Hey Future Doctor,
If you're retaking the MCAT, this post was written for you. In fact, even if you aren't retaking the MCAT and this is your first time writing, you're going to get some great insights from a real 510 scorer!
Some students feel like retaking the MCAT is harder than taking it the first time because the pressure to succeed becomes greater...
However we'd argue it's easier.
If you can get beyond the disappointment and the negative emotions, and take the time to reflect, you can learn a lot about yourself from the 'first-time' experience.
The insights you get from reflection, can lead to a much more strategic MCAT prep study plan to make sure you dominate your next MCAT exam.
In this article, we'd like to introduce you to someone who retook the MCAT and scored a 510 the second time around...
Her name is Oleksandra Kaskun and here's her inspiring MCAT success story...
To start off, we asked Oleksandra to tell us about the first time she wrote the MCAT...
"I had to study for the MCAT twice, but I feel that during the process I learned a lot about myself and greatly improved my knowledge of the content.
The first time around I was working full time for three months, I was taking an MCAT prep course in the evening.
However, I felt that I was too tired after work for the prep course and I did not enjoy the pace of it as I wanted more time on some content and less on others.
When my MCAT date came up I did not feel well prepared as I did not have enough time to study. This made me extra nervous on the day of. I scored a 505 (126/126/127/126)."
How do you feel when you're studying for the MCAT? Or when you're going through a prep course? Does something feel 'off'? Are you not enjoying the pace of it? These are questions you need to be constantly asking yourself.
During MCAT prep, the signs are always there. The key is in awareness. Most of the time, students realize these things after they've written the MCAT. For some reason, that's when students take the time to reflect.
Top scorers on the other hand, are reflecting constantly. They're aware of how they're feeling throughout the process. If they're not feeling prepared, if they think they need more time to study, if they're feeling 'extra nervous', they make smart decisions which could be related to their lifestyle or even postponing the MCAT.
We interview and research top MCAT scorers so we can provide you with the most common, most proven, and most efficient MCAT study and testing strategies, to enable you to increase your MCAT score with every practice exam...
By providing you with their wisdom, we hope that you learn from the mistakes and successes of those before you, who have succeeded on the MCAT. So we encourage you to use and apply this information in your MCAT journey wisely.
Next, we asked Oleksandra about what steps she took after she got a score that was lower than her goal. We also asked her to mention some of her favorite MCAT prep resources that she used...
"During the following school year, I had many courses in my third year that helped me for content studying for the Pscyh/Soc, Chem, and Bio sections, specifically biochemistry, immunology, microbiology.
When it was time for me to resume MCAT studying, I focused on practice questions and passages more so than content review (I only spent one month for content review). The second month, I did passage practice using Kaplan material, ExamKracker material, as well as extra CARS passages. The last month I wrote three AAMC practice exams in the library and did a deep review of all of the questions, working on the weak areas (questions I got wrong, while also thinking about the theme or pattern behind my mistakes).
Since I was working full time in a research lab during the summer when I was preparing, I did not have much time to study. I worked and studied concurrently for three months. But to make the most of my time, I also studied on route to work (on the train).
I felt that being subscribed to MCAT Mastery emails, helped motivate me to continue studying, as well as remind me to study (due to the daily emails I received on my phone). They introduce people of all levels, rather than only focusing on top 1% scores, which helped me visualize my own goal and motivated me.
On my practice exams I got 509 (129/126/127/127), 509 (127/126/128/128) and 510 (127/124/129/130).
We'll motivate you and show you how to get that top MCAT score that gets you med-school admission....
This is great stuff. Lots of smart strategy here. We hope you're taking notes! Let's find out what happened on the day of the MCAT...
"The day of the exam, I was nervous but it was manageable nervousness as I felt more prepared. During the test, I made sure to clear my head before the next section and force myself to only think ahead and one step at a time.
To limit test anxiety, I did three practice exams in the same test conditions I would have on the day of (I went to a library, sat and did my exam in one go).
