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**Official August 2017 MCAT Thread**

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owlsandturtles

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I haven't seen a thread for August yet so I thought I'd start one!

How is everyone's study schedule looking?
 
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aromatic substitution

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I'll be taking the mcat august 24th. It will be my first time taking it. I'm currently using TBR for prep. I'm following the study schedule listed in TBR's physics book.
 
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vipulr

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Will start preparing after my finals on May 3rd. I'm taking August 19. Good luck, y'all
 
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owlsandturtles

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Same - My finals end May 3rd and I'm taking the August 24th MCAT, so I basically have 3.5 months to kill this test (aiming for a 520 to make up for a mid-level GPA)
 

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Just started reviewing using TBR this Tuesday. Will be researching for thesis for 10 weeks simultaneously. Fingers crossed that I can still kill this test...
 
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Taking my MCAT on August 24th. Already started studying using both the TPR and Kaplan book sets. This is how people enjoy their summers right?
 
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aromatic substitution

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@Altius Premier Tutor I have begun my study for the mcat and I wanted your opinion on when a student should begin implementing practice exams. I have the 10 altitud practice exams and the aamc material. I have my first practice exam scheduled approximately 4 weeks after my start date in which I would be halfway done with my content review. Do you think this is a good strategy or should I wait until I'm finished with my content review? What do you usually recommend for your students?
 

Altius Premier Tutor

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@Altius Premier Tutor I have begun my study for the mcat and I wanted your opinion on when a student should begin implementing practice exams. I have the 10 altitud practice exams and the aamc material. I have my first practice exam scheduled approximately 4 weeks after my start date in which I would be halfway done with my content review. Do you think this is a good strategy or should I wait until I'm finished with my content review? What do you usually recommend for your students?

That sounds about right. I would do the HLE or maybe even FLE1 first to get into "MCAT mode" and gain better perspective on how you should study. One major problem with doing all content review first is that you often figure out later that you would have studied in a different way if you had understood better how you would be tested. So, get one under your belt early, then I'd do one Altius about every month, and do the Section Bank in little segments of 1-3 passages at a time throughout the entire process. Then do AAMC Scored 1 midway to your test so you get an official idea of where you are scoring. Finally, do the AAMC Sample Test, the rest of your Altius exams, and AAMC Scored 2. Don't do AAMC2 as your very last exam. Do it about 1.5-2 weeks before the test so you have time to make adjustments.
 

aromatic substitution

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That sounds about right. I would do the HLE or maybe even FLE1 first to get into "MCAT mode" and gain better perspective on how you should study. One major problem with doing all content review first is that you often figure out later that you would have studied in a different way if you had understood better how you would be tested. So, get one under your belt early, then I'd do one Altius about every month, and do the Section Bank in little segments of 1-3 passages at a time throughout the entire process. Then do AAMC Scored 1 midway to your test so you get an official idea of where you are scoring. Finally, do the AAMC Sample Test, the rest of your Altius exams, and AAMC Scored 2. Don't do AAMC2 as your very last exam. Do it about 1.5-2 weeks before the test so you have time to make adjustments.

My study schedule is approximately 14 weeks...I'm in week 2 of my study. My first tentative exam is in week 5. I then take a practice exam every week from week 8 to finish, while taking 2 exams the week before my exam date. I'll definitely reconfigure my order of exams after your advice. Referencing your advice about the section banks, should I begin them approximately the same time as my first practice exam as my study schedule is rather condensed.
 

shnarf9892

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I'm testing on the 18th. I started my study schedule late...but I've been through this material more than once. The fun part is I have a toddler to care for this time around! Hello, nap/study time!

I even had a decent MCAT score last time I took it...but nobody accepts the old exam anymore. Sad feels. Oh well. I'm just looking forward to having it done and out of the way before I apply to med school next summer.
 
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wannabedoc08

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Hey, are you guys submitting primaries before or after the MCAT? My primary is nearly done but I don't know if I should wait until my scores come in 'cause it'll be pretty late.
 
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shnarf9892

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Hey, are you guys submitting primaries before or after the MCAT? My test date is August 19th and my primary is nearly done but I don't know if I should wait until my scores come in 'cause it'll be pretty late.
I recommend sending your primary as soon as it is finished. It takes a while to process (sometimes up to 6 weeks, if I remember correctly), so the sooner that is done, the better. Technically, your application won't be complete until your scores are in, but your schools can still look at your application once your primary has been processed. Then your scores will be sent directly to the schools you applied to.

