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supremus

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Use the template below:

1) Your individual scores and composite score
2) The study method used for each section
3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, TBR, etc)
4) Which practice tests did you use? (Optional: include scores)
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?
7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
 
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Narmerguy

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Stickying this for the new MCAT. See the previous version here (http://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/30-mcat-study-habits-the-cbt-version.503250/) for past tips! This is technically for the old MCAT, but many of the tips still hold and many posters began posting for the new MCAT in that thread as well (maybe someone can find the post/page # at which people start posting for the new MCAT in the old thread).

Some nice conversion tables between old and new MCAT are provided by @efle here: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/thr...centile-comparison-conversion-tables.1143689/
 
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ikat

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1) Overall Score: 520 (98th percentile) PS: 131 CARS: 130 BS: 131 Psych: 128

2) Study Method: Physical Sciences has always been my weakest subject area, so I used both Kaplan and TPR books for these to make sure I fully covered the material since I had a poor foundation. I read each of the books a few times making notes as I went along and mostly focused on concepts, relationships between variables, and memorizing formulas for this section.
CARS I didn't study for other than the practice tests since I thought my time was better spent learning science content.
Biological sciences I spent most of my study time on; I read the Kaplan bio book multiple times until I felt comfortable explaining each topic, and also read through my notes from the biochemistry course I took the semester leading up to the test- I don't think I would have succeeded on this section without having taken that course, but I also did not have a science background so this may not apply to everyone. I memorized all the amino acids, hormones, enzymes, etc using flashcards and writing out different pathways multiple times.
Behavioral sciences I used TPR + Kaplan + glossary for intro to sociology text + Khan Academy videos to cover all my bases with it being a new section. I wrote out flashcards to memorize all of the terms in Kaplan. If I were taking the test again, I would probably have taken an intro psych/soc course or at least read a textbook as there were topics on my test that I had not seen in any of my prep materials.

3) Study Materials: Kaplan 7 book 2015 set**, Kaplan 528 book (didn't find this very helpful, it seemed mostly strategy based), TPR Chem/Phys, TPR Behavioral Sciences, Lehninger Biochemistry, intro to sociology textbook glossary, Kaplan online practice tests, AAMC FL, AAMC questions packs, AAMC Official Guide Questions, Khan Academy videos (mostly psychology and some biology)
** I didn't use the CARS book at all, and the orgo book I didn't spend much time on either. The other subjects I read through multiple times each until I was confident about the material and did all the practice questions. For physics, I picked out the formulas I thought would be most biologically relevant and memorized a sheet of them for the test; I found this more helpful than doing the practice problems in the Kaplan physics text.

4) Practice Tests: I used the online Kaplan FLs that came with the course, along with their initial half-length diagnostic. Also took a TPR FL, AAMC FL, and the AAMC Official Guide as a half length.

Kaplan FL Scores: (not in order)
Diagnostic: 504
FL 3: PS:125 CARS:128 BS:125 Psych:127 Total: 505
FL 4: PS:125 CARS:127 BS:125 Psych:127 Total: 504
FL 5: PS:124 CARS:126 BS:125 Psych:127 Total: 502
FL 8: PS:125 CARS:128 BS:126 Psych:124 Total: 503
FL 9: PS:125 CARS:128 BS:126 Psych:124 Total: 503

AAMC FL: PS: 78% CARS: 91% BS: 88% Psych: 83%

AAMC Official Guide: PS: 80% CARS: 90% BS: 76% Psych: 90%

5) Undergraduate major: Marketing, but I completed a post-bac program this year which included all pre-reqs

6) Tips: Can't speak for every test day, but my exam had a heavy biochem emphasis on both science sections, so I would recommend spending a larger amount of time studying those concepts than say orgo reactions (definitely memorize amino acids!). Physics was supposed to be de-emphasized vs. the old test, but I still had a number of physics questions, so I wouldn't blow off studying that either. Overall I think the Kaplan books did a great job of covering pretty much everything with the exception of behavioral sciences, so I think they are a pretty safe bet.

7) Time Spent Studying: I completed a 1-year post bac premed program, so I had taken all of the prerequisite coursework + biochem in the year leading up to the test (May 2015). I also was enrolled in the Kaplan on site course this spring, but only really used their book set for content & FLs as I didn't find their strategies helpful. I started studying MCAT specific materials around January, took my first diagnostic in February, and took a practice test roughly once per week starting around March. In the last two weeks before the test I stopped taking practice tests and spent about 8-10 hrs a day studying content, and took the AAMC FL roughly 1 week prior to the test date.
 
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nomdeplume1234

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1) Overall Score: 520 (98th percentile) PS: 131 CARS: 130 BS: 131 Psych: 128

2) Study Method: Physical Sciences has always been my weakest subject area, so I used both Kaplan and TPR books for these to make sure I fully covered the material since I had a poor foundation. I read each of the books a few times making notes as I went along and mostly focused on concepts, relationships between variables, and memorizing formulas for this section.
CARS I didn't study for other than the practice tests since I thought my time was better spent learning science content.
Biological sciences I spent most of my study time on; I read the Kaplan bio book multiple times until I felt comfortable explaining each topic, and also read through my notes from the biochemistry course I took the semester leading up to the test- I don't think I would have succeeded on this section without having taken that course, but I also did not have a science background so this may not apply to everyone. I memorized all the amino acids, hormones, enzymes, etc using flashcards and writing out different pathways multiple times.
Behavioral sciences I used TPR + Kaplan + glossary for intro to sociology text + Khan Academy videos to cover all my bases with it being a new section. I wrote out flashcards to memorize all of the terms in Kaplan. If I were taking the test again, I would probably have taken an intro psych/soc course or at least read a textbook as there were topics on my test that I had not seen in any of my prep materials.

3) Study Materials: Kaplan 7 book 2015 set**, Kaplan 528 book (didn't find this very helpful, it seemed mostly strategy based), TPR Chem/Phys, TPR Behavioral Sciences, Lehninger Biochemistry, intro to sociology textbook glossary, Kaplan online practice tests, AAMC FL, AAMC questions packs, AAMC Official Guide Questions, Khan Academy videos (mostly psychology and some biology)
** I didn't use the CARS book at all, and the orgo book I didn't spend much time on either. The other subjects I read through multiple times each until I was confident about the material and did all the practice questions. For physics, I picked out the formulas I thought would be most biologically relevant and memorized a sheet of them for the test; I found this more helpful than doing the practice problems in the Kaplan physics text.

4) Practice Tests: I used the online Kaplan FLs that came with the course, along with their initial half-length diagnostic. Also took a TPR FL, AAMC FL, and the AAMC Official Guide as a half length.

