One of the most common frustrations that I’ve seen students run into during their MCAT studying is the dreaded score plateau. A student’s studying is going well, they are improving on their practice exam scores and feel confident in their content mastery, but then several exams in a row show the same score. It can feel demoralizing, but remember, it happens to nearly all students, even students who end up with 520+ scores, and it is a normal part of the MCAT studying process.Read More
OK, let’s state the obvious – the MCAT is daunting. Just take a look at the MCAT topic list PDF provided by the AAMC. It is one-hundred and twenty-five pages of topics alone. And while there is no substitute for good old-fashioned content studying, there are strategies to improve your studying that have nothing to do with studying itself.Read More
So, you want to be a doctor. Maybe you remember playing with your plastic doctor’s kit when you were little, examining all your stuffed animals’ fuzzy ears. Maybe someone in your family works in a healthcare profession, and you always admired what they could do. Or, maybe in school, you realized that you excelled at science and enjoyed learning about the intricate mechanisms of the human body, but also wanted a career where you could help people in dimensions of both the body and mind.Read More
One of the very first questions a student asks about a standardized exam is invariably, “Which study resources should I use?”. For the MCAT, the answer is far from simple. With the multitude of test prep publishers out there, each claiming to guarantee students the best possible score, it can often be difficult to find sources that are truly representative of AAMC’s MCAT. As someone who faced this conundrum myself, I can personally attest that no single resource is by itself enough to tackle the monstrosity that is the MCAT. So, which ones should you rely on? Hopefully, this brief guide will help!Read More
The purpose of this post is to update a previous I had written about MCAT practice tests. Since that post, my recommendation for practice tests has remained the same. AAMC tests (sample test, practice 1-3, in total 4 tests, practice 1-3 are scored) are still your best resource. After that, the next best thing would be the Examkracker tests for the c/p, b/b and psych/soc sections but not necessarily for the CARS. Generally, if I have a student take an EK test, I tell them to skip the CARS.Read More
The MCAT is not a memorization test. Let me be more specific: it’s much more about recall than it is about recognition.
When you’re prepping for the Psych/Soc section of the MCAT, you’ll learn about different types of memory—sensory, working, procedural, episodic—how memory is stored, and how it’s retrieved. You can retrieve stored memories through recall—rattling off everything you remember about ADH—or through recognition—noticing that aldosterone is one of the answer choices and remembering you read about its role in the renal system. So don’t worry about memorizing every single detail in your prep books.Read More
So you've decided to apply to medical school this June -- congratulations! You should take a moment and pat yourself on the back for getting this far. It's no small feat to find yourself in the applicant pool this year!Read More
Welcome to the very last article in this series! You’ve managed to read about MCAT strategies for 5 articles without having your head explode, so well done. In this last article, I want to leave you with a few more tips that I have yet to mention. These tips are just as helpful as the ones I have already talked about, so definitely give them a skim! As always, feel free to use them, ignore them entirely, or adapt them as you see fit. I tested a lot of strategies during the months I spent studying, some were great some, and many were not. So, let me give you the ones I found to be helpful.Read More
Whether you’re applying to college, graduate school, law school, medical school, or even some jobs, standardized tests are often part of the process. They can be intimidating, long, arduous, and confusing, but with some practice, you’ll learn how to overcome any test-taking anxiety and stay focused. Here are a few tips and tricks for going into a test calm and prepared.Read More
Pssst... this is part of a series. Be sure to read Cole's other posts on the MCAT by going to his profile here.
We’re almost there!! Fair warning, this article is word heavy, but bear with me. At this point, you are probably splitting your time between practice passages and content review (with a heavier emphasis on the former). Depending on whether you've decided to go the self-study route, with a company, or with one-on-one tutoring, you have been using the practice passages/exams that associated with the choice. While this material is intended to imitate the type of material you will see on the real MCAT, many times it is very different. The biggest difference I found was that material produced by companies other than the AAMC focus heavily on content and don’t force you to dissect the passage as much. For example, the passage you read may be about some bacteria, but the questions they ask don’t refer back to the passage but instead ask you something about DNA. These passages are helpful for ensuring you have memorized your content, but don’t exactly reflect the type of questions you will be asked on the real MCAT. So, to make sure we are ready for the real MCAT, we need to transition into working exclusively with AAMC material.Read More