Mar 4, 2019
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I took a practice AAMC FL last month and got a 505. I will be taking the MCAT in January and would like a 520+. I have been studying from the Kaplan books and have bought the three practice full length Kaplan tests. I have also bought the UWorld MCAT question bank. And of course, I have the full AAMC MCAT bundle. My subscores are usually around 126-128, so it seems like I need content review and just general practice for CARS. I have been doing ANKI cards in order to make sure I know all the content, and I have been doing UWorld questions to test myself. I really like the format and interface of the UWorld site, but it seems like the content doesn't fit the test that well. I would really appreciate recommendations for better exam prep practice exams/questions.
 

zekozeko

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Apr 15, 2018
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Disclaimer: I haven’t tested yet, but I am finishing my studying (taking it 8/29!)

UWorld was by far the best third-party material I used. That being said, I think it was more helpful for content review and identifying weaknesses rather than simulating questions from the FLs I took. Usually people don’t start with the AAMC material (since it’s the highest-quality) until 3-5 weeks before their test.

Best of luck!
 
D

deleted1063208

I agree with the person above. kaplan books, uworld, and AAMC are sufficient for 520+. try not to overthink - you have all the resources; you just have to grind from here on out! good luck bud
 
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For material, I personally think AAMC >>>>>> UWorld > NextSteps > other 3rd party material. UWorld + AAMC should be enough, but if you have the time, then more practice from NS wouldn't hurt.

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My first score on a practice exam was 505 and my actual MCAT score 3 months later was a 521, with a 132 on CARS, 131 on Behavioral Science, 130 on Biology/Biochemistry and 128 on Chemistry/Physics. Your goal is achievable. I put in 400 hours of study, took 12 full length practice exams, used the Berkeley Review with Next Step MCAT exams and of course the AAMC full package. Save your Sample exam for a week before the test because its not graded and so you can get practice without panic at the last week (at which time there is not enough room to improve significantly. I highly recommend spending 4 hours or so to review of each practice test result, analyzing trends in what you got wrong, and working on your weaknesses to get the most gain. I also studied CARS about 2 hours a day and then 6-10 hours a day on the other subjects, starting out lighter and winding up at 12 hours a day in the last 2 weeks because most of it was taking tests and examining results. I also bought additional flash cards because the AAMC cards are just too few in number. Bear in mind at least when I took the test, a 521 landed me at the 99% tile result, which got me into 2 medical schools and I made 2 other interviews at top 10 schools as well, and I received one full tuition scholarship offer out of the 2 schools where I was accepted. My MCAT score and grades were good enough to get into anywhere, but I just frankly didn't have the number of volunteer, physician shadowing, and research hours that top 20 schools expect, and yet I still got interviews at 2 top 10 schools with my MCAT score. My cousin scored similarly and went to LSU dental school, and he told me he took 20 practice exams, so overall that is my suggestion. You really can't take enough practice exams, and I suggest doing it under timing exactly like the real MCAT. In fact, I went so far as to eat the same snacks, drinks, and even used the same whiteboard and marker as used on the real MCAT then I stayed in a hotel overnight next door to where I took the test the next day so I could get the most sleep possible, which truthfully wasn't much due to pretest anxiety. In fact, I threw up the morning of the test due to slamming an Ensure took quickly and the pre-test anxiety, and I still scored a 521, which was higher than any of my practice tests, which I found seemed harder than the actual MCAT (except the AAMCs of course which are the real test). I am now in medical school as an MS1 so hope that helped you.
 
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anniekat2025

2+ Year Member
Jun 7, 2018
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You really can't take enough practice exams, and I suggest doing it under timing exactly like the real MCAT.
It is true that you should take many practice tests (I took about 10) but what you do AFTER the practice tests is the most important part. Personally, I went through every single practice test question by question and determined why every incorrect answer was wrong. I kept track of everything in a spreadsheet. Basically I would spent all day Saturday taking the test then all day Sunday reviewing what I got wrong on B/B, C/P, and P/S. I didn't review CARS because I was performing really well on that section every time. Anyway, after reviewing every single question on Sunday and coming up with a list of what I got wrong and WHY I would spend Monday-Thursday hitting those topics in UWorld. I also made an Anki card when I got stuff wrong.
 