Kaplan FL Scores: (not in order)
Diagnostic: 504
FL 3: PS:125 CARS:128 BS:125 Psych:127 Total: 505
FL 4: PS:125 CARS:127 BS:125 Psych:127 Total: 504
FL 5: PS:124 CARS:126 BS:125 Psych:127 Total: 502
FL 8: PS:125 CARS:128 BS:126 Psych:124 Total: 503
FL 9: PS:125 CARS:128 BS:126 Psych:124 Total: 503

AAMC FL: PS: 78% CARS: 91% BS: 88% Psych: 83%

AAMC Official Guide: PS: 80% CARS: 90% BS: 76% Psych: 90%

5) Undergraduate major: Marketing, but I completed a post-bac program this year which included all pre-reqs

6) Tips: Can't speak for every test day, but my exam had a heavy biochem emphasis on both science sections, so I would recommend spending a larger amount of time studying those concepts than say orgo reactions (definitely memorize amino acids!). Physics was supposed to be de-emphasized vs. the old test, but I still had a number of physics questions, so I wouldn't blow off studying that either. Overall I think the Kaplan books did a great job of covering pretty much everything with the exception of behavioral sciences, so I think they are a pretty safe bet.

7) Time Spent Studying: I completed a 1-year post bac premed program, so I had taken all of the prerequisite coursework + biochem in the year leading up to the test (May 2015). I also was enrolled in the Kaplan on site course this spring, but only really used their book set for content & FLs as I didn't find their strategies helpful. I started studying MCAT specific materials around January, took my first diagnostic in February, and took a practice test roughly once per week starting around March. In the last two weeks before the test I stopped taking practice tests and spent about 8-10 hrs a day studying content, and took the AAMC FL roughly 1 week prior to the test date.
Would you mind elaborating what you mean by "read several times? I'm guessing TPR + Kaplan is well over 1000 pages so how did you mange to read them both several times? or did you do a different style of reading? or what?
 

ikat

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Would you mind elaborating what you mean by "read several times? I'm guessing TPR + Kaplan is well over 1000 pages so how did you mange to read them both several times? or did you do a different style of reading? or what?
Sure! So TPR I only used their psychology and their gen chem books- just noticed that I wrote chem/phys by mistake, sorry didn't catch that before. Overall, I read the books like I would a textbook (so for me just reading and writing down key points along the side margins since writing helps me memorize, along with highlighting, underlining, and copying figures onto a whiteboard repeatedly for things like pathways). First run through I mostly just tried to learn the major points, then next run through the extra details- from there some chapters I knew I didn't need to go over again, so I would leave those out from then on, and from there I was mostly just rereading to add extra details from the chapters that I wasn't 100% on, so it got faster and meant I was only working on the areas I had most trouble with. I agree it is a lot of reading, but it was split from Jan- May so it wasn't really that bad. Additionally I think the chem and physics books seem longer than they are due to lots of worked out problems that cover multiple pages- I mostly skipped over the in text examples unless it was something I knew I would potentially struggle with. Ultimately I used this method because it is what I had used for most of my science coursework and it had worked well for me, but I don't mean to say this is the best method for everyone!
 
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TOTAL: 510-514 (likely 511 but who knows)

Did three TPR practice tests (496 - 498 - 501) and the AAMC FL (57%, 87%, 73%, 75%).

Undergrad major was Biology with Chemistry minor.

6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us? Yeah, DONT GET DISCOURAGED. On my first practice test a month & a half out, I got a 496. I wanted to cry. I was demoralized. Somehow it just made me angry. Then I studied like crazy for a month or so and did much better than I ever thought I'd do. Keep at it. Channel all energy into murdering the test.

7) How long did you study for the MCAT? 1 month.

Also, the best classes for this test are microbio, genetics, and biochem (obviously). Any upper level biology class that is research oriented will help immensely.
 
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TrueWolverine

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This thread gives me so much hope! I've been studying my butt off but can't seem to get over the hump of 507 on my practice tests...CAR is usually 128, Chem and Bio usually trade for some reason- I'll get 127-128 on one and 125 on the other or vis versa, Psych is usually around 126-127. That's so crazy that your scores bumped up that far!! Do you feel like you were just dealt a test that happened to line up with what you knew or was the test somewhat easier than the practice tests??

I take the test on Saturday so this is great timing to read this stuff.
 

Doctor Dream

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1) Overall Score: 520 (98th percentile) PS: 131 CARS: 130 BS: 131 Psych: 128

Kaplan FL Scores: (not in order)
Diagnostic: 504
FL 3: PS:125 CARS:128 BS:125 Psych:127 Total: 505
FL 4: PS:125 CARS:127 BS:125 Psych:127 Total: 504
FL 5: PS:124 CARS:126 BS:125 Psych:127 Total: 502
FL 8: PS:125 CARS:128 BS:126 Psych:124 Total: 503
FL 9: PS:125 CARS:128 BS:126 Psych:124 Total: 503

Why do you think there's such a large difference between your actual MCAT score and your practice ones? Were the Kaplan exams more difficult or curved stronger in your opinion?
 
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ikat

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Why do you think there's such a large difference between your actual MCAT score and your practice ones? Were the Kaplan exams more difficult or curved stronger in your opinion?

It's hard to say for sure since I will never know my raw score for the actual test, but based on my experience and that score spreadsheet, Kaplan scores are severely deflated for the new test. I figured maybe they were doing this to prevent having to give refunds for their score guarantee if they didn't have any actual scales from the AAMC to base their FL scores off of for the new test. I also just don't think the Kaplan exams are all that representative of the questions styles or passages that I saw in the AAMC FL or the actual test, but that's probably a matter of opinion too- personally I found all of the AAMC material much more straightforward.
 
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gannicus89

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I used Next Step for Biochem and Psych. I used TBR for Chem and Physics. I didn't formally prepare for CARS.

I think how you study is pretty critical. Create a study schedule that suits you. For example, I studied for a little over a month for 12-14 hours a day. This worked for me, but it might not work for you.
 
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TrueWolverine

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I also just don't think the Kaplan exams are all that representative of the questions styles or passages that I saw in the AAMC FL or the actual test, but that's probably a matter of opinion too- personally I found all of the AAMC material much more straightforward.

Agreed. Just took it today and I felt like my practice exams (from Altius) were all about being complicated and wordy when the actual exam seemed much more straightforward.
 

silica61

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I used Next Step for Biochem and Psych. I used TBR for Chem and Physics. I didn't formally prepare for CARS.

I think how you study is pretty critical. Create a study schedule that suits you. For example, I studied for a little over a month for 12-14 hours a day. This worked for me, but it might not work for you.
what did you think of the biochem and psych for next step? was this for their content books?
 

gannicus89

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what did you think of the biochem and psych for next step? was this for their content books?

