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525 on the MCAT AMA

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DPTinthemaking15

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I couldn't resist....

1022334
 
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MoDiddy

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Were you nervous the month waiting for the test results? How did you feel throughout the process of waiting?
 
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dexopep6058

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Were you nervous the month waiting for the test results? How did you feel throughout the process of waiting?
I felt relieved for the most part. I studied pretty intensely for 3 months and to be done with the MCAT was a feeling like no other. It was also the end of my school semester, I had one month left to finish, so I had to study for my finals and finish up projects. The week before I got the results back, I took a trip to visit family in Denver, CO and didn't really think about it at all that week. I knew I did my best, so I wasn't nervous. The morning the results were released I was pretty nervous though.
 
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dexopep6058

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what was your break down? Do you have any tips for C/P and CARS?

C/P: 130, CARS: 132, B/B: 131, P/S: 132

For CARS, you need to read a lot in general and practice as much as you can. IMO, patterns are the same for answers throughout CARS and you can recognize the patterns if you practice enough. For C/P, read a lot of scientific articles in your free time to get used to reading hard to understand writing and remember that the answer is commonly found in the passage - that being said, you need to memorize important concepts so you can distinguish right from wrong answers and get those all important stand alone questions.
 
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dexopep6058

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sheesh congrats on the score... what was your approach to prepping physics?

I hated physics. Kaplan has a list of need to know physics equations (I think it's in a book called quick facts) and so I made flashcards out of those and kept cycling through them for months. Obviously I also went through concepts and tried to watch a lot of Kahn Academy videos, but just knowing the equations and recognizing units used on the test was a lifesaver. It helped a lot. Honestly, I think that's the most you need to know for physics based passages because the rest of the information should be in the passage.
 
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MDhopeful74

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My first serious score (I took a FL months before I ever started studying in about two hours and got a 478) was a 501 on the AAMC practice exam, about three months before I took the MCAT.
How did you study? What was your schedule for 3 months? What do you think the biggest reason for your score improvement is?
 

PopeKnope23

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I hated physics. Kaplan has a list of need to know physics equations (I think it's in a book called quick facts) and so I made flashcards out of those and kept cycling through them for months. Obviously I also went through concepts and tried to watch a lot of Kahn Academy videos, but just knowing the equations and recognizing units used on the test was a lifesaver. It helped a lot. Honestly, I think that's the most you need to know for physics based passages because the rest of the information should be in the passage.

Do you know the specific name of the Kaplan book that has those need-to-know physics equations? Is it the physics and math review or a different one?
 

pioneer22

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what are your tips for succeeding on each section?

Would you recommend any classes besides Bio GenChem OChem Physics Biochem Psych?
 

dexopep6058

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Do you know the specific name of the Kaplan book that has those need-to-know physics equations? Is it the physics and math review or a different one?

I think the physics and math review has them, but I was also provided with a very small (like maybe 15 pages total) booklet that was called Quicksheets... it's actually available online I believe if you just google Kaplan MCAT quick sheets and click on the first link.
 
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dexopep6058

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what are your tips for succeeding on each section?

Would you recommend any classes besides Bio GenChem OChem Physics Biochem Psych?

For the Chem/Phys section, I would say if you're not sure on an answer or don't know the answer ALWAYS go back to the passage and look for any hints. The passage is your best friend in this section.

For the CARS section, I would say to practice as many passages as you can and write down why you got a question wrong - I think Kaplan has this thing (literally an excel sheet the teacher sent us) called a "Why I missed it" sheet and the point of the excel sheet is to write down what type of CARS question it was and why you missed it. The sheet is also useful for other sections as well, but really helpful for CARS. Also, I never outlined the CARS passages on actual test day or most FLs leading up to test day.

For Bio/Biochem, I would say something similar to Chem/Phys - always look to the passage for hints. Also, try to get to the point where the discreet questions are NOT what you miss most often. It's important to know the standalone concepts.

For Psych/Soc, this should be your best section IMO. Most of it is very straightforward and I would say nailing down what concepts you don't know is the hardest part because there are so many they can test on.

Overall, practice makes perfect - I took 11 FLs in the three months leading up to test day. Also, I would add Physiology and Social Psychology to that class list because I took them before I took the MCAT and thought they helped a lot (esp. Physiology).
 
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dexopep6058

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How did you study? What was your schedule for 3 months? What do you think the biggest reason for your score improvement is?

I took 11 FLs, that is hands down the reason I think I did so well. Most people I talk to didn't even take half that many, especially in the short time of 3 months. I studied using Kaplan Test Prep which meant that I utilized all of their resources (read all the books, used the QBank flashcards, took the FLs, watched their videos, went to class once a week - I should mention I started the class 5 months before I took the test, but only went to class once a week and didn't study for those first two months, just wrapped my head around what it meant to take the MCAT). Additionally, I would rewatch Kahn Academy videos on subjects I wasn't clear on and took notes that I could look back on later. Everyday except Saturdays, I studied 2-6 hours after class. On Saturdays, I took FLs and then took the night off.
 

