What did you find to be the most difficult section on the May 22, 2015 MCAT?


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stonyalltheway

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May 22, 2015 Test Takers...What did you find to be the most difficult section on the May 22, 2015 MCAT?
 

carpediem22

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This is going to be subjective based upon the strengths and weaknesses of each individual test taker...

For me personally, I didn't think one section was significantly harder than the other. PS is usually my weakest and I actually felt best about it today. They were all challenging. Similar to AAMC practice exam, but harder across the board. Especially CARS.
 

BugzBunnyDoc

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Chem/Phys was probably the hardest for me. There was a lot more physics on it than I would have preferred. The biology section was like the practice out there so it wasn't terrible. CARS was a little more on the difficult side just because the passages were so long and many times the answer choices had a subtle point that made it wrong so had to do a lot of reasoning when approaching the choices. Psych/Soc probably my favorite session. Enjoyed reading the articles and it was pretty much stuff I had seen on practice. Currently deciding if i want to go through the stress of taking it again on the retest day since my test location was having a lot of technical problems and we had a 20 second lag after each question. Definitely felt rushed for bio and verbal as a result. Decisions decisions
 
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I got bogged down in CARS midway, so that was my toughest. Most comfortable with Physical and Chemical Processes. Got a second wind with the lunch break but by the time I began Psych/Soc, I was fatigued, yet not as bad as I thought. Back to the drawing board.
 
Jul 1, 2014
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Chem/Phys was probably the hardest for me. There was a lot more physics on it than I would have preferred. The biology section was like the practice out there so it wasn't terrible. CARS was a little more on the difficult side just because the passages were so long and many times the answer choices had a subtle point that made it wrong so had to do a lot of reasoning when approaching the choices. Psych/Soc probably my favorite session. Enjoyed reading the articles and it was pretty much stuff I had seen on practice. Currently deciding if i want to go through the stress of taking it again on the retest day since my test location was having a lot of technical problems and we had a 20 second lag after each question. Definitely felt rushed for bio and verbal as a result. Decisions decisions
Which company did you use for psych if you don't mind me asking?
 
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Nov 18, 2013
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CARS passages were a lot longer than the practice test and also my testing center was having server problems. The screen kept freezing. I will be taking the retest day
 
Apr 29, 2013
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Hardest to easiest PS>CARS>Psych>Bio

PS - awful. All physics for me. And that is always my worst subject.

CARS - generally my best but due to a computer lag and the passages being SO much more convoluted and about 2 paragraphs longer than the practice, not so hot here.

Psych - all theories based. I used khan to prep for these and it helped with about half. The other half I used an educated guess based on the passage.

Bio - all biochem and research based. I just took biochem so it felt really good.
 
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Jul 19, 2013
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CARS > PS > BS > Psych

Psych - basic theories; thought a lot of it was common sense. I think a background in epidemiology also helps for the research questions.
 
Oct 3, 2014
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PS> BS> CARS> Psych

CARS- interesting passages therefore its not as bad as it used to be.
Psych- must know different theories for some questions. But other questions you can just use the passage or make educated guesses.
 
Oct 27, 2014
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I have a hard time trusting when people say passages were a lot longer. In my experience with the old MCAT this was not the case, despite the fact people would frequently state "the verbal passages are longer on the real deal." I'm sorry, I don't need to take the test to know this: The passages on test day vary in length but are not beyond the 500-600 range which is present on the practice MCAT. The difference is entirely based on the magnification of the screen. Stop passing this myth on. Also, I can tell you you'd do a lot better on CARS if those irrelevant thoughts weren't flooding into your mind. You should be focusing on what's in the passages, not how long it is.
 

carpediem22

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I have a hard time trusting when people say passages were a lot longer. In my experience with the old MCAT this was not the case, despite the fact people would frequently state "the verbal passages are longer on the real deal." I'm sorry, I don't need to take the test to know this: The passages on test day vary in length but are not beyond the 500-600 range which is present on the practice MCAT. The difference is entirely based on the magnification of the screen. Stop passing this myth on.
Did you take the exam?