Yes, I used their content books for these subjects. I think the books had some printing issues that you can look up on their blog. Aside from those issues, I thought both provided a decent review.
 

silica61

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Yes, I used their content books for these subjects. I think the books had some printing issues that you can look up on their blog. Aside from those issues, I thought both provided a decent review.
do you know how it compares to the aamc outline or tpr psych book? i'm thinking of buying those two but i'm worried its vague or missing some content in the outline and the book doesn't have sample exerpts any help is appreciated thank you
 

gannicus89

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do you know how it compares to the aamc outline or tpr psych book? i'm thinking of buying those two but i'm worried its vague or missing some content in the outline and the book doesn't have sample exerpts any help is appreciated thank you

I think that the NextStep books missed some topics from the outline, not a whole lot though. In the beginning of the book, they have the AAMC guidelines and they claim to meet all of it...but I definitely saw one term on the MCAT that was NOT in the content review book. It was just one term though... I didn't use TPR or even look at it. Maybe buy the books, compare, and return the one you don't want?
 

ChrisMack390

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Thanks for posting your Kaplan scores @ikat. I have taken 6 Kaplan tests so far and all of my scores have been somewhere between 498 and 503, which has been bumming me out. Looks like I stand a chance haha.
 
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missm3l

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Based off prelims. I'll update when final scores come out in a week but it should be in line.

  • C/P : 74-89 (127) ... Princeton Review - Took mad notes. Made notecards to memorize formulas. Practiced with Khan passages.
  • CARS : 76-91 (127) ... Nothing. The practice tests I took were all the studying I did. Probably should've done more but Chem & Physics were much more pressing issues during my study.
  • Bio : 72-87 (127) ... Undergrad classes, slight TPR review, & youtube <3. Made a few notecards.
  • Psych : 85-100 (129-132) ... Princeton Review.

TOTAL: 510-514 (likely 510 or 511 but who knows)

Did three TPR practice tests (496 - 498 - 501) and the AAMC FL (57%, 87%, 73%, 75%).

Undergrad major was Biology with Chemistry minor.

6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us? Yeah, DONT GET DISCOURAGED. On my first practice test a month & a half out, I got a 496. I wanted to cry. I was demoralized. Somehow it just made me angry. Then I studied like crazy for a month or so and did much better than I ever thought I'd do. Keep at it. Channel all energy into murdering the test.

7) How long did you study for the MCAT? 1 month.

Also, the best classes for this test are microbio, genetics, and biochem (obviously). Any upper level biology class that is research oriented will help immensely.
I just received my score: 484! I want to cry to bad, my strongest was psych cuz my major was basically the whole section but I still did horrible!
121- Chemical
121-CARS
119_biochem
123-psych
I'm trying to figure out how I can study this again. My friend gave me online BERKELEY books from the old mcat but I don't think they helped! I had my own biochem notes from school. I'm trying to figure out which books to get and it seems TPR is popular.
Also I studied over a course or 4 months because I had a full-time job so everyday I would study from 7 pm- 10 pm. Now I switched my schedule so I work 12 to 6pm instead. Do you think I would have enough time to study again for about 2 months?
 

TrueWolverine

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I just received my score: 484! I want to cry to bad, my strongest was psych cuz my major was basically the whole section but I still did horrible!
121- Chemical
121-CARS
119_biochem
123-psych
I'm trying to figure out how I can study this again. My friend gave me online BERKELEY books from the old mcat but I don't think they helped! I had my own biochem notes from school. I'm trying to figure out which books to get and it seems TPR is popular.
Also I studied over a course or 4 months because I had a full-time job so everyday I would study from 7 pm- 10 pm. Now I switched my schedule so I work 12 to 6pm instead. Do you think I would have enough time to study again for about 2 months?

Ouch.....first I would stop thinking your classes will teach you everything you need to know for the MCAT, clearly they didn't. I would get TPR, Kaplan, or some other MCAT specific material geared towards the new MCAT. Use your notes from classes as you study but do not rely on them as your only source of info.

Another huge flag for me is your study time....it seems super ineffective to try and study for 3 hours at night after having worked a full day. With your new schedule I would be getting up and studying from 7 or 8 am until you go to work, then when you get home review the stuff from the morning and go over some new stuff. Not sure where you work but I would make flashcards and take them to work to look over. Memorize things like amino acids, hormones, etc and use other flashcards to test MCAT style questions (not just rote memorization).

Did you take any practice tests before the real thing? Invest in a set of practice exams (Kaplan or others) and take them regularly. A lot of the MCAT is a mind game and becomes about understanding passages so the best thing you can do is practice.

I'm waiting on my score so take my advice for what it's worth but with those scores I don't know if you'll be ready to take again in 2 months unfortunately....start taking practice tests and see where you need to improve (besides everywhere). Good luck!!
 
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missm3l

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Ouch.....first I would stop thinking your classes will teach you everything you need to know for the MCAT, clearly they didn't. I would get TPR, Kaplan, or some other MCAT specific material geared towards the new MCAT. Use your notes from classes as you study but do not rely on them as your only source of info.

Another huge flag for me is your study time....it seems super ineffective to try and study for 3 hours at night after having worked a full day. With your new schedule I would be getting up and studying from 7 or 8 am until you go to work, then when you get home review the stuff from the morning and go over some new stuff. Not sure where you work but I would make flashcards and take them to work to look over. Memorize things like amino acids, hormones, etc and use other flashcards to test MCAT style questions (not just rote memorization).

Did you take any practice tests before the real thing? Invest in a set of practice exams (Kaplan or others) and take them regularly. A lot of the MCAT is a mind game and becomes about understanding passages so the best thing you can do is practice.

I'm waiting on my score so take my advice for what it's worth but with those scores I don't know if you'll be ready to take again in 2 months unfortunately....start taking practice tests and see where you need to improve (besides everywhere). Good luck!!
You're right because I didn't get to study as much as I could. I was too tired all the time. I'm trying to figure out which books are the best, BR was very wordy and too detailed for me and I would get lost so by the time I took the practice tests, I was worn out. I'm not sure if the paperback books are the same. I like the EK for psych as it has pictures but I don't want it to be too vague! How is Princeton Review or Kaplan? I'm a visual learner, I learn better that way which is why Anatomy was my fav class. I honestly didn't have time to study for biochem as it should have been way higher cause I loved that class.
 

TrueWolverine

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You're right because I didn't get to study as much as I could. I was too tired all the time. I'm trying to figure out which books are the best, BR was very wordy and too detailed for me and I would get lost so by the time I took the practice tests, I was worn out. I'm not sure if the paperback books are the same. I like the EK for psych as it has pictures but I don't want it to be too vague! How is Princeton Review or Kaplan? I'm a visual learner, I learn better that way which is why Anatomy was my fav class. I honestly didn't have time to study for biochem as it should have been way higher cause I loved that class.

