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Bombed 4/11 MCAT, now what? Aside from crying myself to sleep..

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by KevinGnapoor, 05.13.14.

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  1. KevinGnapoor

    KevinGnapoor Bad-Ass M.C. 2+ Year Member

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    Okay, I just checked my score, and it was horrifying. 7 PS / 6 VR / 7 BS. Like, no MD or DO with a modicum of respect will take me with that kind of score. I'm registered for a retake on 6/13, but obviously with my spirit so down and given only a month and ton of research stuff, I don't think I'll be able to improve my score significantly. So, what should I do? I'm thinking:

    - Change my MCAT date to August, and have 3 solid months to get my sh** together. This also means I won't be applying this year. My GPA is mediocre, 3.5 cgpa/ 3.3 sgpa, so I can't afford to have my MCAT scores released in Sept. I really wanted to apply this year, but now, I just don't know what to do.

    Please help. :cryi:
     
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  3. BobGadha

    BobGadha

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    So sorry that you didn't get the score you were working towards. If you don't mind, what was your average score for you practice tests?
     
  4. KevinGnapoor

    KevinGnapoor Bad-Ass M.C. 2+ Year Member

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    I don't remember it exactly right now, but I think it was around 22. I think my highest score was 27.
     
  5. clairephillips

    clairephillips 2+ Year Member

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    Kevin,

    I send you compassionate hugs and friendship. Here's what I would do in your situation:

    1) It will be very difficult for you to boost up your score in 1 month. If it was just one section, it might be possible, but you need to revamp it all, so take the August MCAT (I'm taking mine August 7th. ;-) Look for ways to reduce your other obligations as much as possible to focus on that MCAT.

    2) Pick a small handful of schools you would consider going to that aren't reach schools. Apply to them with your August score. You cannot fall off the floor - try this year. If you don't get in, you don't get in, but you should be competitive for DOs, if not for some MDs after your retake. Early August isn't (hopefully for me, at least) impossible.

    3) Look for SMPs you might consider for the year. Application dates for those are much later and they look good for med schools.

    4) Keep your head up and know that your friends on SDN are here for you!
     
  6. BobGadha

    BobGadha

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    Yeah, unfortunately with a 22 average you will need much more time to study. If you can afford to, I would suggest a prep course. That way you will be able to gauge your progress and have a structured approach. I, personally, would would put my money there rather than on applications this year. Focus on getting a solid score for now and then apply next year, putting your best foot forward. In the long run, applying one application cycle later is not going to hurt you. Step by step, you'll get there!
     
  7. Jepstein30

    Jepstein30 2+ Year Member

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    Don't try again in a month. Worst thing you can do right now is rush into a retake and score similarly.

    How did you study last time?

    With your GPA and MCAT score (even with a modest improvement), I'm not sure MD is in the cards.. but you should post your stats in the "What are my chances?" forum to get better advice. Also, don't just apply because why not.. that's terrible advice. Re-applicants are significantly disadvantaged.. don't put yourself in that boat unless you absolutely have to.
     
  8. KevinGnapoor

    KevinGnapoor Bad-Ass M.C. 2+ Year Member

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    My previous study approach was basically reading TBR chapters and then doing their problems. Because I ran out of time, I only completed Phase 1 for all of the subjects. I also did the EK 1001 series. Close to 1.5 months before my exam, I did some TBR FLs, and all the AAMC ones. I didn't have a structured schedule, so I feel like maybe that's why I wasn't improving linearly.
     
  9. BeachBlondie

    BeachBlondie Put some tussin on it! 7+ Year Member

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    While I'm not in your exact situation, I am retaking in August with the intent to apply this year. It has been suggested to me to submit my primaries on-time, then send in secondaries with the new MCAT score. This way, you'll be verified in the system early, avoiding the takes-8-weeks-to-get-processed hole at the end of the summer.

    Most schools do NOT reject pre-secondary. So, if you can send in your essays with a fresh new score for them to look at, you will probably have a good shot (submitting secondaries in September is not at all an absurd thing).

