Chromatic543

2+ Year Member
Mar 21, 2016
501
194
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
So today is the 14th of August 2016, and my MCAT is on the 10th of September 2016. Here is some relevant background information

Studying since: 10th of June 2016

Course taken: The Berkeley Review (Classroom instruction)

Content: The Berkeley Review supplemented with Kaplan 2015 and Examkrackers 1001 books...also EK Verbal Reasoning 2nd Edition, and a few Khan Academy videos.

AAMC Practice: CARS question pack 1 (completed) and question pack 2 (in progress)

FLs taken: TBR 1, TBR 2, TBR 3

FL scores: 502, 502, 502 ("improved" by getting three more questions right each time)

FLs planned: TBR 4, EK 1, EK 2, EK 3, EK 4, AAMC unscored, AAMC scored

--> So as you can see, I have taken three FL MCATs already and I keep getting a 502. The only "improvement" I have seen is getting 3 more questions right after each subsequent exam, which is not very satisfying. I have finished all the content already, and I feel strong and ready in everything except CARS (I have seen some improvement, finally) but I feel like these are the problems I come across:

1. I took a whole day to review each exam thoroughly (both right and wrong answers) and I learned a lot from my mistakes...however they then start asking the question in a different way, or trick me and I always get trapped.

2. I feel overwhelmed at times during the exam. Especially when I don't know what two of the answer choices mean. Instead of throughly examining each answer, I just say oh no it cannot be B because it has nothing to do with it, and A is unlikely...so it must be between C and D. Then the answer I later find out is "B."

3. I get it down to two possible choices and seem to get it wrong most of the time.

4. I ABSOLUTELY CANNOT DO CALCULATIONS! NO MATTER HOW SIMPLE. Whenever it asks me about a calculation, I usually just guess and move on.


So my questions are:

1. How can I improve at this point?

2. Is there adequate time to improve, in your opinion?

3. How does TBR compare with the MCAT?

4. How does EK compare with the MCAT? (I will be taking it soon)
 

gellal

2+ Year Member
May 14, 2016
20
6
Hmm... I see you're kind of stuck. Have you taken all of the courses typically needed for the MCAT, and could you give us an estimate of your science GPA. I'm just wondering if it's consistent with your academic record to see what kind of suggestions might actually help.

On second thought, I re-read your post, and it seems to me that you might be working a little too carefully. Maybe try studying in a different place (for example, if you study at home, then a library or vice versa), or perhaps take a practice test with a study partner to get an idea of the other person's train of thought when approaching the questions so you can see how it compares to the way you approach them. If your science GPA is roughly around average (in the 3.5-3.6 range, I believe), then you likely have the potential to do better.
 
Last edited:
OP
Chromatic543

Chromatic543

2+ Year Member
Mar 21, 2016
501
194
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
Hmm... I see you're kind of stuck. Have you taken all of the courses typically needed for the MCAT, and could you give us an estimate of your science GPA. I'm just wondering if it's consistent with your academic record to see what kind of suggestions might actually help.
My sGPA is around a 3.4/3.5...I understand the concepts, but then I get tripped up on the passages and questions

I have taken all the courses except Sociology, with Biochemistry being my strongest since I majored in it, and took it for a whole year just this past academic year.
 

gellal

2+ Year Member
May 14, 2016
20
6
My sGPA is around a 3.4/3.5...I understand the concepts, but then I get tripped up on the passages and questions

I have taken all the courses except Sociology
I just added an update to my reply that in fact goes along with what you said about working on the material a little too carefully. I would strongly suggest working alongside a study partner, even if it's just one time, to get a sense of how someone else approaches the questions and reasons out the answer choices. It can help you come up with other (better?) ways of looking at the questions and finding the right response.

What I would also suggest is not going through the practice tests in the same way you have been doing in the past until you find a method that's more successful for you - it could just lead to more burnout.
 
Last edited:
OP
Chromatic543

Chromatic543

2+ Year Member
Mar 21, 2016
501
194
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
I just added an update to my reply that in fact goes along with what you said about working on the material a little too carefully. I would strongly suggest working alongside a study partner, even if it's just one time, to get a sense of how someone else approaches the questions and reasons out the answer choices. It can help you come up with other (better?) ways of looking at the questions and finding the right response.

What I would also suggest is not going through the practice tests in the same way you have been doing in the past until you find a method that's more successful for you - it could just lead to more burnout.
how did you review your exams?
 

CJhooper123

2+ Year Member
Apr 2, 2016
690
938
Status
Medical Student
I understand the struggle. Gotta keep grinding though! It depends on what your goal score is.

I feel like I am in a comparable situation. I have been taking practice tests weekly now for some time ... ~499 on 2-3 TPR's, more recently a 500 Kaplan, and a 504 NS test. I am scheduled for September 9th and I am shooting for a 509.

Similar to you, CARS has been my biggest downfall thus far. I recently purchased the NS CARS book online ~$25. It has 108 passages, I am trying to do 5-6 passages a day. I am really trying to read slowly and critically to get to the right answers. So far I think this is helping with my CARS progression.
 
OP
Chromatic543

Chromatic543

2+ Year Member
Mar 21, 2016
501
194
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
How do these scores compare to real MCAT scores? Are they good predictors?