Unfortunately I don't have a ton of input on which programs are better than others. I'm in the west and went through a prep course called Altius so it's not available to everyone. Kaplan seems to be a solid source and many people have scored well with it. I would invest in that along with their practice exams. Psych is mostly memorization so as long as you are covering all the topics I don't think it really matters how you study it, as long as it sticks. I would pick one program and stick with it for all the material. It seems like skipping around from one book to the next for different topics would lead to gaps in subjects, not sure on this but just my best guess.

Loving a class doesn't guarantee anything....put in the hours to study and don't take it unless you feel pretty comfortable with most of the material.
 

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Use the template below:

1) Scores:
  • C/P: 128
  • CARS: 131
  • Bio: 132
  • Psych: 127
  • Total: 518
2) The study method used for each section
  • Overall: I read every page of the review books and took notes for chem and psych, as they were my weakest sections. For any section that I had never gone over in school, I read and took notes (such as the metabolism sections). I would go back and forth with the Kaplan online videos/lessons, their practice problems, and the book in order to really memorize the info
  • Chem/Phys: this was easily my weakest section to begin with, so I went back to the basics (for chem)
  • CARS: the Kaplan tips on how to work with the CARS section were invaluable. Their hour-long MCAT channel sessions helped with the more complicated passages, such as philosophy, and their tips on triaging/writing notes on each section increased my scores a ton. The CARS passages on the actual test were MUCH longer than all of my practices, so watch out for that! I would recommend practicing with less time than you'd actually have on test day.
  • Bio/Biochem: as a biology major, I wasn't worried about bio, but was about biochem. For bio, I just read over various sections in the books at times during the day - such as breakfast, or between sessions, because I didn't need to dedicate as much effort to them. For biochem, I focused mostly on metabolism (I had taken the first part of biochem this last semester, and it was fairly fresh in my mind). I would write out the cycles over and over again, use mnemonics, and make sure I had every enzyme/intermediate in my head. I hoped this would be my strongest section, so I made sure I had no weak areas to bump my score up that extra bit.
  • Psych: This ended up being my weakest section. I memorized all of the vocab in the Kaplan books, but that's not enough. You need a deeper understanding and to be able to mix the concepts together.
3) What materials:
  • Kaplan for most of the background information, although looking back it was definitely lacking in Psych
  • Khan Academy - but ONLY for areas I was weak in. There's too much information on Khan to use for the entire exam, but it was perfect for small topics that I just needed to personally go a bit more in depth into
4) Practice FLs - I ALWAYS took them "test day" style, with breaks, earplugs, and no distractions. I think that really helped on test day, as I was so used to the long exam that I didn't fatigue
  • Kaplan (each a bit too specific compared to actual exams)
    • FL1: 494 (halfway through Kaplan course, before reviewing content)
    • FL2: 501 (right after Kaplan course, before reviewing content)
    • FL3: 504 (3 weeks before test day)
    • FL4: 503 (1 week before test day)
  • AAMC FL (2 weeks before test day)
    • C/P: 68%
    • CARS: 94% (easier than test day, real passages were longer)
    • Bio: 73%
    • Psych: 85%
5) Undergrad major: Biology
6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
  • One of the most helpful things I did was treat every day like test day. Starting 2 weeks in advance, I woke up every day at 6am (as I would on test day), ate the same breakfast, and packed snacks/lunch for the day. I went to a quiet spot, and would study for hours at a time. I would take breaks as they give us on the test - 1.5 hours, snack/10 min break, 1.5 hours, lunch/30 min break, etc. I was so used to this routine, that test day felt like just another day studying. I wasn't tired, overwhelmed, or worried about the long test.
7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
  • Kaplan Course: March-April
  • Studying full time (8-10 hours per day, 6-7 days a week): May 7 to Test day
 
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basophilic

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Use the template below:

1) Scores:
  • C/P: 128
  • CARS: 131
  • Bio: 132
  • Psych: 127
  • Total: 518
2) The study method used for each section
  • Overall: I read every page of the review books and took notes for chem and psych, as they were my weakest sections. For any section that I had never gone over in school, I read and took notes (such as the metabolism sections). I would go back and forth with the Kaplan online videos/lessons, their practice problems, and the book in order to really memorize the info
  • Chem/Phys: this was easily my weakest section to begin with, so I went back to the basics (for chem)
  • CARS: the Kaplan tips on how to work with the CARS section were invaluable. Their hour-long MCAT channel sessions helped with the more complicated passages, such as philosophy, and their tips on triaging/writing notes on each section increased my scores a ton.
  • Bio/Biochem: as a biology major, I wasn't worried about bio, but was about biochem. For bio, I just read over various sections in the books at times during the day - such as breakfast, or between sessions, because I didn't need to dedicate as much effort to them. For biochem, I focused mostly on metabolism (I had taken the first part of biochem this last semester, and it was fairly fresh in my mind). I would write out the cycles over and over again, use mnemonics, and make sure I had every enzyme/intermediate in my head. I hoped this would be my strongest section, so I made sure I had no weak areas to bump my score up that extra bit.
  • Psych: This ended up being my weakest section. I memorized all of the vocab in the Kaplan books, but that's not enough. You need a deeper understanding and to be able to mix the concepts together.
3) What materials:
  • Kaplan for most of the background information, although looking back it was definitely lacking in Psych
  • Khan Academy - but ONLY for areas I was weak in. There's too much information on Khan to use for the entire exam, but it was perfect for small topics that I just needed to personally go a bit more in depth into
4) Practice FLs - I ALWAYS took them "test day" style, with breaks, earplugs, and no distractions. I think that really helped on test day, as I was so used to the long exam that I didn't fatigue
  • Kaplan (each a bit too specific compared to actual exams)
    • FL1: 494 (halfway through Kaplan course, before reviewing content)
    • FL2: 501 (right after Kaplan course, before reviewing content)
    • FL3: 504 (3 weeks before test day)
    • FL4: 503 (1 week before test day)
  • AAMC FL (2 weeks before test day)
    • C/P: 68%
    • CARS: 94% (easier than test day, real passages were longer)
    • Bio: 73%
    • Psych: 85%
5) Undergrad major: Biology
6) Any other tips you may have for those of us who still have this test lurking over us?
  • One of the most helpful things I did was treat every day like test day. Starting 2 weeks in advance, I woke up every day at 6am (as I would on test day), ate the same breakfast, and packed snacks/lunch for the day. I went to a quiet spot, and would study for hours at a time. I would take breaks as they give us on the test - 1.5 hours, snack/10 min break, 1.5 hours, lunch/30 min break, etc. I was so used to this routine, that test day felt like just another day studying. I wasn't tired, overwhelmed, or worried about the long test.
7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
  • Kaplan Course: March-April
  • Studying full time (8-10 hours per day, 6-7 days a week): May 7 to Test day

Congrats! Though what led to your fairly big discrepancy in bio b/w the FL and the real thing? I too found the bio on the FL the hardest, especially the research design stuff despite drilling tons of research-based questions. :(
What did you do differently on test day?
 

blueandwhite94

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Though what led to your fairly big discrepancy in bio b/w the FL and the real thing?

