GypsyHummus

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Jun 12, 2011
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Hey everyone,

So I have been lightly studying for my MCAT for about a month now while working, but I am not getting as much done as I thought I would, so I am planning on quitting my job and studying full time starting August 1st for a September 10th test date. Ive taken the MCAT before but have only scored a 491, which was due to poor time management, poor preparation (I only used notecards and did not do as many questions as I should have) and worked as well. I was also in bad physical health.

I plan on dedicating 8 hours/day this next month to studying for this beast, is it possible in a month and a half to score a 500? Otherwise, Id have to wait till January for the next test date. Luckily, there is only one way to go, and that is up. I would treat studying like a 9-5 job for a month.

I have a strong Organic Background, decent bio, and weak everything else. Ive heard people who have only studied for 2 weeks and managed to get a 31 before, but those people had strong science backgrounds. Then again, Im not looking for a 520, all I need is to break above the 500 mark.

Thanks for all the feedback and advice!
 

AnonPanda1

2+ Year Member
Apr 21, 2016
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Why just 500? That score isn't going to really help you that much.
Podiatry only needs a score in the 490s or so. However, you're right. Since most schools average, to get the equivalent first time 500, they need to score at least a 509.
 
Dec 15, 2015
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Hey everyone,

So I have been lightly studying for my MCAT for about a month now while working, but I am not getting as much done as I thought I would, so I am planning on quitting my job and studying full time starting August 1st for a September 10th test date. Ive taken the MCAT before but have only scored a 491, which was due to poor time management, poor preparation (I only used notecards and did not do as many questions as I should have) and worked as well. I was also in bad physical health.

I plan on dedicating 8 hours/day this next month to studying for this beast, is it possible in a month and a half to score a 500? Otherwise, Id have to wait till January for the next test date. Luckily, there is only one way to go, and that is up. I would treat studying like a 9-5 job for a month.

I have a strong Organic Background, decent bio, and weak everything else. Ive heard people who have only studied for 2 weeks and managed to get a 31 before, but those people had strong science backgrounds. Then again, Im not looking for a 520, all I need is to break above the 500 mark.

Thanks for all the feedback and advice!
Yeah very easily. I studied for a month for my first test and didn't have physics II or psych/soc taken. I know people who studied for a month and got 520+
 
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GypsyHummus

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Why just 500? That score isn't going to really help you that much.
The schools I contacted said that I only really need a 500. Obviously, I would like to shoot higher than that, but since time crunch is on, thats my reasonable goal.

My dream score would obviously be like a 510. Id be super happy with a 505.

Just for background, looking to get into DO school. Schools I have been looking at said 500 is the breaking point into competitive territory (have solid GPA).
 

dontforgetxx

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Just for background, looking to get into DO school. Schools I have been looking at said 500 is the breaking point into competitive territory (have solid GPA).
I think that a 500 would be too low for DO programs. At the very minimum, I believe most schools are looking for 502-503+
 
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alpha-GTP

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I know someone who studied for a month and got a 498, so it is definitely possible. I feel that you would have a hard time even with newer DO schools with a 500 depending on your GPA. I would give myself more time (and push back your exam if necessary) and aim for a 505 just to be safe.
 
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GypsyHummus

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I know someone who studied for a month and got a 498, so it is definitely possible. I feel that you would have a hard time even with newer DO schools with a 500 depending on your GPA. I would give myself more time (and push back your exam if necessary) and aim for a 505 just to be safe.
Was he a particularly strong student?

I'm taking my test September 10th, so roughly about 1.5 months. It's the very latest date for this cycle.

My GPA both science and cumulative is around a 3.5, so all the DO schools said 500 or above would be fine.
 

edgerock24

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I think that a 500 would be too low for DO programs. At the very minimum, I believe most schools are looking for 502-503+
You are wrong. 500 is fine for many DO schools (all three VCOM's, LMU-DCOM, WVSOM, WCUCOM, ARCOM, NYIT-AR, ACOM, UIWCOM, LUCOM, KYCOM to name a few) if paired with a high GPA.

@GypsyHummus , I recommend not even spending time on "pure content review." What I mean by this is to only focus on practice exams and the section banks.

