Are you spending days studying for the MCAT and still seeing low scores?
Do you feel you're doing a decent job at memorizing and understanding concepts, but still not scoring as high as you want to?
For most premeds there comes a point during MCAT prep where you hit a brick wall. A certain score or a score range that you can’t get beyond.
Depending where you are in your MCAT prep it might be getting over the 500 mark, the 510 mark, or maybe it’s getting beyond mid 120’s on the CARS section.
Regardless, the walls are normal and come up almost inevitably for most students. But this can get extremely frustrating…
We truly feel you on that one. When your scores aren’t improving, and especially if you’ve gone days or weeks without seeing that improvement, things get scary.
But don't worry, it's not your fault. You just need to take a new perspective...
When you step back and look at your situation from a logical point of view, it communicates one simple fact; the way you were studying worked up until a certain point, now it doesn’t.
The solution is to adapt and evolve your approach towards preparing for the MCAT.
If you ever feel like going back to your old ways, remember what Einstein said...
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein
So your first step is to take a deep breath and accept that the way you've been studying for the MCAT needs to change...
And that's completely okay. A lot of those who destroyed the MCAT and got into med-school had the same realization.
Ok, so now which approach do you take? How do you evolve what you’re doing to study for the MCAT?
The answer to these questions is also extremely simple.
First, you don’t want to take any risks. You know that the next MCAT prep approach you take, must be extremely promising. Your time is limited. The MCAT is coming up fast.
You don’t have time to take a random person’s approach, even someone who claims to be ‘an expert’. You need an approach that’s been proven to work – not once, but many times.
So what's the best proof you can get for a reliable MCAT study approach?
Simple - a high MCAT score.
If the approach has been proven to get more than one person a high MCAT score, you can bet that it’s a solid process to help you do the same. You can bet applying the same principles will help you increase your MCAT score FAST.
"To be the best, learn from the best."
The question then becomes, where do you go to learn proven top MCAT scorer approaches and strategies to dominating the MCAT?
Well that's where we come in; we've been researching and interviewing top MCAT scorers for years now, with the single purpose of discovering exactly what approach they took during their MCAT prep, including what strategies, shortcuts, hacks, templates, and resources they used to achieve scores in the 90+ percentiles...
So we could pass them along to future doctors like you who seriously need to evolve their MCAT prep approach fast to hit as many new milestones (500, 510, 515) that they possibly can before their MCAT test dates.
We compiled all the top and most recommend MCAT prep strategies and the entire top scorer MCAT prep blueprint into a downloadable PDF guide called the Top Scorer MCAT Strategy Guide. The link is at the end of this post if you want to check it out later.
These top scorer strategies have helped A LOT of premeds get competitive MCAT scores and we hope they help you too.
With that said, now that you understand you need a different approach and now that you understand that this information is coming from top scorers...
In this article we're going to cover some key strategies you can start using right away to improve your approach.
We'll also hit on some common MCAT studying mistakes that are likely killing your MCAT score and keeping it below the 500 mark.
So let's begin with one of the most common mistakes...
One of the most common mistake students make when studying for the MCAT is that after a practice test they say to themselves...
"This was just a practice test, I’ll do much better on test day when it really matters".
Don't fall into this trap. This is the mindset that keeps your score below average.
To put it bluntly, if you are making stupid mistakes on your practice tests, you will most likely make even more stupid mistakes on test day.
The key is to use your mistakes on practice tests to identify your weaknesses, whether it's mental endurance, your understanding of the content, your speed, etc.
You need to devote extra time to improving in those areas.
If you want to avoid getting low MCAT scores, you need to keep in mind this one simple fact...
Testing is very important, but analysis is much more important.
Every time you take a test, you should do a careful post-test analysis.
Not doing enough analysis is the another common mistake students make during MCAT prep.
As a rule of thumb, you should spend 2-3 times the amount of time you spend going over your questions as you spend actually doing them.
Analyze why you got the question wrong and if you got it right, analyze why you got it right.
Analyze why the responses were wrong and think of how to make that wrong response a right one.
A simple example:
Testosterone cannot pass through the cell membrane because it is a protein hormone.
This is wrong, how can we make it right?
Testosterone CAN pass through the cell membrane because it’s a STEROID hormone.
Doing this constantly will allow you to tie in multiple concepts and quickly identify when answers are wrong, and why they are wrong.
Now you're sharpening your critical thinking and reasoning skills that will be valuable throughout the MCAT, and especially on CARS.
Also, make your post-test analysis twice as thorough for AAMC practice tests.
This is how you study for the MCAT the right way.
Remember, there is a gem in each question.
A gem that will give you insights into your strengths and weaknesses and the power of your strategy.
Questions top MCAT-scorers are always asking themselves:
Did my answering strategy work? Yes...why? No...why not?
What could I have done differently to find the right answer?
Once you start start doing this type of analysis, we can almost guarantee that you will notice how you keep making the same few mistakes over and over again.
Increasing your MCAT score is all about strategy.
No extra content studying.
No extra hours of cramming.
Just simple problem solving and strategy.
Key Insights & Action Steps
Truth is that when it comes to studying for the MCAT, it can get stressful.
One of the main reasons it's stressful is because studying for the MCAT isn't the same as when you study for your tests in college or university.
With the exams in undergrad, you can always expect a decent grade by studying a few nights before. That doesn't work with the MCAT. There are dozens of reasons, the breadth of the content covered being one of them.
Remember, the MCAT requires a smarter approach. Not many people know this and this is the main problem most MCAT writers face...
They're studying for a test in a way that won't get them the best results.
And when you don't get results you're looking for, when your score isn't increasing, when you can't get beyond the 500 mark on the MCAT, you get worried, frustrated, and stressed.
That's understandable and it's not your fault.
It's not your fault because you haven't been taught the correct way to study for the MCAT. You haven't fully developed the skills necessary to analyze passages, or think critically.
If you want to start scoring over the 500 mark consistently, you need to start studying smarter instead of just studying hard.
The tips in this article are valuable - but are just a tiny sample of all the other extremely valuable MCAT strategies, techniques, hacks, and shortcuts we have for you.
Like we mentioned at the beginning of this post, we have an entire guide dedicated to showing you how to study for the MCAT in the smartest way possible.
This MCAT Mastery manual consists of all our research-based, proven strategies that are recommended and used by top MCAT scorers...
If for some reason you don't need to drastically improve your MCAT score with the guide, feel free to browse around our site for some great free articles that could be valuable for you.
You got this,
The MCAT Mastery Team
Your MCAT Success Mentors