I think the biggest difference is that I had made a big list of "things I need to memorize", thinking I had a lot of time - little things, like the number of electrons for FADH2 vs NADH in the ETC, or how many bonds between A/T vs C/G in DNA. I had made those flashcards, but put off actually memorizing them til a bit too late (AKA after doing the AAMC FL). Keep in mind that I took it 2 weeks in advance, not 1, and definitely solidified a bunch of details in that time.

Also, before that point I'd only done Kaplan prep, which is a bit more specific than AAMC. Afterwards, I really focused a lot more on AAMC for questions that were a bit more broad/like test day.
 
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Ad2b

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what did you bring for lunch? and snacks? I've been thinking walnuts/cranberries/raisins/tiny choc chips mixture in container. What about water? soda?
 
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blueandwhite94

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what did you bring for lunch? and snacks? I've been thinking walnuts/cranberries/raisins/tiny choc chips mixture in container. What about water? soda?

I don't think it matters too much, as long as it's something you're used to eating. I did eggs/black tea for breakfast, pretzels for the first snack, a sandwich/black tea (to keep me awake) for lunch, and fruit (sugar!) to give that final boost. Definitely don't do caffeine if you're not used to it! I had a little bit of water during each break, but not so much I'd have to use the bathroom.
 
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Ad2b

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Dumb question: we can't leave the site over lunch, right? and we cannot look at anything over lunch or breaks?
 

Neutrophil2016

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1) Overall Score: 522 (99th percentile) PS: 130 CARS: 131 BS: 132 Psych: 129

2) Study Method: About 4 months of content review using Kaplan’s books then a month of practice tests using TPR, EK and the official AAMC FL. I also used Kahn academy for any material that was not effectively covered in my courses. I tried to incorporate some lectures from the Great Courses as well. I felt these were more in depth than Kahn Academy, but since they are very expensive unless you get them on sale

3) Study Materials: Kaplan 2015 Bookset, EK tests 1&2, TPR MCAT Complete tests, Some Kahn academy videos, The Great Courses Videos

4) Practice Tests:

Princeton Review FL Scores:
FL Demo: PS:125 CARS:125 BS:127 Psych:127 Total: 504
FL 1: PS:128 CARS:125 BS:127 Psych:125 Total: 505
FL 2: PS:126 CARS:126 BS:129 Psych:128 Total: 509

ExamKrackers FL:
FL1: PS: 46/59 CARS:42/53 BS:45/59 Psych: 43/59 Total: 77%
FL2: PS: 43/59 CARS:34/53 BS 49/59 Psych:48/59 Total: 76%

AAMC FL: PS: 83% CARS: 83% BS: 88% Psych: 83%

5) Undergraduate major: Biology B. S.

6) Tips: Learn how to interpret data and analyze scientific research. This is the most useful skill that you can have going into the exam. This new test is more about reasoning than rote memorization. Reading scientific journal articles and taking classes in which this is required will greatly benefit you.

Also, on test day, you need to try to repeat the conditions in which you took your practice tests. So, simulate the real thing when you practice. If you practice taking all the breaks then take them all even if you feel you don't have do. If you do not take a lunch (like me) then you probably don't want to eat on test day.

7) Time Spent Studying: Around 6-8 hrs per day during the week and maybe 2-3 hrs on weekends.
 
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Ad2b

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There is a sheet of psych/soc theorists on reddddd. Is that worth memorizing? Kaplan has a bunch of things that I'd done with flashcards, etc but am also hearing it's insufficient.
 

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Dumb question: we can't leave the site over lunch, right? and we cannot look at anything over lunch or breaks?

Correct. There will be a room to eat in, and a locker where you can keep lunch/snacks. But if you look at material you'll probably get kicked out.
 
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blueandwhite94

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There is a sheet of psych/soc theorists on reddddd. Is that worth memorizing? Kaplan has a bunch of things that I'd done with flashcards, etc but am also hearing it's insufficient.

Oops just saw this. I don't think you should focus on this, but what's on the sheet? Do you have a copy?
 

Ad2b

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Use the template below:

1) Scores:
  • C/P: 128
  • CARS: 131
  • Bio: 132
  • Psych: 127
  • Total: 518
  • AAMC FL (2 weeks before test day)
    • C/P: 68%
    • CARS: 94% (easier than test day, real passages were longer)
    • Bio: 73%
    • Psych: 85%

What did you do to bring up your bio and c/p scores from the AAMC FL to actual? I would love to know what I can do. 2.5 weeks, can devote however many hours I need (and will do so)

Draw the systems? think about impact? q-packs from Kaplan and AAMC and KA?

Thank you so much in advance!
 
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Shreyasthegreat

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What did you do to bring up your bio and c/p scores from the AAMC FL to actual? I would love to know what I can do. 2.5 weeks, can devote however many hours I need (and will do so)

Draw the systems? think about impact? q-packs from Kaplan and AAMC and KA?

Thank you so much in advance!

@blueandwhite94 I am also wondering this. Thanks!
 

blueandwhite94

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What did you do to bring up your bio and c/p scores from the AAMC FL to actual? I would love to know what I can do. 2.5 weeks, can devote however many hours I need (and will do so)

Draw the systems? think about impact? q-packs from Kaplan and AAMC and KA?

Thank you so much in advance!

I took the AAMC FL exactly two weeks before, and my last two weeks studying were insane. I studied from 9am-5pm at one location, then 5-10pm at another, so I think that in itself gave me an extra 130 or so hours of studying in just those two weeks.

Also, I hadn't looked at the AAMC question packs until after that two week mark - they were invaluable. I worked through each one, and afterwards, I went through every single question and made sure I knew why the answer was what it was. If I was a little confused, I went to Kaplan/Khan to solidify the idea, then went back and did the question again. I didn't do this as much for Kaplan, because the AAMC packs are the closest you'll get to test day.

Also for bio/biochem, I hadn't really memoriEd the metabolism pathways yet, and. I spent a few days on JUST that to make sure I knew it all by heart.
 
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Swagster

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I just received my score: 484! I want to cry to bad, my strongest was psych cuz my major was basically the whole section but I still did horrible!
121- Chemical
121-CARS
119_biochem
123-psych
I'm trying to figure out how I can study this again. My friend gave me online BERKELEY books from the old mcat but I don't think they helped! I had my own biochem notes from school. I'm trying to figure out which books to get and it seems TPR is popular.
Also I studied over a course or 4 months because I had a full-time job so everyday I would study from 7 pm- 10 pm. Now I switched my schedule so I work 12 to 6pm instead. Do you think I would have enough time to study again for about 2 months?

