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Help! 490 MCAT

vmf00

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May 14, 2020
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I took the MCAT in June of last year and got a 490. I then decided to take a Princeton Review course over winter break but due to having emergency surgery, didn't really finish/study after the class. I'm now scheduled to take the MCAT on July 23. I recently took AAMC FL1 and got a 490. I know that my knowledge of the content is lacking but I'm genuinely so unsure with how to go about studying and preparing for the exam, since I have less than 70 days to prepare.
 

Davidfromcali

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Sep 16, 2014
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You don’t have the content down. You should go through a set of review books/video lectures and learn the content outlined in the exam. Take notes and test yourself on the content. Use Anki to reinforce the details. Once you’ve built you’re base, then you can start to tackle to passage based questions.
 
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drstranger

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Nov 2, 2016
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I recommend a reschedule now while you have the chance to have some money on the refunded. You have a large knowledge gap that needs to be filled. You will regret rushing the test and still getting sub 500. Good work on CARS though it seems like your comprehension is alright which is a great starting point.
 

GreenDuck12

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I slightly disagree with the above.

I agree that your content foundation is lacking. This isn’t surprising if you haven’t studied since your PR class in December. The sheer amount of material covered in the mcat requires consistent practice and repetition to keep it in your memory. However, content review out of context is of limited utility. It is one thing to passively read a prep book or watch videos may help someone refresh what they once knew. However the mcat is a passage based multiple choice test where one has to tease the best answer from the context of a passage. For this reason, practicing with passages while doing content review is essential.

I would follow a 3-4 month study plan.
Phase 1: content review with TBR which has excellent passage based questions/spaced repetition reviews to help solidify content and reasoning.
Phase 2: honing using UWorld under timed conditions to practice a simulated mcat section. Focus on getting details of content. Also take some practice exams from 3rd part providers.
Phase 3: AAMC practice exams under timed conditions, sections panels and a-packs. Save this for the month before you test as these are th best aterirla around
 

vmf00

New Member
May 14, 2020
8
1
1
  1. Pre-Medical
I slightly disagree with the above.

I agree that your content foundation is lacking. This isn’t surprising if you haven’t studied since your PR class in December. The sheer amount of material covered in the mcat requires consistent practice and repetition to keep it in your memory. However, content review out of context is of limited utility. It is one thing to passively read a prep book or watch videos may help someone refresh what they once knew. However the mcat is a passage based multiple choice test where one has to tease the best answer from the context of a passage. For this reason, practicing with passages while doing content review is essential.

I would follow a 3-4 month study plan.
Phase 1: content review with TBR which has excellent passage based questions/spaced repetition reviews to help solidify content and reasoning.
Phase 2: honing using UWorld under timed conditions to practice a simulated mcat section. Focus on getting details of content. Also take some practice exams from 3rd part providers.
Phase 3: AAMC practice exams under timed conditions, sections panels and a-packs. Save this for the month before you test as these are th best aterirla around
Do you think it's possible to study within 9 weeks full-time. I would reschedule for an August date but there aren't many testing locations in my city and the only option is to take it at 6:30am, which I don't think I'd be alert enough at that time.
 

GreenDuck12

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It entirely depends on your base of content knowledge, test taking skills, quality of practice, and commitment.

When I think about when to take the test, I think about it like preparing for a competitive race. You spend months preparing and making gains so that you “peak” at the right moment. You want to take your test when you’re going to have your peak performance, not after and definitely not before. The danger in scheduling the test too soon is that if you may not get to where you want to be by test time. There is also a danger of scheduling it too late. There is utility in having a somewhat condensed schedule in that you have less time to forget material. But you run the risk of not fully covering all the topics that you need.

I’ve known folks who have raised their score by 25 points from baseline in 5 weeks. I’ve also known folks who have studied for months and achieved minor gains. You need to know what your goal score is before you start testing. If you want to test in 9 weeks, you need to come up with a plan that is focused and realistic for how you are going to get there. For me, that meant working with a tutor for guidance and strategies. It’s part of the reason why I enjoy tutoring folks for the MCAT.
 
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DrJayFitz

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Dec 17, 2019
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It truly depends on how well you study. Personally, with scoring a 490 on your FL1 practice exam, I would postpone the test. It is important to first get an understanding of the content down, which I do not believe you have. You want to make sure you don't have to take the MCAT for a 3rd time!

Once you have the content, start review, and as you review, I would recommend taking a full length practice exam every week, in exam-like conditions. It is also important to review each exam you take and review why you got each answer right, and why you got it wrong. If you truly believe you can study effectively and increase your score substantially, then keep your date! But if you know yourself well enough to know you won't be able to study full time for these next weeks, trust me, it is much better to postpone the exam.
 
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