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*The Official MCAT May 2018 Thread*

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by MCATKINGS, Feb 25, 2018.

  1. AllYouNeedIsHope

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    SLEEP IS FOR THE WEAK FINISH THEM!!! hahaha
     
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  3. Wahed

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    Do you guys think there's anything especially useful about the section bank problems? I've done a **** ton of TPR passages, 8 FLs, and all of the question packs. I'm reading that a lot of people place especially high importance on the SB's over other materials and it's freaking me out a little and making me kick myself for not getting around to the SB earlier.
     
  4. I'mJustCurious

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    Yeah I wish I started earlier as well. I time myself because that's one the department I'm lacking in so it's great practice for me, I kind of avoided that during my FL so I have to compensate.
     
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  5. Blue96

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    Try to get thru all the section banks but if low on time just prioritize your weak area and get thru those. SB questions will get you ready for most difficult questions on real thing. And from what many have said, mcat moving towards more SB type questions.
     
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  6. Xanias

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    I would certainly do the Section Banks; even if you have to go on overdrive. Don't worry to much about your score (easier said than done). I would rank the importance of AAMC materials as AAMC FL's > AAMC Section Banks > CARS Q-PACKS > AAMC Official Guide > AAMC Science Q-Packs

    Edit: I would add to this that people scoring over 70 % on SB's generally do great on the test (So everybody relatively doesn't do so hot on it). My friend scored 55 % on the B/B section bank a month before the exam, reviewed the F*ck out of it. She ended up with a 130 on B/B on the real thing.
     
    #655 Xanias, May 16, 2018
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
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  7. Morty c137

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    Feeling good about content just cant make noob mistakes on real deal :(
     
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  8. Powerlifter95

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    I’m a big believer in resting the day/night before a test. ESPECIALLY the morning off. I might reread the 86pg doc and make a formula sheet but that’s it
     
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  9. spicydesi

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    Holy moley I’m halfway thru FL#3 and C/P was ridiculous!!!!!!!! Did y’all feel this way? Wow
     
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  10. Xanias

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    C/P was harder than usual yes.
     
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  11. Powerlifter95

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    I thought it was a relatively easy CP. harder cars. Harder B.B./PS
     
  12. etp123

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    Oh boy... do I have a story about that. I asked one of my profs to write me one back in July 2017. Didn't hear back. Maybe he's really busy with grant writing and now's not a good time? I tried again a couple months later, no response. I ask my TA if she can check if he got my e-mails or if they got caught in his spam filter. She says he received them but has been busy and will get back to me soon.

    WELL soon turned out to be December and we finally set up an interview where he asks about my future goals and also enthusiastically agrees to write me a supportive letter. Great news! I send him a follow-up e-mail and an Interfolio request with a deadline request by May 1st, 2018 (5 months!). A few weeks out I ask if everything's going OK, no response. Deadline comes and still nothing, ask again. Call his lab. No answer. Come by his office, he's never around.

    Finally I set up this plan with my TA yesterday where I would just camp out near the building and she'd let me know when he was in his office so I could swoop in and finally catch him and he says he's been suuuper busy again with grants and things but he's still happy to write one (?!?!??). At least he apologized for not being more communicative and says he'll do what he can to get it to me by June, at latest before July (oh you know it's only been like A YEAR since I asked...). I don't have any better back-ups at this point :confused: but fingers crossed he'll follow through this time!! If not then lmao idk bye med school..........
     
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  13. Powerlifter95

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    I think I’m gonna being a calculator on Friday just to troll the other test takers. Like guys why didn’t you bring one? AAMC said we’re allowed a calculator and formula sheet now
     
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  14. mariposas905

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    Is NS FL 1 still inflated? I received a 512 score on it...not sure what to think about that. I felt like I was guessing hardcore on C/P and I still managed a 128 despite not knowing how to do more than half of their calculations
     
  15. Powerlifter95

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    Ns1 was definitely way easier than the others. Especially CP.
     
  16. Xanias

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    All NS exams are inflated. I actually did a lot of research into this and compared NS raw scores with AAMC raw scores. Theoretically speaking; they inflate them to adjust for their difficulty, but doing that ends up getting you more points on the questions you randomly guessed on correctly. However, the score inflation mainly affects people that are scoring on the low end. Anything 510+ I would say is not inflated and you should be in great shape. In terms of your C/P score; you will need to get more questions correct on AAMC to get a 128 than on NS. However; the AAMC questions are much easier than NS so most people will end up getting a higher raw score.
     