MDToBe1989

5+ Year Member
Oct 18, 2014
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My first score on a practice exam was 505 and my actual MCAT score 3 months later was a 521, with a 132 on CARS, 131 on Behavioral Science, 130 on Biology/Biochemistry and 128 on Chemistry/Physics. Your goal is achievable. I put in 400 hours of study, took 12 full length practice exams, used the Berkeley Review with Next Step MCAT exams and of course the AAMC full package. Save your Sample exam for a week before the test because its not graded and so you can get practice without panic at the last week (at which time there is not enough room to improve significantly. I highly recommend spending 4 hours or so to review of each practice test result, analyzing trends in what you got wrong, and working on your weaknesses to get the most gain. I also studied CARS about 2 hours a day and then 6-10 hours a day on the other subjects, starting out lighter and winding up at 12 hours a day in the last 2 weeks because most of it was taking tests and examining results. I also bought additional flash cards because the AAMC cards are just too few in number. Bear in mind at least when I took the test, a 521 landed me at the 99% tile result, which got me into 2 medical schools and I made 2 other interviews at top 10 schools as well, and I received one full tuition scholarship offer out of the 2 schools where I was accepted. My MCAT score and grades were good enough to get into anywhere, but I just frankly didn't have the number of volunteer, physician shadowing, and research hours that top 20 schools expect, and yet I still got interviews at 2 top 10 schools with my MCAT score. My cousin scored similarly and went to LSU dental school, and he told me he took 20 practice exams, so overall that is my suggestion. You really can't take enough practice exams, and I suggest doing it under timing exactly like the real MCAT. In fact, I went so far as to eat the same snacks, drinks, and even used the same whiteboard and marker as used on the real MCAT then I stayed in a hotel overnight next door to where I took the test the next day so I could get the most sleep possible, which truthfully wasn't much due to pretest anxiety. In fact, I threw up the morning of the test due to slamming an Ensure took quickly and the pre-test anxiety, and I still scored a 521, which was higher than any of my practice tests, which I found seemed harder than the actual MCAT (except the AAMCs of course which are the real test). I am now in medical school as an MS1 so hope that helped you.

Can I ask how you did so well on CARS? How did you prepare? I found I was doing very well when I did the passages untimed, but once I had to build up a pace where I would finish on time, my accuracy went out the window and my score suffered as a result. I stagnated around 127-128 but I know I can do much better if I can get my timing down since my CARS intuition is pretty strong and it's actually a section I enjoy. Any input you have would be greatly appreciated :)
 

MDToBe1989

5+ Year Member
Oct 18, 2014
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My first score on a practice exam was 505 and my actual MCAT score 3 months later was a 521, with a 132 on CARS, 131 on Behavioral Science, 130 on Biology/Biochemistry and 128 on Chemistry/Physics. Your goal is achievable. I put in 400 hours of study, took 12 full length practice exams, used the Berkeley Review with Next Step MCAT exams and of course the AAMC full package. Save your Sample exam for a week before the test because its not graded and so you can get practice without panic at the last week (at which time there is not enough room to improve significantly. I highly recommend spending 4 hours or so to review of each practice test result, analyzing trends in what you got wrong, and working on your weaknesses to get the most gain. I also studied CARS about 2 hours a day and then 6-10 hours a day on the other subjects, starting out lighter and winding up at 12 hours a day in the last 2 weeks because most of it was taking tests and examining results. I also bought additional flash cards because the AAMC cards are just too few in number. Bear in mind at least when I took the test, a 521 landed me at the 99% tile result, which got me into 2 medical schools and I made 2 other interviews at top 10 schools as well, and I received one full tuition scholarship offer out of the 2 schools where I was accepted. My MCAT score and grades were good enough to get into anywhere, but I just frankly didn't have the number of volunteer, physician shadowing, and research hours that top 20 schools expect, and yet I still got interviews at 2 top 10 schools with my MCAT score. My cousin scored similarly and went to LSU dental school, and he told me he took 20 practice exams, so overall that is my suggestion. You really can't take enough practice exams, and I suggest doing it under timing exactly like the real MCAT. In fact, I went so far as to eat the same snacks, drinks, and even used the same whiteboard and marker as used on the real MCAT then I stayed in a hotel overnight next door to where I took the test the next day so I could get the most sleep possible, which truthfully wasn't much due to pretest anxiety. In fact, I threw up the morning of the test due to slamming an Ensure took quickly and the pre-test anxiety, and I still scored a 521, which was higher than any of my practice tests, which I found seemed harder than the actual MCAT (except the AAMCs of course which are the real test). I am now in medical school as an MS1 so hope that helped you.

