Christina Chapman, MS4
Derek Mazique, MS1
Alyssa Reyes, MS1
A lesson learned…
Janell was a junior and studied for the MCAT for two months. She hadn’t taken organic chemistry yet but heard it was only a minor part of the test, so she wasn’t worried. To prepare for the biology section, she studied intently from her dusty biology book that she used freshmen year for Bio 101. She registered a month before the test, and was surprised when she got put at a testing site 1 hour away and had to wake up early on testing day. When her scores came back, she felt frustrated as she got seven points below the average for her target school.
How can we help Janell?
Create an Academic Schedule
Learn about the subject areas tested in the MCAT
All sections except the Writing Sample will have many, many passage-based questions!
Don’t forget about the Verbal Reasoning and Writing sections of the MCAT
Consider summer programs or scholarships that provide free or reduced MCAT prep
You should plan on taking the MCAT at least during the spring of the year in which you plan on applying to med school
Have a conversation with your pre-medical advisor ASAP to discuss your plan
Don’t resort to calling yourself a “bad test taker”
Study, seriously, don’t be the type who sits in the library and talks to your friends
However you prepare, do lots and lots and lots of practice MCAT’s. These will be your best predictors of performance on the real exam.
Read explanations for all correct and incorrect answer choices
If you have a wide variability in your practice test scores, you’re probably not ready
Test Prep Courses
Berkeley Review, Kaplan, Exam Krackers (EK) and Princeton Review (PR) all provide materials and may provide in-class tutoring
PR, Kaplan, and EK allow you to sit in on the course
Each company has its own strengths and weaknesses
Prep books (sometimes with accompanying CD-ROMs) by Kaplan, Princeton
Review, and other companies can be purchased new or used off websites like
Amazon.com for prices ranging from $6 to $110.
Nature is an excellent resource for reading comprehension of scientific articles. Devote time reading it in order to develop speed and understanding
The AAMC provides one free practice exam online
each from website
Order others for $35 www.e-mcat.com
– This site includes free access to a single, full-length MCAT with all the features of MCAT Practice Online. For a fee ($40), you can access hundreds of additional MCAT items, including several full-length practice tests. Additional features include automated scoring, diagnostic reports, and daily test-taking tips.
However you prepare, spend at least three months of intensive studying before taking the MCAT
Free on Facebook! The Kaplan MCAT Qbank Daily
Challenge app is free from Kaplan Test Prep and gives you daily MCAT practice questions.
Several iPhone apps – Search “MCAT”
Both Kaplan and Princeton Review give FREE practice
MCATs to advertise their services – take advantage of these sessions!
Register early and sign up with the AAMC Medical Minority
Applicant Registry (Med-Mar) Program when you take the
The registry distributes biographical information about examinees and their MCAT scores to diversity/multicultural and admissions offices of medicals schools interested in increasing opportunities for applicants who are underrepresented or are economically disadvantaged.
Get sleep the night before
If you get stuck on a problem, move on and come back to it later
Pace yourself with a watch
Continue to live life while your wait for your scores
Retake if necessary, but study harder – again, for 3 months or more – or else your score will be unlikely to improve
How are these sections scored?
Physical Sciences (gen. chem and physics), Verbal Reasoning, and Biological Sciences (organic chem. and biology) are all scored on a scale of 1 (low) to 15 (high)
The Wring Sample section consists of 2 essays, with each scored on a scale of 1 (low) to 6 (high)
This is eventually converted to an alphabetic scale from J to T
Some will take your latest set of MCAT’s (Penn Med)
Others average scores
Still others might take your highest score from each set of
Christina Chapman, MS4 [email protected]
Derek Mazique, MS1 [email protected]
Alyssa Reyes, MS1 [email protected]