Some honest, sobering advice is needed. Please give realistic advice if you read my post

Aug 1, 2017
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US student here. I've been studying for the mcat for about 2 1/2 months. I have gone up in score gradually, but not as much as I've wanted to. My goal has been a 518+, and I'm set to test on September 1st. I am also dead set on applying next cycle. I'm a rising senior and will take 1 gap year. I know the mcat goal lofty, but I've gotten a decent gpa (3.90 sci, 3.93 cum), great (but not totally stellar) EC's (including productive research), and very strong letters of recommendation, so to be honest, I want to put myself in a good position for going to a top 20 school. I'm also an ORM.

Here are practice test scores. The first three are from about 2 months ago:

TPR 2: 497 TPR 1: 501 TPR 1: 501

I did lots of content review and switched to next step tests:

NS 1 (7/8/17): 128/126/127/127: 508
NS 2 (7/15/17): 128/127/129/128: 512 (I was very pleased at this point with the progress)

AAMC 1 (7/24/17): 128/127/129/126: 511 (I was a little upset, especially at P/S, so I've been putting a lot of effort into content review of that)

NS 3 (Today): 129/122/128/126: 505

As of now, I'm very upset. I'm not as worried about the overall score because the CARS I've heard on NS 3 is disproportionately difficult, but I'm quite sad that I wasn't able to break 130 on C/P or B/B, and that my P/S score stayed pretty low. I really feel like P/S on NS 3 was much more difficult, and there were many terms I had not seen on KA notes or the TPR book. If any of you disagree, feel free to say.

I can't even describe how little dignity I feel that I have now that it's been 2.5 months and I'm still unable to improve from the 510-512 range. I really feel like I know C/P, B/B, and P/S in detail, but there's mostly new or even more detailed content that comes up each time, or a make a few reasoning errors on graphs. I don't believe my GPA is inflated either. I am a chemistry major at Georgia Tech.

I could put away the idea of "top score top school" altogether and apply to mid/low tier schools instead. With my current mcat score (511 range) most financially feasible option would likely be MCG. It seems like a solid MD program, but I've also seen multiple threads here on SDN about issues it has with closeted racism toward minorities.

As I said up above, I really want to shoot for a 518. I thought the 511 on AAMC 1 would just be a minor setback because I just had some general practice for B/B and C/P to do until the day of the test, and the P/S score would be amenable if I just reviewed more. Today that did not seem to be the case. Do you all think NS3 just isn't representative, that I have enough time to keep trying for September 1st (I start classes on august 28), and that I should just take more practice tests in general (I feel like my number is low), or should I postpone it all the way to January? The latter will be difficult to convince my parents of (given what's been paid already) but might be possible. If I do postpone till January, I'm taking a part time 11 credit hour load (rising senior), so that will help.

edit: parents are ok with postponing to January, but that is an absolute last resort for me.
 
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Goro

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Check out the MCAT forum for tips, and do more practice tests. You should have an idea of what you're weak in, and what you're strong in. Focus on the deficits in your knowledge base.
 
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Lawper

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MoDiddy

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You have one month left, make sure to target your weaknesses. Study P/S go through Khan and make sure you have all the concepts/terms down. I think you have the potential to score 518, but I would really hone in on your weaknesses this last month.
 

Scienceguy141

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I got a 513 on the AAMC fl 5 days before my real mcat and got a 520. I retook NS fl exam 1 and got a 514 on it aprox 2 weeks before the real exam. I only studied for the mcat for a total of probably 6-7 weeks, so I think with a whole month to go you have a realistic shot at 518+. I personally didnt feel like any of the practice exam scores were representative. I jumped 7 points from the aamc practice exam within 5 days....

Don't worry about writing off your ideal schools yet. You will likely do well enough to be a competitive candidate at several schools.
 

minho

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I got around 515 (sorry I don't remember my exact numbers) on last AAMC practice full length before a much higher score on my actual test (524), with the main improvement being in P/S (it was like a 6 or 7 point jump).

The main thing that really improved my score is doing all of the AAMC material you can. All of the section banks, question packs, and flashcards. Make sure you read the explanations for every single answer choice, even if you got the question right (if you already understand it, this should take less than a minute, but if you got it right for the wrong reason, now you can figure it out).

Flashcards are especially helpful for P/S (for me at least), because there is so much content you need to memorize (in addition to experimental design and whatnot).
 
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Coltuna

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What've you used for psych/soc content?
 

Ad2b

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@Coltuna - psy/soc use the 100pg Khan Academy work up + the AAMC flashcards.

Do not under estimate those flashcards. Seriously. Really, really, really serious about those. There's not that many ... do it. :)
 

Coltuna

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@Coltuna - psy/soc use the 100pg Khan Academy work up + the AAMC flashcards.

Do not under estimate those flashcards. Seriously. Really, really, really serious about those. There's not that many ... do it. :)
Oh I took my MCAT and got a 129 in psych/soc haha. I would echo this advice for OP for sure!^^^^
 

Ad2b

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Oh I took my MCAT and got a 129 in psych/soc haha. I would echo this advice for OP for sure!^^^^
I'm so tired/drained/exhausted - thank you for pointing out my faux pas! :)
 

Isoval

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I scored a 127 C/P on AAMC FL2 and a 130 on the real one.

Don't let it get you down!
 

Isoval

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teach me thy ways...:D
Part of it was luck. My real MCAT had a lot of biochemistry and organic chemistry and almost no physics.
 
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JustinM88

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@Coltuna - psy/soc use the 100pg Khan Academy work up + the AAMC flashcards.

Do not under estimate those flashcards. Seriously. Really, really, really serious about those. There's not that many ... do it. :)
What is the 100pg Khan Academy work up? Could you link me to it?? Is this it?:
Dropbox - Khan Notes
 
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JustinM88

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That looks right. I made an anki deck out of all those terms.
Any tips on making the flashcards? Like, did you copy stuff word for word from that 100pg document or did something work better for you?
 

Coltuna

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Any tips on making the flashcards? Like, did you copy stuff word for word from that 100pg document or did something work better for you?
I did a lot of cloze deletion cards. Just do a search on google. I wanted to make sure I could recognized a term based on the definition and a definition based on the term. I started out with excluding like 1-2 critical words from the term/definition (little cued recall eh?) then once I was comfortable, I made the excluded term one card and then the entire excluded definition one card. PM me if this was confusing at all.
 
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