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Hi all,

Forgive me if this thread has been posted a million times, but I am having trouble trying to understand my raw percentage accuracy on the AAMC released Full-Length 2015 MCAT. Scores are as follows:

Chem/Phys: 81%
CARS: 89%
Bio: 88%
Psych/Soc: 81%

Anyone know where I can get a rough estimate for where this puts me on the 472-528 scale? Also, I heard rumors that the practice one was much easier than what the real thing will be like. For those who already took the 2015 exam, is this true? Thanks in advance.
 

ready2go2

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hayden29

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Hi all,

Forgive me if this thread has been posted a million times, but I am having trouble trying to understand my raw percentage accuracy on the AAMC released Full-Length 2015 MCAT. Scores are as follows:

Chem/Phys: 81%
CARS: 89%
Bio: 88%
Psych/Soc: 81%

Anyone know where I can get a rough estimate for where this puts me on the 472-528 scale? Also, I heard rumors that the practice one was much easier than what the real thing will be like. For those who already took the 2015 exam, is this true? Thanks in advance.
I have not taken the new MCAT but I did sit for the 2014 and have taken the sample AAMC. IMO the current sample FL is one of the easiest tests that AAMC has made available.
 
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If you browse around this forum a bit, you will find that people who scored similarly to you on AAMC's FL scored well (or very well) on the real deal.
 

BerkReviewTeach

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I have not taken the new MCAT but I did sit for the 2014 and have taken the sample AAMC. IMO the current sample FL is one of the easiest tests that AAMC has made available.
This has been a very common opinion amongst our students as well. Anyone who studied for the MCAT in the past and then took the new AAMC practice exam was surprised by, and to some extent uncertain with, the ease of the practice MCAT. There was an air of skepticism that it could be as straightforward as it was on most questions.

In general, it has more straight recall than previously released MCAT exams (for the old style test), which I believe is what gives it a sense of simplicity. You don't have to critically think on as many questions as previous practice exams.

The post-MCAT feedback from students has been that "you just had to really know your stuff", which seems to be in cahoots with the practice exam. Most people felt that doing the AAMC exam was essential in preparing for the MCAT.
 
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GrapesofRath

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This has been a very common opinion amongst our students as well. Anyone who studied for the MCAT in the past and then took the new AAMC practice exam was surprised by, and to some extent uncertain with, the ease of the practice MCAT. There was an air of skepticism that it could be as straightforward as it was on most questions.

In general, it has more straight recall than previously released MCAT exams (for the old style test), which I believe is what gives it a sense of simplicity. You don't have to critically think on as many questions as previous practice exams.

The post-MCAT feedback from students has been that "you just had to really know your stuff", which seems to be in cahoots with the practice exam. Most people felt that doing the AAMC exam was essential in preparing for the MCAT.
I find this interesting as this kind of goes with my suspicion from many I've talked to for all this talk about the new MCAT being "more thinking based" and more about "Analysis and critical reasoning abilities" that it might be a bit more straightforward than some are led on to believe to an extent(the important disclaimer here is I have not taken the new one I'm baseing this what I've read and been told extensively). This is certainly a test with more info to study but I do wonder if the AAMC has compromised a little bit with the questions being a bit more straight forward.

Psych/Soc involves tons of questions involving terminology. Physical sciences is still a section that can be "learnable" to a fair extent with lots of practice like the old MCAT. The Biochem/bio section has lots of experimental analysis on research papers, but if you are familiar with basic research techniques and terminology, that helps a ton. And with this emphasis on biochem that means there will also be some"chemistry" type questions such as hydrophobic interactions etc. These chemistry type questions when requiring only pre-req knowledge are more learnable(there are only so many ways you can ask about favorable interaction of amino acids etc). I've also heard there are definitely memorization based questions that ask about basic biochem things and Amino acids. As for CARs, well its still very similar to verbal but I have read a good bit about how the questions tend to be a tadbit more straight forward now and how with more time to answer for each question than the old exam that also helps as well. And while I think this being a longer test is not ideal, you do have more time to answer

This isn't to say the new MCAT is easier than the old MCAT. But it certainly tests different skills and for all the talk about the AAMC turning this into more of a "reading comprehension test" and all about "reasoning and analysis" it might be possible this test might be a bit more striaghtforward in the sense of really knowing your stuff and knowing your knowledge translates more directly on this test. I don't know, this is all speculation from what I've heard from many people but I do find it interesting. I certainly think those with a solid research background are at an advantage for this test. It'll be interesting to see as we get more feedback on this test what people think of it. I think the general consensus is that the AAMC practice test is very helpful and I know data compiled on this site seems to show there is a solid correlation between practice test scores and scores on the real thing.
 
