Did anyone do well on the MCAT?

mimi1

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    I haven't checked my scores yet, but I would be encouraged by hearing from some people who are happy with their scores. Especially people who thought that they didn't do that great after the test. It's getting me down to hear all these people upset with their scores. How about a little joy for those who did well?
     
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    Pneumo

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      To answer the question about my preparation-
      I began preparing for the exam in the middle of january. I spent about 15-20 hours a week with the big Kaplan book and each of the four Examkrackers books that I had (Bio, Physics, Gen. Chem. and Organic). Up until the middle of March, I read the books very thoroughly. Then, I bought AAMC exams 2-6. I took one every saturday right up until the saturday before the real thing. I did NO studying the week before the exam. I didn't do anything special to prepare for the verbal section, but I had been exposed to alot of heavy philosophy and literature through my coursework.
      Perhaps most importantly, I used a pair of Nike Air Max running shoes!! My daily run always took priority over MCAT studying, and helped keep me sane and healthy.
       

      sng33

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        Shera, Caffeinated, Jot , Blitzkrieg
        Congrats on the great scores. If you don't mind how did you guys prepare to get those great scores? What prep materials did you use? Did you go through the review books and taker notes, then do practice tests? Also, how did you go over your practice tests to learn from them, did you go over every question and figure out what you did wrong?
         

        Pneumo

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          Typically, I tossed each practice exam in the general direction of the nearest trash bin right after scoring it. I suppose it would have been a good idea to see why I got things wrong, but I figured that the chances of an item of that "type" appearing on the actual exam was slim. Even if it were on the actual exam, I figured I might guess right.
           

          Caffeinated

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            sng33 and group,

            I'll tell you how I studied, but keep in mind that this worked for ME. It might be a recipe for failure for someone else, as we all learn and retain material differently. Like any good doctor should do, let's start with a history. I am 29 yo, I have a BS degree in Physics ('95) and OD (Doctor of Optometry) degree ('00). I have had a lot of the science before. The human physiology part of bio came pretty quickly, and although it had been a long time for the physics, it came back quickly also. I needed a lot of effort on chem (general and org). I spent a modest amount of time on verbal about 2 weeks before the test, with the bulk of it being within 5 days of the test. I only practiced 1 or 2 essays to make sure I could do it, and I did that 1-2 days before the test.

            I bought the 2000 Kaplan books off of Ebay in summer 2001. I started studying them in bits and pieces around Oct-Nov, got a little more serious in Jan, even more serious in Feb and March, and took a week off of work before the test to do full-time study. I used the Kaplan books to do most of the review and to give my studying a "framework." I also did all the questions/problems at the end of each chapter. In some of the sections (organic, physics, some chemistry) I took my own condensed notes, and did some final studying from that. In bio I mainly highlighted.

            After I had been through all the sections, I went through the Kaplan flashcards 1-2 times, and I worked on some practice sections. Only one time did I take an actual full length test, and that was a computer test (came on CD rom with the books). The rest of the time I took tests out of the Kaplan verbal book and the sample questions from the MCAT website. I tried to concentrate on sections at at time. For example, I would do 10-15 physics problems, then go over them. If I did well, this gave me encouragement. If I did poorly, then I went back and analyzed the ones I screwed up. I didn't want to get too bogged down in taking the full length tests, as I was not concerned about scores--I wanted to know the material and know how to handle each question as it came. To be honest, when I took the test I had minimal understanding of how the scoring worked. Sure, I looked at that information, but it wasn't my primary concern. All I really knew was that I wanted double digits in all sections, and to get at least 12 on BS and PS. I was hoping for a Q on writing. But I didn't know exactly what it would take to get that. I just wanted to tackle one problem at a time and write coherent essays with a few big words in them.

            I would say that this technique worked pretty well for me in all sections except verbal. I got too hung up on each question and I let time slip away. Taking the verbal test was like a time-warp. I realized with about 15 minutes to go that I could not finish without compromising something. But I was still answering the questions too slow. I thought I had about 3 minutes to go when they called time, and I left 4-5 bubbles unfilled. I wonder what would happen if I would have had 30 extra seconds to fill them in blindly. This put me in a panic that made me move at a ridiculous speed on the next 3 sections. But the panic seems to have motivated me in a positive way, so I am thankful. I went into the test knowing that verbal was my weakness, but I could not have predicted that time would be my biggest enemy on verbal.

            Anyway, this is a pretty long post, but I hope it helps you.
             

            missbonnie

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              I think going over what you got wrong is a good idea, not so much for the "specifics" but to see if there are patterns. For example, I was getting alot wrong at first because of stupid miscalculations, so I then made a conscious effort to check them over before moving on, this gave me another 1-2 extra points on physical. Also, I think it is good to look it over to see what areas you are weak in and then take action to study those more etc. If you get a certain topic wrong you are most likely to not get it wrong again on a future test.
               
              i took a kaplan class. i found the classes to be damn near worthless, but the materials to be acceptable. some were obscenely hard, but i recognized that and didn't let it phase me. i also finished almost everything in the library (i wasn't there 24/7 either - though i did lose spring break which was a reasonable concession) however, i made it a point to go back to my textbooks and figure it out. at some point i realized i was making many stupid little stoichiometry mistakes - even though i was a GenChem and OrgoTA - so i went back to my frosh year books and did problems until i didn't make any more mistakes.

              defiantely look at your answers, especially in verbal. one thing that i alwasy found helpful was to ask yourself "what particular concept is the test writer trying to get at with this Q?" - and i almost always got it then. you can only do this by seeing your wrong answers and learning heuristically. i started studying over winterbreak, had a very full class/extracurric scheduale, and still had time for some friends. striking a balance i thought was key, and not to get so sick of it (thuogh i was in the last week) that you hate it. workout/run too, gets blood flowing!

              i'm sure the above was generally useless, but goodluck anyway. there is no right way to do it. just give it your best.
               
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