Long story short, send it as soon as you are done with it and at least 3 people have reviewed it with you for mistakes.

I'm applying next summer, but this is pretty much my last chance to study and test before I start my masters program. How is everyone doing with the studying, by the way? I'm SUPER behind, but I have experience with the old MCAT, so I have a pretty good feel with how the test is set up and whatnot.
 

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Thanks for the advice. I'm nearly done with everything, just having my PS and Work and Experiences section revised and checked by pre-health committee.

I took my first practice exam a couple days ago and was somewhat satisfied with what I scored. Most of the questions I got wrong were content based so I'm brushing up on some subtopics before I take another. CARS was a killer though so I am planning on doing passages before and after my study sessions on the days I'm not taking a FL.
 
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Lamegane

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August 24th!! My Amcas app has been verified 2 weeks ago, I already submitted half of my secondaries !
I am pretty much done reviewing the mcat content! I will be working on taking 2 full length practice weekly starting from next Friday.
Psy/soc , physics/math, Chem/orgo/biochem are my strongest sections but kind of poor in CARS and Biology.
Any advices or tips?
 

blackroses

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August 24th!! My Amcas app has been verified 2 weeks ago, I already submitted half of my secondaries !
I am pretty much done reviewing the mcat content! I will be working on taking 2 full length practice weekly starting from next Friday.
Psy/soc , physics/math, Chem/orgo/biochem are my strongest sections but kind of poor in CARS and Biology.
Any advices or tips?
What do you feel your biggest issue(s) with CARS is? Timing? Certain question types you consistently get wrong? Trouble identifying the "point" of the passage?
 

blackroses

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For those of us who are mathematically-challenged, is anyone aware of any good (preferably online/free) resources to practice doing fast math?

I find myself understanding physics and chemistry concepts decently, and can do the math correctly when I take my time, but I struggle with timing on this section because it takes me so freaking long to do the necessary math!
 

Lamegane

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For those of us who are mathematically-challenged, is anyone aware of any good (preferably online/free) resources to practice doing fast math?

I find myself understanding physics and chemistry concepts decently, and can do the math correctly when I take my time, but I struggle with timing on this section because it takes me so freaking long to do the necessary math!
I am a math tutor myself and know short cuts but I don't have videos online. I really wanna help u. Are you having issues with powers or conversion or fractions????
 

blackroses

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I am a math tutor myself and know short cuts but I don't have videos online. I really wanna help u. Are you having issues with powers or conversion or fractions????
Honestly, as dumb as it sounds, my biggest issue is that I can't seem to wrap my head around rounding numbers so that I can do the math quickly. For example, if I have an equation that looks something like this: (46.3*.293)/(30*14), I know that I can round the numbers to make my life simpler, but by the time I round and solve, I've lost track of if my rounding has increased or decreased my answer and by roughly how much. Then by the time I go back and sort that all out, I may as well have just done it the long way without rounding because it hasn't actually saved me any time :p
 

Lamegane

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What do you feel your biggest issue(s) with CARS is? Timing? Certain question types you consistently get wrong? Trouble identifying the "point" of the passage?
Timing yes but only if the text is long. I can usually eliminate 2 answers. Now for the 2 remaining, I stumble on them and mostly choose the wrong one. The questions that ask you the definition of a quote taken out of the text is hard for me, along with structural questions and the ones that ask about the least/not mentioned/will undermine the author.../ those are ones that are hard for me.
 
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Lamegane

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Honestly, as dumb as it sounds, my biggest issue is that I can't seem to wrap my head around rounding numbers so that I can do the math quickly. For example, if I have an equation that looks something like this: (46.3*.293)/(30*14), I know that I can round the numbers to make my life simpler, but by the time I round and solve, I've lost track of if my rounding has increased or decreased my answer and by roughly how much. Then by the time I go back and sort that all out, I may as well have just done it the long way without rounding because it hasn't actually saved me any time :p
I see. You need some practice with that.
From your example, it will be (46*0.3)/420 if u get stuck with decimal, just do 46*3=138 but since it's only 1 digit after the decimal, then it will be 13.8~14 and 14/420=2*7/6*7*10=1/30=0.03
If u have Skype pm me. I will show u some trick
 

blackroses

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Timing yes but only if the text is long. I can usually eliminate 2 answers. Now for the 2 remaining, I stumble on them and mostly choose the wrong one. The questions that ask you the definition of a quote taken out of the text is hard for me, along with structural questions and the ones that ask about the least/not mentioned/will undermine the author.../ those are ones that are hard for me.
In terms of timing, I think one of the biggest contributors I've seen to people spending too much time on a passage is getting stuck on one or two sentences that don't make sense or are hard to follow. When you encounter these, just skim them and move on. Once you finish the passage and have a full picture of the passage, go back to those 1-2 sentences and read them again - once they're put in context, they tend to make a lot more sense.