    Sorry to hear that you received disappointing news today. But, take the opportunity to capitalize on what you've learned -- make a list of the things you felt you did right and the things you felt you did wrong prior to your last exam; incorporate both lists in your new study schedule; come back out, swingin', in August.
     
  10. WesternRedCedar

    WesternRedCedar

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    "I don't remember it exactly right now, but I think it was around 22. I think my highest score was 27."

    Why did you think your real mcat would be significantly better than your average? You shouldn't have taken it when your average was so low, even a 22 wouldn't have put you in a good spot.

    Study hard for the retake!
     
  11. KevinGnapoor

    KevinGnapoor Bad-Ass M.C. 2+ Year Member

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    What study schedule are you planning to use? I don't even know how to devise my own schedule. I don't think I can do the SN2ed schedule bc of work.
     
  12. Jepstein30

    Jepstein30 2+ Year Member

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    EK1001 = garbage unless you are really weak in a certain area.. they aren't MCAT level passages

    What do you mean by Phase I? As in, you only did 3 practice passages per chapter?
     
  13. Jepstein30

    Jepstein30 2+ Year Member

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  14. KevinGnapoor

    KevinGnapoor Bad-Ass M.C. 2+ Year Member

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    Oh oops, I meant the 1/3 thing from SN2ed schedule.
     
  15. Jepstein30

    Jepstein30 2+ Year Member

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    Yea, that's a good start but still should do more than that.

    The right study plan is more of a mindset than it is any collection of resources. You need to approach everything MCAT-related trying to improve your score. Simply taking practice passages to gauge how you are doing is useless, you aren't helping yourself do better that way. Focus on identifying weaknesses. Your job is literally to figure out what you suck at and bump them up out of being a weakness. With scores <10, you have more weaknesses than strengths at this point... so stop caring about strengths, start finding those weaknesses and keep churning them out.
     
    MedOldAge and altitudinarian like this.
  16. Person0715

    Person0715 Socially awkward 2+ Year Member

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    If I were you, I would definitely try to resched for August. 1 month is not enough. How do you feel about your science background? I've noticed that if you can improve your verbal score, the other two science scores will fall into place, given your science background is strong of course.
     
  17. Mad Jack

    Mad Jack Critically Caring Gold Donor 2+ Year Member

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    You need way more time devoted to this than you're putting in. There is no way you will land an acceptable MCAT by 6/13. You will need to take a much later MCAT, probably around October at the earliest, and spend the interim time mastering the material. Don't just read TBR passages, master them. Wait a day between reading and taking the end of chapter tests. Every time you get a question wrong, reread the entire section relating to the question. Do this for every missed question, then read the next chapter. At the end of the next chapter, retake the prior chapter's test to get a feel for what you actually learned and understand. Mark which sections you still are struggling with, and move on. Once you have completed all the chapters, go back and read the sections relating to the material you had difficulty with, then retake the end of chapter test a third and final time (this will be days or weeks after your last attempt, so the test will feel less stale). I did this with TBR physics and Gchem and went from an 8 to an 11 on PS, while a similar strategy using EK orgo and bio netted me a 12 on BS.

    Just my .02, might not work for you, but it landed me a combined 35.
     
  18. BeachBlondie

    BeachBlondie Put some tussin on it! 7+ Year Member

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    I, too, work. Full-time+, in fact. But, I'm a cowboy; I don't follow other study schedules. I CAN tell you that I should be done with content review/practice (to refresh) in 3 more weeks, then I'll have about 7 weeks of straight practice and testing before the exam.
     
    Last edited: 05.13.14
  19. KevinGnapoor

    KevinGnapoor Bad-Ass M.C. 2+ Year Member

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    My science background isn't strong at all. I have been out of college for 2 years and I haven't seen basic science stuff for a really long time. So I spent quite a bit of time reading TPRH books and TBR books to refresh. Worse, I don't think I did enough practice to feel 100% comfortable with each topic.
     
