How She Broke Through Her MCAT 500 Score Plateau to 513! (ft. Julia Moore)

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

MCAT prep alone requires a lot of mental endurance, but it becomes even more challenging when you run into roadblocks along the way...

And for Julia that roadblock was a major score plateau.

Becoming a top scorer was no easy journey for Julia, as she plateaued at a score of of 499. Even after another month and a half, Julia could only increase her score up by 1 point to a 500. 

However, with persistence and support from MCAT Mastery, she was able to achieve her goal score.

"I think the hardest thing was just score plateaus for me. I felt like I was putting in all of this work and I wasn't seeing any improvement. And it was really, really frustrating."

Julia was extremely disappointed by her score plateau. Fortunately, she had a supportive and positive father who was determined to find tutoring for her, which was a huge help.

"I had a big low point then but I think I have a very practical dad who was set on finding tutoring and that was super helpful. And then it was honestly just like encouraging the tutor that I had, it was kind of like a personal cheerleader, in a lot of ways, just constantly boosting your confidence.

After implementing new strategies and using the help she got from her tutor, Julia was finally able to break through her score plateau ...

And in only 8 weeks after starting tutoring, Julia increased her score by 13 points to an amazing 513 on test day!! 

In this interview, we’re going to launch into exactly how she achieved a 13-point score increase in just 2 months, how she motivated herself through a plateau, what strategies she used for each section, and so much more…

Some of what you'll learn in this episode with Julia:

  • What she had to sacrifice in order to effectively focus on her MCAT preparation.
  • How she planned her MCAT study sessions
  • The study techniques Julia used for each section of the test.
  • What she would have done differently if she could go back and prepare for the MCAT again.
  • How to create more reasonable score goals and why this was so important to her success.

And so much more!

Topics Discussed

  • 3:02 The two things Julia adores that motivated her to pursue a career in medicine.
  • 4:22 What Julia had to give up to focus on MCAT preparation.
  • 5:26 How Julia planned out her study time.
  • 6:19 What she would have done differently in her MCAT prep if she had the chance.
  • 7:47 How to set more reasonable score goals and why this important to you doing well.
  • 8:31 The tools and sources she used that she thought were most helpful to her scoring 513.
  • 14:01 Some key tips from Julia that will help improve your score.
  • 15:54 The most significant lessons she took away from working with MCAT Mastery
  • 17:24 Julia's study techniques for learning MCAT Chem/Phys.
  • 19:00 The strategies Julia used to score in the 90th% on MCAT CARS.
  • 20:40 Julia's Studying tips for MCAT Bio/Biochem.
  • 21:56 How Julia learned strategies for MCAT Psych/Soc.
  • 23:16 What Julia's experience was like on exam day.
  • 25:27 Next steps for Julia.
  • 26:19 Final pearls of knowledge.

Memorable Quotes

  • Review the material thoroughly before taking practice tests.
  • Utilize Anki for daily recall to help your brain remember what you've learned.
  • Find quick and effective ways to round numbers so you can divide and multiply more quickly.

  • Before reading the passage for CARS, look over the questions and highlight the key terms.
  • The more you practice B/B, the better you get at focusing on the right things.

  • It's not necessary to comprehend everything the first time you read; the main thing is that you get the gist of it.
  • To find out when and what time you should leave on test day, visit the testing location in advance.
  • After finishing each section, leave the room. Give yourself time to stretch, put the previous one behind you, and clear your head so you can focus on the next.
  • On the day of the exam, bring the same food you've been eating while taking practice exams.

Bonus Q&A with Julia

What was your lowest MCAT score on practice or the real MCAT? How long did it take to get to your highest score?
My lowest MCAT score was a 499 and it took me 4 months to get to a 515 on my practice test.
Was this your first time writing the MCAT or did you retake? If your retook, tell us a little bit about the first time you wrote - what happened, what did you score, etc.
This was my first time taking the MCAT.
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?
It took me 4 months. My biggest piece of advice is to thoroughly review your score reports. Set aside time the next day after taking your practice test to review every single question, even the ones you got right. Allow this review to guide your content focus in the coming weeks before your next practice test.
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?
One of my biggest struggles was balancing MCAT studying on top of being a full-time student. I set up my schedule to where I was only taking classes on M/W/F and dedicating most of my T/Th to MCAT practice. I also made sure to take frequent breaks and exercise often so that I wouldn't burn out. I used the Princeton Review self-study course which I loved for content review but I found the tests to be overly difficult and not super representative of the actual MCAT. I would recommend using Anki as well as Uworld.
How did you study for Chem/Phys? What advice do you have to students who are struggling the most with that particular section?
I did a lot of practice passages and I also worked with my tutor to go over useful math shortcuts which were really helpful for this section. I was used to seeing these concepts from my chemistry and physics classes but having so much more time to solve them and on the MCAT everything is 2x speed. So I recommend dedicating time to learning strategies that cut your problem solving time in half.
How did you study for Bio/Biochem? What advice do you have to students who are struggling the most with that particular section?
I focused on content review. Based on questions I missed during my practice tests, I knew what I was struggling with and I would dive deep into learning everything there is to know about that topic so I wouldn't miss a related question ever again. My tutor also gave me applicable tools for tackling the intense graph/data passages.
How did you study for CARS? What advice do you have to students who are struggling the most with that particular section?
PRACTICE!! Sounds redundant but it works. Through repetition, you learn what kinds of questions AAMC is going to ask you. I also read the questions before reading the passage and this helped me stay engaged and on the lookout for key words and ideas. But my advice would be to not get so consumed in the details of the passage and make sure you're grasping the main idea and overall tone.
How did you study for Psych/Soc? What advice do you have to students who are struggling the most with that particular section?
I made Anki cards with terms and definitions from questions I got wrong on my practice tests. There is so much vocabulary you need to know for this section so start committing it to memory and making flashcards to review every day.

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 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.
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Julia's Testimonial

“I cannot recommend [my tutor] enough. She’s great at what she does and knows the MCAT frontwards and backwards. She gave me a lot of tips and strategies to help with my weakest areas. She also let me work through problems with her during our sessions so she could see where I was getting hung up and not performing as well or efficiently. Really thankful for all her help!!”

Get The Same 1:1 Support That Julia Received

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

Prior to trying our tutoring, Julia was consistently scoring in the low 500s. This went on for four months before she was paired with one of our high scoring mentors for tutoring. 

Julia 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 Julia, 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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