I believe you need to rethink your entire approach. Putting your scores into perspective you got a 10 on the old style (4 PS, 4 Verbal, 2 BS). That should tell you that you lack a majority of the information and must improve your testing skills. Changing books is not going to do that. Changing your attitude and approach will. You put in 300 hours (maybe less) for an exam that most of us put in between 600 and 1000 hours. If you switch materials and don't put in the effort, then you will get the same result. Maybe rather than rushing into a repeat, you should spend some time reviewing the materials. I personally loved TBR more than everything I looked at. You should find the materials that work for you. Your course notes for biochemistry resulted in a 2 on the MCAT, so you probably should scrap those. Spend time getting the concepts down before you think about studying for this test.
 
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PremedKiwi

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I just received my score: 484! I want to cry to bad, my strongest was psych cuz my major was basically the whole section but I still did horrible!
121- Chemical
121-CARS
119_biochem
123-psych
I'm trying to figure out how I can study this again. My friend gave me online BERKELEY books from the old mcat but I don't think they helped! I had my own biochem notes from school. I'm trying to figure out which books to get and it seems TPR is popular.
Also I studied over a course or 4 months because I had a full-time job so everyday I would study from 7 pm- 10 pm. Now I switched my schedule so I work 12 to 6pm instead. Do you think I would have enough time to study again for about 2 months?

So, this definitely struck a note in me because I can totally identify with you. The first time I took the MCAT I thought I'd studied (I had studied, heck I'd spent so much energy and money on stupid test prep books trying to find the most strategic way to win the exam). My first MCAT was horrible, so bad that I tried for a year to convince myself that I didn't want to go into medicine that there was another calling for me because something I was meant to do could not cause me to feel so bad about myself. At least that was the logic. Heck no, it's hard for everyone and without preparation anyone scores badly on the MCAT. Imagine if random Joe Blogs took the exam? He's probably help our averages but he'd be lucky to get that 25% chance for guessing correctly on the questions.
I've since then gone back to undergraduate (first I had to accept that medical school was a long road away). I've realized these preparation books don't actually TEACH you. I've taken the Kaplan course, I've read the EK and Kaplan and BR. AAMC will ALWAYS ask something that was not in your books and these books don't teach, they summarize and assume you've already learned most of what they're telling you more thoroughly than they will explain it. The exist to tell you the high yields, to help you strategize and form reasoning skills applicable to the exam. I recommend more than anything taking Biochemistry I and doing all the homework problems assigned, reading the chapters at least once and recording lectures and listening to them later with or without copying your notes from class (this helps me a lot). I took Biochemistry, Physiology and retook Chemistry last semester and Biochemistry is my BEST section (after Behavioral Sciences). It saves both my Physics and Biology scores because I wasn't motivated and I guess things never really made their way into my LTM when I was an undergraduate. I am confident this will improve your score probably to at least 500, Biochemistry is where it's at on the new MCAT and boy am I happy.
 
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Ad2b

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So, this definitely struck a note in me because I can totally identify with you.

Can you break that up into paragraphs? It's really hard to read run-on sentences with going / thinking blablhalbalhblabhlabhlahb and moving on.

I think you have some good points - hate to have others miss them :)
 

Trident14

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My problem is no matter how much I study or change my techniques my score just won't change, especially my verbal score, I scored a 6 on the VR on the old MCAT so I have to take MCAT2015 to improve my VR score, I have been studying since may, and I'm 2 weeks away from taking the new version. I have been doing a ton of VR practice but my score is always the same, I'm stuck at 122/123. I have done countless passages, 4 full length practice test and my score won't change. On Bio, PS, Psych/Soc....I have seen slight improvements but I can't get any higher than 128. Please help y'all
 
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TexasSurgeon

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My problem is no matter how much I study or change my techniques my score just won't change, especially my verbal score, I scored a 6 on the VR on the old MCAT so I have to take MCAT2015 to improve my VR score, I have been studying since may, and I'm 2 weeks away from taking the new version. I have been doing a ton of VR practice but my score is always the same, I'm stuck at 122/123. I have done countless passages, 4 full length practice test and my score won't change. On Bio, PS, Psych/Soc....I have seen slight improvements but I can't get any higher than 128. Please help y'all
Mostly I think you're freaking over scores from FL's that aren't even made by the AAMC, so I don't think that's a good idea dude.
 
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missm3l

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So, this definitely struck a note in me because I can totally identify with you. The first time I took the MCAT I thought I'd studied (I had studied, heck I'd spent so much energy and money on stupid test prep books trying to find the most strategic way to win the exam). My first MCAT was horrible, so bad that I tried for a year to convince myself that I didn't want to go into medicine that there was another calling for me because something I was meant to do could not cause me to feel so bad about myself. At least that was the logic. Heck no, it's hard for everyone and without preparation anyone scores badly on the MCAT. Imagine if random Joe Blogs took the exam? He's probably help our averages but he'd be lucky to get that 25% chance for guessing correctly on the questions.
I've since then gone back to undergraduate (first I had to accept that medical school was a long road away). I've realized these preparation books don't actually TEACH you. I've taken the Kaplan course, I've read the EK and Kaplan and BR. AAMC will ALWAYS ask something that was not in your books and these books don't teach, they summarize and assume you've already learned most of what they're telling you more thoroughly than they will explain it. The exist to tell you the high yields, to help you strategize and form reasoning skills applicable to the exam. I recommend more than anything taking Biochemistry I and doing all the homework problems assigned, reading the chapters at least once and recording lectures and listening to them later with or without copying your notes from class (this helps me a lot). I took Biochemistry, Physiology and retook Chemistry last semester and Biochemistry is my BEST section (after Behavioral Sciences). It saves both my Physics and Biology scores because I wasn't motivated and I guess things never really made their way into my LTM when I was an undergraduate. I am confident this will improve your score probably to at least 500, Biochemistry is where it's at on the new MCAT and boy am I happy.
O wow! I'm actually trying to figure out if I really want to go to medical school and that there's another calling for me. I am feeling the same exact way.
I figured out that it was my study habits that caused me to score so low and I was too tired after work to focus.
I did take biochemistry and it was my fav class out of all the science classes, I just didn't study enough for it. I'm just thinking that by the time I retake the mcat, I would need to submit my scores and with my current scores, I'm afraid no school will accept me or even look at my application.
I'm at a cross-road where the test has me rethinking about medical school and whether I want to go or not because I put so much energy into it.
 