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BerkReviewTeach

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Really, really well written post GoR. I think you are 100% right on the mark. Let's just say we (BR) held back on developing new printed materials (possibly to our detriment in terms of a business move) so we could get as much feedback as possible (including SDN posts). We started our company in 1991, just as the MCAT underwent its last huge change, so we witnessed firsthand how long it actually takes to change the MCAT. There is the pre-change planning stages followed by the slow evolution into what they actually want. I'm sure AAMC is taking in all of their feedback and adapting as they see necessary. We are a bit tentative that what they first released (this year's MCAT) will not be their final product. For the time being, the test appears to have the demands and expectations you mentioned. I believe it will become more of a thinking exam as the next two years go by, but for now it appears to emphasize more recall than as advertised. For us, modifying our classroom course and practice exams can be (and has been) done rather quickly. It's easy to add things to a syllabus when you're independent and small. But books will be a moving target for the next three years.
 

Caffein3

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I find this interesting as this kind of goes with my suspicion from many I've talked to for all this talk about the new MCAT being "more thinking based" and more about "Analysis and critical reasoning abilities" that it might be a bit more straightforward than some are led on to believe to an extent(the important disclaimer here is I have not taken the new one I'm baseing this what I've read and been told extensively). This is certainly a test with more info to study but I do wonder if the AAMC has compromised a little bit with the questions being a bit more straight forward.

Psych/Soc involves tons of questions involving terminology. Physical sciences is still a section that can be "learnable" to a fair extent with lots of practice like the old MCAT. The Biochem/bio section has lots of experimental analysis on research papers, but if you are familiar with basic research techniques and terminology, that helps a ton. And with this emphasis on biochem that means there will also be some"chemistry" type questions such as hydrophobic interactions etc. These chemistry type questions when requiring only pre-req knowledge are more learnable(there are only so many ways you can ask about favorable interaction of amino acids etc). I've also heard there are definitely memorization based questions that ask about basic biochem things and Amino acids. As for CARs, well its still very similar to verbal but I have read a good bit about how the questions tend to be a tadbit more straight forward now and how with more time to answer for each question than the old exam that also helps as well. And while I think this being a longer test is not ideal, you do have more time to answer

This isn't to say the new MCAT is easier than the old MCAT. But it certainly tests different skills and for all the talk about the AAMC turning this into more of a "reading comprehension test" and all about "reasoning and analysis" it might be possible this test might be a bit more striaghtforward in the sense of really knowing your stuff and knowing your knowledge translates more directly on this test. I don't know, this is all speculation from what I've heard from many people but I do find it interesting. I certainly think those with a solid research background are at an advantage for this test. It'll be interesting to see as we get more feedback on this test what people think of it. I think the general consensus is that the AAMC practice test is very helpful and I know data compiled on this site seems to show there is a solid correlation between practice test scores and scores on the real thing.
Very interesting. I respectfully disagree. I have taken the new MCAT and a few "old" MCAT practice tests as well and did considerably better on the old practice tests. I do not consider myself to be lacking in any pre-req or upper division knowledge, and I work in a biochemistry research lab so I figured that would be most helpful for the new test. I felt the old exams (at least the ones I took!!) were much more content and "knowledge retrieval" based, while the new MCAT was very much based on presenting you with new information from a research article and having to analyze it critically and apply what you know.

I'm sure the argument can be made for either side though. Perhaps the version of the new MCAT I took was much more analysis based than other versions administered, maybe the old practice tests I took was more strangely more content based. It's hard to tell without being able to directly discuss what we have all been tested on. But the test I took in June was like an extended CARS section for the entire test through all sections. I found the sample AAMC 2015 MCAT test to be ridiculously straight forward and easy though...my real test was certainly harder.
 
