Hey Guest! Check out the 3 MCAT Study Plan Options listed in the 'stickies' area at the top of the forums (BoomBoom, SN2ed, and MCATJelly). Let us know which you like best.

Also, we now offer a MCAT Test-Prep Exhibitions Forum where you can ask questions directly from the test-prep services.
SDN members see fewer ads and full resolution images. Join our non-profit community!

To you retakers out there...

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by siberianhusky88, Jun 13, 2008.

  1. siberianhusky88

    siberianhusky88 2+ Year Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    I was wondering why people do badly on their first mcats and have to retake. is it because they did not do practice exams, not enough exams, or actually because of not enough content review? I' m trying to figure out a study schedule for myself
  2. SDN Members don't see this ad. About the ads.
  3. Vihsadas

    Vihsadas No summer Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 5+ Year Member

    Oct 17, 2007
    An Igloo
    Well there is no universal reason. I'm sure that some people do badly because of the first reason, and others do badly because of the second reason...then again, I'm sure that there are people that do badly for a completely different reason!

    Practice should be your major focus, as in, you should practice. ALOT. That being said, in order for your practice to be meaningful, you will have to have a solid basis in the knowledge. Both content review and practice are required.

    My personal philosophy on this topic is that you do 1-1.5 months of solid content review (with little practice problems here and there to improve your understanding) and then you do 1-2 months of straight practice exams with heavy and unrelenting exam review and further content review of the sections that you are missing on the exams and the sections that you feel iffy on in general.

    That way, you start with a solid basis in the knowledge but you don't sacrifice intense and vitally important practice.
  4. J ROD

    J ROD Watch my TAN walk!! Rocket Scientist Physician Pharmacist Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Aug 1, 2005
    working on my tan......
    I got one of those MCATs that resembled a practice AAMC in format only.

    The difficulty was on another level.
  5. LikeClockWork

    LikeClockWork Guest

    Jul 23, 2007
    Like Vis said, there's no one reason why people don't do well the first time out.

    I can tell you why I didn't do so hot though. I guess I didn't completely understand what the MCAT was and how it tested knowledge because I only did content review. Not even that much content review really, just a little over a week's worth. Yeah, I know. Stupid.

    Anyway, without solid practice tests under my belt to understand the critical thinking part of the exam, I didn't score as well as I could've. Now I've retaken it with much more emphasis on practice tests and not quite so much on content (though considerably more than last time).

    LONG STORY SHORT: Practice, practice, practice.
  6. HippocratesX

    HippocratesX Member 7+ Year Member

    Mar 22, 2002
    Yes, I had heard people say practice, practice, practice too, before I took my first MCAT, but I didnt really understand how important the practice part is...until after I had taken my 2nd MCAT ;) There are alot of things you can learn from doing practice problems, reviewing them properly, seeing what kind of answer choices they are offering you to choose from, etc, gaining the endurance to take that lengthy exam and still have your brain/body giving 100% until the very end, etc.

    There is no amount of content review that will let you master everything fully (for some its possible since they likely actually 'learned' the material fully during coursework), but for many people, there will likely be "weak" sections in their knowledge and background. So this is where practice really makes a difference...sometimes u can see the logic in the answer choices, such that you can tell its the correct answer (even without fully understanding the reason why) - and you can only get that from loads of practice.

    so the moral of the story is - unless u are completely clueless in the sciences, then practice until you pass out. Then get up and practice some more.:)
  7. nontrdgsbuiucmd

    nontrdgsbuiucmd 2+ Year Member

    Mar 28, 2008
    my own little world
    Kind of tough to say what the main reason for doing badly enough to retake the test is, anyone who's got to redo it will likely be improving subject matter and test taking/practicing skills and everything else they can think of to avoid doing this thing a 3rd time.

    For me it was primarily subject matter; some of the EK bio materials (PCR, Western Blots, hybridization) was only covered in my cell & molecular which I'd not completed before the first MCAT sitting. And other material such as specific types of cartilige & neuron functioning was covered in detail in my recent A&P class, but not touched on my bio coursework. So all the stuff that just threw me 1st time around seems very basic for my current practice tests.

    And after 4 (recent practice) AAMC tests, I've found my scores trending up also. (many more full lengths & 1 month to go). 30/28/30 + today's 32. Note that for today's 32, my % right was similar to the other 30's, the curve was different and the test felt much harder than the other ones. That's where the practice comes in, its easier to stay confident after finishing all 11 old AAMC tests and knowing you score solid in them.
  8. siberianhusky88

    siberianhusky88 2+ Year Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    thanks everyone :)
  9. DH78

    DH78 They Feed They Lion 2+ Year Member

    Jun 17, 2008
    Lewisburg, WV
    I wanted to share where I think I went wrong...

    When I took the actual MCAT, I was really thrown of by all the clicking keyboards on the writing samples. So, I came up with the brilliant idea to use the entire hour for my essays, even though I can usually get them done in under 30 minutes. That led to a lot of time just "resting", waiting for the noise to die down before submitting and moving on.

    I think I broke my groove, because on BS I scored WAY below what I was scoring with the AAMC tests. I had a hard time maintaining focus on test day, and I think it's because of the "break" I took. I would have been better off contending with the clicking!

    The other 3 parts I did just fine, but the BS killed me. I'm retaking July 10, and I won't be making the same mistake of waiting out the typing. I think it's probably best if you go at your own pace; not rushing, but not dawdling either.

    So, that's my experience.
  10. supafield

    supafield Dream Big 7+ Year Member

    May 18, 2006
    I got a bio section that was much tougher than the AAMC's and it threw me off-guard.... I lost my timing early and rushed through the rest of the section.... this time I refuse to get held up by tough material and I have an entire different strategy to approach bio passages with.... Plan on paying much more attention when I initially read through the passage
  11. UVAbme2009

    UVAbme2009 5+ Year Member

    Jan 26, 2008
    I don't have my first score yet, but since I don't think I did too well, I probably will be retaking.

    I did all of the AAMC practice tests, and didn't think they represented the test well. I felt like the Kaplan tests I had done were more similar in BS and PS to the real thing. Honestly, if I could go back and do it again, I wouldn't have changed how I studied. I mixed content review with practice over a four week span. Two practice tests a week and I targeted my weak spots after each test.

Share This Page