May 1, 2019
67
37
Status
  1. Pre-Medical
After taking AAMC FL1 this morning, I am at a loss for words. I was expecting the score increase from 3rd party to AAMC that everyone talks about, was hoping for at least a 510. I really don't know what to do, I have tried to figure out why I'm not improving FL scores after hundreds of hours of studying without success (~450 hours). I'm hoping that someone might have some insight/diagnosis because I feel like I've tried everything. I'll do my best to briefly describe my study process and share all of my scores. My initial goal was a 518, I am testing in 3 weeks (9/12), I'll settle for a 510 at this point.

FL Scores:

NS-D
(6/9): 506 (123/129/124/130) *Untimed
NS1 (6/20): 505 (125/126/126/128)
NS2 (6/27): 504 (124/126/126/128)
NS3 (7/13): 505 (125/126/126/128)
AAMC Sample: 57%/84%/64%/86%
NS4 (7/24): 506 (125/126/127/128)
ALT FL1 -COVID Version (7/31): (128/*skip*/126/128)
ALT FL2 (8/13): 501 (125/125/124/127) - No idea what happened here
AAMC FL1 (8/22): 506 (126/125/126/129)

AAMC Prep Material Scores (still in progress):

Bio QP 1: 83%
Bio QP 2: 77% (75/120 answered)
Chem QP: 81% (105/120)
CARS QP 1: 74% (95/120)

Section/Test Taking Strategies:

C/P

- Quickly skim the passage and jump right into the questions. I find that I often don't need to use the passage to answer the questions. If I do, I will refer back. I have always expected C/P to be my worst section, I'm not very good with calculations. I'm usually strong with conceptual problems.

B/B:
- Read the passage thoroughly one time without interpreting graphs. Start the first question. If I need to understand a difficult pathway (XYZ inhibits T which activates E) I will draw it out quickly. If I need to interpret a graph I will go back and do that. I'm constantly referring back to the passage. I always finish with a minute or two left (no time to review questions, I try to choose my best answer choice the first time). I don't do any sort of question "triage".

Timing:
-20 questions done every 30 minutes

Study Material/Routine:

I used TBR books for content review early on. After getting through a majority of the chapters and some (not many) of the practice problems I shifted away from the books. Haven't touched them in months.

I use Anki every day; a combination of MileDown deck and ~2000 cards I have created on my own from various sources (UEarth, FLs, QP, etc.)

I've basically finished UWorld, I have been using it since starting content review. Most practice has been untimed in tutor mode. I've recently been only doing questions under timed conditions.

I have a running google sheet for all FL question review. I review every question and determine why I got it wrong and write out the correct rationale for the question/review any content necessary.

My Thoughts:

I don't think my content knowledge is the issue, between UWorld, Anki, and hundreds of other practice problems I think I have a good grasp on the material. Sure, there are obviously some content gaps here and there. I don't struggle with stamina, I start to feel tired during P/S, but nothing significant. Although I don't ever run out of time, I do feel like I would do better if I had more time to think through each problem and passage. A lot of my B/B issues have been due to passage interpretation and figuring out what the question is asking. To me it seems that my problems lie in testing strategy.
 
Last edited:

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What is UEarth?

The good news is that the scores you're getting on the QPacks are consistent with the scores of people who typically score in the 512-520 range (sample size is probably just a couple dozen). If I had to bet, I'd say that AAMC FL1 will be your lowest score on the AAMC FL exams. In 3 weeks, I think you can easily bring that score up a few points. Your current study method is great too- for now, I wouldn't say your scores are 'stagnating.'

If you really want to get a 518+, is there any reason you are testing on 9/12? If you're planning to apply this cycle, then 9/12 is relatively late and it might be worth considering postponing applying so you can get the highest MCAT score you can. If you're not applying this cycle, then I'd strongly consider postponing if the next practice test you take is still under 510.

Kevin W, MCAT Tutor
Med School Tutors
 
May 1, 2019
67
37
Status
  1. Pre-Medical
What is UEarth?

The good news is that the scores you're getting on the QPacks are consistent with the scores of people who typically score in the 512-520 range (sample size is probably just a couple dozen). If I had to bet, I'd say that AAMC FL1 will be your lowest score on the AAMC FL exams. In 3 weeks, I think you can easily bring that score up a few points. Your current study method is great too- for now, I wouldn't say your scores are 'stagnating.'

If you really want to get a 518+, is there any reason you are testing on 9/12? If you're planning to apply this cycle, then 9/12 is relatively late and it might be worth considering postponing applying so you can get the highest MCAT score you can. If you're not applying this cycle, then I'd strongly consider postponing if the next practice test you take is still under 510.

Kevin W, MCAT Tutor
Med School Tutors

UWorld, my bad you're not allowed to use the actual name on Reddit. The QPacks feel easy, I'm going to keep working through AAMC material and get to the section bank soon. My science scores have improved slightly, but it's discouraging scoring a 506 on a diagnostic and score the same thing on AAMC FL1.

Yes, I would really like a 518+, I'm not applying this cycle so pushing the test date back to the end of September is a possibility. I was originally supposed to test 8/14, but pushed back to 9/12. I'm not sure how much pushing back another two weeks would help me though.
 

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