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May 29, 2020
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  1. Pre-Medical
My MCAT exam is coming up in two weeks and I'm not feeling confident. I've only taken two FLs, but they were not where I want them to be. I have been "studying" over the summer, but realized that I wasted SO MUCH TIME!!! I regret it and would do it so much differently if I could go back in time!
So by the time I take the exam, I will only have gotten 425 hours of studying in, with most of that concentrated in the last month beforehand.

I'm just nervous. I have a 3.98 GPA (1 A- :cryi:), lots of volunteer/clinical hours, am an NCAA DII athlete and have many extracurriculars and leadership hours. I really want to go to a good medical school. I really don't want to get a bad MCAT score and ruin my chances, since I'm also nervous about how retaking the MCAT will look to admin.

My options:

1. Take the exam in two weeks as planned and work my butt off until then, and if need be follow the fall/winter study plan and retake it in early January 2021 (written out in option 2)

2. Cancel the exam (thanks to covid we get all money back!) and continue to study gradually throughout the fall semester
  • 12hrs a week when in class (13 weeks of my semester is in person) (mostly reviewing and practice problems)
  • 20hrs a week when doing fully online at home (the last 3 weeks after thanksgiving)
  • Fully commit for the 3 weeks until the exam in early January (final reviewing and FLs)

  • However who knows if we will still be having the shortened COVID exam, most likely not, so then it’ll be longer

I'm a perfectionist and a worrier, but its only because I care so much and want this so badly. I simply am stuck and don't know what to do
Last edited:


2+ Year Member
May 29, 2018
I would just delay it if your FLs are not where you want them, there's no rush to take it. Number of hours also don't really mean anything in terms of studying. I remember many days I would spend 6+ hours on one chapter, which was not a good use of my time.
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2+ Year Member
Dec 23, 2016
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  1. Pre-Medical
Hopefully the crying emoji over the A- was a joke. IIRC, adcoms like @Goro and @LizzyM often stress how weary they are of perfectionist tendencies in high stat applicants.
Regarding the MCAT, 425 hours is a typical amount for many applicants, but only you can genuinely know whether you have adequately prepared for this exam. Are your AAMC FL scores consistant? Only take it when you are ready, but be honest with yourself about how well you can study for the MCAT during the school year. If you feel like you wasted time this summer, are you certain that you will really prepare 12 and 20 hours a week when you're running 100 miles a week, doing EC's, and studying for courses full time?
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2+ Year Member
Feb 5, 2019
I would say it depends on what your goals are (do you want to be a doctor or to you want to go to a T10? T20?) and what your FL score is right now. N=1 but my last practice FL score was just 1 point lower than my actual score -- I'd say if you've been taking AAMC FL tests in a realistic environment, it's pretty accurate. Also, I agree with the poster above: your AAMC FL scores should be fairly consistent, and should give you a decent idea of where any deficiencies are.

Side note: congrats on the incredible GPA, I'm sure it took an immense amount of discipline and work. I have no doubt that work ethic will pay off in terms of the MCAT as well :)
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2+ Year Member
Apr 5, 2018
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  1. Non-Student
Your MCAT score is critical to getting into medical school. Sixty percent of applicants do not get in and many of those who do get in only get into one school. The key to success is excellence, not speed. If at all possible, do not take the test twice. Take it when you are ready to put forth your best effort, and take it only once.
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Jul 10, 2020
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  1. Pre-Medical
I’m probably making assumptions here but you seem like a model student with that gpa and u might just be nervous before the test. I’d guess ur practice scores are not below 510 (Correct me if Im wrong). With 2 weeks left if u go HAM and finish the last 2 aamc FLs and retake those practice tests u will see a huge score increase. Especiallyyy if u put legit already 400+ hours, u should have a very solid grasp of the mcat. like I did maybe 2/3 of that in terms of hours.
N=1: but my highest first FL was 513 - retook them all w near perfect scores and my actual mcat score went up 6 points

If u really are not getting 510+ on the FLs only then I would consider pushing it back


2+ Year Member
Mar 18, 2019
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  1. Pre-Medical
Tbh I don’t know how much more I could’ve learned after 425 hours of studying for the MCAT. You’ve already done so much by now. Simply increasing your weeks and hours will not magically translate to a better score. If you’re not hitting your goal at this point, you need to stop and reflect on why. But none of us can accurately advise you without knowing what your FL scores are, etc. If you’re stressing because you’re sitting at a 515 practice score when you want to be 520+, that’s a different place than scoring sub 500.
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