|Cheena|

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So I guess I have to postpone...I want your guys' take

I got a 509 and 508 and NS 1 and 2, and was hoping to get a 512 or 513 on the real thing.

I've been studying for the last 2.5 months for 8-10hrs a day, using EK and Kaplan and AAMC (didn't get thru all AAMC material, but turns out this was a good thing)

I got a 503 on the scored (huge disappointment, to say the least). I'll review my test in depth tomorrow, but then probably take a break from all things related MCAT, and get my life sorted out. I'll start working full time dedicating about 1-2 hours a day after that (maybe 12hrs total on the wknd), in that case, I'm not sure when to schedule my MCAT, and I'm especially afraid all this info I've crammed will slowly be lost.

What I think the game plan will be is order EK 101 and somehow get that TPR Hyperlearning for VERbal, and just crank out 2-3 passages a day diligently, literally before breakfast, cuz my verbal is **** (was good now its bad ((see thread titled "CARS Catastrophe")))

I'll do another round of content review, incorporating EK mini exams and AAMC question packs in this time, and not backloading it. I'm not sure how I'll motivate myself over the long term, and would much rather have a part-time job or little else to worry about, but I don't think that's feasible at this point (who knows, maybe having something else on my mind will help me in the long term)

I feel sh*tty, but w/e, I feel like it's better to one tap this exam then have to take multiple shots at it [pun intended].
 
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|Cheena|

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THanks. I've literally seen/read all your threads multiple times but the breakdown is 40/59, 38/53, 41/59, and 44/59. IDK why but this P/S felt much harder than any I had previously taken, and this is normally my best section, averaging around 47/59. I guess this is the end. Here I thought I was preparing with the best materials, putting in the necessary effort, but alas, it was all for naught.
 
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efle

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Hmm. If I were you I'd try taking some other prep company exams than NS before giving up. They are generally deflated (Kaplan and TPR especially) but are better than nothing for clarifying the situation. If you can hit 500 on Kaplan exams, for example, the AAMC 503 is likely a low outlier/bad luck.
 
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If you're not applying this cycle, then it is your discretion whenever you feel ready to take the exam. It is ideal to knock out the exam in one try, but it is not the end of the world if you wish to take the exam now, and give ample time in case of a retake.
Keep in mind that a more updated AAMC exam is said to come out soon if you decide to push it to next year's dates!

I was in the same boat for my Aug. MCAT, except i did not have the option to cancel (missed the deadline :c). I gradually improved my score (503 -> 511) throughout 2.5 months of studying, but then felt like I got suckered punched with the AAMC scored (504). Looking back, I was kinda relieved to just experience the actual exam- despite my score. I realized even with the AAMC scored or unscored, my actual exam was pretty different and i was luckily tested more on my strengths- compared to the scored! My point is that you'll never know how the exam will go until you actually take it!

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G900A using SDN mobile
 
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|Cheena|

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Thanks Jersanta! Appreciate the input. I may just end up taking and voiding...idk this all feels....
 

kawi609

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still could apply DO but your screwed on the MD schools.
 

lexswift

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This is bizarre. Did you take NS 1 and 2 under proper testing conditions (timed and in one sitting with no looking back at the material)?

Perhaps you are burnt out. I would definitely postpone if you want to get a 512-513.
 

Dr. Cheddar

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I don't know about other prep companies but I used TPR and took three practice tests scoring 498, 499, and 503 with each taken within one week of my exam date. I could hardly believe the deflation on those tests when I got my actual results back and had a 512.
 
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|Cheena|

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I might be burnt out...been going pretty hardcore the last month, but all exams I've taken have been taken in perfect testing conditions. I hope it is, b/c rn my performance is the exact opposite of the serial position effect curve. I'm crashing at the worst possible moment, and not sure if I should just take the test and void...
 
