What Makes a Successful MCAT Test Taker?

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MP 205: What Makes a Successful MCAT Test Taker?

Session 205

This week, I’m joined by Blueprint MCAT premium tutor, Armin Tadayyon. We talk about what makes a successful test taker, how to overcome adversity, and more! If you would like to follow along on YouTube, go to premed.tv.

Get your FREE copy of Blueprint MCAT’s Full-Length 1 to follow along: Go to http://medicalschoolhq.net/blueprint. In the menu, click “MCAT,” then “Free Resources.” (That’s an affiliate link, so if you end up making a purchase from Blueprint later on, I get a small commission at no extra cost to you.)

Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.

[01:22]Exciting Co-Hosts Each Week!

Blueprint recently announced a live online version of their online course with Office Hours, including multiple tutors on each of their office hours. That way, you don’t only get one perspective, but you get multiple perspectives during every Office Hours.

Moving forward, we will be having different co-hosts to join us each week. They are all tutors from the Blueprint online course. They’re each going to bring their own perspective, their own thoughts to the MCAT world through this podcast.

Arman was previously on Session 392 of the Premed Years Podcast. Listen to it to find out about his journey to the MD/MBA, and how he became a top Blueprint tutor.

[05:18] His Decision to Go to Medical School

Armin was in his senior or junior year of high school when he decided to go into medicine. What drew him to the field was a cumulation of several different experiences that occurred over time throughout college which solidified that medical school was his next step.

Armin became interested in science in the STEM topics in junior and senior year of high school. Then he majored in biology when he went to college. And throughout his time, he decided to participate in some research experiences. He got involved in shadowing and gained some clinical experience. He fell in love with science and being able to utilize scientific knowledge to provide answers for other people. 

Meanwhile, Armin fell in love with the study of business as well. So he decided to do a dual degree in  MD/MBA when he was in junior year of college. And that became his goal ever since.

[07:06] The Biggest Trait that Makes a Successful MCAT Student

Armin moved to the basement of his parents’ house when he studied for the MCAT. He decided to work part-time. So he was able to really study well and did well on the MCAT. Out of college, he started tutoring the MCAT.

'Studying for the MCAT is a very introspective part of your life.'Click To Tweet

Discipline is paramount when it comes to studying for the MCAT. Armin studied for the MCAT for 4-5 months straight. And he learned more about himself in those months than he did any time in undergrad. By discipline, Armin means having the ability to self-critique and be able to face your weaknesses, and be brave enough to address those areas and focus on it.

It was a transformative time for him that some of the habits he built while studying for the MCAT propelled him through medical school. 

Additionally, you should have a relentless pursuit to not give up on your dreams and not let failure define you.

[12:17] Study Strategies

Armin found that keeping a journal was very helpful while studying for the MCAT. Be able to write your thoughts and logically assess your thoughts. Secondly, have a mentor. Have somebody who you respect and who you really look up to, and that you’re able to meet on a frequent basis and to give you their life advice.

'Having somebody that you respect believe in you is one of the best feelings that you can ever have.'Click To Tweet

Armin adds that emotions are what makes someone either a great test taker or a weak test taker. If you get scared and anxious about a test, see those emotions come up and embrace them. Don’t fight them. But then as soon as they subside, that’s what they are. It’s just meaningless.

[15:25] Where Students Struggle

Armin thinks where students mostly struggle is when they’re falling back into old habits. The MCAT is unlike any other test. It has a specific strategy associated with it. And it’s we have to get used to that kind of mentality. And whenever we fall back into old habits, we quickly read and answer a question and look at the answer choices.

'The MCAT is a very specific style of test where you have to approach the questions very methodically.'Click To Tweet

Armin’s philosophy on the MCAT is that if you read a question, stop and think about that question. Then you reword that question. Try to predict what the correct answer is, and then you go into the answer choices armed with a prediction.

He adds that reading a question and looking at the answer choices is one of the worst things you can do. There needs to be a pause. And he sees a lot of students falling into that.

[17:02] MCAT Tutoring vs. Online Course

Armin explains that the course has flexibility, but there is a structure associated with it. The class expects you to have attended office hours, utilize your resources, and be on top of your studying schedule. And with the course, too, you will be there with your peers. And it does create this collaborative environment, which is also helpful.

With tutoring, it gives you a lot of flexibility, where you can go back to those areas where you’re having a lot of trouble with. Then if the student comes in with a particular high-yield question, Armin will spend more time, quizzing them in that area and going into more depth. It’s very individualized compared to the course that’s more structured.

[18:44] Final Words of Wisdom

If you’re struggling, keep grinding. Those individuals you look up to who have been through those challenges and have been successful are no different than you.

You have the capabilities of staying very disciplined and doing well on the task and getting into medical school. At the end of the day, the numerical value on the test doesn’t matter as long as you get in. So, believe in yourself and know that struggle is a part of the journey.

'The journey is what's fun, not the destination.'Click To Tweet


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