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GrapesofRath

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Really, really well written post GoR. I think you are 100% right on the mark. Let's just say we (BR) held back on developing new printed materials (possibly to our detriment in terms of a business move) so we could get as much feedback as possible (including SDN posts). We started our company in 1991, just as the MCAT underwent its last huge change, so we witnessed firsthand how long it actually takes to change the MCAT. There is the pre-change planning stages followed by the slow evolution into what they actually want. I'm sure AAMC is taking in all of their feedback and adapting as they see necessary. We are a bit tentative that what they first released (this year's MCAT) will not be their final product. For the time being, the test appears to have the demands and expectations you mentioned. I believe it will become more of a thinking exam as the next two years go by, but for now it appears to emphasize more recall than as advertised. For us, modifying our classroom course and practice exams can be (and has been) done rather quickly. It's easy to add things to a syllabus when you're independent and small. But books will be a moving target for the next three years.
I think the first few tests next year will say alot about the direction of the MCAT. I think CARs and Physical Sciences will continue to be what they are as now. What I'm interested to see is how the psych/soc sections might change and if they go away from this format of focusing so much on terminology and if it almost starts to become like another CARs section like people were thinking it might.

I think the AAMC has clearly tried to change the bio section. The thing is the movement to make it more about reading comprehension started a while back. Now there seems to be a particular emphasis on integrating research papers. I think this in particular is something that really benefits those with strong research backgrounds as the MCAT is literally taking excerpts from papers and asking relatively basic questions about them. It was one thing to test scientific understanding through passages like the old MCAT did but by doing this now with directly cutting and copying research papers for so many passages those who have experience in research really can be familiar with this type of material they test. In some ways, the best way to perhaps "learn" for this new MCAT is to be very fluent in research and have extensive experience with it.

I am definitely very interested to see the new AAMC practice test that is released in the fall and how it compares to what was released last year. IMO that will be very telling. I'm not convinced the MCAT will necessarily change as much as we think in coming years. Remember the old MCAT took a long time to change. The MCAT from even 2003 was FAR different and tested far different skill sets from those in 2013.
 
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GrapesofRath

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Very interesting. I respectfully disagree. I have taken the new MCAT and a few "old" MCAT practice tests as well and did considerably better on the old practice tests. I do not consider myself to be lacking in any pre-req or upper division knowledge, and I work in a biochemistry research lab so I figured that would be most helpful for the new test. I felt the old exams (at least the ones I took!!) were much more content and "knowledge retrieval" based, while the new MCAT was very much based on presenting you with new information from a research article and having to analyze it critically and apply what you know.

I'm sure the argument can be made for either side though. Perhaps the version of the new MCAT I took was much more analysis based than other versions administered, maybe the old practice tests I took was more strangely more content based. It's hard to tell without being able to directly discuss what we have all been tested on. But the test I took in June was like an extended CARS section for the entire test through all sections. I found the sample AAMC 2015 MCAT test to be ridiculously straight forward and easy though...my real test was certainly harder.
Good perspective. Couple things

1) Old MCAT practice tests even those released by the AAMC were far different than the real thing for the old test. You yourself said the practice 2015 MCAT by the AAMC was different than the one you actually took. The same thing was often true of older versions. So if you thought the sample AAMC 2015 MCAT to be straight forward just like the old practice MCATs to be very straight forward then what is that exactly saying? Maybe the MCAT didn't change as much as you thought between 2014 and 2015 since in the 2015 case the released test was far different than the real one just like people from 2014 and earlier would often complain?

2) One thing that has been apparent is that different versions of the new MCAT can be radically different. IT's not uncommon at all to hear people say how much of a focus physics or ochem was on their test only to hear others say those were barely even covered on there's.

3) The new MCAT practice test being released this fall will be particularly revealing about the direction of the MCAT and AAMC's goals. Just as the initial tests next year in January.