  17. Morty c137

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    felt it wayy harder, even ran out of time but it was my highest score ever on c/p!!!
     
  18. etp123

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    I've been doing decently on the CARS (sample: 91%, FL 1: 128, FL 2: 132, FL 3: 130) hoping to keep it that way on the real thing lol...

    Anyway, the way I do it is to seriously just relax and don't worry about fully trying to engage the passage. I know it sounds like pretty unhelpful advice (like telling a stressed person just don't be stressed lol) but I think many people might get caught in trying to understand most everything written, or the syntax is difficult and they get stressed trying to decode it. But that's probably a trap meant to catch people who will be overly anxious/neurotic over details.

    I usually read the passage slowly and somewhat carefully, but if there's a sentence I don't really understand or it's inundated with a list of heavy details/terms then I just let go of it. I try to highlight the one or two sentences from each paragraph that are the main topic sentences, or ones that represent the message that the whole passage is trying to get at.

    If there's anything specific like names or details that a question will ask about, usually they give you the location (ex. paragraph 4) to refer back to so no need to really highlight these small things anyway. By only highlighting the 1 or 2 topic sentences per paragraph my eyes can be drawn back to the main idea of the passage, which if you understand well then you'll be able to get through like 80% of the questions since they're mostly based on translating the idea onto to a different scenario, etc.

    Also I practice with paraphrasing. It seems to me the answer choices like to play around a lot with paraphrasing the main idea so while I'm reading I'll momentarily pause to see if I understood the crux of the paragraph's idea, and I'll reword it in my head in a more simple/general manner. Simple phrases like "the government isn't helpful". And then as I read the answer choices I paraphrase them to see if they fit in with the "government isn't helpful" message.

    I hope this helps you (and anyone else reading this) a bit, just try your best to be relaxed! If you don't understand it, it's ok to let it go! Make use of the flag feature and move on if it's not coming to you. Sometimes too reading another question down the line will make me suddenly remember/understand a previous question I was struggling with. Good luck!!
     
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  19. Xanias

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    I think the first passage was a little more orgo than I liked, and the second passage freaked me out a bit as I'm not a huge fan of physics, but somehow I think it worked out in the end. It was my first time ever getting a 130 in a section.
     
  20. mariposas905

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    Really? I thought the CP on NS FL 1 was very difficult. I guess I need to practice on calculation-based questions...
     
  21. mariposas905

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    Hm..okay, so I guess my 512 doesn't mean that much since NS 1 is supposed to be easy and also kind of inflated. I'll pretend it's a 509 instead and work harder to do better :rolleyes:
     
  22. PopeKnope98

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    Hey all just wanted to say that I'm rooting for all of you this weekend! Lol at how 5/19 was my original test date; would not have been ready considering finals hit me like a truck last week. Can't wait to hear all about it/get any last minute advice before my 6/2 exam. You all will do great!

    Currently going through UWorld to really brush up on content. Finished P/S SB, halfway through C/P and B/B section banks and will finish by this Sat before my next FL. Do you guys think I should take 2 or 3 first? I scored a 503 on AAMC FL 1 and am super down about it, so whichever (2 or 3) seems to be the more accurate predictor is the one I'd like to take this Saturday!
     
  23. Xanias

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    Thanks for taking the time to write this; I'm really struggling with CARS and hoping for a just a 125 on test day. I especially stuggle with timing and pondering too long on questions. How long do you think it takes you to read vs answer questions ? Do you think it's more useful to try and spend more time reading since most questions are main idea ?
     
  24. Morty c137

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    Yeah i need cars help here like ASAP :( I think i'm what you say an over analyzer of the details that traps me. But i do end up understanding the passage but the questions man.. those are what get me specially the super detailed type questions and how some have answer choices that have words that i dont know (im esl), like the answer seems right until i hit a word i dont know and im unsure if this word refutes the rest or supports it :( i got 81% on Sample, Highest cars score on kaplan was 127 but so far ive hit 124,123,123, :( the struggle is real!
     
