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Averaging 33 on AAMC FL's ... What do I do???

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by Jumb0, Sep 21, 2014.

  1. Jumb0

    Jumb0 5+ Year Member

    Aug 24, 2012
    I have taken three AAMC full length practice exams, and I scored a 33 on each of them:

    • 3 (CBT) = 33 (10,12,11)
    • 5 (CBT) = 33 (10,12,11)
    • 4 (R) = 33 (11,11,11)
    I am getting a bit nervous. My exam is scheduled for October 25th. My goal is to score a 35. My strategy is to take full lengths and then do an exhaustive review of my answers, taking notes on all the ones I got wrong / got right by guessing. When I am not taking or correcting a full length, I will be doing passages from TBR or Kaplan and reviewing my flashcards.

    Is a little over a month enough time to improve to a 35? What else should I be doing? Should I reschedule?

    Please DIAGNOSE my scores.

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  3. organesha

    organesha 2+ Year Member

    Jan 3, 2013
    In my opinion, yes, a month is enough time to improve. My FL scores were about the same for the first few. Later on they were either staying at 33 or up at 36-37 towards the end. I also took an entire long weekend off from all things MCAT about halfway through the FLs. I really needed this because I felt like I was getting burnt out.

    I also think that scoring above 12 for a given section comes down to either complete and comprehensive mastery of material/test-taking logic or just straight up luck, e.g. the topics were ones you happen to handle well.

    Bottom line, your scores will probably improve as you continue to develop your MCAT intuition and spot your weaknesses, whatever they may be. Post-game your results like crazy, brush up on your weak topics, and take time for yourself to stay sane.
    texan2414 likes this.
  4. csx

    csx 2+ Year Member

    May 8, 2013
    youre scoring really well. i dont see why you're concerned...
    imran1011 and HinduHammer like this.
  5. HinduHammer

    HinduHammer We Do Not Sow 2+ Year Member

    Aug 6, 2013
    You didn't say anything about your timing, whether the ones you got wrong you were confident about - why you got them wrong, etc. Just saying "Is a month enough to improve 2 points?!" is not helpful to people whose advice you want, as the obvious answer is yes.
  6. Jumb0

    Jumb0 5+ Year Member

    Aug 24, 2012
    Hi @HinduHammer , thanks for replying. Here is the run-down: For timing, I am doing well on verbal and BS, finishing both sections with lots of time to spare. Physics, on the other hand, I have a lot of trouble with timing. In fact, I have not been able to finish a single PS section on time. I always have like 5 left that I need to blindly guess on because I run out of time. It's a combination of me being slightly slow at math and also getting stumped on some hard questions. I have heard that you don't even need to read the passage most of the time on physics...you can get away with just reading the questions and referring to the passage as needed. Is this true? If so, this strategy may save me some precious time. When it comes to Biology, on the other hand, even when im not sure about a problem, I can usually narrow it down to two answers, so I am never blindly guessing. I have a good intuition about orgo mechanism, but I think I need to do a more comprehensive review of common reactions. Its the orgo that usually trips me up. And when it comes to verbal, that is my best section. I feel like I could even get a perfect score on verbal on a really good day.

    So overall...Verbal is my best, I always finish it on time and am confident in my answers. BS is my second best. I always finish with plenty of spare time, but I have come content gaps. PS is my worst. I never finish on time, and I have some content gaps.
  7. HinduHammer

    HinduHammer We Do Not Sow 2+ Year Member

    Aug 6, 2013

    Well it seems to me like you have two issues going on, 1. content and 2. timing. PS = content and mastery of simple math, doing scientific notation multiplication in your head and so forth. PS requires a lot of confidence IMO, because you can get so tripped up mentally with all the equations and relations, the only way to get confidence in physics is to know the equations like the back of your hand...make flashcards. Be able to derive the units instantaneously. There was one question on my MCAT I was able to solve within 5 secs because I could derive the units from the answer choices very quickly and thus eliminate the thing that did not fit.

    BS = while you say its your best subject, your only 1 point above PS. Seems to me your not as strong as you think you are here, and if you say you're suffering with orgo, then review more orgo. I had 2 orgo passages on my MCAT, and thankfully I recalled them from my lecture course. There were some orgo discretes on my BS that I didn't have time to review like calculating polarization (not that, but an example of something similar) that really screwed me and def cost me points on the real thing.

    Again, flash cards that YOU MAKE are your best friend. It is proven that when you write things down in your own hand and use different colors and stuff, you remember it better.

    Overall timing can be improved it seems for PS. You claim you're not having trouble with VR or BS which is good, however it seems your BS needs content review. I don't know which VR questions your getting wrong, but strongly suggest you just practice, practice, practice. Get the AAMC Verbal self-assessment.

    Remember, rule of thumb is to take your MCAT average and subtract 2 points for your real MCAT score. If your scoring 33s on practice tests, expect a 31 on the real thing.

    I think you can improve to where you need to be in a month, but it will require 8 hours/day of MCAT studying and nothing else taking your time and energy. Alternatively you can push back, but you may start to see diminishing returns. OTOH, I know if I was able to study for just a few more weeks I could have done at least a few points better on mine.

    It really is a personal choice. Don't take it until you feel ready. Possible to improve 2 points in a month? Absolutely. Will you get there? Only you know the answer.
  8. Jumb0

    Jumb0 5+ Year Member

    Aug 24, 2012
    Thank you very much for the detailed reply. I will make an extra effort to master the physics material. I have memorized all the formulas I compiled over the course of my content review via flashcards that I made, but I have not memorized UNITS and their different derivations. I think I underestimated the power of units. And as for orgo, I think making flashcards of all the common reagents and mechanisms ought to help. These will be next on my to do list.

    You say it would be best to study for 8 hours a day with nothing else taking my time. I know that's true, but unfortunately I am taking three post bacc classes this semester (each with a lab component) plus volunteering 4 hours a week.

    I would reschedule for a January test date so that I may study during winter break...The dilemma, however, is that I want to avoid the new MCAT like the plague, and, if I'm not satisfied with my January score, there is no chance to retake it. I would be putting all my eggs in one basket and going for broke...With the October test date, I at least reserve the possibility of retaking in the old format.

  9. benjaminl1nus

    benjaminl1nus Probationary Status 5+ Year Member

    May 12, 2011
    Don't worry about it, OP. My first couple AAMCs were 31s and 33s. Ended up with a 37 in the end. Just learn from mistakes and move on.
  10. NextStepTutor_1

    NextStepTutor_1 Next Step Test Prep Tutor Exhibitor 2+ Year Member

    Apr 29, 2014
    SDN Exhibitor
    ^This. Simple and accurate.
    With what you've said about your studying habits outside of taking practice tests, you have plenty of time to increase the scores. Have confidence!!

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