4) Based on the data collected on here it does seem that the practice AAMC test scores correlated fairly well with the new AAMC scores. How did yours correlate? The same thing was often true of the old MCAT. Yes, people would complain how much harder the real deal was but there was a fairly decent track record of many people's actual scores not fluctuating by 2(at most 3 points) from their practice test averages. The reason it sometimes seemed not to be the case was those who did far worse on the real deal were often the ones who complained the most loudly and made their voice heard the most.

5) I will say I do think the extended time per question on this new exam helps people for all the bitching about the exam being longer.
 

Caffein3

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Good perspective. Couple things

1) Old MCAT practice tests even those released by the AAMC were far different than the real thing for the old test. You yourself said the practice 2015 MCAT by the AAMC was different than the one you actually took. The same thing was often true of older versions. So if you thought the sample AAMC 2015 MCAT to be straight forward just like the old practice MCATs to be very straight forward then what is that exactly saying? Maybe the MCAT didn't change as much as you thought between 2014 and 2015 since in the 2015 case the released test was far different than the real one just like people from 2014 and earlier would often complain?

2) One thing that has been apparent is that different versions of the new MCAT can be radically different. IT's not uncommon at all to hear people say how much of a focus physics or ochem was on their test only to hear others say those were barely even covered on there's.

3) The new MCAT practice test being released this fall will be particularly revealing about the direction of the MCAT and AAMC's goals. Just as the initial tests next year in January.

4) Based on the data collected on here it does seem that the practice AAMC test scores correlated fairly well with the new AAMC scores. How did yours correlate? The same thing was often true of the old MCAT. Yes, people would complain how much harder the real deal was but there was a fairly decent track record of many people's actual scores not fluctuating by 2(at most 3 points) from their practice test averages.

5) I will say I do think the extended time per question on this new exam helps people for all the bitching about the exam being longer.
I agree with all your points. Were you ever on a debate team? haha

4) On the FL AAMC testI scored low 80% correct on all sections, CARS was my highest on the practice test with 87%. Using a makeshift online score converter, I was projected to get around 513-516 range. I ended up getting a 507. Can't say nerves played a role it in either; I had taken plenty of FLs and test day just felt like "another day", I was confident during the exam. IMO the CARS on the practice test was the most radically different section than mine, it was my lowest scoring section of the new test. My breakdown was 128/125/127/127. Not bad! But not expected.
 

GrapesofRath

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I agree with all your points. Were you ever on a debate team? haha

4) On the FL AAMC testI scored low 80% correct on all sections, CARS was my highest on the practice test with 87%. Using a makeshift online score converter, I was projected to get around 513-516 range. I ended up getting a 507. Can't say nerves played a role it in either; I had taken plenty of FLs and test day just felt like "another day", I was confident during the exam. IMO the CARS on the practice test was the most radically different section than mine, it was my lowest scoring section of the new test. My breakdown was 128/125/127/127. Not bad! But not expected.
Well there in lies part of the problem. There is no good way to convert those AAMC practice scores. There are much more exact ways of doing this but if you use the old AAMC practice tests scoring conversion chart 80% in physical sciences and bio translated to between a 10-11 and 87% verbal was about 11. Let's also remember that you do have more time for this new MCAT so it is possible even using the old scale for the new test might inflate things(not saying this is definite just a consideration).

So basically lets say you got an 10/11/11. That is a 32 on the old scale(again this is all incredibly rough). You got equivalent of a 30(74th percentile) on the real thing. That is about within 2 points of what you got on your practice tests so I wouldn't call it rather unexpected. And yes, many people say on the real thing CARs is much harder than there practice tests(biggest thing I think is the wrong answers in the real deal are a lot less blatantly wrong than in practice tests). But a 125 is 58th percentile which translates to a 9. That's fine and while sounding low is really within 2 points of what your practice test was. All in all you could say your entire test went as expected outside of the verbal being slightly lower(which could have simply been due to bad luck and 1-2 questions).

All in all it just looks like you got a tad bit unlucky(one or two questions and maybe you get a 509/31) but everything played went similarly to what is often reported on here; you got within range of what your practice test indicated.
 