Some were definitely longer than the AAMC FL practice. Not all but some. I'm basing this off of how long it took me to read them, not how long the passages looked. I read at a fairly consistent speed.
 
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May 18, 2015
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I have a hard time trusting when people say passages were a lot longer. In my experience with the old MCAT this was not the case, despite the fact people would frequently state "the verbal passages are longer on the real deal." I'm sorry, I don't need to take the test to know this: The passages on test day vary in length but are not beyond the 500-600 range which is present on the practice MCAT. The difference is entirely based on the magnification of the screen. Stop passing this myth on. Also, I can tell you you'd do a lot better on CARS if those irrelevant thoughts weren't flooding into your mind. You should be focusing on what's in the passages, not how long it is.
No it was definitely longer. The practice exam I got through easily. I had 6 minutes left over on the practice exam. I was moving pretty quickly through the CARS section on the real thing at first, but then the passages started being like 7-9 paragraphs. There were only a few semi-difficult passages, but it was the length of the passages that was killer. I had gotten through the first 3 passages in 30 minutes. Right on par with what I needed to be at. I had to mostly guess on the last passage I did because of time constraints.

Edit: And trust me, I wasn't worried about the length during the exam. It wasn't stressing me out. TPR verbal sections were ridiculous and so I had already practiced with the intention of guessing on one of the passages and had still done well. The passages were definitely longer though.
 
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Me.D.

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The most difficult section was the Physical Sciences section - not because of the content but because our server crashed :/ Want to make a section really difficult? Give yourself only an hour :)
 
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Dr. Death

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No it was definitely longer. The practice exam I got through easily. I had 6 minutes left over on the practice exam. I was moving pretty quickly through the CARS section on the real thing at first, but then the passages started being like 7-9 paragraphs. There were only a few semi-difficult passages, but it was the length of the passages that was killer. I had gotten through the first 3 passages in 30 minutes. Right on par with what I needed to be at. I had to mostly guess on the last passage I did because of time constraints.

Edit: And trust me, I wasn't worried about the length during the exam. It wasn't stressing me out. TPR verbal sections were ridiculous and so I had already practiced with the intention of guessing on one of the passages and had still done well. The passages were definitely longer though.
Amen to this. The sections were much longer but no I did not count the characters. And I had lag on my computer which compounded the problem. Honestly though I took 2 GS FL the AAMC FL and some half lengths and I truly felt like the real MCAT was easier than all three. But we'll see in 19 days if that is the case.
 
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May 18, 2015
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Amen to this. The sections were much longer but no I did not count the characters. And I had lag on my computer which compounded the problem. Honestly though I took 2 GS FL the AAMC FL and some half lengths and I truly felt like the real MCAT was easier than all three. But we'll see in 19 days if that is the case.
Thats awesome you felt that way. I'm half and half about it. I thought PS and Psych/Soc were easier and though CARS and BS were a bit tougher. CARS was mainly just the length though. If I had 5 more minutes I would say it was on par with the practice exam.
 

Abraxas305

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Does the timer keep running if it lags or the server is disrupted? That seems like a problem between Prometric itself and not the exam. The time lost should be accounted for.
 
May 18, 2015
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Does the timer keep running if it lags or the server is disrupted? That seems like a problem between Prometric itself and not the exam. The time lost should be accounted for.
I've read mixed reviews. Many people thought the lag also made the section longer, therefore insinuating the timer had stopped running during the lag. Some people felt they didn't have enough time as a result of the lag. The problem is that you can't go back and get the extra time. Some people who submitted may get a chance at a retake in more extreme circumstances, but I think the AAMC's stance is that if you truly thought the technical issues had a large effect on your score then you should have voided the exam and then contacted them after. I luckily did not experience any issues so this is all observation and speculation on my part.
 