Start with the section banks. Do them untimed. Write down all topics that you need to review/learn. After finishing the section banks, spend the following 2-3 days reviewing these topics. Then, move on to taking full length exams.

Proceed with the same process. For the first two FL's, do them untimed and use notes if you need to. After each FL, review the exam/content (take 2 days to do so) that you again had trouble with.

Starting on your 3rd FL exam, take the test under timed conditions. Spend ~2 days reviewing and then take another test. Then, repeat until test day. This should allow you to take 5-8 FL's depending on how much work you can do without burning out.
 
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alpha-GTP

Where's my 5' UTR?
Jun 16, 2016
389
520
Some membrane somewhere
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Was he a particularly strong student?

I'm taking my test September 10th, so roughly about 1.5 months. It's the very latest date for this cycle.

My GPA both science and cumulative is around a 3.5, so all the DO schools said 500 or above would be fine.
He has a 3.5. Is there a reason why you don't want a higher score. What if you aim for a 500 and somehow end up with a 495? People do occasionally get a lower than estimated score. A bad score like that will be difficult to erase, even with DO schools.
 

dontforgetxx

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You are wrong. 500 is fine for many DO schools (all three VCOM's, LMU-DCOM, WVSOM, WCUCOM, ARCOM, NYIT-AR, ACOM, UIWCOM, LUCOM, KYCOM to name a few) if paired with a high GPA.
I may very well be wrong but it's not wise to aim for a 500. Why not aim for a 510+, study your butt off and kill the exam? With a good GPA like that you have a good shot at getting into schools so why just settle for a 500?
 

edgerock24

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I may very well be wrong but it's not wise to aim for a 500. Why not aim for a 510+, study your butt off and kill the exam? With a good GPA like that you have a good shot at getting into schools so why just settle for a 500?
Because this isn't what the OP was asking?
He has 1 month to study. All he wants is a 500. A 500 makes him competitive for several schools. That's it.
 
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GypsyHummus

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I may very well be wrong but it's not wise to aim for a 500. Why not aim for a 510+, study your butt off and kill the exam? With a good GPA like that you have a good shot at getting into schools so why just settle for a 500?
Well the reason why I said 500 is because I wanted to be realistic. I scored a 491 last time, so I wanted to make sure I had total focus study time.

If it is totally possible to score a 510 with a month of 8 hours/day of studying, then I'll shoot for that!
 
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Nucleophile1

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Well the reason why I said 500 is because I wanted to be realistic. I scored a 491 last time, so I wanted to make sure I had total focus study time.

If it is totally possible to score a 510 with a month of 8 hours/day of studying, then I'll shoot for that!
Since you have already taken the MCAT once and scored low, I would wait to take it until you are sure you will score at least a 500.
You should be scoring at least 502-503 on practice tests.

It is possible to get a 500 with a month of study, but it depends on your starting point. With a 491, you are likely weak in content knowledge. If you don't mind, what was your breakdown for your first MCAT? And what were your practice test scores?
 

Hopeful_vet

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With a 491 MCAT and a 3.5 you shouldn't even be thinking about applying this cycle...


Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile
 
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GypsyHummus

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Since you have already taken the MCAT once and scored low, I would wait to take it until you are sure you will score at least a 500.
You should be scoring at least 502-503 on practice tests.

It is possible to get a 500 with a month of study, but it depends on your starting point. With a 491, you are likely weak in content knowledge. If you don't mind, what was your breakdown for your first MCAT? And what were your practice test scores?
Practice scores I used exam krackers and scored 30% the first scores and around 50% on the final ones.

I am weak on content knowledge. Except for Orgo, I boss every question about Orgo.

Breakdown was 124/122/123/125 I believe.
 

Hopeful_vet

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Can't, gotta apply. I'm in my mid 20s and time is ticking by
This is the absolute worst mindset. I really hope you do get in, but applying late with what you hope is a 50%ile MCAT when you already have an extremely poor MCAT is recipe for disaster. I'm also mid 20s. There are people far older than you going to med school.

Edit: calling @Goro.

Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile
 

holdthemayo

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May 13, 2014
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Hey everyone,

So I have been lightly studying for my MCAT for about a month now while working, but I am not getting as much done as I thought I would, so I am planning on quitting my job and studying full time starting August 1st for a September 10th test date. Ive taken the MCAT before but have only scored a 491, which was due to poor time management, poor preparation (I only used notecards and did not do as many questions as I should have) and worked as well. I was also in bad physical health.