  25. Xanias

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    AAMC is your best score predictor. I wouldn't worry about the NS scores as much.
     
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  26. Xanias

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    Yay for U-World! It will help you a lot trust me! In terms FL2 or FL3 first. I honestly don't think it matters. Just make sure you give yourself ample time to review both before test day.
     
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  27. mariposas905

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    Yeah, but I only have AAMC 3 to really tell me what my score will be. I took the others last year and retook them again this year. I didn't remember much, but they are still likely inflated. I wish I could gauge my score somehow with other company FLs! :( Any other FLs I could take that might tell me where I stand without rushing AAMC 3?
     
  28. Xanias

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    Well I honestly don't think your scores on AAMC 1+2 are going to be really inflated. For argument's sake I would say they are inflated maybe by one or two points if that. Who remembers what questions they were asked a year ago ? NS is fine from 3rd party as long as you're scoring 508+, and above a 127 per section. EK exams are good but they don't give you a scaled score and are also really hard. Honestly if you do well on FL3 then I think you're in the clear.
     
  29. JBruinW

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    I thought the exact same thing after finishing it but then I ended up with my highest score. you can't trust how you feel !
     
  30. AllYouNeedIsHope

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    ...This just made me more nervous about the LOR I asked my teacher to write me but is also retiring in the spring so I wouldn't be able to find her if I needed too
     
  31. etp123

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    I honestly don't really have an exact measure of my timing but I would say I probably spend like 5 minutes reading the passage and then 10-30 seconds per question? A bit longer if it's a question that refers to a specific part of the passage because then I go back and look over it again carefully.

    It's a bit of a fine balance, of course, because if you spend too much time reading you might be tempted to be more engaged and then stuck on smaller details that might make you overthink/confused. In my mind I try to decide if the sentence is relevant or if it's just fluffy descriptive explanations, and if it's just fluff (or saying the same thing a previous sentence said) then I don't pay it much attention.

    I spend less time on the questions because if you've been able to comprehend the passage then the right answer will stick out to you pretty quick. The other ones will say something not totally in line with the main idea. This is like what your profs always say - go with your gut!

    If you have a hard time deciphering the answer choices maybe go back to the passage and look at your highlights and try again to glean what is the main message, and then try to paraphrase that message in a way that will fit with an answer choice. If it's not coming to you then either just mark something, flag it, move on, come back later with a "fresh" perspective.
     
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  32. etp123

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    Yeah I do remember seeing some questions where I was like man that's a complex word/colloquialism it'd suck for people who weren't native speakers :eek: maybe try to look further for context clues in the rest of the sentence. Or if you don't know that one word just skip it because if it's an important point then the author usually will say it again multiple times in the passage.

    For the answer choices even if you don't know what the word means, if you can at least rule out the other ones to be wrong/less correct then you have a fair shot. I do that a lot on my psych/soc where I won't know what the term means but I know what the other 3 answer choices are and they're kind of unrelated to the phenomenon described, so the right answer is probably that lol.
     
  33. Xanias

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    That's very helpful! Thank you so much!
     
  34. Wahed

    Wahed Tilapia
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    Does anyone have advice on comprehending biology passages? I've been steadily improving on everything else but my bio scores are stuck around 127. I especially struggle with experimental stuff. ESPECIALLY if it's acronym heavy.

    Do you guys have strategies? Do you try to understand everything on the first pass, or leave some things to analyze only if required to later?

    EDIT: I just realized I got a 127 on FL1 (which I took 4 months ago before I even started studying), and a 127 on FL2 (5/4/18), and a 127 on FL3 (5/13/18). I've made literally zero improvement in the B/B section over 4 months. Hahaha fml, at least I'm getting better at everything else.
     
    #683 Wahed, May 16, 2018
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
  35. Xanias

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    Sometimes; writing out the pathway with the arrows can help if it's a passage with heavy cell signaling and AAMC is going ape **** crazy with acronyms. Generally I don't try and analyze graphs on the first read; I look at the axes and if there's a clear relationship I can catch then cool, if not then I'll worry about it if they ask me. Also, I wouldn't get intimidated by the heavy amount of acronyms, this is what AAMC tries to do to make you feel like you have no idea what's going on and freak out.

