In this MCAT success story, you'll learn how Noah increased his MCAT score by 14 points (from 496 to 510) within the last four weeks before test date!
Here were Noah's practice test scores after he was well into his MCAT prep:
March 8, 2020 - AAMC 1:
May 3, 2020 - AAMC 3:
May 16, 2020 - KAPLAN 4:
From March to May (2 months), his score was pretty much stagnant at a 500.
His test date: June 27, 2020
Now with around one month to go before test date, he took another practice test and scored a 496. At this point, Noah knew something had to change.
On May 20th, he signed up to work with an MCAT Mastery Mentor. When he first came to us, these were some of his biggest frustrations:
The Biggest Challenges Keeping Noah's MCAT Scores Low
"A big thing is I am not a good test taker. From the get go I knew that this test was going to be a major challenge for me. I normally like to take my time and be very thorough in my thought processing. However, this test provides significant stress due to the time constraints.
I do not have good strategies right now and am hoping this tutoring can help me come up with better strategies on how to approach questions, timing, and even best way to study.
My confidence is not great right now...for Chem and Biology I probably need to review the content a bit more. But just in general I think if we could come up with strategies on how to study/how to approach questions in each section that would help.
CARS: I keep second guessing myself and often times get down to two answers then cannot pick the right one.
Chem/Phys: this most recent test I ran out of time and did not even look at two passages (guessed on about 5 questions).
Bio: I did not run out of time but I still have struggled to improve this section. Maybe you can help me come up with better studying strategies and also strategies on which questions I should answer first, or even what to look for.
Psych/Soc: I have been consistently getting around 126 but since I was a psych major I feel like I should be doing better. I have experience with almost all of these terms.
I am very motivated to get the best score possible. But like I said I have felt discouraged because I do not have a specific study plan and am unsure If the approach I am taking is most effective."
A month later, Noah ended up taking the MCAT on his scheduled test date.
He didn't push it back.
He didn't void his score.
He ended up scoring a 510!
We are so proud of Noah and his success, and are excited to share his story with you today! We hope that this can inspire you on your own journey.
Continue reading to learn more about Noah’s tips, and be sure to check out his interview on YouTube as well!
Psst! MCAT Mastery Team here 🙂
How Noah Changed His MCAT Study Strategies To Improve His Score
"I found that organization with my study plan was key. Before I started meeting with a MCAT Mastery Tutor, my study schedule was very messy. I had no structure and would just study as much as I felt like doing. I was still spending a lot of time studying, but I was not doing the right things. My tutor helped me realize the value in doing practice problems.
Before I started using MCAT Mastery resources, I struggled with finishing all of the questions in a specific section. I would often get caught up on a "hard" question for 2-3 minutes. This would then mess up the timing for the next questions and ultimately prevent me from being able to finish all of the questions on time.
Additionally, I would get frustrated and discouraged because of this. However, the strategies that MCAT Mastery suggested were very helpful in improving my timing. I learned that I could get the most out of doing practice questions if I did them under the same time parameters as the actual test (i.e. I would do 48 questions in 76 minutes). As I continued practicing with this timing, I became more comfortable and confident.
Another important thing I would recommend is keeping a notebook full of the themes/topics you get wrong in your practice. I would then read through the notebook of the questions I got wrong about 2-3 times a week. By the end of my prep, these topics that had once been weaknesses for me became my strength.
My CARS scores were also very inconsistent before I learned about MCAT Mastery. I would get a 129 on one practice test sitting and then the next I would get a 125, which was very demoralizing. I found that often times I would go back and change some of my answers.
One of the things that the MCAT Mastery CARS program taught me is to stick with your gut feeling. In this, I made a commitment to never change my answers, which really helped me improve my score. Another helpful strategy was writing a one sentence summary after reading each paragraph of a CARS passage. The brief summaries helped me have a clearer vision of what the passage was actually saying.
One thing that really helped me was that my tutor actually pulled up the AAMC question bank and would read a passage out loud and I was able to hear what the thought process of my tutor was. For me that was like okay now I understand how you tackle these questions, what to highlight, and how not to get bogged down... For me that really simplified things.
My tutor helped me with rewording the question and understand what is at the root of it, and that is something that helped me a ton. It also showed me that you didn't always necessarily need to know how to solve the problem but there are certain clues that you can use, if you knew enough of your content, to get an idea of how to narrow your answer choices."
My tutor also helped me with feeling confident, to look at the MCAT as something you're going to tackle piece by piece, and when I had that change of perspective, it made a huge difference. The MCAT Mastery tutoring and books are so encouraging and helpful. I wish I would have found this resource earlier in my study!
If you are struggling with CARS section I would definitely recommend the CARS Mastery Course or getting a MCAT Mastery tutor. These two things greatly helped me improve my score and I am sure the same would be true for you."
Advice For Individual Sections of the MCAT
"I spent the least amount of time on C/P. If I could go back, I would have spent more time memorizing the equations. There were a lot of questions on the MCAT that I could have done quicker if I had known my equations better rather than trying to use process of elimination.
I spent considerable time studying for B/B. I would recommend watching Khan Academy videos for any subjects that you may not understand. Additionally, I found it helpful to go over the major cycles/systems multiple times a week. This includes Krebs Cycle, ETC, Cell Cycle, Enzymes, Kinematics and so on.
I found the MCAT Kaplan Quick Sheets to be most helpful for P/S. I would read through the Psych/Soc section 3-4 times a week before I went to bed. This did not take me very long and helped me better memorize the terms (which is essential for this section)."
Noah’s Resources and How He Used Them
"I found AAMC practice question to be most useful for test prep. I would write down the topics that corresponded to the questions I got wrong during my practice, and then would spend a few hours relearning that specific topic.
Remember, if you spend enough time being thorough in learning a specific theme or topic, then you will not have to relearn later in your preparation. From the get go, I knew that this test was going to be a major challenge for me. I normally like to take my time and be very thorough in my thought processing. However, this test provides significant stress due to the time constraints.
For content, I used MCAT Kaplan 7 Subject prep books. They were helpful in reviewing material that I had learned during my undergraduate science courses, but I spent way too much time trying to take notes and read through each book.
I would recommend reading through the books briefly then doing practice, practice, practice. Practice is where I found my weak areas. Once I found areas of weakness, I would go back to the book and spend more time on those specific areas.
This seemed to be the most efficient use of my study time. As I mentioned before, the AAMC MCAT resources are a MUST, even if you are using third party resources.
Using their materials allows you to get used to the specific wording and type of questions you will see on the actual MCAT. I found Kaplan practice tests were helpful, but the wording was a bit different.
The daily emails from MCAT Mastery were also very encouraging and uplifting during this stressful time of studying. Even more, I would often find little tips/hints that helped me in the long run."
Thank you, Noah, for sharing your story! To hear more in depth about Noah’s strategies, check out his full top-scorer interview.
It may be tempting to fall into despair when you are not seeing any improvements to your MCAT progress so close to test date, but Noah’s story proves that even small tweaks go a long way.
The MCAT cannot get in the way between you and your goal of becoming a physician!
You got this,
The MCAT Mastery Team
Your MCAT Success Mentors
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