  20. KevinGnapoor

    KevinGnapoor Bad-Ass M.C. 2+ Year Member

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    So where do I go from here? Do I evaluate my past practice exams to see what I got wrong? Previously, after each test, I post-gamed pretty thoroughly: I wrote down the topic I got wrong, my thought process, the info I needed to apply, little tips and tricks. But even with that, I didn't see significant increases in my scores. When I did the TBR passages, I tried try to re-do the questions I got wrong, fail to do so, then read the answer explanations, and write them down. Obviously this did not work because not only was writing down explanations super time consuming, but it felt like I was just trying to memorize, which is a waste of time. So what is the correct way to practice?

    EDIT: I'm thinking about doing the AAMC SA to figure out weaknesses and then go from there. Please let me know what you guys think.
     
    Last edited: 05.13.14
  21. Person0715

    Person0715 Socially awkward 2+ Year Member

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    As you said, you don't feel your science background is strong. I would start over from content review and really try to master the material. Don't waste the SAs now because they are great for practicing MCAT style questions, not content review.
     
  22. KevinGnapoor

    KevinGnapoor Bad-Ass M.C. 2+ Year Member

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    That's where I'm stuck? If mastering the material means doing tons of practice problems to make sure I understood the material, I can do that. But I don't think I practice correctly. Last time I read through content books, felt like I understood the material, but when I went to practice, I got bunch of questions wrong. When I did post-game analysis, I saw that I got questions wrong bc of stupid mistakes, didn't go back to the passage, did not answer the question, or had reading comprehension/ problems making connections.
     
  23. pepocho

    pepocho 2+ Year Member

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    Last edited: 04.11.16
  24. Person0715

    Person0715 Socially awkward 2+ Year Member

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    Only you can know if you really have mastered the material or not. One indication of mastery is being able to teach it to someone else without really having to rely on a source.

    Also, how comfortable are you with MCAT style passages and questions? From your verbal score, it seems like you haven't been able to really effectively tackle MCAT style questions. MCAT style passages are written in a way that once you have enough mastery, you can pretty much predict some of the questions, or at least have an idea of what will be asked. This means that there are patterns that you start picking up on with enough practice.
     
  25. KevinGnapoor

    KevinGnapoor Bad-Ass M.C. 2+ Year Member

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    You bring up good points. I really wanted to apply this cycle because I did not want to do a 3rd gap year. I took this 2nd gap year because I wasn't scoring well on my mcat practice tests last cycle. I just feel like it's history repeating itself, and obviously I'm upset/angry bc of my inadequacy. Not to mention, I'm in my mid-20s, and I'm tired of not being able to start the next phase of my life. I'm going to speak to some advisors and try to get some perspective. I'm leaning on taking August or September MCAT and applying next year. Yes, waiting yet another year will annoy me, but I guess I can look at the bright side of it all: I can learn from my mistakes and do well next time.
     
  26. KevinGnapoor

    KevinGnapoor Bad-Ass M.C. 2+ Year Member

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    I think my passage scores, practice test scores, and actual test score point out that I don't have a good handle on mcat style questions. When I was studying, there were times I knew how to tackle the questions. I was able to point out why the author put a wrong answer, but I couldn't do this all the time. I think my mistake was not having solid strategies and applying them consistently to each passage. I always read the passage, and used process of elimination to answer questions. I have no idea what happened with verbal on test day. I don't remember the passages/questions being overly difficult. During my practice verbal tests, I always scored 8-10, so I didn't worry too much about it.
     
  27. pepocho

    pepocho 2+ Year Member

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    Last edited: 04.11.16
  28. MedOldAge

    MedOldAge 2+ Year Member

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    +1
     
  29. KevinGnapoor

    KevinGnapoor Bad-Ass M.C. 2+ Year Member

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    I'm definitely a nervous test taker. In preparing for the exam, I had my own verbal strategies that gave me decent results, yet on test day, nerves came over me and I completely did not use any of them. I noticed this mistake with the other sections too. Whenever I make strategies, I totally forget about them during a FL.
     
  30. pepocho

    pepocho 2+ Year Member

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    Last edited: 04.11.16
  31. KevinGnapoor

    KevinGnapoor Bad-Ass M.C. 2+ Year Member

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    Yeah, didn't help that I couldn't sleep the night before the test and probably only got like 2 hours of sleep. So I was extra nervous and panicky.
     