For the issue with the 2 remaining questions, one of the hardest things about CARS is that they love to throw in an answer that seems absolutely fantastic - it agrees with everything the author said, seems right in line with the main point of the passage, etc. This is usually the wrong answer - the reason that it sounds so good is because it's actually taking the author's opinion too far and either applying it to a situation that the author didn't address or giving too extreme of an opinion. As humans, we love making things black and white, so when presented with a polarizing answer, we're naturally inclined to think that's correct. Unfortunately, in nearly every CARS passage you'll encounter, the author will be far from polarized, they'll sit just slightly off of center on whatever issue they're discussing. Whenever you narrow down the possible answers to two, look at those two and try to identify which one either applies to a situation not directly addressed by the author or trends towards a polarized view. For example, if you're reading a passage about the unaffordability of healthcare and the author discusses the societal harms of unaffordable healthcare, you might narrow down a question about what the author would be most likely to recommend to policymakers to two choices: 1. Develop a free healthcare system to relieve the societal burden of unaffordable healthcare, and 2. Incentivize hospitals to host free walk-in clinics on a regular basis. Of these two, the least extreme is the most likely answer, which in this case would be 2.

For the definitions, instead of trying to identify the concrete definition/meaning of a word or quote, focus on the context surrounding it - what is the author trying to achieve by using that word/sentence? This will usually provide a more correct answer than trying to puzzle out the meaning of the word/sentence itself.

Finally, for questions about what would undermine an author's argument, make a quick mental note of what the overarching point of the passage was. Then, when looking through the answer choices, approach it from the direction of (sorry in advance, Trump supporters) "if I read this answer choice to Trump and then show him the article, would he call the author an idiot?". What I mean by that is, look at the answer choices for the one that, if universally true and known, someone with absolutely no background in that field would think that the author was an idiot for disagreeing with it.
 

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In terms of timing, I think one of the biggest contributors I've seen to people spending too much time on a passage is getting stuck on one or two sentences that don't make sense or are hard to follow. When you encounter these, just skim them and move on. Once you finish the passage and have a full picture of the passage, go back to those 1-2 sentences and read them again - once they're put in context, they tend to make a lot more sense.

For the issue with the 2 remaining questions, one of the hardest things about CARS is that they love to throw in an answer that seems absolutely fantastic - it agrees with everything the author said, seems right in line with the main point of the passage, etc. This is usually the wrong answer - the reason that it sounds so good is because it's actually taking the author's opinion too far and either applying it to a situation that the author didn't address or giving too extreme of an opinion. As humans, we love making things black and white, so when presented with a polarizing answer, we're naturally inclined to think that's correct. Unfortunately, in nearly every CARS passage you'll encounter, the author will be far from polarized, they'll sit just slightly off of center on whatever issue they're discussing. Whenever you narrow down the possible answers to two, look at those two and try to identify which one either applies to a situation not directly addressed by the author or trends towards a polarized view. For example, if you're reading a passage about the unaffordability of healthcare and the author discusses the societal harms of unaffordable healthcare, you might narrow down a question about what the author would be most likely to recommend to policymakers to two choices: 1. Develop a free healthcare system to relieve the societal burden of unaffordable healthcare, and 2. Incentivize hospitals to host free walk-in clinics on a regular basis. Of these two, the least extreme is the most likely answer, which in this case would be 2.

For the definitions, instead of trying to identify the concrete definition/meaning of a word or quote, focus on the context surrounding it - what is the author trying to achieve by using that word/sentence? This will usually provide a more correct answer than trying to puzzle out the meaning of the word/sentence itself.

Finally, for questions about what would undermine an author's argument, make a quick mental note of what the overarching point of the passage was. Then, when looking through the answer choices, approach it from the direction of (sorry in advance, Trump supporters) "if I read this answer choice to Trump and then show him the article, would he call the author an idiot?". What I mean by that is, look at the answer choices for the one that, if universally true and known, someone with absolutely no background in that field would think that the author was an idiot for disagreeing with it.
Ok I will try my best. Speaking 4 languages and trying to read CARS and processing at the same time is a hustle for me. That's way I am ok with physics/math/Chm .. no huge wording
 

blackroses

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Ok I will try my best. Speaking 4 languages and trying to read CARS and processing at the same time is a hustle for me. That's way I am ok with physics/math/Chm .. no huge wording
That would definitely be a challenge!