JustWnt2BeADoctor

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Did you use Kaplans approach to CARS? Consisting of making a outline and consistently referring to the passage? Or did you just read the passage once and answered the questions?
 

dexopep6058

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Did you use Kaplans approach to CARS? Consisting of making a outline and consistently referring to the passage? Or did you just read the passage once and answered the questions?

For my first few FLs, I used their strategy of outlining, but it just wasn't for me. I would read the passage through once, highlight what I thought were important points or keywords that Kaplan would indicate are significant, and then refer back to the passage as need be. I felt like this gave me more time to think about the questions.
 
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pioneer22

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I took 11 FLs, that is hands down the reason I think I did so well. Most people I talk to didn't even take half that many, especially in the short time of 3 months. I studied using Kaplan Test Prep which meant that I utilized all of their resources (read all the books, used the QBank flashcards, took the FLs, watched their videos, went to class once a week - I should mention I started the class 5 months before I took the test, but only went to class once a week and didn't study for those first two months, just wrapped my head around what it meant to take the MCAT). Additionally, I would rewatch Kahn Academy videos on subjects I wasn't clear on and took notes that I could look back on later. Everyday except Saturdays, I studied 2-6 hours after class. On Saturdays, I took FLs and then took the night off.


Which 11 FL's did you take?
 
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3AA

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What were your scores on the FLs (Kaplan and AAMC) if you dont' mind me asking
 
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dexopep6058

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What were your scores on the FLs (Kaplan and AAMC) if you dont' mind me asking

First AAMC - 509
Kaplan 1 - 506
Kaplan 2 - 506
Kaplan 3 - 508
Kaplan 4 - 506
Kaplan 5 - 507
Kaplan 6 - 506
Kaplan 7 - 509
Kaplan 8 - 507
Kaplan 9 - 510
Second AAMC - 515

In that order.
 
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3AA

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Thanks! How long would you spend reviewing your practice tests and what exactly should you take away from reviewing them- sometimes after reviewing I dont' really think about the test again so I'm unsure if thats the right way to go about it or? Thanks!
 
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dexopep6058

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Thanks! How long would you spend reviewing your practice tests and what exactly should you take away from reviewing them- sometimes after reviewing I dont' really think about the test again so I'm unsure if thats the right way to go about it or? Thanks!

I would tend to do the same... it's hard to review a test extensively and even harder to figure out what to take from it/how to learn from it. I used the Why I Missed It (WIMI) that Kaplan sent us on every practice exam. But mostly, I tried to see general things I could work on (big areas of study like a certain overall topic in physics or chemistry or biology) and then focus on that in my free time besides studying like usual. Basically, I spend about an hour tops reviewing a FL.
 

dexopep6058

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Just something that helps people understand and do well on CARS! So many students struggle on that section and having different strategies for them from different perspectives can really help in my opinion!

Thanks for the information, I will think about making one and if I do, I'll post it here! Like I said previously, I never had huge issues with CARS because I was sort of a natural at CARS (in a really basic sense, not like I got perfect scores without practicing a lot) so I'm not sure how much advice I could give that would be useful, but if I come up with something you'll be able to see it here!
 

dexopep6058

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hey, how did you study for psych and soc? Did you just spam flashcards of all the theories?

Exactly. I began with reading the Kaplan books, then hammered any and all flashcards into my head, and some sociology concepts were still hard for me to understand or I kept missing questions on them so I would watch Kaplan/Kahn academy videos to really understand those concepts.
 

dexopep6058

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How many hours total would you say you studied for the MCAT?

So let's see... in three months there are about 2200 hours so definitely less than that haha. Subtracting sleeping hours leaves about 1400 hours. Then subtracting time I was in class that semester and time I spent studying for class leaves about 1000 hours. And I took more or less a week off at one point in the middle so that leaves about 900 hours (not counts the sleeping hours I already subtracted). I took every Saturday night off so we get down to around 850 hours. Then I gave myself free time, roughly about 3-4 hours per day intermittently, and that would leave about 550 hours roughly. I guess that would be my estimate, but honestly, some of my classes overlapped with topics on the MCAT and sometimes when I was in class I'd actually study for the MCAT instead and somedays I wouldn't study for the MCAT at all except for about an hour or so. It really just depended on the day, so my guess of about 500ish hours is really rough and probably a not great estimate.
 

OrganicallyChemist

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How did you manage your timing? I tend to run out of time on some sections if very difficult to red passages come along. So to save time I started to look at the first question and then dive into the passage until I stumble upon the answer, move on (unless the questions required a deep understanding of the entire passage). Considering that some passages have only 3 question, and others have 5-6, this have helped me a couple of time. But I'm concerned if this might be a risky approach. What was your strategy when/if you felt like you're running out of time?
 
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