curious, but how does anyone put in 7 months of studying? I mean how did you focus and ace you classes, volunteering, and working while preparing for the MCAT? It is that he did 4 months of content review (the full semester) and then 3 months of practice tests (summer)?
  50. Renaissance Man

    Renaissance Man Saving the World 7+ Year Member

    Jan 23, 2010
    East Coast
  51. BKN89

    BKN89 5+ Year Member

    Jan 2, 2011
    1) Your individual scores and composite score
    PS-14 VR-11 BS-11 WS: S
    Composite: 36S

    2) The study method used for each section

    Mostly SN2ed's schedule with a few tweaks:
    1. I took 2 days off for the weekend even when it was in the middle of a "unit" of chapters.
    2. I read the BR Bio Books - I don't suggest this at all, I feel it didn't help that much, just listen to SN2ed and use EK for Bio content. However, it didn't harm my bio score since I'm already pretty good at bio anyway.
    3. I ditched the EK 1001 questions after 2 weeks. I felt that they did not help me very much at all, and took more time than they were worth. Instead, I used the extra time on those days to thoroughly review the week's chapters.
    4. I reviewed AAMCs the day I took them, but much later in the evening.
    5. Once I started doing AAMCs (the final month) I cut back on doing science passages, but I kept up verbal passages. Instead of doing all of the 3/3 passages, I would pick topics I had trouble with, and I'd only do 4-7 passages total between each AAMC. I found it more effective to spend a lot of extra time reviewing my AAMC mistakes again and again, and checking my content books to clarify stuff I had forgotten.

    But overall, SN2ed's schedule was GREAT and I couldn't have done it without his guideline.

    PS: I was weak in this, and I did VERY poorly in undergraduate courses, so I pre-studied by reviewing the AAMC PS topics in my old textbooks. I hadn't seen the material for 2 years so I hit them hard and I made sure to get a good working understanding of Chem and Physics. Then I used SN2ed's plan for the TBR physics and chem books.

    VR: Did a few passages a day. I'm an English minor and I have always kept up with current events so I read a lot of NY times and Economist anyway, but I don't know if this will help others. I've always been pretty good at English and writing. I feel that frequently reading all sorts of things helped keep me sharp-minded. It doesn't matter a whole lot what you read as long as it's not a cereal box or People magazine. I was reading Game of Thrones the night before.

    BS: I'm a Bio major so this was my strength. I just used the TBR books with SN2ed's plan. However, I actually read most of the chapters, and I found only the Part I chapters helpful. The biochem book is way too in depth. I supplemented with EK Bio chapters for more generalized knowledge.

    3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, etc)

    PS: Berkeley Review + Undergraduate textbooks
    VR: Princeton Review VR Workbook + EK 101 - they were both helpful, but I liked EK's explanations more because they were sometimes weird and got me thinking about the ways in which I could poke holes in my logic.
    BS: Berkeley Review + a little EK for content only. I generally did not use the EK Bio exams.

    4) Which practice tests did you use?

    All available AAMCs:

    AAMC 3: 34
    AAMC 4: 33
    AAMC 5: 37
    AAMC 7: 36
    AAMC 8: 35
    AAMC 9: 35
    AAMC 10: 36
    AAMC 11: 36

    BTW, for those using the AAMCs to predict performance. It seems that it's consistent in terms of predicting the average. As you can see, I matched my average. However, it seems weirdly random in terms of the breakdown. My Average PS score was 11. My Average Bio score was 13. If you look at my breakdown, you'll see I did exactly OPPOSITE of what I expected to do. Anything happens I guess.

    5) What was your undergraduate major?
    Biology with an English minor

    6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
    Stick to your schedule, but make your schedule reasonable. Spend a good amount of time making a good schedule, because once you make it, you have to stick with it. I missed maybe...no more than 2 days of studying due to a stomach flu. I gave myself weekends off though, so I was able to take breaks. I allowed myself to play video games and do mindless things. Balance discipline with mental health.

    7) How long did you study for the MCAT?

    5 months total, but the 1st month was looking at stuff on KhanAcademy and my textbooks to re-acquaint myself with material. After that, it was just the SN2ed schedule except I gave myself full weekends off, which is why it extended to 4 months. Approximately 4-6 hours/day. I didn't have school or work, so I was very lucky compared to others who need to work or take classes. Make your schedule work for you - there's no 1 size fits all plan.

    Also, this might help some of you in my same position.

    My undergrad GPA was a measly 3.4, and I sailed through with Bs (and a C or 2) in Chem and Physics...They were my worst subjects hands down. I seriously felt that my grades were an indication of how I'd do forever, that they had somehow ranked me permanently and that I could never end up in the upper echelon of scorers, that I would never be smart enough. And if I had kept thinking that way, I would not have ended up with this score. I was actually praying to just break 30 when I started studying.

    Lesson learned: The past is the past, ignore haters, and ignore that voice in your head that tells you that you're not good enough. I'm definitely not one of those people who can study 2 hours a day for 1-2 months and score in the upper 30s. I'm not that smart, and I had to study a LOT and take my time to do well. There was absolutely no magic, just work.

    I wanted to give up so many damn times. Studying like this takes a toll on you physically and mentally. But remember this - when you feel that you can go no further, when you want to give up, when you think the odds are insurmountable, when you begin to question whether you were meant to do this at all…when you feel that you're at your very worst...it's at that exact moment that you are afforded the chance to find out what your best really is. It is only in the face of seemingly impossible adversity that we can show the best of ourselves.

    One more thing, I felt like SH*T coming out of the test. I thought I got murdered. I felt like I had to guess on way too many, but I was actually just fine. Don't panic.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2012

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page