    Also; my scores in B/B have been 128/127/128 in AAMC FL's 1,2,3 so I'm not sure if I'm the best person out there to give advice.
     
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  36. etp123

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    I don't attempt to understand everything on the first pass. I just try to get a sense of what they're doing. Oftentime the B/B (and especially the C/P imo!!) passages have tons of useless info that they're not even going to ask you about. I feel like they throw it in there to get your mind thinking about something else and then haha surprise the question is on something entirely different.

    So my strat for C/P and B/B is opposite of what I do for CARS and I just read the passage kinda quickly once over then spend more time on the questions. I read the question and go back carefully to the specific part of the passage that it's is referring to and really try to make sense of it then.

    EDIT: for reference my scores are sample: 86%, FL 1: 130, FL 2: 131, FL 3: 129
     
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  37. I'mJustCurious

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    My AAMC FLs scores are similar to my Kaplan FLs... am I doing something wrong?
     
  38. Blanky

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    I took FL3 (original 503) 1.5 months later and scored 515 and then 4 days later scored 507 on FL so I think just being slightly familiar with passages inflates.
     
  39. BlueComet

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    May 19th as well! lol

    scored 514-513-518 on AAMC 1, 2, 3 respectively.
    Last test (AAMC 3, 518) was on monday.
    Hopefully the AAMC are good indicators of real exam score.
     
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  40. Xanias

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    If your Kaplan scores are on the low side; then you might not notice a huge jump when doing AAMC. If you're scoring over a 500 in Kaplan then you should do better in AAMC I would say.
     
  41. Blanky

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    I usually get 128-129 on BB and CP (my strongest sections) and I just cruise through the reading to get the super basics of what they are talking about/doing and the acronyms i ignore and just read it as SIB or CEB or whatever (during the understanding read through) and then when answering a specific question I will look at the full length name to find hints of what it contains.
     
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  42. Blanky

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    Im also looking for any last minute input on PS.
    My NS PS is 127-128 consistently but my AAMC PS is consistently 126 :/
    I use Premed95s Anki deck for PS (been a huge help)
    I think i'm making some silly errors on experimental questions/ Cars type wording. Also I finish PS with about 40+ minutes left... I think i should start back at Q1 and read the question/ answer choice and make sure they align.
     
  43. etp123

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    40+ minutes left... so much time :eek:
     
  44. Xanias

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    40 min+ with leftover time is one giant red flag. Either spend more time on the first go or be generous with marking questions that you're not 100 % sure of. Going over from Q1 might be a bit of a waste of time since you'll have to reread the easy questions to remember what they were asking.
     
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  45. JBruinW

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    I had this same problem. It's fine to have 40 mins left over and go through and reread all the questions you flagged.
     
  46. I'mJustCurious

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    A handful of people kept telling me that i'll do way better on AAMC than Kaplan. I mean I did score higher but not that high.. I want to say at this point that I probably suck at experimental analysis?
     
  47. diene_daily

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    Are NS scores really inflated? I've definitely been scoring on the lower end (which is mainly due to NS CARS kicking my ass), but all my AAMC scores were higher so Ive just thought that NS was rough. Although I did retake NS1 from my first try in February, got a 13 point jump which was likely inflated but I felt like I understood how to tackle the questions better
     
  48. Blanky

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    I can go back to 1 and remember the general idea of the essay. What I have noticed is that I’ll go back through after the exam is scored and read some of the answers don’t match up.. Like I misread one key word or something (mental fatigue is likely the cause) so flagging it is out of the question (when I originally pass I’m confident.)
    I will go and find a question and show you what I mean.
     
  49. Blanky

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    Seems like NS in the 501-506 range for me was exactly spot on. The material was a little harder but the scaled scores spot on with aamc.
    I have heard that below 500 or 125 sections can be inflated but idk
     
  50. diene_daily

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    Definitely more physics and orgo than I expected, but somehow ended up being my highest score yet lol. Also that last passage had to have been my favorite. You could answer all the questions without really reading the passage (I read the passage after just to make sure I wasn't missing anything lol)
     
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  51. Xanias

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    Depends on what you mean by "lower end". 125 and below in a section is definitely inflated. The good news is CARS in NS is not very representative so you wouldn't have to worry as much. AAMC Q-packs will give you a better idea of how well you're doing.
     

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