Correlation between first practice MCAT pre-studying, and real thing?

The Milkman

5+ Year Member
Jun 22, 2013
635
446
at your doorstep
Status
Medical Student
So I just took the free MCAT practice test, the AAMC #3 and got a 26 (8,9,9). This was just to get a starting number before I start studying for my real MCAT in May (I have not started doing any review yet). I know this test is generally referred to as easier than the real test, but does anyone know if there is any relationship between scores on a practice test before studying and after all studying is done?
 

PreMedOrDead

I'm sure you'll get in...
5+ Year Member
May 19, 2012
2,377
240
A dark, dark cave
Status
It's been a bit since I did this - I took the Kaplan course and the Diagnostic test artificially deflated scores to entice people into taking Kaplan.

The AAMC tests, however, are real tests. The lower the number corresponded to how old it was. AAMC #3 tells me it's one of the older tests, which were generally considered 'easier' tests. This was, again if I'm recalling correctly, because they were very straight forward questions (e.g. What is the abbreviated representation of orbitals for say... the element Gold in a +2 oxidation state. Rather than giving the abbreviated version and its oxidation state, then expecting the student to find the correct element and use it as a piece of the problem. This latter version is the problem solving like I recall the questions being more like on the newer exams).

The thing is, if you haven't studied and don't have the material down, both tests are going to be difficult because you're going to be missing a lot of basic information, especially if your prereqs are old or if you didn't take them as seriously. The most important part is that it will all end up coming down to how much you're willing to put into the exam over the months before you take the real thing. My Kaplan diagnostic was in the upper 20s. My first AAMC was in the low thirties. My actual test was in the high thirties. Kaplan boasts general improvement from the Diagnostic to the Test (the real thing) as an average of 10 points, which was actually accurate for me.

It would not be a stretch to see an AAMC 26 become a low thirties Test score with a typical study schedule, or higher with an intense one.

In conclusion,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=-0305zUG9aw#t=55
 
  • Like
Reactions: ES2

Maeby Funke

5+ Year Member
Apr 20, 2011
252
124
Status
Pre-Medical
The only test I took without any studying was the Kaplan diagnostic, which I scored a 23 on. My Kaplan and AAMC scores ranged from 32 - 39, and I ended up scoring 34 on the real thing.
 

karayaa

5+ Year Member
Dec 5, 2012
721
306
Status
Medical Student
My aamc #3 score was the exact score i got on the september mcat - low 30s. i took it about halfway through my studying.
since we have no idea how much knowledge you have before reviewing, i don't think there's any firm relationship. but i'd assume that your score would only go up as you study, right?
 

PreMedOrDead

I'm sure you'll get in...
5+ Year Member
May 19, 2012
2,377
240
A dark, dark cave
Status
The only test I took without any studying was the Kaplan diagnostic, which I scored a 23 on. My Kaplan and AAMC scores ranged from 32 - 39, and I ended up scoring 34 on the real thing.
I addressed the Kaplan Diagnostic - it's essentially a rigged exam. Rather than an even spread of easy, medium, and difficult material, all or nearly all the passages are difficult. Yet the scaling used for that exam doesn't compensate for the overly difficult exam like most of the Kaplan exams do, causing neurotic premeds to freak out over the low scores and buy into Kaplan's services to save them.

I remember looking back at the diagnostic exam near the end of my Kaplan course and realizing that those passages were insane compared to the average AAMC ones. Everything from multiple paragraph essays on pretty moderate level electrochemistry (high level for the gen chem requirement) to some pretty obscure biological examples.
 

turayza

5+ Year Member
Aug 31, 2012
923
864
Status
Medical Student
I addressed the Kaplan Diagnostic - it's essentially a rigged exam. Rather than an even spread of easy, medium, and difficult material, all or nearly all the passages are difficult. Yet the scaling used for that exam doesn't compensate for the overly difficult exam like most of the Kaplan exams do, causing neurotic premeds to freak out over the low scores and buy into Kaplan's services to save them.

I remember looking back at the diagnostic exam near the end of my Kaplan course and realizing that those passages were insane compared to the average AAMC ones. Everything from multiple paragraph essays on pretty moderate level electrochemistry (high level for the gen chem requirement) to some pretty obscure biological examples.

