10-Point MCAT Score Jump in 2 Weeks: From 503 to 513! (ft. Kayla Zentmaier)

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MCAT Mastery Podcast: Show Notes

About The MCAT Master Interview Series

Welcome to the MCAT Master Interview series!

We’re on an ongoing mission to put together THE formula for achieving a top MCAT score.

We’ve been doing this by gathering the most effective MCAT study strategies from verified top scorers, and then we bring them to you in the form of blog articles, daily emails, YouTube videos, strategy courses, through tutoring sessions and anything else that can help you along on this journey to reach YOUR maximum MCAT score.

We’ve been researching and holding interviews with top MCAT scorers for many years now, until recently we thought "Why not let you all in and give you a seat at the table during these interviews!”.

So, that’s what this series is for ????

We hope by listening to these interviews, you learn proven MCAT study strategies you never thought of, that you can start implementing right away!

And most importantly, we hope you feel an increase in inspiration and motivation because the MCAT journey can be very tough and it can be easy to fall into negative mental cycles...

But as you’ll learn from these success stories, every top scorer had to deal with the struggles, the challenges, and through perseverance, through strategy, through mindset work, they all made it to the top score that was right for them. ???? ???? ????

Preparing for the MCAT is a challenging journey on its own, but when you're faced with hurdles that get in the way of your success, how do you come out on top?

Meet Kayla - this episode's top scorer and featured guest on the podcast.

Despite being a top scorer, preparing for the MCAT wasn't an simple journey for Kayla...

"I was applying for accommodations for the MCAT because I am severely dyslexic. And there are a lot of complications that are involved with accommodations for the MCAT.  This whole scenario actually led to me having to be re-diagnosed for my learning disorder, which significantly delayed my MCAT exam and also was just a pretty discouraging moment but I ended up taking the exam in April of this year after my accommodations were approved."

With just 4 weeks left before test day, Kayla was scoring a 500 on her practice exams. Although this is not a position that she wanted to be in, like a lot of us, she maintained her motivation and decided to push through to her exam.

She also realized that she didn't have to deal with her MCAT challenges alone. That's when she reached out to us and started working on her approach to the MCAT with a tutor, but was still only scoring a 503 two weeks before her exam.

As a result...

In less than 30 days, Kayla increased her score by 13 points, with 10 points of that improvement in just the final 14 days before her exam! 🎉 🙌

In this interview, we’re going to dive deeper into exactly how Kayla became a high scorer, how she studied overall, how she scheduled her prep, what strategies she used for each section, and even more…

Some of what you'll learn:

  • Kayla's study schedule and resources used
  • How she overcame feelings of isolation and other obstacles
  • The strategies she recommends the most to increase your score quickly
  • Studying strategies for each specific section
  • Exam day tips

And so much more!

Topics Discussed

  • 02:10 Kayla’s motivation in becoming a doctor.
  • 5:02 Study prep and resources she used.
  • 14:35 How Kayla overcame feelings of isolation as well as other obstacles.
  • 17:39 The strategies she recommends the most.
  • 21:18 Why Kayla got a tutor and how that affected her preparation.
  • 23:23 Strategies for studying P/S.
  • 26:10 How she studied for CARS.
  • 28:54 Diagrams and other super helpful tips for studying B/B.
  • 30:58 Studying for C/P.
  • 33:05 Exam day tips.
  • 39:05 Final message.

Memorable Quotes

  • Start doing practice exams as soon as possible.
  • Incorporate something in your schedule to keep you sane. Prioritize the MCAT but have some fun little breaks when possible.
  • Use mnemonics to easily memorize, especially for B/B.

  • Connect with other students who had recently taken the MCAT and ask for advice and/or moral support.
  • Recognize and validate yourself for all of your efforts.

  • Learning how to relax can greatly improve your scores.
  • Wait for your scores back before applying to med schools.