hayden29

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My problem is no matter how much I study or change my techniques my score just won't change, especially my verbal score, I scored a 6 on the VR on the old MCAT so I have to take MCAT2015 to improve my VR score, I have been studying since may, and I'm 2 weeks away from taking the new version. I have been doing a ton of VR practice but my score is always the same, I'm stuck at 122/123. I have done countless passages, 4 full length practice test and my score won't change. On Bio, PS, Psych/Soc....I have seen slight improvements but I can't get any higher than 128. Please help y'all
How much time do you spend reviewing?
 

mikil100

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1) Your individual scores and composite score:
Total: 517 PS: 129 CARS: 129 BS: 130 Psych: 129

2) The study method used for each section
PS: HEAVY use of Khan Academy. This was my weakest area when I took the AAMC Official exam 2 week into studying. As I did for every section, I did content review and question right from the start. I probably watched more videos for this than any other section. Khan is a huge help for this section, as it's mostly conceptual.
CARS: PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE. Seriously. Do at least 3 passages a day, 7 days a week. Use different materials. I used EK, TPR, Next Step, and AAMC materials. I probably did a full section once a week for the last two months of my studying. Some weeks I did two full sections. Review every single problem. Especially for the AAMC material.
BS: Lots of scientific reasoning here. Be sure you understand experimental methods. I did lots of flash cards for weak areas, and used Khan for some Biochem stuff, same as every section- lots of practice problems.
Psych: I definitely put the least effort into Psych. I did Khan videos when I was too tired to do anything else that required a lot of thought. Focus on passages that emphasize experiment design. Know the basic psych terms. Most likely when you take this on the real thing you're going to feel like you're failing... horribly. I don't normally like to say this in academics, but common sense helps a lot here.

3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, TBR, etc):
PS: Heavy use of Khan and EK. Khan mostly for videos and some practice. EK I used the 1001 books on top of their content review books.
CARS: Literally anything I could get my hands on. Especially AAMC material.
BS: Lots of Khan questions, to a lesser extent Khan videos. Most EK again. I did some NS question books (they're infuriating, though), and TPR questions.
Psych: Um... I guess I did Khan videos, I also did all of EK stuff. I used the AAMC official outline to "study." Anything that tests research design is good.

4) Which practice tests did you use? (Optional: include scores):
EK1, EK2, EK3: I scored around 70% on each. These are the best exams other than AAMC
AAMC FL: Two weeks into studying I took this, 64% Chem, 73% Bio, 85% CARS, and 64% Psych.. something to that effect. I retook it three days before the real deal and scored >90% on each section except PS which was high 80's.
TPR1, TPR2, TPR3: Scored 502 on each of these. Did poorly in PS each time, average BS and CARS. Psych was always high.
AAMC Official Guide Questions: 70% Bio, 80% CARS, 86% PS...I forget my Psych score. This test was hard compared to the official FL.
I also used ALL AAMC question packs. They come as packets of 120 questions. I did 60 questions at a time, timed. Treat these like a FL. I scored around 80% of CARS, 93% for Bio, ~85% for chem, ~75% for Physics,

5) What was your undergraduate major?
Biology. I have a degree in nursing as well.

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

Practice from the start. Used a mix of practice materials if you can afford it. Use Khan, it's free, it's good, and it's affiliated with AAMC. Use all AAMC material available. No excuses here.

Time everything.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN. It's on every section other than CARS. Know it. Be comfortable interpreting graphs. Be aware: AAMC likes to trick you on data interpretation. Know how to find a confounding variable, ect...

CARS every day.

Take notes when you read.

Read through your chapters at least twice. especially areas you're uncomfortable with
.
Make a word document called "lessons learned." Make notes on what you got wrong, how you can get to the right answer, and facts associated with that subject, and tips. review this at least once a week. By a month into study, you'll have a huge word doc. It helped keep me focused on my weak areas.

Don't study stuff you know more than once.

On the flip side, study stuff you don't know. I can't tell you how many times I googled redox reactions, electrolysis, galvanic cells.. etc. I hated it, but I was weak in it. You need to master the things you aren't comfortable with.

Practice> Review. Towards the end I wasn't reading any books except for specific questions. I used Khan videos, and google. Almost all my time was spent doing practice problems, timed practice problems. When you get a question wrong, guessed, or weren't sure, you then lookup the answer and more importantly, understand how to get it correct next time.

Take some time to do what you like. This test, and moreso studying for it, are emotionally taxing. There will be a day where you feel stupid, and that's okay.

Know your amino acids. Cold.

Did I mention experimental design?




7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
Three months, taking 11 credits. Working 24 hours a week, and Volunteering. Please do not do this to yourself. It sucked. I'm surprised I got the score I did with how much other stuff I had to worry about. I studied 6 hours a day during the week (yes, including school days) and did Khan videos during the weekend after my shift ended. The last month was crunch time as I was out of school. Probably 10 hours a day, five days a week.
 
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remedy23

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1) Your individual scores and composite score:
Total: 517 PS: 129 CARS: 129 BS: 130 Psych: 129

2) The study method used for each section
PS: HEAVY use of Khan Academy. This was my weakest area when I took the AAMC Official exam 2 week into studying. As I did for every section, I did content review and question right from the start. I probably watched more videos for this than any other section. Khan is a huge help for this section, as it's mostly conceptual.
CARS: PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE. Seriously. Do at least 3 passages a day, 7 days a week. Use different materials. I used EK, TPR, Next Step, and AAMC materials. I probably did a full section once a week for the last two months of my studying. Some weeks I did two full sections. Review every single problem. Especially for the AAMC material.
BS: Lots of scientific reasoning here. Be sure you understand experimental methods. I did lots of flash cards for weak areas, and used Khan for some Biochem stuff, same as every section- lots of practice problems.
Psych: I definitely put the least effort into Psych. I did Khan videos when I was too tired to do anything else that required a lot of thought. Focus on passages that emphasize experiment design. Know the basic psych terms. Most likely when you take this on the real thing you're going to feel like you're failing... horribly. I don't normally like to say this in academics, but common sense helps a lot here.

3) What materials you used for each section(Kaplan, TPR, Examkrackers, AAMC, TBR, etc):
PS: Heavy use of Khan and EK. Khan mostly for videos and some practice. EK I used the 1001 books on top of their content review books.
CARS: Literally anything I could get my hands on. Especially AAMC material.
BS: Lots of Khan questions, to a lesser extent Khan videos. Most EK again. I did some NS question books (they're infuriating, though), and TPR questions.
Psych: Um... I guess I did Khan videos, I also did all of EK stuff. I used the AAMC official outline to "study." Anything that tests research design is good.

