It's exam day. You're taking the MCAT and you come across the hardest section you’ve ever encountered...
What do you do?!
Of course, you start panicking...
Is all your hard work going to waste?!
In this article, we're going to tell you how 515+ scorers dealt with a situation like this. Be sure to read to the end 🙂
Is This Your First Time On Our Blog? Welcome!
Everything you read here is backed by research. We have made it our mission to provide premeds with the highest quality and the most credible MCAT study and testing strategies by extracting them from vetted 90+ percentile MCAT scorers that we constantly interview and research. Enjoy!
How Top Scorers Dealt With Extremely Hard Questions On MCAT Exam Day
First, realize that this scenario is a real possibility because it’s not guaranteed that your test will be easier or harder than what you’re used to with your practice exams. This is something to be prepared for, so you're not startled on the day of.
Which leads us to our main point....
The number one thing a 515+ scorer would recommend in this situation, is to not lose your cool! Don’t freak out. Stay calm. Stay present.
Here’s why if you come across a shockingly hard section, you shouldn't panic…
Yes, it’s a hard section or a hard test but truth is, it won’t really influence your score.
It’s true, you will probably get more questions wrong. BUT know that if the test is hard for you, it’s hard for everyone else too.
So even if you miss more questions than you feel like you’ve missed on your practice exams, chances are you’ll still get a score you deserve that is representative of your preparation.
Remember, it’s a scaled test and the scale will make up for the difficulty, so your score won’t change. Keep this fact in mind at all times.
AAMC knows how hard their questions are. They have lots of data to see which questions usually get missed and which get answered. This is important for them to know because they tend to reuse questions.
However, the only way you’re almost guaranteed to lower your score is if you start panicking. Your panic will cloud your mind and negatively affect your thinking abilities.
Top scorers have techniques to stay positive, present, and focused during the actual MCAT.
How Top Scorers Stayed Positive, Present, and Focused On MCAT Exam Day
Let’s say you come across a hard question. You instantly want to panic, and to be fair, most people do. It's natural. But a top scorer would take a deep breath from the belly, and smile.
That’s right - smile. Even if it’s forced.
Do you think you can be in a state of worry and smile at the same time. Try it now - smile and try to feel worry.
Smiling releases dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins, which are responsible for lowering stress levels, calming your nervous systems. It tricks your mind into thinking that 'everything is fine'.
Plus, dopamine gives the brain energy, motivation and “a rush”. All of which are extremely valuable in that test-taking environment.
In fact, the smartest top scorers are smiling ALL DAY during test day. Especially throughout the test.
To top it off, when you’re smiling AND thinking ‘this is interesting’ as you read through the questions, you’re engaging your mind with the passages at a highly proficient level.
When you do this, you’re not fearful. In fact, you’re confident, kind of like you’re in ‘conquering’ mode and ready to plow through the question.
Smiling, particularly in a tough situation, makes us feel confident and confidence as you’re taking the MCAT, is extremely important.
There’s a reason why serotonin (released while smiling) is also thought of as the ‘confidence molecule’.
Breathing deep is also important. Top scorers breathe deep as much as they can to remain calm throughout the day.
Plus, when you inhale deeply, you sync the part of your brains that control emotion and memory. So as you’re inhaling deeply while reading passages, when it comes time to answer the questions, you can trust that you’ll have better recall of what you just read so you won’t be forced to return back to the passage very often (especially useful with CARS).
So remember, don’t panic when you come across what seems like a difficult overall exam. In fact, another huge motivation to not panic and remain calm, is so that you get an advantage.
Top scorers are always looking for advantages like this. Here's what we mean...
How Top Scorers Gain An Advantage Over Other Writers On MCAT Exam Day
Chances are, if you almost panicked, most of the other writers are already in panic-mode and definitely freaking out.
However now you’re at an advantage. You stayed calm and now have clear thought, with greater confidence, increased recall, and lowered stress. Now you can perform at your maximum best while others are performing at mediocre levels.
At the end of the day, this is a competitive exam. The competition factor is another huge reason why we urge you to use all the top scorer strategies we have for you, so you can gain an easy advantage over everyone else who will just be 'winging it' on the MCAT trying to figure out everything on their own, which is extremely inefficient.
Anyway, practice the strategies in this article when you're doing practice exams as well, so it becomes natural for you on test day.
If you actually apply these top scorer recommendations, chances are this one post probably will save you from getting a lot of questions wrong on the MCAT. Without a clear mind, it's incredibly easy to miss key points or get swayed to picking the wrong answer choices.
Also realize how this article took a few minutes to read, but resulted in huge potential gains which you otherwise wouldn't have gotten. That's what we call 'hacking the MCAT'.
Top scorers are always focused on 'hacking the MCAT' by applying the highest leverage strategies which result in maximum results. Those are the same strategies we collect and share with you.
Since we know these strategies are extremely 'high leverage', we can confidently say that if you take an hour or two to download and go through all our best strategies, you can actually increase your MCAT score by a minimum of 10 points within 30 days.
We know that since so many students have used these strategies to hack the MCAT, increasing their MCAT score to competitive levels, and getting into the med-school of their dreams...
There's no reason why you shouldn't be able to either...
You got this,
The MCAT Mastery Team
Your MCAT Success Mentors