The AAMC is the organization behind the MCAT. When they do something, it’s news! They recently released the third scored full-length practice exam for the MCAT. Today, Bryan at Next Step Test Prep is again joining me to discuss this breaking news.
[01:25] MCAT Practice Exam 3 Is Available
The AAMC has just announced that their third full-length practice exam for the MCAT is out. As of this recording, you can buy it now at $35. Or it’s also bundled in with the AAMC online practice bundle at $234. You get the three scored exams, the unscored sample test, and a couple other things.
[02:15] Where to Buy the AAMC Full-Lengths
Moreover, Bryan cites a couple things students should know. First, of course, you need this test. You need every scored AAMC test.If you want to be well prepared for the MCAT, you need every one of the AAMC official practice tests.Click To Tweet
If you sign up for the Next Step Test Prep online class, it includes not only books but also thousands of practice questions and hundreds of hours of video. And they’ve also bundled in all the AAMC tests, including the latest one.
You can buy the test individually, too. But if you’re individually purchasing your resources, rather than getting an all-in-one pack with a class, Bryan suggests buying the AAMC MCAT Online Bundle . You’re going to need all of that stuff anyway.
[03:15] Scored and Unscored Practice Tests
Just to clarify, the new scored exam doesn’t replace the unscored one. So in total, there are four tests now instead of three.
First is the MCAT Sample Test, which is unscored for $25. It was released back before the MCAT was given in the new form. And then the three scored tests are called the MCAT Practice Exams at $35 each.There are four AAMC official practice tests now, not three.Click To Tweet
[03:50] AAMC: The Official Source + Next Step Test Prep
Even though Next Step has their own practice exams, the AAMC is the company that makes the MCAT. If they have the practice exam, it’s likely from the same people writing the real test. So it’s going to be as close as possible to the real test and to your real score.
As an educator, Bryan emphasizes he wants everybody taking their MCAT prep seriously to go to the official source. AAMC is the most official you can get, so you absolutely need to get their practice full-lengths.
With that being said, Next Step’s practice tests are by far the most representative of those released by any test prep company. Other companies selling practice tests, unfortunately, miss the mark. So between buying the official AAMC exams and the Next Step exams, students will be well-prepared.
[05:22] Observations from the New Exam
As soon as the test was released, Bryan got to it and took the exam. And all of his fellow MCAT tutors also took a look at the exam. And they have observed a couple of things.As soon as the latest AAMC official practice test was released, Bryan got to it and took the exam.Click To Tweet
First, the science passages seemed a little short. Or they’re shorter than they’ve been expecting. They’ve been seeing a lot of heavy experimental focus. They’ve been seeing lots of graphs, tables, and charts based on primary research. So these have been common.
Breakdown of the Subsections in the New Full-Length
And in the Psych/Soc section, the passages were surprisingly brief. The CARS section seemed pretty much standard with the usual array of topics and difficulty. Bryan describes CARS to have been steady forever, even when it used to be called “verbal reasoning.”
They also noticed one passage that had bullet points randomly in the middle of the passage. Bryan found it weird, as they’ve never seen MCAT passages with bullet points before. Normally, they’re just paragraphs and text. But they didn’t change the style of questions.
The Bio/Biochem section of the new exam looked very much like what you’ve been seeing from the other practice tests. There is a lot of primary research, graphs, and figures.
The impression they had at Next Step, coming away from the test, was that they found the Chem/Phys section to be short and easy. The Bio/Biochem seemed kind of long and kind of tough.
[06:48] Be Aware of MCAT Practice Exam Variations
What this emphasized to them, and this is important for students to recognize, is that every MCAT can be a little different. Every MCAT is going to have some variety in it. So you have to be very wary about any claims of “this is how it is.”Be wary of someone saying that every MCAT has this specific mix of topics, tone, or style. The reality is that there is variation from test to test.Click To Tweet
Be wary of someone saying that every MCAT has this specific mix of topics, tone, or style. The reality is that there is variation from test to test. That said, you need to do plenty of practice. Do all four AAMC tests. Do six to ten of the Next Step exams. Make sure you’ve got as broad of an experience as possible with prepping.
[Related episode: MCAT Retakes: Change and Improve to Get the Score You Want]
[07:50] What Was Bryan’s Score?
Bryan actually took the next practice test un-timed because he was trying to analyze it, not assess his first performance. He did take the new MCAT in 2015 and got a 525. That was good enough for him.
At Next Step, Bryan says they hire people who got 526’s and 527’s. Last week, they had to turn down somebody with a perfect 528 because he just wasn’t a very good teacher. They get many brilliant people coming to them to be tutors, so Bryan feels humbled.
So just because you scored great on the test doesn’t mean you’re going to do well teaching it to somebody else. Since the test updated, they have had three people with perfect 528 scores apply to become tutors. They hired one and turned down two. They want teachers, not just walking and talking perfect MCAT scorers.Just because you scored great on the MCAT itself doesn't mean you're going to do well teaching it to somebody else.Click To Tweet
[09:10] Final Thoughts
Try to wait for those last few weeks before your test day to take the AAMC scored practice tests, so you can make sure you’re prepared to score your best on the MCAT! Learn more about this study approach in “Last-Minute MCAT Tips Leading up to Test Day.”
Links and Other Resources:
- Check out my book written in collaboration with Next Step Test Prep: The Premed Playbook: Guide to the MCAT.
- AAMC Full-Length Practice Tests and MCAT Bundles
- Related episode: What’s the Best Way to Use the Official Practice MCAT Exams?
- Related episode: How Many MCAT Practice Tests Should I Take?
- Need MCAT Prep? Get tutoring, classes, and full-length practice tests at Next Step Test Prep!
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