4) Which practice tests did you use? (Optional: include scores):
EK1, EK2, EK3: I scored around 70% on each. These are the best exams other than AAMC
AAMC FL: Two weeks into studying I took this, 64% Chem, 73% Bio, 85% CARS, and 64% Psych.. something to that effect. I retook it three days before the real deal and scored >90% on each section except PS which was high 80's.
TPR1, TPR2, TPR3: Scored 502 on each of these. Did poorly in PS each time, average BS and CARS. Psych was always high.
AAMC Official Guide Questions: 70% Bio, 80% CARS, 86% PS...I forget my Psych score. This test was hard compared to the official FL.
I also used ALL AAMC question packs. They come as packets of 120 questions. I did 60 questions at a time, timed. Treat these like a FL. I scored around 80% of CARS, 93% for Bio, ~85% for chem, ~75% for Physics,

5) What was your undergraduate major?
Biology. I have a degree in nursing as well.

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

Practice from the start. Used a mix of practice materials if you can afford it. Use Khan, it's free, it's good, and it's affiliated with AAMC. Use all AAMC material available. No excuses here.

Time everything.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN. It's on every section other than CARS. Know it. Be comfortable interpreting graphs. Be aware: AAMC likes to trick you on data interpretation. Know how to find a confounding variable, ect...

CARS every day.

Take notes when you read.

Read through your chapters at least twice. especially areas you're uncomfortable with
.
Make a word document called "lessons learned." Make notes on what you got wrong, how you can get to the right answer, and facts associated with that subject, and tips. review this at least once a week. By a month into study, you'll have a huge word doc. It helped keep me focused on my weak areas.

Don't study stuff you know more than once.

On the flip side, study stuff you don't know. I can't tell you how many times I googled redox reactions, electrolysis, galvanic cells.. etc. I hated it, but I was weak in it. You need to master the things you aren't comfortable with.

Practice> Review. Towards the end I wasn't reading any books except for specific questions. I used Khan videos, and google. Almost all my time was spent doing practice problems, timed practice problems. When you get a question wrong, guessed, or weren't sure, you then lookup the answer and more importantly, understand how to get it correct next time.

Take some time to do what you like. This test, and moreso studying for it, are emotionally taxing. There will be a day where you feel stupid, and that's okay.

Know your amino acids. Cold.

Did I mention experimental design?




7) How long did you study for the MCAT?
Three months, taking 11 credits. Working 24 hours a week, and Volunteering. Please do not do this to yourself. It sucked. I'm surprised I got the score I did with how much other stuff I had to worry about. I studied 6 hours a day during the week (yes, including school days) and did Khan videos during the weekend after my shift ended. The last month was crunch time as I was out of school. Probably 10 hours a day, five days a week.

Thank you for this great advice. Do you have any recommendations on specific Biology passages to complete? They seem very hit & miss for me, and I'm not sure how much time I should spend doing them since they take up a lot of time and there's so many of them...
 

mikil100

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Thank you for this great advice. Do you have any recommendations on specific Biology passages to complete? They seem very hit & miss for me, and I'm not sure how much time I should spend doing them since they take up a lot of time and there's so many of them...

What questions are you typically missing? Bio was hit and miss for me as well, but not as much as PS. And I would complete a lot of Bio passages. IMO, they are the highest yield to study because Bio is heavily represented in the PS section and to a lesser extent in Psych. Therefore knowing Bio well could potentially raise your score in more than one section. You should be spending a lot of time practicing Bio passages.

@mikil100 what did you use to study experimental design questions? or did you just review questions you got wrong that tested design?

thanks in advance

Unfortunately, there is really no way to "study" for experimental design. You just have to practice it very carefully, and often. This is one case where doing untimed passages is probably a good idea, until you get better at analyzing data really well. The first step to doing well with experiment questions is knowing "what are the actually asking me." and from there "where can I find it in the passage." Sometimes it may not be an experiment question at all (e.g;, hidden content question)! That's what makes these so difficult, and takes the most practice. Some of the questions are literally right in the text with no interpretation necessary, others you have to look at 2+ charts and use inference, etc. It is honestly just as difficult as mastering Verbal Reasoning skills.
 
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Krabbeman

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1) 521 total 130 PC/129 CARS/130 Bio/132 Psy/Soc
2)Explicitly used Kaplan's materials and study guide for each section
3)I used only Kaplan and aamc material. Kaplan for content studying. Kaplan Q-bank and aamc Q packs for daily practice. Kaplan FLs 1-7. And AAMC FL right before exam. Also did the 120 Qs in the official guide to the MCAT.
4)Kaplan FLs 1-7 scoring ranged from 501-508. AAMC practice right before exam ~86%
5)Biology @ top 100 state school
6)I did every single little thing my Kaplan Course had to offer. I swear by them, they helped me so much. Which is why I now teach for them:) I strongly suggest taking a course. When you do, do every single reading, watch every single video, every practice Q they got. Suck everything you can out of that course.

My schedule was this. I followed their instructions to a Tee, except didn't just do "recommended" material, I did everything the course had to offer. around 5 hours a day. When the course was over, I still had 8 weeks till my exam. So I took a FL every weekend, and spent the rest of the week doing focused content on what I got wrong. And doing practice specific to that area. Thats it folks. I simply followed Kaplan, and did FLs after the course ended.

One thing I think REALLY heped.... do one practice passage from each of the 4 section EVERY DAY (except test days). I used the aamc Qpacks and official guide, and the Kaplan Q bank for these practice passages. Don't skip this ever. Do them. Do them Do them Do them. Oh one more thing. DO THEM. one P/C, one CARS, one BIO, and one Psy/soc every day.

5) 5 months for at least 5 hours a day...... yes folks... thats 5 x 30 x 5=750 hours... its actually more than that because FLs were 7 hours long.

Note: I'm not that bright... AT ALL. I do have a 3.99gpa, but thats only because I work myself to the bone!!!! Most people won't have to put in nearly 750 hours to do this well... probably around 300-350 from what I can see. BUT... if you're dumb like me... DON"T BE DISCOURAGED!!!! JUST WORK YOUR @$$ off. You can do it! WHO CARES IF THEY SAY 300-350 hours to prepare???!!! TRY TO DOUBLE THAT IF YOU KNOW YOUR NOT SMART!! I guarantee you can out work people smarter than you, and grab a disgusting score.

Good luck
 
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twinBqt

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Definitely Congratulations to you on the wonderful score!! I am just like you in that I have to study and work hard to get the good grades.

Did you ONLY do just 4 passages a day or did you do your 4 and then some more? What was your avg number of completed passages each day/week? What about practice problems?

How long did it take you to do thorough review for the practice passages, p. problems, and each FL?

Do you think you, or a person in general, could not take the Kaplan course, just use the Kaplan sets, and still do just as well?

Did you use the old Kaplan books or the new ones?

Is this your first time taking the exam or is it a retake?

Thank you for sharing your tips with us!!
 
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