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AAMC CBT vs The Real Thing

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by deathvvv, Jun 15, 2008.

  1. deathvvv

    deathvvv 7+ Year Member

    May 18, 2008
    Hey Guys

    I was wondering how consistent is the difficulty/style/scoring of the CBTs the real MCAT compared to the real thing. I just did MCAT 3 and I got a 30 (9P 10v 11B). I find that on the exam I could have found the answer from inferencing the passages and strict memorization of equations was minimized. Is that the same for the real thing?

    Thanks for the responses.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
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  3. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Jun 27, 2007
    That's roughly how it was for me last year. I didn't need any equations that weren't given. However, difficulty-wise, AAMC FL#3 isn't a good predictor, in fact, it's pretty bad. Look to AAMC #9 and 10 for a closer experience. In terms of style, I don't think #3 would be that good. I never took it, but I remember #5 being stylistically different, so I would think #3 would be as well. Furthermore, it appears that BS and PS are becoming more difficult. For what I've read, many people think the science sections are starting to look more like Kaplan's FL PS and BS. Lastly, BS doesn't have as much O-chem anymore.
  4. craniotomy30

    craniotomy30 2+ Year Member

    Aug 25, 2007
    I took the May 10, 2008 MCAT and I felt that the AAMC tests that I took were poor representations of the real thing. Every passage I would read on my MCAT I was thinking WTF??!! The verbal was extra long and the bio felt like another verbal section. Also, the PS was CRAZY difficult. However, the general consensus is that AAMC is a good comparison to the real test....maybe just the May 10th MCAT was way different
  5. J ROD

    J ROD Watch my TAN walk!! Rocket Scientist Physician Pharmacist Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Aug 1, 2005
    working on my tan......
    To me, the real deal requires more thinking and the passages were just harder along with the discretes. I can do a AAMC without little effort and break a 30. I mean I could halfway read the passage and get most of the questions right. The real one was very convoulted and required intense thought and combined concepts.

    I think you almost have to see a real MCAT to know how to prepare for it if you get one of those extremely difficult ones. Some seem to be fair, while some are too hard. I got one of the hardest last year and pray one time I get a reasonable one.

    I think the day you take the test is becoming more important. Now, if you are an excellent testtaker, then I think the difficulty is less important because good testtakers seem to do fine regardless.
  6. supertrooper66

    supertrooper66 Banned

    Apr 28, 2008
    nope, they're all consistent. there isn't a "hard" versus an "easy" one. that doesn't make any sense. all of the tests will balance out, all of them now have BS that's more verbal with little organic, the VR passages are longer on the real thing (but less convoluted, so it's actually an easier read IMO, at least mine was), and so forth.
  7. craniotomy30

    craniotomy30 2+ Year Member

    Aug 25, 2007
    Not true, ask someone who took both the 5/10 MCAT and a previous MCAT and they will tell you differently. There surely are "harder" versions of the test...they have no way to make them all the same difficulty (that is why they have a curve). My VR passages were much longer and very convulted. Unless you take every MCAT version, you can't say they are all of same difficulty
  8. supafield

    supafield Dream Big 7+ Year Member

    May 18, 2006
    the quick answer to this is that yes difficulty can be dramatically different from test to test but that since it's scaled you remain in your percentile range compared to every other test taker.....

    You score a 10 on an easy test and someone else scores a 9.... a test that forces you to get a lot of questions wrong in theory will make the person with a 9 get a few more questions wrong and still get a 9.

    People love to debate how the curve is made up but the reality is that it's based on data of how other test-takers do on the same questions... so tough question will give you more lee-way to get your same score...

    This is hypothetically how the the AAMC practice tests retain their predictive value..... where variation may occur and a problem in my mind is in the Biology section.... (moreso than physical) with the increasing emphasis on molecular biology and genetics a physiology major or organic chemistry major may drop a point or two compared to the practice tests which are loaded with phys, endocrine, and have more orgo.

    I really think the AAMC is creating conditions favoring genetics and molecular /microbio students... however that's just a theory and given the importance that reasoning has with scoring well on the MCAT any advantage I think a specific major may have is probably very minimal...

    The long and short of it... the real MCAT may not look at all like an AAMC practice but generally is still testing the same abilities. Do your best and you'll like score very close to previous scores.
  9. UVAbme2009

    UVAbme2009 5+ Year Member

    Jan 26, 2008
    There wasn't one AAMC that could compare to the real thing (June 13th). If I could go back, I wouldn't have purchased a single one. It gives you a false sense of what the test is going to be like, especially since the website explicitly says that the practice tests are good indicators of the real deal.


    Practice: straightforward passages, don't even need to read a lot of them to answer the questions, fair amount of time to complete and check work

    Real thing: no straightforward passages, had to read the passages very carefully and still go back to look for the answer, zero amount of time to check back over the test

    I actually thought verbal was easier than the practice tests. I don't know if my score will indicate that, but the passages made sense. There weren't any that were hard to follow.
  10. Revilla

    Revilla New Member 5+ Year Member

    Jul 22, 2006
    Have to agree with UVAbme2009. I also took the June 13th exam and the AAMCs were nothing like the real thing. I always finished every section with time to spare (sometimes, quite a bit of time), but on the real thing, the passages are so convoluted that most people who posted on the Friday the 13th thread said they rushed through the last few questions.

    Perhaps it's just certain days though. I've read the May 23rd thread and it seems those folks think AAMC was a fair representation of the real thing. On June 13th, you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who agrees with that. Because of the curve though, it'll theoretically all balance out.

    Just remember, on your MCAT day, if you found it difficult, chances are most other people did too. I forgot that little tidbit and because I felt like the biggest idiot in the world for not understanding all the passages and guessing on several questions, I voided my score. When I came home to read that it wasn't just me, that it was the majority of the test-takers (Americans and our friends overseas) who found that exam particularly difficult, I regretted voiding. Don't make that mistake.
  11. fuzzywuz

    fuzzywuz 5+ Year Member

    Jan 6, 2006
    Just adding my 2 cents..

    I agree with the above two posts. As a June 13th MCAT victim, I'd have to say that AAMC are not representative. I guess I can't generalize that for all MCAT administrations. I mean, honestly, all exams are going to be different.

    Are those AAMC good representations? No
    Are those AAMC good preparation? Yes
  12. RySerr21

    RySerr21 i aint kinda hot Im sauna 7+ Year Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    i think the June 13thers happened to get a really hard test...shoulda known not to sign up for a test on friday the 13th.

    I took test 5/27 and IMO it was very similar to AAMC tests that i took (3, 7-10). I felt that it could have easily been AAMC #11. The passages were of similar length for every section and there wasn't really any thing surprising. There were questions taht i didnt know and there were questions that I did know. I thought AAMC was a fine predictor.

    in conclusion, i think it depends on your test day. clearly the June 13th-ers had a very different experience than i had.
  13. jimsteelevans

    jimsteelevans 2+ Year Member

    Jun 4, 2008
    I had the weirdest (and possibly most fatal) issue taking the MCAT (First-timer). On the practice AAMC tests on e-mcat.com, they always say "question x/xx" on the bottom of the screen. However, on the real MCAT, when there is a passage it says "passage x/x" instead of saying the question numbers. So, since I was completely focused on the questions, at one point I glanced down and notice I was on passage 6 out of 7. I assumed I was on the second to last page based on this - without looking at the question number - so I took my time on this passage. By the time I went to the next page and finished all of the questions - thinking I was done - I clicked the next button only to be completely surprised by a whole additional passage that I had to guess on every one of the 8 questions (and three more questions that I didn't even have to guess on, on the next page)!

    My questions are: Has anyone else been completely thrown off by this? Is this a valid reason to re-take the MCAT (assuming I score the statistically estimated 2-3 full points below my average 10 on PS)? Is this disparity between the practice AAMC tests and the real MCAT written anywhere on AAMC or E-MCAT?

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