The Key to Scoring Well on the MCAT is Not What You Think

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MP 223: The Key to Scoring Well on the MCAT is Not What You Think

Session 223

We’re joined by Adam, a Blueprint MCAT Live Online instructor who tells us the secret to his great score with only 4 weeks of prep. Hint, it’s not MCAT prep!

I love this new format where I get to interact with a bunch of you Blueprint MCAT live online instructors. I get to pick their brain and understand from their perspective. And it gives us a better understanding of what the MCAT is all about, how it all fits into the premed world, and hear their story.

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

[02:26] How Adam Prepared for the MCAT

Adam did really well on the MCAT and he thinks part of the reason was that he was a good undergraduate. So he was well-prepared in the sciences and psychology as well. He only prepared for four and a half weeks before taking the MCAT and was exclusively taking full-length exams. In fact, he went through 12 exams. Having prepared heavily for the full-length, he was comfortable with the exam.

He considers himself as a good standardized test taker in terms of endurance and strategies. Ultimately, he thinks it all came down to his comfort in taking the exams and having solid content knowledge.

'Take exam, review, exam, review content, take a break – that was my cycle.'Click To Tweet

[05:53] Do Well in Your Classes

“The best way to prepare for the MCAT is to do well in your classes.”Click To Tweet

Many students will not do well in their classes and not remember anything from their classes. If you don’t have that foundation coming in and then go jump straight to full length exams, then you’re going to struggle. And so, they need to go back to the content and restudy it and relearn it.

Don’t just take the classes to get good grades, but actually understand and learn the content first in those classes. And then go crush the MCAT.

From an efficiency perspective, you don’t want to be spending all that time in the classes. Give it your all and be able to understand the content so you don’t have to spend a ton of time later and duplicate your effort. Because no one likes to feel like they’re studying the same stuff they’ve already done.

What you’re learning in your classes is what you’re going to be tested and reflected on the MCAT. So make sure that you’re not duplicating effort in that regard.

[08:11] The Biggest Mistakes Students Make with MCAT Prep

A lot of people like a longer approach to preparing for about four to six months. And some students get really discouraged with discrepancies in their full-length scores. For instance, they start with a diagnostic like a 498 and their first full-length comes back and it drops two points.

There are confounding variables in there. First, the full-length is a lot longer than a diagnostic exam. And even though you’re doing some content prep, you might not have that endurance yet. There are still a lot of strategies you need to learn to move through an exam with efficiency and vigor.

Moving through the exam is like moving through a jungle where you just got to keep the pace up. If you let yourself fall and your energy drop, that can reflect in how you’re performing as well.

'A lot of people don't realize that going from diagnostic to full length is a lot different.' Click To Tweet

Generally speaking, you’re not going to be seeing a consistent trend or get three points better every single time you take a full-length. 

Another mistake students make is having too narrow of a view in terms of their preparation. Adam says he sees a lot of students falling for the prototypical trap answers that the MCAT likes to throw out there.

Specifically on the CARS section, the MCAT loves to throw outside opinion or answers in there to just trap people who aren’t actually reading or basing their answers in the passage. And they’re bringing in their opinion on the topic or something they’ve heard outside the MCAT.

[14:31] How Students Can Maximize Online Tutors

Blueprint MCAT offers an individualized study plan. Whether or not people are using that to the full potential dictates their success. Because content is heavy in the beginning of their course, it gets lighter as you go on. But if people get behind in the beginning of the course, it can have a snowball effect and they could get behind on material. 

Students that Adam has found successful are the ones completing all the modules and coming to each course. And where students are struggling is when they aren’t necessarily completing all the prereqs and have the content underpinnings.

'The MCAT is like a mile wide and an inch deep. You need familiarity with how the MCAT is structured and how they present the content to you.'Click To Tweet

It’s not just about understanding the content, but it’s understanding the exam and how it’s structured. Almost as important as understanding the content is understanding how it’s going to be presented to you. 

[17:43] MCAT Strategies and Tips

Don’t feel bad about getting things wrong, especially in the beginning. You should never view failure as something to run from.

“A trait for successful students is realizing that when you make a mistake, you shouldn't run from them because that's where you're going to find your score improvement.” Click To Tweet

Dive into your mistakes and understand why you’re getting things wrong or what your misunderstandings are. So don’t be afraid of your mistakes, recognize them, and work within the areas where you’re weak because those are the areas for improvement.


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