Bonus Q&A with Kayla

How long did it take you to go from your lowest score to your highest score? What are your biggest pieces of advice and strategies for helping someone increase their score like you did?
Three weeks! My biggest advice is to learn pneumonics and to stop worrying about content review by reading books- just do lots of practice problems!
Please share more about your journey to MCAT success! What were some of your struggles and how did you overcome them? What advice do you have for other premeds who would love to achieve a score like yours? What materials did you use and which would your recommend?
I am dyslexic, so even with extra time accommodations I was always struggling with time management as I took the practice tests. I could never seem to finish most of the sections. Something that helped me was realizing that you don't always have to read the whole prompt. Read the questions first for all of the sections and you will see that there are always a decent amount of questions you can answer by just using your background knowledge. I used Kaplan test prep and UWorld. If I could go back and do it all over again I would have used UWorld way sooner and not spent as much time on content review from Kaplan.
How did you study for C/P? What advice do you have to students who are struggling the most with that particular section?
My biggest advice is using practice problems and making sure to note the types of questions you get wrong. I always read the prompts first and answered all of the questions that I could do just using my background knowledge. My C/P was my lowest score on the actual MCAT, but usually was one of my highest. I did not spend enough time studying physics for the MCAT.
How did you study for B/B? What advice do you have to students who are struggling the most with that particular section?
Again practice problems are key for this section! Pneumonics helped me a ton for this section especially for the order of cycles, different enzymes, and hormones. Using concept diagrams can help you keep track of specific details in the prompt.
How did you study for CARS? What advice do you have to students who are struggling the most with that particular section?
I didn't necessarily study for CARS besides completing the practice sections for each exam. I have heard the opposite advice for what I am about to say, but something that helped me was specifically doing the hardest and longest sections first. That way you can actually take the time to do them while leaving easy reads for last. I think anxiety can play a big role in CARS because there is often a time crunch. If you leave your longest and hardest sections for last you might panic.
How did you study for P/S? What advice do you have to students who are struggling the most with that particular section?
I am a psychology and neuroscience double major, so I had a lot more background for this section than the average pre-med student just out of personal interest. I believe the course that prepared me best for this section was taking my university's Social Psychology class. A lot of this section is just memorizing terms. I personally made a ginormous quizlet for this section. Something that I didn't prepare for as much, but I realize I could have probably achieved the 132 if I had, was making sure to know the pathway of the eye.

Resources Mentioned

Subscribe and Review

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Join over 12,000 premeds in the MCAT Mastery Community learning how to improve their scores for free at https://mcatmastery.net/freecourse

Learn more about each mentor on the MCAT Mastery Team here.
Work with an MCAT Mastery Mentor: https://mcatmastery.net/mcat-tutors

Get The Same 1:1 Support That Kayla Received

As you'll hear from the interview, Kayla found our strategies to improve her score! 

Prior to trying our tutoring, Kayla was consistently scoring in the low 500s. This went on until a month before she was paired with one of our high scoring mentors for tutoring. 

Kayla found that the help and support from a tutor made prep easier than when she was studying by herself. In the interview she even lists a number of resources she discovered only once she started her tutoring sessions that helped bring her score up to 513.

If you're looking for a similar score increase or are in a similar situation as Kayla, you should check out the tutoring options that helped her here. Our tutors will be sure to help you become a top scorer too! 👍

Enjoy the episode!

The MCAT Mastery Team
Your "MCAT Success" Mentors

P.S. If you enjoy the podcast, would you please consider leaving a short review on Apple Podcasts/iTunes? It takes less than 60 seconds, and it really makes a difference in helping convince more top MCAT scorers to come on the show. We also would love reading your reviews!


The MCAT Mastery Team

About the Author

We're a team of future doctors passionate about giving back and mentoring other future doctors! All mentors on the team are top MCAT scorers and we all are committed to seeing you succeed in achieving your physician dreams ????To help you increase your MCAT score to the competitive mark quickly, we have collaboratively created these self-paced MCAT strategy courses and are also available for one-on-one tutoring!

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