Practice testing around the 520s? Here’s how to boost your score into the 100 percentile!


Statistical Mediation & Moderation in Psychological Research (23)As a person who was practice testing in the 520-521 range with 2-3 weeks left of studying, I was content with my score; however, I had an idea that I could get to the 100 percentile range if I pushed myself and studied smart for the remaining few weeks. With some slight tweaks to my study plan, I was able to comfortably score in the 100th percentile on test day, which exceeded my wildest expectations when I first began studying.

If you are scoring anywhere from 515+, this guide may help vault you into the 100th percentile.

Trust your gut!

  • Your studying has worked out well for you. If you are unsure of a certain question, stick with your first instinct. Your brain probably recognizes the correct answer, even if you don’t.

Cover all your bases in terms of content review

  • To score in the 100th percentile, no topic is “low-yield.” You need to be familiar with all the content that AAMC has listed in its Official Guide. Khan Academy was a critical tool for me. They have videos and practice questions on every concept tested by the AAMC and I made sure to watch videos on any piece of content with which I wasn’t completely familiar. Their Psychology/Sociology review is particularly well done.

Keep up with the practice questions

  • During the last few weeks, when you’re scoring high it might be tempting to relax a little and take time off from practice questions. If you’re satisfied with your current score, that is fine! However, if you are trying to push further into the 520+ range, those last few weeks of practice are key! The AAMC section banks and UWorld practice questions are great sets for testing yourself with the more difficult questions that could show up on test day. It’s fine to repeat practice questions at this late point in your studying if you’re running out of material; it’ll keep your critical thinking skills fresh for the big day.

Keep up the content refreshers

  • Making sure you remember all the information you learned over the past few months is key to squeezing out those extra few points. Using some type of system to consistently review old content will help keep the things you learned months ago fresh in your memory. I reviewed the notes I took and went over pre- and self-made flashcards. Use whatever works for you!

Last but certainly not least! Get some rest before the big day

  • Ensuring you’re fully rested and energized for test day is essential for performing at your best. Ideally, the last week before your exam should consist of just light content refreshers. The day before your exam should be MCAT free! Take time to enjoy the activities you most likely put off while studying. Take a walk, talk to friends and family, whatever relaxes you. You’ll thank yourself on test day when you’ve given yourself a full day to rest your mind and body!

The road to medical school is long, and the MCAT is one of its most formidable challenges. You will be relieved to know that what you learned in your premedical courses is actually on the test. But studying for the MCAT is more about taking that knowledge stored way back there in the nooks and crannies of your mind, bringing it to the fore, and then learning to twist and stretch it in the ways the MCAT tests. In reality, studying for the MCAT is no more (or less) difficult than spending late hours on a physics problem set or an entire weekend on an organic chemistry lab report. Just like these other tasks, the MCAT requires endurance and follow-through, but it becomes significantly more manageable when you work with a Cambridge Coaching MCAT tutor to apply a structured, systematic, and strategic approach to your studying.

Anyone can study hard - but the real key to MCAT success is learning to study smart. So, while all forms of MCAT preparation require you to crunch a lot of material, we focus on helping you to make strategic choices about your areas of focus at every step of the game. Each Cambridge Coaching tutor is a highly-skilled manager of your personal study process. He or she will do more than just target your weaknesses - your tutor’s goal is to identify the sections where you have the greatest potential for improvement, and teach you to wring every last point from them by creating the roadmap for your studying, and helping you stick to it. Right from the start, your tutor will create a customized syllabus for you, and will then modify that syllabus as needed.

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Taking the MCAT in 2020-21? Check out some other helpful blog posts below!:

How to study for the MCAT when you haven’t completed all your science coursework


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