Which Kaplan practice exam is the diagnostic? They have two nearly full-length practice exams that they offer for free, is that what you're talking about?
 
Dec 3, 2011
1,071
93
"The Library"
Status
Pre-Medical
26 as a baseline without any studying isn't completely terrible...but of course, you've got a long way to go. From here on out, your actual score will be determined by how well you study the material, how thoroughly you go through practice tests (and analyze wrong answers), and a little bit of luck. See the MCAT Discussions thread for more information regarding how to best study/tried-and-true methods/etc.
 

Jennyfishy

5+ Year Member
Mar 24, 2013
1,135
611
WI
Status
Medical Student
My first ever practice (Kaplan hosted at my uni) test I scored a 27 (7-7-13) before studying. After studying, my scores would range between 28-34 depending on the material (I had some serious flaws in specific topic materials in the PS section specifically, hence the fluctuation lol). To be fair, I only a little under 4 weeks to cram everything I never learned about physics and review the chem/ochem sections, so I didn't have time to solidfy any topics I didn't already know :laugh:

But regardless of that issue, I could get a sense of what my score would be based on how I felt about my PS section, so I would say it's a pretty good benchmark indicator of your improvement or predicted score (but not absolute by any means).
 

LuciusVorenus

Bad Medicine
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Apr 14, 2009
2,952
614
Status
Medical Student
My lowest score (first one) was a 33 and my highest (last one) was a 38. My average a 36. I got a 36 so I'd say the AAMC practice tests pretty accurate once averaged out.
 

Great White Buffalo

5+ Year Member
Nov 13, 2013
456
336
Status
Medical Student
I scored 2 points lower on the actual one (33 versus 35 on practice exams right before actual test). The actual verbal section killed me, and I was doing fine on the practice. The other 2 sections I came right on target.
 
Oct 19, 2013
900
791
Status
Pharmacy Student
17 on my first practice test before studying. 29 on the real thing. verbal remained pretty constant, while BS and PS increased as I studied.
 

Syncrohnize

PGY-1
Gold Donor
7+ Year Member
Dec 28, 2010
2,866
2,829
Status
Resident [Any Field]
8,7,9 diagnostic AAMC 10...in 05/12

Studied with Princeton course but very little work outside.

10,8,10 First MCAT in 09/12

Studied by doing Berkeley Review daily for 3 months and EK101, AAMC, and Princeton Verbal...

11,11, 12 Second MCAT


So my first diag was 10 pts. lower than my best MCAT but only 4 pts. higher than my worst.


In my case, n=1 but after asking around I typically see people scoring anywhere from 2-15 points higher. Most common is 5-6 points higher assuming the diagnostic was an AAMC and not a Kaplan or Princeton one that they make purposefully harder so that 10 pts. score improvement guarantee works out.
 

plumazul

☮, ♥, & ♫
5+ Year Member
Dec 15, 2011
1,919
574
Status
MD/PhD Student
I addressed the Kaplan Diagnostic - it's essentially a rigged exam. Rather than an even spread of easy, medium, and difficult material, all or nearly all the passages are difficult. Yet the scaling used for that exam doesn't compensate for the overly difficult exam like most of the Kaplan exams do, causing neurotic premeds to freak out over the low scores and buy into Kaplan's services to save them.

I remember looking back at the diagnostic exam near the end of my Kaplan course and realizing that those passages were insane compared to the average AAMC ones. Everything from multiple paragraph essays on pretty moderate level electrochemistry (high level for the gen chem requirement) to some pretty obscure biological examples.
Had you already taken the pre-req courses before you took the diagnostic? I took almost all the pre-reqs while in high school then took orgo freshman year. While at a summer program after freshman year, they had us take the Kaplan diagnostic. I got a 36. This seemed reasonable since the material was still "fresh". I don't know if I'd characterize it as "rigged".
 
Feb 9, 2013
674
256
Status
Medical Student
I mean I guess you could try to connect things...but you haven't even started studying yet. So I'd say theres no correlation. Any holes you have you can work on. Its not like theres a limit you can score based on what you just made.