Honestly, if you can afford it, I would recommend purchasing a copy of the ExamKrackers CARS 101 book. They have a significant focus on the exact type of questions that you're struggling with. It's definitely a blow to the ego to work through those passages, but it will give you a ton of practice with those question types you struggle with.
 

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That would definitely be a challenge!

Honestly, if you can afford it, I would recommend purchasing a copy of the ExamKrackers CARS 101 book. They have a significant focus on the exact type of questions that you're struggling with. It's definitely a blow to the ego to work through those passages, but it will give you a ton of practice with those question types you struggle with.
I have EK 101 old & new. I did did not get a chance to work through the new edition, I have for Kaplan which was totally confusing and decided not to look at it at all. However the Princeton Review cars are helping me a lot.
 

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CARS is one of those sections where you just have to practice, practice, practice. You'll start to see your pitfall tendencies and be able to avoid them once you know what they are. It is one of the hardest sections to raise your score IMO, because you have to change the way you think rather than learn more or do problems faster. Definitely do timed passages. On test day, you'll have about 10 minutes per passage to read and answer the associated questions, so do your practice passages in 9 minutes. Go over each question afterwards and really assess why you got each one right/wrong so you can identify those pitfalls I talked about earlier. Did you make assumptions? Did you use your own knowledge on the subject rather than the information presented in the passage? Did you read the damn question wrong? I hate it when that happens, by the way. I like to call stupid mistakes like going too fast or misreading the question "******* attacks". That way, I can at least laugh at myself a bit as I'm reviewing.

Damn ******* attacks...:dead:
 

mariposas905

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Hey, are you guys submitting primaries before or after the MCAT? My test date is August 19th and my primary is nearly done but I don't know if I should wait until my scores come in 'cause it'll be pretty late.

August 24th!! My Amcas app has been verified 2 weeks ago, I already submitted half of my secondaries !
I am pretty much done reviewing the mcat content! I will be working on taking 2 full length practice weekly starting from next Friday.
Psy/soc , physics/math, Chem/orgo/biochem are my strongest sections but kind of poor in CARS and Biology.
Any advices or tips?

Are you guys aiming for MD schools? wondering how big a factor the lateness will be :unsure:
 

Lamegane

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Are you guys aiming for MD schools? wondering how big a factor the lateness will be :unsure:
Yes. Each medical schools has its own deadline. It varies between October 15th 2017 and January 10th 2018 for this cycle. But if you are an ED applicant you should submit your application to the AMCAS by August 1st 2017.
Also, note that it takes between 4 to 6 weeks for the AMCAS to process your application and send it to the Medical Schools of interest.
 
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hello880

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Hi guys,

Im sorry I'm posting this here.
My MCAT examination is on August 11th and I'm pretty worried.
I've done a couple of Princeton and Kaplan Fl's with an average of 501-503, as well as the section banks with an average of 70%-75% and the Official guide questions with 23/24/23/21.
Yesterday I completed the AAMC unscored FL and got 75%/66%/81%/75%.
Do you guys think that i might have a chance of scoring somewhere between 512-515 ?
Im so stressed and any help would be appreciated.

Thank you!
 

nemourspremed

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Hey guys, is it just me or does the new MCAT have a LOT of orgo on it. I thought the emphasis of the new MCAT was going to shift towards more Biology and Biochemistry but I'm seeing organic chemistry questions pop up everywhere on Next Step and TPR FL exams. Is it just the exams I'm using, or do the AAMC FL/real MCAT also have this much orgo? I was neglecting studying for Orgo because I figured other subjects were a lot more high yield and I don't have time to get into all the content. and now I'm fully freaking out
 

the Mannis

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Hey guys, is it just me or does the new MCAT have a LOT of orgo on it. I thought the emphasis of the new MCAT was going to shift towards more Biology and Biochemistry but I'm seeing organic chemistry questions pop up everywhere on Next Step and TPR FL exams. Is it just the exams I'm using, or do the AAMC FL/real MCAT also have this much orgo? I was neglecting studying for Orgo because I figured other subjects were a lot more high yield and I don't have time to get into all the content. and now I'm fully freaking out
part of the problem might be that biochem is a significant portion of the test, and the line between orgo and biochem can be very blurry.
 

Icantplayspades

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Taking August 19th and I'm not completely freaking out but I'm not calm either- anyone else anxious?
 

