May 25, 2020
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Hi All,

I started studying for the MCAT around mid-May, with a plan to self study and take the MCAT in January. I am taking full credits this semester, including Biochemistry and Physics. I focused on content review this summer, starting with a 492 NS diagnostic. Early September I took my first FL (TPR=494) and was really discouraged. My weakest section was chem/phys and CARS despite working on CARS daily with Jack westin. I'm in the process of finishing the Physics and Biochem Kaplan books, and starting UWORLD. Do you think I'm on the right track, or should consider taking a course since I am taking Biochem and Physics rn. I know people study for far less time and do well, but I could use any advice or encouragement. I take my next FL at the beginning of october. Goal score 513, minimum 506.

Update 10/3/20= 502 Blueprint
 
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Dec 29, 2019
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You usually have to take biochem to do well on the MCAT, it's hard to completely self-study the topic. Also, if you have not taken physics at all, then that is probably a large part of why your chem/phys section is your weakest.

You can always push the exam to AFTER you've completed biochem and the required physics (so post-march, around there). I wouldn't be taking FLs if I had such a large gap in my prerequisites (no biochem or physics). If you want to go ahead with your plan, it would probably be a good idea to address what you're missing on the C/P section (computations? don't know equations? don't know how to apply physics? etc.) and go from there to see what's wrong. Also note that you can read the physics and biochem books as much as you want but without applying the knowledge (like you would in a class) it won't really translate to the exam.
 
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Mar 2, 2020
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Hi All,

I started studying for the MCAT around mid-May, with a plan to self study and take the MCAT in January. I am taking full credits this semester, including Biochemistry and Physics. I focused on content review this summer, starting with a 492 NS diagnostic. Early September I took my first FL (TPR=494) and was really discouraged. My weakest section was chem/phys and CARS despite working on CARS daily with Jack westin. I'm in the process of finishing the Physics and Biochem Kaplan books, and starting UWORLD. Do you think I'm on the right track, or should consider taking a course since I am taking Biochem and Physics rn. I know people study for far less time and do well, but I could use any advice or encouragement. I take my next FL at the beginning of october. Goal score 513, minimum 506.
Always take any non-AAMC exam score with a grain of salt, those are much harder than the real thing. I think it would be wise to make your next full length AAMC FL1, and then assess where you're at.
 
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KnightDoc

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Hi All,

I started studying for the MCAT around mid-May, with a plan to self study and take the MCAT in January. I am taking full credits this semester, including Biochemistry and Physics. I focused on content review this summer, starting with a 492 NS diagnostic. Early September I took my first FL (TPR=494) and was really discouraged. My weakest section was chem/phys and CARS despite working on CARS daily with Jack westin. I'm in the process of finishing the Physics and Biochem Kaplan books, and starting UWORLD. Do you think I'm on the right track, or should consider taking a course since I am taking Biochem and Physics rn. I know people study for far less time and do well, but I could use any advice or encouragement. I take my next FL at the beginning of october. Goal score 513, minimum 506.
My advice would be to give yourself a break. It will MUCH easier to study once you have had exposure to all of the subjects, so just stop until AFTER you have taken biochem and physics. You don't NEED to take the test in January. You can take it anytime between then and May and still be early/on-time for the next cycle. Forget those third party diagnostic scores. They are artificially deflated in order to scare you into buying a course. Good luck!!
 
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Do you think I'm on the right track, or should consider taking a course since I am taking Biochem and Physics rn.

Use your MCAT review books along with your class materials. Your classes tend to go more in-depth than the MCAT, but you can knock out content review for those subjects that way. You could do a few UW passages a day until January. N/S C/P is more complicated than what you would see on AAMC, but It's good practice.
 
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Always take any non-AAMC exam score with a grain of salt, those are much harder than the real thing. I think it would be wise to make your next full length AAMC FL1, and then assess where you're at.
I don’t think this is sound advice. All FLs will be off but a 494 on NS (which historically do depress scores but not to this degree) is a very bad sign. In comparison when I was foolishly attempting to study last summer without biochem or orgo 2, a 504 on NS1 was what it took for me to press on the brakes. Wasting an AAMC full length after a 494 isn’t a good idea imho.