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|Cheena|

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Oh and I got 66% on EK 4, which I took a week ago, not that great but around 72% C/P, ~55% CARS (****ty) 50% Bio (even ****tier), and 80% P/S
 

mdapp2021

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you may not've been taking this test as seriously as you would a real test, it may not have been representative of the real test, or you may've just been having an off day. take a few days off to relax and get your head right and you'll be fine. the work you've put in isn't going anywhere and it'll make relearning 10x faster.
 
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|Cheena|

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No it was even more serious if anything, I had 3x the nerves in the beginning of C/P, until I calmed down. I guess I'm just more shocked that you need a really high raw score on ALL the sections in order to get even 127s or 128s, let alone 129+. As in missing 10-12 or less on the science questions and 8 or less in CARS (which I seem to still be doing worse and worse in, despite doing better a months or so ago). For what its worth, my OG scores were all in the low 70s, which wasn't terribad, but I knew I could improve in the month leading up to the exam.
 

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I think once you find and master a really strong and effective strategy for verbal, you can excel in every section, since the MCAT is essentially a passage-based exam. So your priority now should be nailing down verbal cold. To do so, you need to find out what you were doing wrong in verbal and change that.
 

RogueBanana

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I think I got a 509 on the scored AAMC FL, 80th percentile on the unscored. I was kinda distracted when I took it, but it was more representative of the actual exam than any Kaplan test (I got 507s without fail on those). Pulled off a 512 on the real thing, I guess the adrenaline rush of it being the "real thing" worked in my favor. Either way, there's still hope. Keep studying and you will be fine.
 
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|Cheena|

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If only there was a way I could master verbal in 5 days. I think it's better I postpone and order TPR Hyperlearning and EK 101, crank out some passages, and solicit the guidance of someone who knows how to really nail CARS (westin's thing is a bit too pricey for me and Kaplan's strategy is nigh on useless I feel)
 

lexswift

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If only there was a way I could master verbal in 5 days. I think it's better I postpone and order TPR Hyperlearning and EK 101, crank out some passages, and solicit the guidance of someone who knows how to really nail CARS (westin's thing is a bit too pricey for me and Kaplan's strategy is nigh on useless I feel)
Yeah I feel so ruined by CARS. I think the best thing one can do is just practice. How much can one really improve in CARS though in a matter of months? People often say it's hard to master in a few months as mastering CARS requires reading comprehension skills one has built over many years.
 

Lawper

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If only there was a way I could master verbal in 5 days. I think it's better I postpone and order TPR Hyperlearning and EK 101, crank out some passages, and solicit the guidance of someone who knows how to really nail CARS (westin's thing is a bit too pricey for me and Kaplan's strategy is nigh on useless I feel)
Yeah I feel so ruined by CARS. I think the best thing one can do is just practice. How much can one really improve in CARS though in a matter of months? People often say it's hard to master in a few months as mastering CARS requires reading comprehension skills one has built over many years.
You need to isolate the problem and determine if it's a timing or comprehension issue. Do 5-6 passages untimed from a good source (e.g EK 101, TPRH VR). Take as much time as you need to answer the questions. If you get everything right or made only a few mistakes, your comprehension is fine. If you bomb the passages despite unlimited time, your comprehension needs work and that is something difficult to do.
 
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|Cheena|

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It has to be comprehension. I see that sometimes if I read a passage only once, I'll get lucky and understand the auth's main idea, but if I work off flawed assumptions I set myself up for getting several incorrect. I'm about to correct the CARS portion so I'll update in an hr or two, but It's definitely not timing. If you see my other thread, aptly named "Cars Catastrophe", it illustrates my scores from previous verbal materials and how I seemed to be tanking at the worst possible moment. I changed my strategy from Kaplan's note taking to taking an extra minute to really digest the passage, and then answer the questions, trying to limit the amount of times I go back to the passage. It works, to some extent, but my score is still pitiful. It's annoying because I feel like this is the one section you only need to be able to practice and don't need any general knowledge or reasoning, but it's now one of my worst
 