Dr. Death

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Does the timer keep running if it lags or the server is disrupted? That seems like a problem between Prometric itself and not the exam. The time lost should be accounted for.
I wish that were the case. The screen went white for about 15-20 seconds and then the next question would pop up. Initially I hoped that the timer stopped but alas it would skip ahead 15-20 seconds.
 

Dr. Death

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But I was thinking "I'll be damned if I am not finishing this test today." So I just blazed through the passages at warp speed and if I have to take it again so be it. CARS was the only section that was like this. Of course CARS is always the section that takes me longest.
 
Oct 27, 2014
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Did you take the exam?

Some were definitely longer than the AAMC FL practice. Not all but some. I'm basing this off of how long it took me to read them, not how long the passages looked. I read at a fairly consistent speed.
I took the 2014 exam and it was the same story with most folks saying passages were longer. It's not longer. Its that simple. Entirely based on the monitor.
 
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carpediem22

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Ok you didn't take the 2015 exam so I'm not having this discussion with you. I'm telling you my experience. I went into the exam having my timing down pat, and it took longer for me to get through theses passages. People reading this thread, believe what you want!

I'm out.
 
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I took the 2014 exam and it was the same story with most folks saying passages were longer. It's not longer. Its that simple. Entirely based on the monitor.
No. Average practice passage 4-5 paragraphs. I counted the actual MCAT 2015 passages and they are 6-7 each. Not monitor dependent. Indeed longer. Thanks for the 2014 advice anyway...
 

usvickpremed

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So I tried to use Kaplan's mapping method on the CARS section of the May MCAT. I noticed that the passages were like 7 to 8 paragraphs long. Granted, some of them had short paragraphs, but this was still a change from the 4-5 paragraph long Kaplan passages. So much harder to "map" so I ended up just jotting down a few key words and making good use of the highlight function. All around, I found the section easier than Kaplan's but slightly harder than AAMC's official practice.

It's so hard to choose which section I found most difficult. I thought the Chem/Phys was reasonable at times, but there were a few passages that made me wanna say "wtf!" Stuck on some problem questions, I felt rushed towards the end and ran out of time before I could go back to any of the questions I had marked :/

It was the same story for Bio/Biochem. It started off fine, but once I got to difficult passages, my mind started wandering and it was really hard to get myself to sift through all the necessary info to answer the questions. I also know for a fact I second-guessed myself on really simple discrete questions (I felt like an idiot for miscounting the omega carbon for an easy nomenclature q). I just hope I didn't make too many errors like that.

Psych was harder than the AAMC practice because there were a few concepts that weren't really stressed on any of the guides. Plus, by the end of the exam, I was having serious memory issues. It's so agonizing not having the instant feedback like on the practice tests. I have no idea how well (hopefully) or badly (God forbid) I performed. I need to a nice distracting for the next few weeks. :p
 
Oct 27, 2014
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No. Average practice passage 4-5 paragraphs. I counted the actual MCAT 2015 passages and they are 6-7 each. Not monitor dependent. Indeed longer. Thanks for the 2014 advice anyway...
You wasted time to compare paragraph lengths? On each and every passage? Hmm... Here is my 2014 advice: if you have to re-take, don't count the paragraphs, just read them. We'll have to agree to disagree.
 
Oct 5, 2013
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You wasted time to compare paragraph lengths? On each and every passage? Hmm... Here is my 2014 advice: if you have to re-take, don't count the paragraphs, just read them. We'll have to agree to disagree.
You don't need to compare to know. Some questions were like "refer to 7th paragraph"
 
Oct 27, 2014
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You don't need to compare to know. Some questions were like "refer to 7th paragraph"
If the passages are longer for you, it's also longer for you competition. Therefore, it's irrelevant to complain about for reducing your performance. But on a side note, they are approximately 500-600 words :) You'll have to do a lot of scrolling at the test center because the font is much, much larger. Nerves + magnification + scrolling = false perceptions of reality
 
