Apr 19, 2012
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Hey guys! I've been studying for my MCATs for a couple months now (haven't really started "hardcore" studying until about 3 days ago). I've been scoring around the 30-31 range for my last 3 practice tests now - Kaplan FL 3, AAMC 3, AAMC 4.

I'm really hoping to get in the mid 30s for my MCAT so I was wondering what can I do to boost my score and go reach those last few points? My scores are usually pretty even with an average of 10-10-10.

Should I do more verbal practice or focus more on the content? I still have at least 2 weeks of all day studying so I should be able to dedicate a lot of time to this. I also plan on taking a practice test everyday before the 19th.

Any feedback is appreciated. Thanks in advance!
 

kexy

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Aug 27, 2009
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Try taking a later AAMC, like 8-11, as people say these are better indicators of your performance on the real thing. If you're not scoring in your desired range a few weeks before the exam, I would DEFINITELY push your test date back.
 
Apr 27, 2012
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Try taking a later AAMC, like 8-11, as people say these are better indicators of your performance on the real thing. If you're not scoring in your desired range a few weeks before the exam, I would DEFINITELY push your test date back.
You don't think people can improve their average by a couple of points in the last 4-5 weeks before an exam? I guess it matters what you mean by few. :D Don't most people save most of their practice tests for the last 4 weeks before the MCAT anyway? Seems like a relatively common practice, and from people I've seen on here that have packed them into those last four weeks, more than a few of them saw 4 or 5 point increases over that month long period. I realize that mtremblay has a test date that is 2 weeks from now, but I bet if she puts in a bunch of 10 hour days then she's got a shot at squeezing an extra couple points out of it. That WOULD only put her at around a 32, though, and she's aiming for 35, so I do agree with postponing. I don't think it is super common to pick up 5 points in 2 weeks.
 

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Your not in a bad position to begin but 2 weeks is a little rushed to start doing practice tests - it might be worth it to push your test back a couple weeks if your not at the score you want. That being said I agree with Kexy above, 3 was a horrible indicator of my test performance(8 points lower than my real score), but this isn't universal.
 

kexy

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Aug 27, 2009
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You don't think people can improve their average by a couple of points in the last 4-5 weeks before an exam? I guess it matters what you mean by few. :D Don't most people save most of their practice tests for the last 4 weeks before the MCAT anyway? Seems like a relatively common practice, and from people I've seen on here that have packed them into those last four weeks, more than a few of them saw 4 or 5 point increases over that month long period. I realize that mtremblay has a test date that is 2 weeks from now, but I bet if she puts in a bunch of 10 hour days then she's got a shot at squeezing an extra couple points out of it. That WOULD only put her at around a 32, though, and she's aiming for 35, so I do agree with postponing. I don't think it is super common to pick up 5 points in 2 weeks.
I really don't think two weeks is enough to improve from 31 to mid 30's, especially given that those 30s and 31s are on what many say are the easiest of the AAMC full lengths. Though, OP, there is certainly no harm in cramming for the next two weeks and seeing where your practice tests are a few days before the exam. But seriously, don't go in expecting a several point boost on the real thing.
 
OP
mtremblay
Apr 19, 2012
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Thanks for all the feedback! I'm gonna try and take 8 tomorrow morning. If my score is nowhere near what I want it to be I'll probably push my test back a few weeks. Let's hope I pick it up a bit!
 

KLycos

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take all those later aamc practices, read through your study materials like crazy in the last 2 weeks, do it full time every day. cram, sleep well the last 2 days. pwn mcat.
 
Apr 27, 2012
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I really don't think two weeks is enough to improve from 31 to mid 30's, especially given that those 30s and 31s are on what many say are the easiest of the AAMC full lengths. Though, OP, there is certainly no harm in cramming for the next two weeks and seeing where your practice tests are a few days before the exam. But seriously, don't go in expecting a several point boost on the real thing.
I agree with that. AAMC 3 is very easy when compared to some of the later MCATs I did last year, deceptively easy in fact. Fortunately I've forgotten all of them since last summer so it's like they're all brand new to me! When you were prepping for the MCAT, did you get a 4+ point score boost from the beginning of your practice test prep to the end of your practice test prep? Just curious.
 
OP
mtremblay
Apr 19, 2012
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I agree with that. AAMC 3 is very easy when compared to some of the later MCATs I did last year, deceptively easy in fact. Fortunately I've forgotten all of them since last summer so it's like they're all brand new to me! When you were prepping for the MCAT, did you get a 4+ point score boost from the beginning of your practice test prep to the end of your practice test prep? Just curious.
I started with a 26 of the Kaplan diagnostic before studying. I'm up in the 31s now. My GPA is a 3.97 so I really want to hit in the 35 range in order to have a shot at top-tier schools. I would settle with 34 but I definitely don't want to go under that.

By the way just wondering, what's the lowest MCAT score I could hit with a 3.97 GPA and standard ECs (including research) in order to have a shot at mid-tier schools? I got accepted early at VCOM this week but I'm really shooting for a MD school right now.
 

kexy

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Aug 27, 2009
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I agree with that. AAMC 3 is very easy when compared to some of the later MCATs I did last year, deceptively easy in fact. Fortunately I've forgotten all of them since last summer so it's like they're all brand new to me! When you were prepping for the MCAT, did you get a 4+ point score boost from the beginning of your practice test prep to the end of your practice test prep? Just curious.
No, but that is probably because I didn't start taking practice tests til most of my content review was done. I got a 38 on my first practice test (AAMC 3), a 37 on my last practice test (AAMC 11), and a 37 on the real thing.

OP, go back and see what questions you're missing. Is it a time issue? Not understanding the content? Etc.
 
Apr 27, 2012
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I started with a 26 of the Kaplan diagnostic before studying. I'm up in the 31s now. My GPA is a 3.97 so I really want to hit in the 35 range in order to have a shot at top-tier schools. I would settle with 34 but I definitely don't want to go under that.

By the way just wondering, what's the lowest MCAT score I could hit with a 3.97 GPA and standard ECs (including research) in order to have a shot at mid-tier schools? I got accepted early at VCOM this week but I'm really shooting for a MD school right now.
You are white, I assume? The 3.97 is your cumulative GPA, right? Your BCPM GPA is just about the same I assume, considering the cumulative is so high.

This is just my opinion but I think you could probably get in to a mid-tier with a 29 if you applied broadly and with a solid personal statement and impressive LORs. I would think that 30 would be a lock for mid-tier I think with that GPA, research, and assuming you apply broadly and interview well, but I'm interested to hear what others think. Sure, mid-tiers average 31 or 32 on the MCAT for matriculants, but they also have average GPAs of around 3.7. A higher GPA with a lower MCAT is slightly better to have than a higher MCAT with a lower GPA, as long as the MCAT is at least 29 I'd say.

Obviously you have an awesome chance at both EVMS and VCU (I'm assuming you are a Virginia resident for AMCAS purposes?), but those aren't mid-tiers. I'm confused though. You said at the end of your post that you are shooting for an MD school right now. If you can get at least a 30 on the MCAT then I don't see how VCU and EVMS don't admit you. They're "lower-tier" MD schools, but if you work hard at them, you can still match into any specialty you want. Perhaps a few residency programs in certain specialties that are obsessed with pedigrees won't interview you, but I wouldn't worry about that.

I don't think you need a 35 for top-tier schools either assuming your research is impressive and up to par for top tier schools. With your GPA, I imagine a 33 might snag you some interviews at top 20s, and I can't see how a 34 wouldn't.
 
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kexy

7+ Year Member
Aug 27, 2009
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I started with a 26 of the Kaplan diagnostic before studying. I'm up in the 31s now. My GPA is a 3.97 so I really want to hit in the 35 range in order to have a shot at top-tier schools. I would settle with 34 but I definitely don't want to go under that.

By the way just wondering, what's the lowest MCAT score I could hit with a 3.97 GPA and standard ECs (including research) in order to have a shot at mid-tier schools? I got accepted early at VCOM this week but I'm really shooting for a MD school right now.
No one can tell you for sure, as it really depends on the strength of your EC's, etc. (I had a 3.9 and a 37 and got rejected from a ton of mid-tier schools). But, check out this grid:

https://www.aamc.org/download/270906/data/table24-mcatgpagridall0911.pdf

A 30-32 would give you an 82% chance of acceptance somewhere, so it's probably not the end of the world if you do score <34.
 
Apr 27, 2012
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No one can tell you for sure, as it really depends on the strength of your EC's, etc. (I had a 3.9 and a 37 and got rejected from a ton of mid-tier schools). But, check out this grid:
Glancing at your MDApps, I see a bunch of top 25 rejections (Cornell, Baylor, Stanford, Yale, UCSF, etc.), but how many mid-tiers (USN&WR 41-80ish?) did you get rejected from pre-interview? The only two that stand out to me are UC Irvine and GW. Irvine is a UC though and everyone knows how competitive those are, even for in-staters. Boston University and Rochester are top 40, Dartmouth is top 30ish, and Keck isn't far behind. The only rejection pre-interview that surprises me is George Washington, but they get like 11,000 apps a year. It sucks for Cali applicants that half the UCs are seemingly in the top 25.

NYU is near top 25 and they gave you an invite, although it sounds like the interviewer was bad news. You got accepted into Emory which used to be top 20 and is now barely out of it. You got invites to tons of mid-tiers though -- Saint Louis, Georgetown, SUNY Buffalo, SUNY Stony Brook, UC Davis, Tufts. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but the only mid-tier rejections that you received pre-interview were from GW and UC Irvine. That's still a phenomenal cycle, and mid-tier rejections post-interview meant they still liked your app enough to give you an invite!
 

kexy

7+ Year Member
Aug 27, 2009
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Glancing at your MDApps, I see a bunch of top 25 rejections (Cornell, Baylor, Stanford, Yale, UCSF, etc.), but how many mid-tiers (USN&WR 41-80ish?) did you get rejected from pre-interview? The only two that stand out to me are UC Irvine and GW. Irvine is a UC though and everyone knows how competitive those are, even for in-staters. Boston University and Rochester are top 40, Dartmouth is top 30ish, and Keck isn't far behind. The only rejection pre-interview that surprises me is George Washington, but they get like 11,000 apps a year. It sucks for Cali applicants that half the UCs are seemingly in the top 25.

NYU is near top 25 and they gave you an invite, although it sounds like the interviewer was bad news. You got accepted into Emory which used to be top 20 and is now barely out of it. You got invites to tons of mid-tiers though -- Saint Louis, Georgetown, SUNY Buffalo, SUNY Stony Brook, UC Davis, Tufts. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but the only mid-tier rejections that you received pre-interview were from GW and UC Irvine. That's still a phenomenal cycle, and mid-tier rejections post-interview meant they still liked your app enough to give you an invite!
I just meant pretty much anything below the top 20, so Rochester, BU, Dartmouth, Keck, GW, UCI, etc. I was also probably headed for rejection at the schools I withdrew at late in the cycle (Rush, NYMC, MCW, UConn). OP, sorry to hijack the thread haha. Moral of the story: this process is kind of a crapshoot!
 
OP
mtremblay
Apr 19, 2012
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Pre-Medical
First I just want to say I appreciate all of the feedback you guys have been giving. I took AAMC test 8 this morning and scored a 31. What do you suggest I do from here given that all I need is to get my score up 3 points in the next two weeks. Would it be beneficial to push the test back or should I just keep going with it and hope for the best? By the way my score distribution was 11PS 9VR and 11BS.

I personally think that most of the mistakes are due to verbal reasoning more than content understanding.

And yes, I'm a white male from VA. I also forgot to mention earlier that I have been playing 4 years of NCAA football in a D3 program, which has been a huge time commitment.
 
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Apr 27, 2012
223
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Pre-Medical
Your 9 VR could hurt you at top tier programs if that's what you end up getting. If you are really determined to get 34+ and think you are capable of it with more time, I'd delay the test. A three point improvement in two weeks seems unlikely, especially when hoping for extra points in the VR section (traditionally the toughest to section to improve). Again, this advice is only because you say you are interested in top tier schools.