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Learned helplessness

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by Bo Diddley, Jul 21, 2011.

  1. Bo Diddley

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    I'm feeling really depressed, helpless, and pathetic right now. I've taken the test twice. The first time I guessed on approx. 70% of the questions and attained a PS = 11 and BS = 8. The second time I answered about 90% with confidence and 10% with educated guesses and scored a PS = 8 and BS = 8.

    I feel like my performance had absolutely no bearing on my score and I've reached the point where I can't stomach a retake because I've convinced myself that I have absolutely no control over my score.

    Can anybody posit a logical reason for how it's possible to score lower even when you know with 100% certainty that you did better?

    I've requested a rescore, but I don't have much faith in that.

    I'm thoroughly convinced that an outside force is operating in this situation.

    Mother****
     
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  3. inquiry101

    5+ Year Member

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    you can't give up so easily... sometimes things aren't fair or right, but overall this shouldn't stop you from pursuing your goals. I am currently taking this test for the third time and trust me, this journey has not been easy at all. Reschedule for another test date sometime in august or sept but first take a couple days off to get your mind cleared. Make a plan and go with it.
     
  4. Bo Diddley

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    Thanks for the encouragement. Unfortunately, my city has no more available seats, and I don't have the means to go anywhere else.
     
  5. centrigeugle

    centrigeugle less qq, more pew pew
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    A logical reason, you say?

    It's because you did worse on the sections the second time around. Is it possible you're just not capable of handling the information? I hate to be the guy who says it, but taking the first test and "guessing on 70%" of the questions without voiding is a terrible idea in the first place.

    Studying and doing worse? Maybe you happened to get really lucky the first time, and then really unlucky the second, in that teeny probability zone where the bellcurves overlap? What were your verbal scores? They're conspicuously absent.

    That sucks, honestly - but other than checking every day to see if seats open or taking a long road-trip, you're sort of SOL.
     
  6. Lekcin

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    I have studied the MCAT a lot, and they are really good at making distractor answers. I have had practice exams that I felt I rocked that I did very poorly on because I fell for all of the distractors. Mayhaps this happened to you?
     
  7. Bo Diddley

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    1st test verbal = 9
    2nd test verbal = 11

    Also, 70% might be an exaggeration. My memory for a year ago is sort of fuzzy. I just remember panicking and making a lot of guesses without reading certain passages. Regardless, I never really saw the point of voiding. I don't really want to give my location away, but I'm mostly applying to schools that don't look at the number of times you took the test.

    Also, I'm aware of the distractor answers and I'm sure they played a part. But, I just can't understand how I would've done worse.

    But like centrigeugle said, maybe I just fell in that tiny probability zone.

    I don't know. It doesn't seem logical, but I guess anything's possible.
     
    #6 Bo Diddley, Jul 22, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2011
  8. Velocity

    Velocity Keep it Constant

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    Were you overly confident? Did you go in thinking, "I've taken this once before; I have a leg up on everyone else here who's taking it for the first time"?

    But otherwise, I agree that there is an element of chance on the MCAT. I took the test multiple times, and on my practice tests I never scored below a 29; on one real MCAT, I scored a 27. I have a friend who was consistently scoring in the 30-32 range on his practice MCATs, and on the day of his exam, he scored a 38. He claims he got lucky - all of the science questions were from his strongest areas within each subject, and he didn't encounter much of the material he had difficulty with.

    Which isn't to say that the MCAT is totally random (I knew a guy who took it twice and scored a 40 each time - that's not random), but don't beat yourself up over it, either. Just study hard to remove the random elements.
     
  9. TieuBachHo

    7+ Year Member

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    If the passages and questions seem to be obvious/easy, there might be inherent tricks employed. This way they can gauge your thorough understanding of concepts. When the passages and questions seem odd/extreme, the answers are usually straight forward. They do this to test your anxiety/handling of stress. Just focus and heed every questions fairly. Also, there might be curves on each tests but they are usually very consistent from time to time.

    EDIT: there seem to be no curves according to AAMC website: https://www.aamc.org/students/applying/mcat/preparing/85436/preparing_understandingscores.html However, the scoring process has accounted for small differences in difficulty. I mean the fluctuation between 1, 2, or 3 correct answers. Can this be biased? Yes, but the percentiles of scoring indicate its consistency from year to year.
     
    #8 TieuBachHo, Jul 22, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2011
  10. Bo Diddley

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    Everything you guys are saying makes sense, but I just can't convince myself that there wasn't some sort of processing error. I just felt too confident. Regardless, I'll apply with my score and just hope for the best.

    Thanks!
     
  11. Bo Diddley

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    It finally clicked for me. I'm getting consistent 11s and occasional 12/13s. I must have gotten EXTREMELY lucky the first time and somewhat unlucky the second time (was averaging around 10s), but I can definitely understand my scores. Rewriting on the 2nd, hope I can keep this up.
     
  12. kehlsh

    kehlsh Medic Commando
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    Good to hear, keep it up!

    :thumbup:
     

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