There’s nothing we love more than when a member reaches out with their awesome MCAT score and shares their MCAT success insights and strategies with the entire MCAT Mastery family 🙂
In today’s success story, you’ll meet someone who managed to achieve a 90th percentile MCAT score in just 3 months of MCAT prep!
However, it definitely didn't come easy. He dealt with many struggles during his MCAT prep…
A lot of which you’re probably experiencing (or have experienced) yourself; like plateauing scores and constantly feeling burned out!
These struggles are part of the process and most of us experience them, but only a few conquer them.
Which is why it's important to learn from those do, so we can follow in their footsteps.
In today’s MCAT success story, we’d like to introduce you to Tanmay Patil, a 514 scorer…
With a 130 in B/B, we asked Tanmay to share how he studied for that section! You'll find those nuggets of gold towards the end of this article, but to start off we asked Tanmay to share his top MCAT study advice with you…
"My biggest advice is to make sure you take breaks and fit in time to do something enjoyable.
I neglected to do this and by the time test day came around I was very burnt out and tired. I think if I had taken breaks and was not as fatigued I could have scored better.
Furthermore, a super important tool that helped me do well was making "Why I Missed It Sheets" to track mistakes and consider methods of improving."
After many years of helping students with MCAT prep, we've learned that almost all the students who study for the MCAT end up facing burnout and fatigue - even when they know that they need to pace themselves! The reason?
They’re victims to their habits. We all are. You have 'study habits' that you’ve created in the way you've been studying for most of your high school and college exams. For most students, the habit is to speed through studying for a few days straight before the exam! They’ve developed the “studying stamina” to make those sprints. However, for an exam like the MCAT, which takes weeks and months to study for because of how long and dense it is...
You can’t speed through it!
Most students know this but they forget it because of years of programming. Which ends up burning them out and they end up procrastinating for days, feeling guilty with every day that passes...
Or worse, they try to push through the burnout and fatigue, and study without a fully engaged mind and with mediocre efficiency.
You need to pace yourself by incorporating breaks. Most students already know this as well, but only the top scorers ask themselves...
How can I ensure I don't unconsciously fall into old study habits and try to fly through it all? The answer...
Create a strategic study schedule where break days are scheduled, so you can’t avoid them.
That's just one of the many huge benefits of creating a smart, strategic MCAT study schedule. There are SO many more so we recommend you learn how to create one using previous 90+ percentile scorer MCAT study templates and recommendations...
Or get one customized and created for you by one of us 🙂
Whatever method you choose, don't underestimate the power of a smart MCAT study schedule!
Next we asked Tanmay about his biggest struggles during his MCAT prep, as well as what resources he used…
"Some struggles I had were feeling stuck on my practice full lengths in the early stages of my studying. I started doing the Kaplan practice full lengths relatively early in order to ensure that I was building stamina for the test over a long period of time. But as I was doing content review, my scores did not jump and I felt very frustrated.
Over time I came to realize that the Kaplan Full Length exams are not super representative of the AAMC materials, but are great for building stamina and reviewing content. If I had known this before hand I would have interpreted those scores differently.
I definitely recommend the Kaplan books for content review, but for a more accurate score estimation, NextStep is better and AAMC materials are the best. The MCAT Mastery documents do a good job of not only giving you tips on test taking, but also how to manage stress and to stay calm. They are very direct and honest. The strategies that are presented provide different perspectives on how to think about the questions or even different methods to approach the passages and diagrams or tables.
Another resource that helped me the most was the CARS Mastery Report. Having examples of the thought processes for the AAMC CARS question packs was very helpful and allowed me to better acclimate to the style of AAMC."
We completely understand the frustration of plateauing scores, especially when you’re doing more and more content review. It doesn’t make sense for a lot of students that they’re studying so much, but scores aren’t improving!
The reason for this is usually that once you have a strong grasp of the content, your score hits its ‘content max’...
Meaning after a certain point, learning more content is just going to get you minimal (if any) points added to your score.
Once you have a strong handle on the content, the game is then about how you’re applying the content, how you’re thinking through the passages and questions, how you’re reasoning through the answers, how you’re spacing your practicing, and so much more...
In short, it's the strategy of how you study and how you take the test that’s going to get you a 10+ point score increase at this point.
That's why you see huge <30 day jumps in scores in most of the success stories we send - it's because the strategy is always the missing piece 🙂
Next, we asked Tanmay how he managed to get a 96th percentile score in B/B! Here's his B/B MCAT study advice for you...
"For this section I would really focus on the AAMC section bank. Those questions are difficult and will prepare you well for the difficulty of the questions you will see on test day.
Another important tip is to practice how to interpret graphs and diagrams. Many questions will require you to channel your abilities to interpret graphs that may be odd looking or unique, or very complex.
Furthermore, having a solid content foundation is important, but this section will really test your abilities to study new information and apply it.
With enough practice, eventually you will be able to pick out the key information in the passage and question stem as the question patterns will seem familiar. This will help you arrive to the correct answer."
Related Article: How To Increase Your Bio/Biochem Score On The MCAT
Notice how for his highest scoring section, he inherently knew that beyond content, it's all about application and how you think through question stems, graphs, and more... 😉
We also asked him to speak about his lowest score section (P/S) and what lessons he learned….
"On test day there were a lot of terms that I had not encountered before. I think I relied too heavily on the Kaplan P/S book. This book is good, but it does not entirely cover the content the AAMC will test.
My recommendation would be to spend time with the book, but also to watch the Khan Academy videos and check out the Khan Academy video notes documents created for this section."
Related Article: How To Increase Your Psych/Soc Score On The MCAT
We agree! Those P/S notes are key! We show you where to get access to those notes and hundreds of other free hidden MCAT study gems all over the internet, in the VIP Member's Area 🙂
Fact: you're smart. You know that... And we know that. So achieving your 510+ MCAT score goal is totally possible - it’s all about how you study, which isn't that hard to learn. You've figured out way worse before.
Lastly, remember to incorporate breaks, have a schedule to follow, and take care of your body/mind daily. Get yourself feeling good and studying will get much easier.
You got this,
The MCAT Mastery Team
Your "MCAT Success" Mentors
P.S. Huuuge thanks to Tanmay for sharing his insights with the community! Please leave a comment below and let him know how much this helped you!