Caffein3

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Well there in lies part of the problem. There is no good way to convert those AAMC practice scores. There are much more exact ways of doing this but if you use the old AAMC practice tests scoring conversion chart 80% in physical sciences and bio translated to between a 10-11 and 87% verbal was about 11. So basically lets say you got an 10/11/11. That is a 32 on the old scale(again this is all incredibly rough). You got equivalent of a 30(74th percentile) on the real thing. That is about within 2 points of what you got on your practice tests so I wouldn't call it rather unexpected. And yes, many people say on the real thing CARs is much harder than there practice tests(biggest thing I think is the wrong answers in the real deal are a lot less blatantly wrong than in practice tests). But a 125 is 58th percentile which translates to a 9. That's fine and while sounding low is really within 2 points of what your practice test was. All in all you could say your entire test went as expected outside of the verbal being slightly lower(which could have simply been due to bad luck and 1-2 questions).

All in all it just looks like you got a tad bit unlucky(one or two questions and maybe you get a 509/31) but everything played went similarly to what is often reported on here; you got within range of what your practice test indicated.
Well thats the thing. I've done this calculation and I don't like converting new practice percent correct to "old" percent correct; but alas the numbers dont lie. I realize its within my "practice scores", and while taking the exam I just expected to be on the higher end of my ranges. Anecdotally, I have scored higher on old AAMC FLs (34-36), but once again n=1. Perhaps my brain just likes the old test better. All in all, you are right though. Still, not disappointed with my score though.

Regardless, it's hard to say which exam is harder, requires more critical thinking, etc. without taking multiple versions of each test, old and new. We can rely on self-reported information on the internet, but each individual learns a different way, reads a different way, and tests differently, so it's hard to quantify.

What was this original thread about again? :)
 

GrapesofRath

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Well thats the thing. I've done this calculation and I don't like converting new practice percent correct to "old" percent correct; but alas the numbers dont lie. I realize its within my "practice scores", and while taking the exam I just expected to be on the higher end of my ranges. Anecdotally, I have scored higher on old AAMC FLs (34-36), but once again n=1. Perhaps my brain just likes the old test better. All in all, you are right though. Still, not disappointed with my score though.

Regardless, it's hard to say which exam is harder, requires more critical thinking, etc. without taking multiple versions of each test, old and new. We can rely on self-reported information on the internet, but each individual learns a different way, reads a different way, and tests differently, so it's hard to quantify.

What was this original thread about again? :)
At the end of the day there is just also an element of luck to this whole thing. A person who gets a 30 is just as capable of getting a 31 and even a 32. That's part of why re-taking MCATs and only getting marginal score increases is close to useless. You were projected for around a 32-33 it seems like based on your practice test. You got on the lower end of the projection which could be as simple as 1 or 2 wrong question. Some people do better than they expected(many people with 37+ scores did not get those on there practice tests). Some will do somewhat worse. That's just how the law of averages works.

It seems like the verbal was really the only section that was that difference between what you practiced and what you actually got. The verbal is a tricky thing and there is lots of variation to it and having good fortune is simply part of what it takes to get the score you want. That's just how it kind of is. There's no good explanation other than just random occurrence past a certain point. There is a long line of people who have done worse on verbal than they thought because of the discrepancy between the real thing and the practice. Fortunately for you you still ended up with the equivalent of a 9 which is fine.

One thing you can take away though is that your "feeling" you have of how you did on a test like the MCAT right after you take it does not mean much. The list of people who did great but had horrible feelings of how they thought they did to the point they even considered voiding the test is endless. Unfortunately for you the opposite happened; fortunately you still got a 30 and have a good GPA so you can be competitive.
 
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hayden29

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This has been a very common opinion amongst our students as well. Anyone who studied for the MCAT in the past and then took the new AAMC practice exam was surprised by, and to some extent uncertain with, the ease of the practice MCAT. There was an air of skepticism that it could be as straightforward as it was on most questions.

In general, it has more straight recall than previously released MCAT exams (for the old style test), which I believe is what gives it a sense of simplicity. You don't have to critically think on as many questions as previous practice exams.

The post-MCAT feedback from students has been that "you just had to really know your stuff", which seems to be in cahoots with the practice exam. Most people felt that doing the AAMC exam was essential in preparing for the MCAT.
Well, if that is true then that is good news! I was amazed at the lack of critical thinking questions.