My result was a 510 (127/126/130/127)."
Nice. When you interview dozens of top scorers like us, you notice patterns. We believe if you just follow these 'MCAT study' patterns of top scorers, you'll achieve your maximum MCAT score. We've seen it happen over and over again.
One of those top scorer MCAT study patterns which we see constantly is practicing in real testing conditions, just like Oleksandra was smart enough to do.
Imagine the likeliness of you achieving a 510+ score if you applied as many research-backed top scorer MCAT study patterns as you can! At that point, your MCAT success would be near guaranteed, if you actually made the effort to go through and apply them...
But first, you'd need to get access to such a compilation of these 'patterns' found in most top MCAT scorers. A resource like that would probably be one of the most powerful resources to help someone achieve an MCAT score goal that makes them competitive for the med-school of their choice...
Luckily, we've got you covered 🙂 Check this out. You'll be glad you did.
Moving on with our top scorer interview, we asked Oleksandra to speak about individual sections and her experience with them...
"I was disappointed that my CARS did not improve, and I regret not practicing that section more. I would do more CARS practice passages to work on understanding the passages and perfecting my time, as I had little time left for the last two passages on my real test.
Also, I felt that the Psych section had much less common topics on it than the ones I was studying in all of my undergraduate courses and in my studying with Kaplan and ExamKracker material.
I felt that what allowed me to succeed in Bio sections was mainly all of the exposure I obtained through my classes (I am in fourth year of molecular biology and biotechnology specialist)."
And lastly, here are Oleksandra's top 4 tips and recommendations for you as you're studying for the MCAT...
1) "I would recommend studying at your own pace, with books and materials from both Kaplan and ExamKracker. Also, to do the AAMC practice material."
2) "The most effective strategy was practicing the material in the same way you will be tested on the exam rather than wasting time just reading over the material over and over again."
3) "I would suggest spending more time on practice questions and passages rather than reviewing the material for months on end, because you have to train your brain to get used to MCAT type questions and to see what subtopics MCAT likes to focus on."
4) "Remember your goal and the reasons for wanting to be a doctor. Keep that goal in mind and never lose sight of it. Also, think of why the MCAT is applicable and useful in your preparation for being a doctor."
We especially love the last point...
Never lose sight of your vision. You've chosen this commendable path in life...
Being a doctor is not about the status or the money that comes with it. That stuff is 'fleeting happiness'.
For the majority of premeds, this path is about making a difference in the lives of every patient you're going to encounter. This path is about going to sleep everyday, knowing that the world is a better, healthier, happier place because of you. This path is about fulfillment, which is 'permanent happiness'.
When faced with such a powerful dream, the MCAT doesn't stand a chance. So please keep that dream in the forefront of your mind everyday.
It's that dream that we see in you, which motivates us to continue to provide you with the best methods to overcome the only major obstacle standing in the way of your vision.
Once you dominate the MCAT with a top score using these methods, med-school acceptance is right around the corner. The MCAT is the #1 factor that they look at before reaching out to you for an interview.
We know that writing the MCAT over and over again, is just delaying your med-school acceptance. Not only that, it's worsening your chances every time. Which is why we hope you'll let us help you make this the last time you ever write the MCAT...
Because helping you get closer to your dream of becoming a doctor, is our dream...
And through this simple resource, we have helped make that a reality for hundreds of med-school students...
Now it's your turn.
You got this,
The MCAT Mastery Team
Your "MCAT Success" Mentors
P.S. Want another MCAT retake success story from someone who scored 511 the second time she wrote the MCAT? Read it here. Enjoy!
Every year MCAT Mastery helps thousands of premeds in achieving their target MCAT score goal so they can get into the med-school of their dreams. The dedicated team at MCAT Mastery accomplishes this by conducting ongoing research and paid interviews with 90+ percentile MCAT scorers, to bring you the most credible, most proven MCAT prep strategies on the planet.
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