Also where did you get the AAMC-like marker and whiteboard?
 
Mar 4, 2019
35
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Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
My first score on a practice exam was 505 and my actual MCAT score 3 months later was a 521, with a 132 on CARS, 131 on Behavioral Science, 130 on Biology/Biochemistry and 128 on Chemistry/Physics. Your goal is achievable. I put in 400 hours of study, took 12 full length practice exams, used the Berkeley Review with Next Step MCAT exams and of course the AAMC full package. Save your Sample exam for a week before the test because its not graded and so you can get practice without panic at the last week (at which time there is not enough room to improve significantly. I highly recommend spending 4 hours or so to review of each practice test result, analyzing trends in what you got wrong, and working on your weaknesses to get the most gain. I also studied CARS about 2 hours a day and then 6-10 hours a day on the other subjects, starting out lighter and winding up at 12 hours a day in the last 2 weeks because most of it was taking tests and examining results. I also bought additional flash cards because the AAMC cards are just too few in number. Bear in mind at least when I took the test, a 521 landed me at the 99% tile result, which got me into 2 medical schools and I made 2 other interviews at top 10 schools as well, and I received one full tuition scholarship offer out of the 2 schools where I was accepted. My MCAT score and grades were good enough to get into anywhere, but I just frankly didn't have the number of volunteer, physician shadowing, and research hours that top 20 schools expect, and yet I still got interviews at 2 top 10 schools with my MCAT score. My cousin scored similarly and went to LSU dental school, and he told me he took 20 practice exams, so overall that is my suggestion. You really can't take enough practice exams, and I suggest doing it under timing exactly like the real MCAT. In fact, I went so far as to eat the same snacks, drinks, and even used the same whiteboard and marker as used on the real MCAT then I stayed in a hotel overnight next door to where I took the test the next day so I could get the most sleep possible, which truthfully wasn't much due to pretest anxiety. In fact, I threw up the morning of the test due to slamming an Ensure took quickly and the pre-test anxiety, and I still scored a 521, which was higher than any of my practice tests, which I found seemed harder than the actual MCAT (except the AAMCs of course which are the real test). I am now in medical school as an MS1 so hope that helped you.
Thank you so much for this!
 

caterwaiter

2+ Year Member
Feb 5, 2019
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493
I'd like to stress how important it is to take all of your practice exams in as close to test-like conditions as possible. Plan out your breaks. Pack snacks. Don't chat with anyone. Get yourself a little nervous. When you walk into the test center and sit down at the computer, your body will know how to handle the nerves and the adrenaline and your brain can do its job.
 
Feb 2, 2019
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Absolutely emulate actual MCAT test conditions. I bought the same marker board and marker used on the test, took practice exams at the same time of the day down to the minute vs. the official MCAT, and even consumed the same drink and food that I planned and used on test day. You'll feel must more adjusted to your test conditions. I took 10 practice tests under these conditions and it paid off with a 99% tile score.
 

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