AVSS HDS CSM

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Hi guys,

Im sorry I'm posting this here.
My MCAT examination is on August 11th and I'm pretty worried.
I've done a couple of Princeton and Kaplan Fl's with an average of 501-503, as well as the section banks with an average of 70%-75% and the Official guide questions with 23/24/23/21.
Yesterday I completed the AAMC unscored FL and got 75%/66%/81%/75%.
Do you guys think that i might have a chance of scoring somewhere between 512-515 ?
Im so stressed and any help would be appreciated.

Thank you!
I'm writing mine on the 11th as well..... I've heard tell that the PR and Kaplan FL tests are more difficult than the real thing, and that's been my feeling as well when I tried them. People have even seen a difference of 10 points or more! So while nothing is guaranteed, don't lose heart at the PR and Kaplan scores, just keep on prepping! That being said, I'd say try the AAMC FLs, there are two, not that expensive, and they are scored.
 
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ead1993

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Did anyone take it on August 3rd slash feel like literally everything was harder than the sections banks other than bio? Also anyone feel like the CARS section was the ****ing worst?
 
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blackroses

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Did anyone take it on August 3rd slash feel like literally everything was harder than the sections banks other than bio? Also anyone feel like the CARS section was the ****ing worst?
You're making me feel better that I decided to push my date back to the 18th since I originally scheduled for the 3rd!
 
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shnarf9892

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Yeah, I'm freaking out a little bit also. This date really crept up on me, and I find myself in the "I am waaaay behind on my studying" category. I can reason through things just fine, and deductive inference is one of my strong points, but that doesn't count for much if I didn't make it through all of the material in the first place, though. Gotta know the background info in order to work through the problems.

*Insert expletive here*
 

ead1993

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Yeah, I'm freaking out a little bit also. This date really crept up on me, and I find myself in the "I am waaaay behind on my studying" category. I can reason through things just fine, and deductive inference is one of my strong points, but that doesn't count for much if I didn't make it through all of the material in the first place, though. Gotta know the background info in order to work through the problems.

*Insert expletive here*
yeah memorizing doesn't help so much. Other than the psych/soc. section. Understanding of concepts is more important and being able to interpret passages is way more important than anything. do the section banks
 

blackroses

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Yeah, I'm freaking out a little bit also. This date really crept up on me, and I find myself in the "I am waaaay behind on my studying" category. I can reason through things just fine, and deductive inference is one of my strong points, but that doesn't count for much if I didn't make it through all of the material in the first place, though. Gotta know the background info in order to work through the problems.

*Insert expletive here*
I think it's normal to feel that way. At least I hope so, because I just hit the same panic mode :p
 
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AVSS HDS CSM

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Well, I just finished writing mine today, glad to have gotten that over with!

Based on how I felt and did on practice exams, I came out feeling like I scored 516 or so. I felt that phys/org was harder than on practice, and the rest was similar difficulty to AAMC practice exams.

Just for comparison, in case it might be helpful for anyone of you, my stats for practice are:

AAMC sample test (percentage score) July 6:
63%|87%|86%|81%

AAMC practice exam 1 (ranked score) July 19:
127|129|132|127 = 515

TPR demo test (free) (~ranked score~) July 27:
124|127|126|129 = 506

AAMC practice exam 2 (ranked score) August 9:
129|130|131|129 = 519

And now the real thing...... if it's 515 or above I'll be happy.

Good luck to all of us!
 
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MedSmithie

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Has anyone else gone through the Section Banks? I've been kind of discouraged by them- they feel way more difficult than any other practice material, and I've read that the MCAT is moving towards being more like the SB.
My MCAT is less than 2 weeks away and the SB has me worried that I'm not nearly prepared enough in regards to content, but I don't think that's something I can make up for in a week. Meanwhile, I did well on FL1, so I'm a little confused.

Can I still count on my FLs to be good predictors of my score? Or are they less reliable now that the MCAT has changed?
 

Lamegane

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Has anyone else gone through the Section Banks? I've been kind of discouraged by them- they feel way more difficult than any other practice material, and I've read that the MCAT is moving towards being more like the SB.
My MCAT is less than 2 weeks away and the SB has me worried that I'm not nearly prepared enough in regards to content, but I don't think that's something I can make up for in a week. Meanwhile, I did well on FL1, so I'm a little confused.

Can I still count on my FLs to be good predictors of my score? Or are they less reliable now that the MCAT has changed?
Do the practice 1 & 2 (scored) that will give you a good estimate. The SB for psy/soc was challenging to me because I came across so many words that I didn't previously know.
 
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