lexswift

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You need to isolate the problem and determine if it's a timing or comprehension issue. Do 5-6 passages untimed from a good source (e.g EK 101, TPRH VR). Take as much time as you need to answer the questions. If you get everything right or made only a few mistakes, your comprehension is fine. If you bomb the passages despite unlimited time, your comprehension needs work and that is something difficult to do.
I always do passages timed and I do technically always finish on time but I feel like the time constraints affect my comprehension to some extent. If I'm able to re-read multiple times and have unlimited time on passages I can probably do well because sometimes I understand better the second or third time I read it.
 
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|Cheena|

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And I don't know if I buy into that reading the Economist and WSJ stuff; I read everyday, nonstop be it school related or stuff I find online, so I doubt I have poor RC skills, per se. I read a sh*tload as a kid, to the point where in 5/6th grade I'd consistently be reading entire books in a day, and be able to retain what I read. I have a tendency to fall for trap answers, which I've reduced gradually, but not nearly enough. I'm at my wits ends w.r.t CARS at least
 
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|Cheena|

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Interesting. For me at least, that may be the case, but I know for sure there are some passages (the first 5 on CARS QP 1, for example) where you could give me all of time itself, and then some, and I still wouldn't be able to comprehend what was being asked, or how to pick the right answer choices
 

turtles43

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I was scoring in the low 500's on Kaplan, EK, and NS throughout studying. The highest practice exam I had was a 505 on the AAMC scored. I ended up getting a 509 on the real thing. I think practice tests can only tell you so much about how you'll do, because you can never simulate true testing conditions (adrenaline included). Honestly, I think you'll be fine. A 512-513 is a good goal, but with a 509 I've gotten 8 interviews so far - don't panic!
 
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|Cheena|

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I think I'm going to correct the test today, then take 3 days off and go and void it like a true champion. I feel like the quote "This is the end of the line, Kyoto" has never been more gut-wrenchingly true.
 

Lawper

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I always do passages timed and I do technically always finish on time but I feel like the time constraints affect my comprehension to some extent. If I'm able to re-read multiple times and have unlimited time on passages I can probably do well because sometimes I understand better the second or third time I read it.
Interesting. For me at least, that may be the case, but I know for sure there are some passages (the first 5 on CARS QP 1, for example) where you could give me all of time itself, and then some, and I still wouldn't be able to comprehend what was being asked, or how to pick the right answer choices
How do you guys approach the science/psych passages?

And I don't know if I buy into that reading the Economist and WSJ stuff; I read everyday, nonstop be it school related or stuff I find online, so I doubt I have poor RC skills, per se. I read a sh*tload as a kid, to the point where in 5/6th grade I'd consistently be reading entire books in a day, and be able to retain what I read. I have a tendency to fall for trap answers, which I've reduced gradually, but not nearly enough. I'm at my wits ends w.r.t CARS at least
The point of reading everyday is improving and maintaining active reading skills (e.g. question and evaluate what you read). Just reading passively does nothing. You should analyze the structure of the passages you are reading, measure the strength of the supporting evidence, and find any assumptions and inferences made in the passage.

Also glad you abandoned that passage mapping strategy. It's a major waste of time.
 

MareNostrummm

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How you do on the scored FL is going to be similar to how you do on the real test.. within 2-3 points usually, according to the user compilation data.


For me:
513 on scored
512 on the real thing

The actual test felt much harder as well..
 
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|Cheena|

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Thanks you for your inputs. I'll concede that point Lawper that active reading >> passive reading. And I've damn near memorized the scores of people who have posted there scores on the Excel spreadsheet, which is why I'm considerably scared about such an abominable Scored score (no pun intended). And science passages for the most part are fine, I've reduced most mistakes where I can glean the info from the passage to only a few per section (like 1-3, vs several mistakes before), which I feel is manageable. I make quick diagrams if need be. I just need to increase CARS, which, as aforementioned, I'll correct in about an hour. The thing is my score remains the same on the EK 10th ed 30 min exams (anywhere from 60-75%), albeit there was only 4, so I'm not sure rote practice is as beneficial and figuring out where the majority of my mistakes are coming from, which I just can't seem to do. I need something like a tutor who can administer to me 5-6 passages over and gather enough data to tell me, "Now see here, there's where you f*cked up, and here's how we can fix it", but don't have the money for such. I don't mind postponing if it means my verbal skyrockets, and am more than willing to put in the time to do 300+ more verbal passages, even all the old ones, including redoing some of the CARS Q Packs, until I literally cannot fail verbal unless I really was off the mark.
 
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|Cheena|

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okay so I think my biggest problem is that when reading passages, I can't retain some very important sentences/ideas that reveal author's tone and that leads me to missing lots of "reasoning beyond the text" Qs, and on passages I lack the fundamental understanding, Comprehensions Questions as well. I just forget that they're there, and when looking back at the passage, sometimes I can pick them out, other times I can't because I either keep ignoring them or don't have time
 
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Hmm. If I were you I'd try taking some other prep company exams than NS before giving up. They are generally deflated (Kaplan and TPR especially) but are better than nothing for clarifying the situation. If you can hit 500 on Kaplan exams, for example, the AAMC 503 is likely a low outlier/bad luck.
By "deflated" do you mean harder or easier?
 
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Harder, as in a 503 on Kaplan predicts much better (like, 510+ would not be surprising whatsoever) on the real test day.
Which test prep company is best for just basic review of the content?
 

efle

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Which test prep company is best for just basic review of the content?
I took the old test and loved Berkeley Review, which I believe has now released materials for the new test. For the new test my friends have had success with Kaplan and Princeton Review (though as above, can't let yourself get discouraged from their practice passages/tests).
 
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I took the old test and loved Berkeley Review, which I believe has now released materials for the new test. For the new test my friends have had success with Kaplan and Princeton Review (though as above, can't let yourself get discouraged from their practice passages/tests).
Just spent bunch of money on examcrackers complete study package. Is that good too?
 

efle

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Just spent bunch of money on examcrackers complete study package. Is that good too?
Yes, that's the last of the big safe known options. Historically they were strongest for quick science content review especially in Bio, and weakest with Verbal practice. Not sure if that's changed much for the new test.
 
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|Cheena|

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Visit studyschedule.org for some really good content recommendations and planning your long term schedule. Lots of good stuff there
 
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DocMcMommy

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(Let me preface this by saying I quickly skimmed the rest of this post so I may have missed something)

But I do not think your issue is not understanding the material, but more freaking out on everything else. You're stressing over how you can only miss ~8 questions on each section. So rather than focusing on the question, you're trying to figure out if you got that one wrong and calculating how many other you got wrong and then you're so caught in how many you can and have gotten wrong that you aren't remembering (because you aren't focusing) the passage or the questions.

That's just how it seems to me. I have that problem. I get so caught up in where I need/want to be, that I focus on that rather than actually being in the moment.

I feel like if you could try and slow down and stop yourself from running off with how many it's "ok" to miss and trying to figure out how close you are to that mark, you'll do much better.

But again! I might have missed something. And I haven't done Test Day yet, so blind leading the blind.
 

pewpew95

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I changed my strategy from Kaplan's note taking to taking an extra minute to really digest the passage, and then answer the questions, trying to limit the amount of times I go back to the passage.
I did the same thing; I no longer write out a short sentence for each paragraph, but I do highlight important sentences (such as author's POV/opinions). As for picking out the author's tone, I would suggest looking up lists of words showing bias. A lot of times the author's opinion is hidden but words such as should, ought to, perverse, unnatural, deserves, and just(as in fairness) can help hint at which direction the author is leaning towards. Think of them as signal words.

