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A little worried about a possible downward trend in my scores, would like some perspective/advice

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by serendipitee, May 16, 2014.

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  1. serendipitee

    serendipitee 2+ Year Member

    Nov 3, 2011
    Hey guys,

    I've been a long-time lurker, but this is my first time posting. Thank you in advance for any help. :)

    I have been studying for the MCAT for about 3.5 months now and am taking it in 2 weeks. The first couple of months were rough because I was working as a scribe and only recently quit so I could dedicate more time to studying. I studied very hard initially and I think I started to burn out (ironically after I had more free time) because I haven't been able to motivate myself.

    I actually scored better last month after I buckled down studying.

    Scores are below, in the order I took each exam.

    aamc 3 - 29 (10/9/10) - Took the test after sleeping 4 hours and was extremely anxious while taking it. After I got the score I basically had an emotional breakdown and studied for a good 2 weeks straight before taking any other tests.
    aamc 4 - 38 (13/12/13)
    aamc 8 - 37 (14/11/12)
    aamc 11 - 34 (12/10/12)
    aamc 7 - 34 (10/10/14); just taken today

    My bio grades are somewhat stable. I know I have to refresh on content because all my points lost on aamc 11 were from discretes, but I'm not super concerned. I'm more worriedabout the PS scores... I've been noticing that I'm making more careless errors now, as most of my points are lost on discrete questions. I also make stupid flubs with simple concepts. I am grateful that my situation isn't terrible - I'm still scoring decently. But I would really like to maximize my score and am worried that I'll screw up PS badly :/

    I really appreciate any input. Thank you all so much!
    Last edited: May 16, 2014
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  3. Person0715

    Person0715 Socially awkward 2+ Year Member

    May 12, 2011
    Gotō Islands
    Why did you take AAMC 11 so early?

    Have you been taking breaks? One reason for the trend could be burnout.
  4. serendipitee

    serendipitee 2+ Year Member

    Nov 3, 2011
    Ahh I'm glad that other people have been in the same predicament as me haha. And that's good to hear that it was right around your average! Were your other AAMC sections accurate representations for verbal and bio?

    I've been trying to pinpoint what exactly trips me up and it seems to be a combination of:

    1. Really stupid calculation errors (most of the problems I get wrong) - especially stupid things like stoichiometry and easy thermo problems... I've practiced them A LOT, but I continue to make the same errors. I'm not sure if I'm rushing? With so little time to improve on this, I'm not sure if I should continue practicing passages or focus on calculation-based discretes.
    2. Simple GChem concepts (ex - bonding, low Kb = low basicity, etc). I know the concept but during the test I'll reason incorrectly.
    Last edited: May 16, 2014
  5. serendipitee

    serendipitee 2+ Year Member

    Nov 3, 2011

    I didn't want to be surprised a couple of days before my actual exam, so I just took it to get an idea of what to work towards. That's also why I jumped ahead and took AAMC 8 and 7 which I heard are more difficult, instead of going in order.

    I have been taking breaks, and honestly a lot more often than I should with the date so soon. I got very overwhelmed during the beginning/middle of my studying and would spend all my time when I wasn't working studying (right before I took AAMC 3). I think my score reflected how physically/mentally exhausted I was. I panicked, gave myself a couple of days to de-stress, and then got back into it. After taking AAMC 8 I think I started to get burned out again and stepped back a little.

    Is it possible that my declining PS scores are a result of not going at it as hard as I was previously? I still review 5 days/week, and I would think that I would retain knowledge/skills from previous practice instead of declining sharply from 13/14 to 11/10.
  6. whizplusdum


    Feb 21, 2013
    OP you are freaking out way to much. Every AAMC exam is different. I thought Exam 11 was simpler compared to Exam 10. Physical is fluctuating because AAMC 7 was modified from the previous long paper version to the condensed shortened version, so a lot of the original passages and questions are missing. The AAMC based the curve off of the old exam and modified the curve to the condensed version. So in reality when you scored that 10 on physical, it could be something else =). Just keep on studying and review your mistakes and learn from them.
  7. serendipitee

    serendipitee 2+ Year Member

    Nov 3, 2011
    Thank you so much for the thoughtful reply! :)

    I love what you did with writing all the formulas and will definitely try practicing that - hopefully it will help with some of the issues I have on simple problems. I will also try taking more time with discretes instead of rushing them, and try some of the strategies you mentioned. After reading your suggestions, I realize that I haven't been thinking about how to approach some of the calculations more efficiently.

    Thank you again!!
  8. serendipitee

    serendipitee 2+ Year Member

    Nov 3, 2011
    Hahaha, you're right, I might be freaking out too much... Studying has just been so stressful :/

    Ahh I see, that makes sense about the older AAMCs. Thank you so much for the encouraging words :) I will keep on practicing and learn from my mistakes in the next 2 weeks.

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