A 26 is a solid score for not studying, shows you have a decent grasp on most things with no major holes. I think I made a 3 on my first time taking PS before studying. My weakest subject by far. Made a 10 on my test.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Zelda840

jeghaber

5+ Year Member
Feb 25, 2013
1,338
629
Status
Medical Student
I took my AAMC #3 a year and half after finishing my pre-reqs and got a 32 (10PS/13VR/9BS). My verbal score didn't increase in my real test, but it did become more consistent. My PS and BS scores did increase pretty steadily as I reviewed the material.

Generally a higher starting point is going to make it easier to get a higher score on the real thing but it certainly does not mean you need to have a higher starting score to do well on your MCAT. There are two broad reasons for not doing as well on your first test: a deficit in content knowledge or unfamiliarity with the test/strategies. Addressing either or both will improve your score, sometimes drastically.
 

LostinLift

5+ Year Member
Jan 24, 2013
851
721
Status
Medical Student
I took aamc 3 after a bit of self studying and got a 24. Did Kaplan and used princeton materials as well, practice tests ranged from 33-40, avg 37, 36 on real deal. Verbal ranged from 11-15, got 11 on real deal, happy though.
 

sunflower18

Master of Naps
7+ Year Member
Oct 23, 2011
3,391
3,822
Status
Medical Student
I took AAMC 10 as my diagnostic because I didn't realize it was a bad idea. I got a 27 (7 PS, 11 VR, 9 BS). On the real thing, I got a 33 (11 PS, 10 VR, 12 BS). So my VR went down and my PS and BS went up pretty dramatically. If I had scored my average on VR, I would have gotten a 35.
 

Syncrohnize

PGY-1
Gold Donor
7+ Year Member
Dec 28, 2010
2,866
2,829
Status
Resident [Any Field]
I took AAMC 10 as my diagnostic because I didn't realize it was a bad idea. I got a 27 (7 PS, 11 VR, 9 BS). On the real thing, I got a 33 (11 PS, 10 VR, 12 BS). So my VR went down and my PS and BS went up pretty dramatically. If I had scored my average on VR, I would have gotten a 35.

That's an amazing AAMC 10 diag score!
 
Aug 27, 2013
503
158
Status
Medical Student
My actual MCAT was higher than all my practice tests- practically all of them combined.

I think it depends on your test taking type- I was never very stressed about the practice tests so I think I tried a lot less hard than I did on the actual test.
After about a month of an intense course I scored a 24. Two months into it a 25 and a 26. I got some 27s but that was it. Actual MCAT- 31 (11,10,10)
 
  • Like
Reactions: docemmettbrown

sunflower18

Master of Naps
7+ Year Member
Oct 23, 2011
3,391
3,822
Status
Medical Student

Dbate

7+ Year Member
Aug 24, 2009
1,411
81
Status
Pre-Medical
I got a 26 (7 PS, 10 VR, 9 BS) on my first ever practice test without any studying.

I took the real thing twice and got a 30 (11 PS, 11 VR, 8 BS) and a 35 (12 PS, 12 VR, 11 BS). The two tests were about four months apart.
 

Captain Sisko

U.S.S. Defiant
Sep 30, 2012
1,599
343
Status
Medical Student
i scored a 29 (10/9/10) on aamc3 before studying and got a 38 (15/10/13) on the real thing a year later. Big verbal improvement lol
 

Meredith92

5+ Year Member
Aug 29, 2012
513
106
Status
Medical Student
Got a 24 on my first practice test before any studying... A 30 after 2 months of studying.. Then averaged a 38 after 1 month of practice tests and got around there on my actual exam! It's a gradual process and you will definitely see improvement if you put in the time!
 

MedWonk

高飛車
7+ Year Member
May 13, 2010
1,773
958
New England
Status
Medical Student
Pre-study, got a 25, post-study I was averaging 34-35, and got a 35 on the real thing.
 
OP
The Milkman

The Milkman

5+ Year Member
Jun 22, 2013
635
446
at your doorstep
Status
Medical Student
From some of the recent replies it seems that with a few months of good studying one can see a ~10 point increase... Encouraging!