  32. christinalouise

    christinalouise

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    It's great to know I'm not alone on this one! A glass of wine, and suddenly every VR passage is unbelievably interesting and my mind doesn't stray in a million directions.

    Not sure if showing up to write the exam with liquor on the breath is the best plan though ;)
     
  33. pepocho

    pepocho 2+ Year Member

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    Last edited: 04.11.16
  34. pepocho

    pepocho 2+ Year Member

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    Last edited: 04.11.16
    clairephillips likes this.
  35. Rhino1000

    Rhino1000 2+ Year Member

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  36. dutchie000

    dutchie000 2+ Year Member

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    Sooo if one were to go to lunch and drink a beer before the MCAT, would that be a bad thing?? haha
     
  37. BeMD13

    BeMD13 2+ Year Member

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    Have you tried Chad's videos on Coursesaver.com? They are a lifesaver for me for content review. My suggestion is to spend a day looking up topics on his website where you were weakest and after watching his videos, then try practice questions and see if it makes a difference compared to reading all the review books. You do have to pay a fee for them but it is nominal compared to other review materials. Honestly, you do not have a lot of time (nor do I) and I think it is a very time efficient way to cover the basics. He is an amazing teacher!! Once you've reviewed your weak spots take as many practice full lengths as you can and review your answers. I'm sorry about your score. Keep your head up!! You can do it!
     
  38. IslandStyle808

    IslandStyle808 Akuma residency or bust! 2+ Year Member

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    Don't do the post-game passively like this, it won't get you anywhere. Sometimes your problems are not just indicated by what is written in the answer section of the book. It can be a combination of things. If there was a problem, you not only need to understand (not memorize) the explanation, but what clues could have lead you to the right answer if you were to do the question all over again. It may have been a calculation error combined with a misunderstanding of the graph. So next time you are more careful with your decimal places and you look over your graphs in more detail. It is not so much what they tell you in the book, but analyzing the mistakes "you" made (this cannot be gotten from the answer explanations most of the time).

    The post-game analysis is the difficult part (even I am having a hard time with it). I have changed up some of my ways for tackling these passages such as 1) highlighting important facts (this keeps me focused on relevant details) & 2) I paraphrase what I read (this help change that complex dribble to something I can work with). Sometimes another helpful thing is to read all answer choices even if the one you picked first is the one you believe to be correct. Sometimes the better answer could D) and you passed it up for B).
     
  39. KevinGnapoor

    KevinGnapoor Bad-Ass M.C. 2+ Year Member

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    I have tried Chad's videos previously. They were incredibly valuable in breaking down complex topics I never learned in my science classes. I took detailed notes during his videos and have made few pages of review notes for each subject. Unfortunately, when I went through his videos, I failed to supplement the videos with practice problems. I know that was really dumb, but it's over now. So now I'm just going to do a ton of problems after reading those review notes.
     
  40. KevinGnapoor

    KevinGnapoor Bad-Ass M.C. 2+ Year Member

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    Thanks for the solid advice! I'm going to try a different post-game method this time around.
     
  41. Jepstein30

    Jepstein30 2+ Year Member

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    I agree big time here. Great advice all around.

    My #1 tip for post-gaming is always the same.. AVOID ANSWER KEYS AT ALL TIMES. They don't do anything for you.. they let you off the hook and give you an excuse. "Oh, I knew that" doesn't ensure you actually will know that next time.

    I do like repeating questions. The way you learn to succeed on the MCAT is by figuring out exactly how the test takers want you to think. You can do this by elucidating that thought process.. figuring out how to get from question stem to correct answer. In timed conditions, this can be difficult to learn but its very feasible during post-gaming.

    oh and definitely always read all the answer choices! the paraphrasing tip is also really good, especially for verbal but useful in all sections. I would do the same thing but actually found myself doing better writing down the 3-4 words I used to sum the paragraph up (i.e. passage mapping). I rarely ever used what I wrote down.. but it just helps to drive in what you just read when you have to figure out what to write down rather than just moving on if you didn't get something.

    also for highlightings.. names, numbers, statistics should be a must-highlight so you can scan passages quickly for that info.
     
    IslandStyle808 likes this.

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