And in terms of timing yourself when reading the passage, I found that spending 3-4 minutes is an appropriate amount of time to get a gist for what the passage is about. The exam makers don't expect you to be able to fully understand every single point/argument that shows up in the passage. A lot of times a really difficult political/philosophical passage would come up and I would get bogged down in REALLY trying to understand every single thing the author was saying. Realistically, though, there's only 5-7 questions for each passage so there's no way that they can test you on everything. Convincing yourself that you just need to know bare minimum after the first read will give you extra time for the questions/going back to the passage.
 

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bigindian4891

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I had a similar experience with the scored, on the PS I got a 125 which was the lowest I got on any of the FLs I took. I ended up with 129 on the real thing. So in terms of PS, dont worry too much about it, just brush up on the definitions etc.
 
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NS exams give you a high score for a high percentage compared with the aamc.

Example

In the scored 40/59 --- is a 125
While 40/59 in the nextstep exam is 127

So basically is more easy to get a higher score in the nextstep exams. That means they are garbage for scoring but good for practice.
 
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How did you do on the section banks? I think those are also a great indicator for success. For what it's worth, i got a 512 on NS1, 508s on NS 2 and 3, and got a 509 on the real mcat. I got a 77% on the unscored sample from AAMC, a 515 on the AAMC scored, and 64% on EK1 and EK3. Hope this helps as you make your decision! Personally, I think you'd probably be fine to score your test. I think your aamc scored is probably just a factor of overthinking things and an outlier. Oh and on the section banks i got around 73% correct on all three, taken with answers on and untimed.
SB are not a good indicator, especially if you're doing them untimed. The biggest take away from the SB is learning how to tackle the experimental passages.
 
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|Cheena|

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THanks guys! Appreciate all the input. Funny enough, that's exactly what I got on the SB, with 5% higher on P/S (wrt to what redrocks said). I think I'm gonna go ahead and take it, making sure to do little to nothing thurs and fri and just resting, watching movies, maybe a massage. If I don't feel really good about it I'll void, or if I feel it to be especially hard. If not, I'll get it scored and decide whether or not a re-take is in question
 
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|Cheena|

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(Let me preface this by saying I quickly skimmed the rest of this post so I may have missed something)

But I do not think your issue is not understanding the material, but more freaking out on everything else. You're stressing over how you can only miss ~8 questions on each section. So rather than focusing on the question, you're trying to figure out if you got that one wrong and calculating how many other you got wrong and then you're so caught in how many you can and have gotten wrong that you aren't remembering (because you aren't focusing) the passage or the questions.

That's just how it seems to me. I have that problem. I get so caught up in where I need/want to be, that I focus on that rather than actually being in the moment.

I feel like if you could try and slow down and stop yourself from running off with how many it's "ok" to miss and trying to figure out how close you are to that mark, you'll do much better.

But again! I might have missed something. And I haven't done Test Day yet, so blind leading the blind.
I think you're right Dr. Mom! I just don't know how to silence this part of me. Maybe a massage and some yoga will help. OR....maybe some propanolol or some other beta-blockers will help calm me down for test day. JK! That would be illegal
 
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For sure, I was more so just trying to have OP look at more than just the scored FL to feel confident going into their test. I think anywhere around 60%+ on the SB usually bodes really well for the real thing.
Very true!

I think you're right Dr. Mom! I just don't know how to silence this part of me. Maybe a massage and some yoga will help. OR....maybe some propanolol or some other beta-blockers will help calm me down for test day. JK! That would be illegal
I do this too but one thing I keep telling myself is that you won't know exactly how many questions you need to get right/wrong to get a certain score. You can try comparing it between different test companies, but even with that you will find that there is a HUGE difference. The test is graded different for each exam for each day. If you have a good curve, you can get a lot more than 8 wrong and be in a good place! Likewise with a bad curve. It's literally impossible to know so don't worry too much about how many questions you mark/get wrong :)