hospitaldoctor1

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I have heard from friends who have already taken the MCAT that the real MCAT is harder than the practice AAMC tests... is this true?
I hear that the real MCAT requires a lot more thinking, reasoning than the practice AAMCs.... and that the real MCAT is a lot more intricate and convoluted... they ask things in different/complex ways
is this true?
thoughts?
 

Marjan Islam

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Well, it's weird man. The real test is very similar to AAMCs, but at the same time, it'll throw weird things at you. For example, for my most recent MCAT, the PS section was JUST like AAMC while the 3/28 test I took, the PS was more like Kaplan or something. It varies, and it seems like the real test usually has one killer section, one medium, and one easy, while the AAMC is more even all around. Just my thoughts anyway! Also, I have a feeling that when we usually say a section was killer, a lot of that has to do with the fact that it was TEST DAY and we were fighting our nerves.
 

LostInStudy

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I have heard from friends who have already taken the MCAT that the real MCAT is harder than the practice AAMC tests... is this true?
I hear that the real MCAT requires a lot more thinking, reasoning than the practice AAMCs.... and that the real MCAT is a lot more intricate and convoluted... they ask things in different/complex ways
is this true?
thoughts?
In short yes. I haven't taken the MCAT but you can find a bunch of opinions if you just scroll down the MCAT discussions page (or basically the page you used to get here) and look at the threads of MCAT dates that have already happen and look at the posts around the date of that MCAT. So for example, if you're looking for the opinions of the June 18th people, find the thread, it should be near the top, and then flip to the pages around June 17th and start reading from there.

Just use the search function to look up all the threads for all the dates this year. If you don't feel like reading all of them read the May 2nd one, where plenty of people did very well, or the June 18th one, where they haven't gotten their scores yet but has been accepted as probably the worst date to have taken it this year according to their opinions.

Remember search or scroll around first.

Hope this helps,

-LIS

EDIT: The general opinions in the forums is that the scale is adjusted somewhat for difficulty and that you score around your AAMC practice exam averages. We'll see how the June 18th guys hold up against averages, which I think they'll be just fine because your score is based on percentile rank and not how many you actually missed.
 
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244869

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Keep in mind that the aamc practice tests are real mcat exams from years past so they resemble the real thing but they are slightly easier. The easiest way to explain the difference would be to compare it to evolution. The real thing just feels more advanced. They feel like they are 1 or 2 steps ahead of the practice aamc's.

EDIT: oh snap...100th post :)
 

Zoom-Zoom

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Mine were similar in the sciences but the verbal was much, much longer on the real one. Like one or two extra paragraphs per passage.
 

LostInStudy

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Depends on the test you get. Some are on par with practice and some are harder than the real thing. Rarely easier though or so I've heard.

-LIS
 

stockraider

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my experience with taking this exam and now teaching for it is simply that the real mcat is harder in the bio area but about the same in the verbal area...that's the majority opinion from all my students and my own experiences. the bio area however...is a bit harder than the practice aamc's...more like Princeton review or kaplan exams.
 

RogueUnicorn

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Keep in mind that the aamc practice tests are real mcat exams from years past so they resemble the real thing but they are slightly easier. The easiest way to explain the difference would be to compare it to evolution. The real thing just feels more advanced. They feel like they are 1 or 2 steps ahead of the practice aamc's.

EDIT: oh snap...100th post :)
this is not exactly true. by my understanding of it the aamc practice tests are not necessarily entire mcat tests. while all the passages and questions are in fact from real mcats, they mixed and matched. but i could be wrong.

re: AAMC PT vs MCAT, it's my personal experience that the real thing was MUCH different than the practice tests. I did, however, score pretty much the same. Once you start scoring consistently on the practice tests, your real composite score should not vary by more than 2, unless you have a freakout.
 

bearforce

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Sometimes people say the real thing is harder, but in reality the difficulities are similar. The difference is that the real thing matters much much more. people get nervy and disracted where as the practise tests you know it can be retaken and you can always pause. There is no pause on the real thing....Perception and Reality are two different things.
 

RogueUnicorn

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Sometimes people say the real thing is harder, but in reality the difficulities are similar. The difference is that the real thing matters much much more. people get nervy and disracted where as the practise tests you know it can be retaken and you can always pause. There is no pause on the real thing....Perception and Reality are two different things.
i'm dead certain the real thing's PS section was more difficult than any of the practice ones for my particular administration. different question focuses altogether, and i don't think it was nerves as i was very calm... but then again one can never be sure
 

244869

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this is not exactly true. by my understanding of it the aamc practice tests are not necessarily entire mcat tests. while all the passages and questions are in fact from real mcats, they mixed and matched. but i could be wrong.
They are indeed actual previous exams.

quote from aamc practice test faq: "In fact, they are actually retired forms of the test that were previously administered in "live" MCAT administrations."
 