Thanks for all the feedback and advice!
You've identified the problem with your last test. Why are your repeating the same mistake?

Poor preparation once might be forgiven with a great follow up MCAT. Poor preparation twice tells me you have poor decisions making skills.

If I were you, I would take a full 3 months for a solid content review and proper studying. Then nail the MCAT in January (or whenever you are scoring consistently well on practice tests) and apply with strong application next year.
 

Nucleophile1

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May 12, 2015
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Practice scores I used exam krackers and scored 30% the first scores and around 50% on the final ones.

I am weak on content knowledge. Except for Orgo, I boss every question about Orgo.

Breakdown was 124/122/123/125 I believe.
You need to work on your content knowledge. Unless you do something dramatically different than last time, I don't see how you will be able to raise your score 9 points in a month. I know that you want to apply this year, but unless your practice tests are above a 500, I don't think that is going to happen. Honestly, I think you need to create a good study plan, take your time, and take the test in January. Since you already have one low score, you do not want to take it too quickly the second time and end up scoring low again.

Both the Chem/Phys and Bio/Biochem section have lots of Bio in them. I was weak in Bio as well, so I bought the Berkeley Review books and went through each one. You can treat the end of chapter questions like practice exams and then there are two diagnostic bio exams at the end of each book.

https://www.reddit.com/r/Mcat/wiki/mcat2015faq/practiceexams
There are six free practice tests on there.

Have you taken the AAMC Unscored or Scored FL? The section banks and question packs are good resources as well.

I'm not trying to discourage you, but please don't re-take the test unless you are scoring well on your practice tests. The AAMC Unscored and Scored are the most representative of what you will actually score.

The schools I contacted said that I only really need a 500. Obviously, I would like to shoot higher than that, but since time crunch is on, thats my reasonable goal.

My dream score would obviously be like a 510. Id be super happy with a 505.

Just for background, looking to get into DO school. Schools I have been looking at said 500 is the breaking point into competitive territory (have solid GPA).
Did you tell those schools that you had already taken the MCAT? A 500 on the first time may look different than a 491 and then a 500.
 
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GypsyHummus

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You need to work on your content knowledge. Unless you do something dramatically different than last time, I don't see how you will be able to raise your score 9 points in a month. I know that you want to apply this year, but unless your practice tests are above a 500, I don't think that is going to happen. Honestly, I think you need to create a good study plan, take your time, and take the test in January. Since you already have one low score, you do not want to take it too quickly the second time and end up scoring low again.

Both the Chem/Phys and Bio/Biochem section have lots of Bio in them. I was weak in Bio as well, so I bought the Berkeley Review books and went through each one. You can treat the end of chapter questions like practice exams and then there are two diagnostic bio exams at the end of each book.

https://www.reddit.com/r/Mcat/wiki/mcat2015faq/practiceexams
There are six free practice tests on there.

Have you taken the AAMC Unscored or Scored FL? The section banks and question packs are good resources as well.

I'm not trying to discourage you, but please don't re-take the test unless you are scoring well on your practice tests. The AAMC Unscored and Scored are the most representative of what you will actually score.



Did you tell those schools that you had already taken the MCAT? A 500 on the first time may look different than a 491 and then a 500.
Yes, I told the schools. The ones that said they would replace the scores didn't care. They were even happy with a 496, which I found hard to believe. Granted this was one school, and I have really good ECs. But still
 

Nucleophile1

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Yes, I told the schools. The ones that said they would replace the scores didn't care. They were even happy with a 496, which I found hard to believe. Granted this was one school, and I have really good ECs. But still
Have you ever taken the AAMC unscored or scored FL?
 

MareNostrummm

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Hey everyone,

So I have been lightly studying for my MCAT for about a month now while working, but I am not getting as much done as I thought I would, so I am planning on quitting my job and studying full time starting August 1st for a September 10th test date. Ive taken the MCAT before but have only scored a 491, which was due to poor time management, poor preparation (I only used notecards and did not do as many questions as I should have) and worked as well. I was also in bad physical health.

I plan on dedicating 8 hours/day this next month to studying for this beast, is it possible in a month and a half to score a 500? Otherwise, Id have to wait till January for the next test date. Luckily, there is only one way to go, and that is up. I would treat studying like a 9-5 job for a month.

I have a strong Organic Background, decent bio, and weak everything else. Ive heard people who have only studied for 2 weeks and managed to get a 31 before, but those people had strong science backgrounds. Then again, Im not looking for a 520, all I need is to break above the 500 mark.

Thanks for all the feedback and advice!
If you aim for 500 you're going to get in the 490s... Aim for 508.
 

dontforgetxx

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Mar 3, 2010
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The 'settle for the minimum needed' mindset is not sought after as a physician. Since you got a 491 on your first try, your aim should be at least to get a 505+. Sure, maybe the person you spoke to in admissions on that day told you that you'd be okay with a 500 - how do you know that they will be the person who actually evaluates your application?
 

Nucleophile1

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I believe so. If i remember right, it wasn't good.
Those are your two best indicators. Since you have taken them before, keep in mind that your score will be deflated when you retake them. I believe that the rule of thumb is to subtract 3-4 points from what you get to account for having seen the test before.

Go ahead and treat this month seriously if you really want to take it soon, but if you aren't scoring close to your target, please don't take it. You really don't want two bad scores.
 

Goro

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I strongly advise OP NOT to take the MCAT until they are 100% ready. A 500 will be autoreject at my school, but applying braodly, especially to the newest schools, should net some love.
Since the DO cycle is longer, OP has until late Oct/early Nov to take the exam and still be reasonably competitive.
 

mw18

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I studied full time for a month and got a 38. But it was a terrible month, I worked twice as many hours as you are talking about doing, and standardized tests are a strength of mine. I was also feeling the pressure the same way you were, but all my practice tests were above a 33 (save for the diagnostic baseline Kaplan) and most were higher. I would never have taken the real thing if my scores weren't legit. You've already been advised against this, but you need to know that if you score that poorly again that you will likely be done for good. In med school, you have to take the tests when they say with the amount of time for prep they give you; don't put yourself at that same disadvantage when you don't have to. But with that goes this - if you are the type of person who rushes yourself, doesn't prepare properly, and thus can't bring it on test day, then you don't deserve the spot in a med school class.
 
Jul 30, 2016
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Hey everyone,

So I have been lightly studying for my MCAT for about a month now while working, but I am not getting as much done as I thought I would, so I am planning on quitting my job and studying full time starting August 1st for a September 10th test date. Ive taken the MCAT before but have only scored a 491, which was due to poor time management, poor preparation (I only used notecards and did not do as many questions as I should have) and worked as well. I was also in bad physical health.

I plan on dedicating 8 hours/day this next month to studying for this beast, is it possible in a month and a half to score a 500? Otherwise, Id have to wait till January for the next test date. Luckily, there is only one way to go, and that is up. I would treat studying like a 9-5 job for a month.

I have a strong Organic Background, decent bio, and weak everything else. Ive heard people who have only studied for 2 weeks and managed to get a 31 before, but those people had strong science backgrounds. Then again, Im not looking for a 520, all I need is to break above the 500 mark.

Thanks for all the feedback and advice!
Considering a 500 is about average, I would think it is very easily doable. Have you taken a practice test as a baseline yet? I used the free nextstep exam and then took the half-test in the AAMC official guide to see where I am at with the test's annoying format.

When I read the aamc guide, it looks like orgo is like maybe 5% of the exam. I would focus on biochem, bio, psych and chemistry. Those are the highest yield sciences according to the aamc.

I recommend you get some good practice tests and take about 1-2 per week. also get the aamc tests and take them too. Shoot to take 6+ exams over the next 6 weeks, and review them each thoroughly, like for a day. Getting an average score will be about getting used to the aams style and passage format. odds are you have a decent science background but need the test strategies.

@premedkid1994 good quote, but my physics prep says you have that backwards :sneaky: !
 
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GypsyHummus

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The problem I am facing is that the last date to take the MCAT is going to be September 10th, so I really don't have 3 months to study if I want to apply this cycle. It would be completely different if they had October MCAT dates.

