From 494 (2015) to 502 (2019) to 513 on the MCAT (ft. Jennifer Nagel)

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. ???? ???? ????

Today we'd like to introduce Jennifer Nagel, an MCAT top scorer, and our guest in today's MCAT Master Interview!

Jennifer Nagel has always felt confident in the sciences, but the MCAT is enough to make anyone doubt their abilities.

She took her first MCAT exam in 2015 and scored a 494 and kind of let it beat her down a little bit. 

She decided to retake it four years later and ended up with only a 502 score.

"I had received my rejection letter from the university I had interviewed at last year, which was a huge blow and I kind of recognized... that I would have to rewrite this thing if I really wanted a shot at moving forward with medical school .

And so I kind of took some time to grieve the rejection. And then I really decided that I'm not the only one who struggles with this. Whatever I've been doing to this day just isn't working for me and I need to find some tools that will help me get there."

It was devastating but she couldn't let her dream and all her efforts go to waste.


So she went ahead for another try. This time, with confidence, positivity and new strategies. 


"I think a big difference between the first, second and third time is how I was studying. They always say practice makes perfect while someone else replies, 'it's perfect practice that makes perfect.' I was studying in a way that was effective compared to those previous two times."

Jennifer’s story with the exam is one of overcoming test anxiety, cultivating persistence, and determination...

All of which led her to score 513 on the MCAT on her third attempt in 2020! 🙌


In this interview, we'll dive into understanding how she scheduled her prep, what strategies she used for each section and how kept herself motivated, and so much more…

Topics Discussed

  • 1:37 Jennifer's background and what inspired her to pursue a career as a doctor
  • 3:44 The start of her MCAT journey and her first failed attempt
  • 7:33 The differences in her study methods between her first, second, and third attempts
  • 9:20 How COVID influenced her preparation
  • 11:48 The resources that were most beneficial to her
  • 14:09 Her greatest challenges and how she overcame them
  • 17:07 Things she wishes she had done differently
  • 18:14 Tips in studying for B/B
  • 20:44 Tips in studying for P/S
  • 24:21 Tips in studying for C/P
  • 26:08 Tips in studying for CARS
  • 28:42 What happened on her actual test day
  • 33:58 Jennifer’s future plans and final message to other students

Memorable Quotes

  • Make time for studying while also making time for the things you enjoy doing so that you can maintain good mental health.
  • Rather than destroying your self-esteem, work on boosting it.
  • Maintain your positive attitude and faith in your ability to succeed.

  • Do not over-study one specific area. You never know what's going to come up on the actual exam, so having a broad understanding of a little bit of everything comes in handy.
  • Get comfortable reading research articles, analyzing data, and following along with the authors to see what conclusions they reach with that data. Because many of the passages require you to analyze and interpret data, and some even suggest a follow-up experiment.

  • Look at definitions of the terms to see if they are relevant to the context of the passage.
  • Be mindful of the answers, right or wrong, and try to advance your understanding of the correct answer in the end.
  • Learn the rules and find out why they are the way they are.
  • Instead of reading to memorize every key detail, read for the purpose of the passage.
  • Don't spend too much time on a single question; instead, flag it and move on. Return to it if you have more time.

Resources Mentioned

Subscribe and Review

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 love reading the reviews!

Join over 11,000 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

Jennifer's Testimonial!

As you'll hear from the interview, when Jennifer was really struggling, she found our strategies to improve her score! Here's what she had said about them:

"I was very skeptical when I decided to buy the MCAT mastery course, but I am not anymore. Not only does this guide give you actual tips and tricks that you can choose from. It also teaches other skills you will not find in other MCAT prep books... I've seen my score increase in every section. My biggest struggle has been with CARS, but with their guide and practicing every single day not only has my score improved. It's also become less daunting. In fact, sometimes I've even come to enjoy reading the passages and treating it like a puzzle. With their help, I know this is the last time I will be taking this test! 4 weeks out and I'm scoring in the 507-512 range!"

If you're looking for a similar score increase or are in a similar situation, check out these strategies. They'll help you you as well! 👍

Enjoy the episode!

The MCAT Mastery Team
Your "MCAT Success" Mentors


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!

Subscribe to The MCAT Mastery Podcast To Get Instantly Notified When A New Episode Is Released!


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