How critical is taking this exam in January? Do you have school in the spring? My suggestion is to wait until the next summer and try again. A 494 is indicative of immense gaps in content that would be impossible to cover during a full credit semester.

EDIT: Jut realized that your practice scores are all a bit old. Take an NS or Altius FL and give us an updated score. Otherwise it’s impossible to say.
 
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May 25, 2020
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Thank you all for advice. There is no rush to take in January, but I was hopeful that in addition to everything I’m doing now (finishing physics and biochem content books, UWORLD, and Jack westin), that an additional 1.5 months of just mcat studying and aamc material would be enough to get me to where I need to be. Worst case, the march plan may be best. I really appreciate the thought out responses.
 
May 30, 2020
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To be honest I started of with 497 diagnostic in Gold Standard FL and scored a 510 on my first practice AAMC FL1 exam a week later. So, I am a bit hesitant about third party exams. I suggest using them as practice and to determine gaps in knowledge rather than a score indicator. And use the AAMC FLs to gauge where you stand in terms of the actual mcat score and structure your studying that way. I will be taking my AAMC FL2 next week to determine where I stand and it has been three weeks since I took AAMC FL1. So wish me luck!
 

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Improving your C/P score is the easiest of the four to improve. That section is unique in that you need a working knowledge of the concepts rather than a factual knowledge. Learning how to think your way through questions is what matters. Your content review should occur through exposure to material while you are doing passages and questions, rather than through reading and reviewing content. Learning to look at questions with the right perspective will raise your C/P score several points. Memorizing material via flashcards and watching hours of videos may not help your score at all.

Improving CARS score is all about active reading and analysis. So many students waste time practicing outlining and formatting techniques when MCAT questions rarely reward such things. When you reach a point where you can predict what questions they can ask as you are reading through a passage, then you will see your score improve.

Improving your B/B score is best done by learning to recognize fundamental concepts in research papers and articles. You have to look at experimental data in most passages, and the better you get at extracting information from a graph or table and relating it to a concept you have studied, the better you will do.

Improving your P/S score is about knowing a large amount of terms and theories in those fields. Be able to apply the material you learn in sociology to current events. Be able to explain the nuances of psychology experiments and theories.

If you can do all of the above, you will see your score go up. Not to rain on anyone's parade here, but the majority of people studying for the MCAT fail to do most of the above and instead try to read and memorize volumes of material through videos and flashcards, They end up only doing about 3000 practice questions (counting FLs), which is far short of what they should have done. The only way to get ready for the MCAT is to practice what they reward you for on the NCAT: quick, logical reasoning on multiple choice questions.
 
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Oct 21, 2019
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Improving your C/P score is the easiest of the four to improve. That section is unique in that you need a working knowledge of the concepts rather than a factual knowledge. Learning how to think your way through questions is what matters. Your content review should occur through exposure to material while you are doing passages and questions, rather than through reading and reviewing content. Learning to look at questions with the right perspective will raise your C/P score several points. Memorizing material via flashcards and watching hours of videos may not help your score at all.

Improving CARS score is all about active reading and analysis. So many students waste time practicing outlining and formatting techniques when MCAT questions rarely reward such things. When you reach a point where you can predict what questions they can ask as you are reading through a passage, then you will see your score improve.

Improving your B/B score is best done by learning to recognize fundamental concepts in research papers and articles. You have to look at experimental data in most passages, and the better you get at extracting information from a graph or table and relating it to a concept you have studied, the better you will do.

Improving your P/S score is about knowing a large amount of terms and theories in those fields. Be able to apply the material you learn in sociology to current events. Be able to explain the nuances of psychology experiments and theories.

If you can do all of the above, you will see your score go up. Not to rain on anyone's parade here, but the majority of people studying for the MCAT fail to do most of the above and instead try to read and memorize volumes of material through videos and flashcards, They end up only doing about 3000 practice questions (counting FLs), which is far short of what they should have done. The only way to get ready for the MCAT is to practice what they reward you for on the NCAT: quick, logical reasoning on multiple choice questions.
Screenshotted this for motivation thanks :)
 
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