Does it seem accurate that every 30 hours of productive studying = 1 point increase on the MCAT?

Nov 21, 2012
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I read this somewhere and have not heard anybody disagree with this who I have asked. This seems true based on my personal experiences as well, but I am not absolutely certain. Thoughts?

If this is true, I do not see why anybody would be stuck at any score outside of lacking time... Also, I think the rule I posted mostly pertains to people who are already towards the upper ranges of their scores. I think people just starting out can make significant improvements with less time and effort in the lower ranges of their scores. 20 to 25 is much easier than 25 to 30.
 

efle

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Apr 6, 2014
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Depends what score range you are talking about. If your first practice exam gets you in the low 20s, then yes a couple hundred hours of studying could boost you to a 30 - you probably need a lot of content review/learning how to test.

If you start out in the low 30s on the other hand, then content review or test taking will not be your problem - it will be impossible to climb to a 40 just by studying a lot. It gets to be more about your raw reasoning ability (especially going over 9/10 V) and ability to adapt to bizzare passages and tough questions which are used to spread out the top of the curve. Familiarity of all the subjects is still required, but the difference between a 35 and a 41 is not going to be because one studied longer - it's going to be due to the ability to quickly master all the information presented in the passage and apply it in the hardest ways they ask of you.
 

change4med

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Jul 8, 2014
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Sounds kind of accurate to me. I did hit a plateau at the end (got stuck at a 33/34 last 3 AAMC's) even with like probably 100 hours that last month. (I only took 1/week, do you think it woulda been better to take them more frequently?). But prior to that, I felt that probably every 30 or so productive hours of studying I would get a noticeable improvement.

I'm sure that at the end I was probably burned out, and there were still 1-2 topics that I was not as confident in, so it might be possible that more hours could have resulted in an increase score. But I've also heard that anything 37+ might just be luck? The difference between a 37 and a 40 could possibly be 1 question per section.

In the real world however, people do lack time sadly :( I wish I could just not work and study but just got to balance the pros and cons... rent won't pay itself
 

efle

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They say the confidence interval is +/- two points, so more like the difference between a 37 and 39, but yeah there is some wiggle to it.

Yea I really envied my friends who took off a full summer for MCAT prep, no working or taking classes or anything. But hey the path we chose ain't the easy one.
 

justadream

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Apr 29, 2011
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You can't make generalizations like this for the sciences...much less for something like verbal.