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carpediem22

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If the passages are longer for you, it's also longer for you competition. Therefore, it's irrelevant to complain about for reducing your performance. But on a side note, they are approximately 500-600 words :) You'll have to do a lot of scrolling at the test center because the font is much, much larger. Nerves + magnification + scrolling = false perceptions of reality
Ugh. Nobody is complaining. Just trying to be helpful for future test takers. Please stop posting on this thread.
 

carpediem22

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You wasted time to compare paragraph lengths? On each and every passage? Hmm... Here is my 2014 advice: if you have to re-take, don't count the paragraphs, just read them. We'll have to agree to disagree.
Also, you have nothing to disagree about. You didn't even take the 2015 exam. I don't even get why you care enough to post here. Stop trolling.
 
Oct 27, 2014
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Ugh. Nobody is complaining. Just trying to be helpful for future test takers. Please stop posting on this thread.
Because scaring future test takers into thinking the passages will be significantly longer than the practice exam isn't helpful nor accurate. Also the entire topic is subjective to begin with. The hardest section? Whichever you studied the least for or have the worst understanding of.
 

Jeetu93

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For the most part the passages were near the 600 range. I do agree with the bunch that say it was longer. Some were definitely longer than 600 words. If you wish to believe it or fight against it be my guest. Some passages took longer to read and I got a good long stare at them everytime I clicked the next button due to latency issues.
 
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takeonme

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honestly, the exam has been somewhat different for everyone (except for those taking it the same day). future test takers need to take what others post with a grain of salt. i remember reading "not much physics for my exam" (april 2015) and mine was full of physics (may 2015). it really just depends.

as an actual may test taker, i agree that our passages were longer than usual. that was our test. believe it or dont and be done with it
 

Jeetu93

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Yes there was so much more physics than expected (not complaining, I actually like it better)
 

takeonme

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Yes there was so much more physics than expected (not complaining, I actually like it better)
same here. i hate(d) physics, which is why i had to force myself to study it and it paid off
 

carpediem22

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honestly, the exam has been somewhat different for everyone (except for those taking it the same day). future test takers need to take what others post with a grain of salt. i remember reading "not much physics for my exam" (april 2015) and mine was full of physics (may 2015). it really just depends.

as an actual may test taker, i agree that our passages were longer than usual. that was our test. believe it or dont and be done with it
Soooo true. I had very little physics on my exam, and the physics that I did have was absurdly easy. Worked in my favor since physics is my kryptonite, but also had some gen chem questions that took me by surprise.
 

Dreamstoo

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The MCAT is interesting in that sense. Even on old AAMC practice tests, they often mixed up which sections were going to be the harder one on a test, PS, VR, BS etc. Usually after you finished an exam, the curve represented that. I remember VR having an extremely lenient curves on one of the middle exams and I scored way better than expected.
 
Jan 26, 2015
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What I expected it to be like (hard to easy): PS>BIO>Psych>CARS (I usually do very well on CARS but suck at chem/phys)

What I thought it was actually like: BIO>CARS>PS I can't even put Psych on there because it was a total toss up. I could have killed it or failed it.

PS was not quite as hard as I had anticipated, while I thought BIO was harder than expected. While I didn't have a problem with timing on CARS, the passages just happened to be on topics I find supremely boring, which made it harder to stay focused. On practice tests, I usually find ~3/9 passages really mind-numbing. On the real thing, it was 9/9.

I think the variety of responses to this thread speaks to the subjectivity of examinee impressions. None of this really means anything until we get our scores.
 
May 21, 2015
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Cars only sucked because it was long, not because it was hard. The questions were very straight forward, you had more than enough time to go back and look over each question and reference the passage.

PS>BIO>Psych>CARS
What I thought it was actually like: BIO>CARS>PS I can't even put Psych on there because it was a total toss up. I could have killed it or failed it.
Agree with this.
 

mcatjelly

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Mine was definitely (from hardest to easiest) Chem/Phys >>> Bio/Biochem > Psych/Soc > CARS.
 
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