I applied last cycle and was waitlisted, so time is ticking forward. I can't wait another 2 years. Training to be a physician is at the bare minimum 7 years, Ill be mid thirties by the time I'm out! Its petal to the floor for the next month hoping to break a 500, scoring a 502 should solidify my application, even applying in October.

With that said, I don't think that Ill be that desperate however to take the test if Im score in the mid 490s. I have no choice but to break the 500 mark this next time I take the test. I would defiantly pull back the start of September if my scores are not reflective of success, and drop the score (can you drop the last week?). But a whole month of studying for 8 hours a day should yield some results, right?

What exam prep did everyone use? I used Kaplan and then Exam Krackers and found Krackers to be much more helpful.
 
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GypsyHummus

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Just to let everyone know, My diagnostic was a 486 from Kaplan.
 

edgerock24

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Just to let everyone know, My diagnostic was a 486 from Kaplan.
Kaplan's practice tests are pretty terrible. NS and EK have the best practice exams behind the AAMC ones. EK tests are crazy expensive, though. I recommend buying mostly NS tests, and doing EK3 if you have $50 to spend on it.
 

cyang55

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May 16, 2015
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The schools I contacted said that I only really need a 500. Obviously, I would like to shoot higher than that, but since time crunch is on, thats my reasonable goal.

My dream score would obviously be like a 510. Id be super happy with a 505.

Just for background, looking to get into DO school. Schools I have been looking at said 500 is the breaking point into competitive territory (have solid GPA).
500 is the MINIMUM for most DO schools before they completely filter out your app. That stat is rising as well. you are by no means competitive with that low of an MCAT score


Also, I recommend EK's 1001 questions. that'l give you an idea of where you need improvement. it's easy to read something and think you know it, but it's a lot harder to pull it out of memory when asked about it. these questions are super simplified and a easy way to test what you know
 
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GypsyHummus

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So quick update,

Just took a diagnostic exam krackers full length 1. Ended up with a 51%, which after digging around on the internet seems to be around a 498. Guessed on lots of stuff, really put everything I had into it. A bit dissapointed, but we gotta start somewhere.

Man, 8 hours is long.

Anyone have an Exam Krackers full length conversion sheet?
 

Kpw101

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Don't rush the MCAT. If you rush this last one, and don't hit your target score you'll just dig yourself a deeper hole. If a 500 is what you want, aim to hit 2-3 points above that on your practice exams before you take the actual.

A lot of people from what I hear start medical school in their mid 20s. There's nothing wrong with that. Put your all into it, delay if you have to. Best of luck!

Also from my understanding, if you take the test September 10 it would be too late to apply this cycle anyway no? They have test dates starting January. If you have to postpone you can, you'll have to apply next cycle anyway.
 

premedkid1994

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So quick update,

Just took a diagnostic exam krackers full length 1. Ended up with a 51%, which after digging around on the internet seems to be around a 498. Guessed on lots of stuff, really put everything I had into it. A bit dissapointed, but we gotta start somewhere.

Man, 8 hours is long.

Anyone have an Exam Krackers full length conversion sheet?
What did you get in each section?
 
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GypsyHummus

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What did you get in each section?
For the exam Kracker:
FL 1
23/59
20/53
24/59
25/59
Total of 51%

After doing some digging around on the internet trying to find a conversion chart, it seems like 50% is around the 498 area. This doesn't seem right, I would think 50% would be much lower, like 490
 

Nucleophile1

2+ Year Member
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For the exam Kracker:
FL 1
23/59
20/53
24/59
25/59
Total of 51%

After doing some digging around on the internet trying to find a conversion chart, it seems like 50% is around the 498 area. This doesn't seem right, I would think 50% would be much lower, like 490
Take a day to seriously review your exam.
For each question you got wrong, figure out why. Was it a lack of content knowledge, didn't know how to interpret the graph, misinterpreted the text, etc.?
For each question you got right, identify which ones were guesses and which ones you knew for sure.
 
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GypsyHummus

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Take a day to seriously review your exam.
For each question you got wrong, figure out why. Was it a lack of content knowledge, didn't know how to interpret the graph, misinterpreted the text, etc.?
For each question you got right, identify which ones were guesses and which ones you knew for sure.
Thats what Im doing. Looks like Waves of sounds and light, as well as Gen chem was a rough point

On Verbal, how can we improve on that section?