RogueUnicorn

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They are indeed actual previous exams.

quote from aamc practice test faq: "In fact, they are actually retired forms of the test that were previously administered in "live" MCAT administrations."
that can be interpreted in a couple of ways... either way we're arguing more or less moot point, i think the consensus is that they are as close as they get to the real thing.
 

drdave2be

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ugh, MCAT:p Ok, sadly I've taken this test 3 times (waiting for my June 18, 2009 score)... this test is designed to test your critical thinking skills. Just when you think you have all the information down, something else unexpected sneaks up to get you. For example, here's how my 3 MCAT administrations went... (note: I graduated college in '03 - most classes were 8 years old by that point)...

1st: I had no business taking this test. Took a Kaplan review course while working full time and taking orgo III. Duh! Stupid, stupid plan. Test was ??? compared to AAMC tests.

2nd: After I got my 1st scores back :eek:, I committed my efforts to studying for 6 months to get a better score. I spent 3-6 hours per day and took the test with confidence. I took a few AAMC tests (they are $$$), and after the real thing, I was thinking, sweet, I rocked that test! It was exactly like an AAMC test. My score improved by 1 point :scared::scared::scared: W....T....F?!?!?!?

3rd: omg, I must be crazy at this point:laugh: - 4 months of no job, 8-12 hours per day, 75 timed practice VR tests, all EK 1001 q's (twice), all AAMC tests... this time I was finally ready. I finished the test. It was insanely difficult! The PS was a mix of straight forward and convoluted passages. The VR was like AAMC, with longer question stems. BS was insane. Long, convoluted passages, and 3 orgo passages!

The point is this... just when you think you have this test nailed, something will come up. Whether it is a convoluted passage, a long passage, a passage that covers material you are weak on, a panic attack during the test, the guy next to you muttering under his breath is driving you crazy, it's the easiest test you ever took, but the curve was crazy hard, etc, etc, etc. - it will happen. The best thing you can do is practice, practice, practice under TIMED conditions, and master everything. If you feel like this is too much for you right now, you are NOT READY - trust me! At the very least, take ALL of the practice AAMC tests and make sure your average score is in your desired range!

Sorry for the long post, but I sure hope this saves some lives out there!

PS - life after the MCAT is SWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET :love:
 

ShinyDome19

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Im right there with DrDave2be. Believe it or not I have taken the MCATs actually 4 times now, but only REALLY took it 3 times, and each time there was always something that threw me off.

1st time - 2006 first CBT - Heard they changed the exam to computer based and alot of people were bitching about it...So, I decided to take it and see what all the commotion was about. Didnt study and got a VR-5, PS-8, BS-6.

2nd time - 2007 CBT - Studied for it for about 8 months while finishing up graduate school. I knew physics back and forth using both the EK and Kaplan book. Also knew biology back and forth as well also used both EK and Kaplan books and was also my graduate degree. Verbal I had used EK's 101 passages and the Kraplan technique. Scored a VR-6, PS-11,BS-8. VR passages on the exam were horrific and I ran out of time leaving several paragraphs blank. This had never happened to me on any of the timed practice exams. It destroyed my confidence during the exam and I think thats why I scored only an 8 on BS (I generally score around 11-12 on practice exams). Got two interviews off this score, but no acceptances. Both schools suggested I retake the exam for a higher VR score.

3rd time - 3/28/2008 - Studied another 8 months and changed my verbal strategy. But, 2 days before the exam I got a sinus infection and had to take the exam sick. Took it and scored it, though I knew I shouldnt have. Score dropped significantly VR-4, PS-10, BS-7. This time I got frazzled in the PS section. The section had a lot more math than I was used to seeing on practice exams, which ate up alot of my time. I was able to finish, but was extremely rushed and knew I made ton of math errors because of it. VR I had a hard time keeping my concentration from the head cold already, but I also had the feeling of bombing the PS section so it all piled up on me...After like the 3rd passage, I just guessed on the remainder of the section and decided to just use the exam as a practice for PS and BS.

Last and final time - 6/18/2008 - Studied another month and a half for this, just refining my VR techniques and reviewing both PS and BR. This time though, I think I did extremely well on VR, but the PS had a few very awkward passages and I ended up with 3 straight passages of O-Chem in the BS section. O-Chem is my worst of all subject. But, I was prepared to get stumped by certain passages and I was able to identify them pretty quickly when they showed up. Just skip'd them and came back when I had time. All in all I would be upset if I didnt get atleast a 29 on this exam...

So, like DrDave2Be said, theres always something that gets thrown in the mix to make it difficult. The only thing you can do to really prepare for the actual exam is to know the material in and out and try to train yourself to identify these awkward passages and problems that show up, so that you can minimize the damage they do and the time they eat up which you could spend on much easier problems. Unfortunately, learning the material is the easy part. I have yet to find any practice exams that actually provide good awkward passages/problems that simulate those on the actual MCAT.

Good luck to you, and Good Luck to both of us (DrDave2Be) on getting good scores this next tuesday. :xf: