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MCAT 2015 – A Review of All the Changes and New Tips

Session 137

Session 137

Today, we’re talking with Brian of Next Step Test Prep. We’ve talked to him several times in the past and today we talk to him again particularly about the new MCAT, what to expect, what has changed, and things you can do to make better in your test.

In this episode, Brian shares with us some tips and tricks how to maximize your MCAT scores. He gives his feedback on the test to help better prepare you as you prepare to study for the new MCAT. Lots of information in this episode so be sure to take some notes.

Here are the highlights of the conversation with Brian:

  • Is a perfect score in the MCAT impossible?
  • Would a high MCAT score give you the ticket to medical school admission?
  • The point of the MCAT is to get you to the interview and the interview gets you in.

What you need to know about MCAT 2015:

What the AMC claims:

1 year biochem, organic chem, and physics

New stuff:

1 semester each of psychology, sociology, and biochem

The reality is:

There is so little organic chemistry.

  • There is so much psychology and sociology (wouldn’t hurt to have a full year of psychology and sociology)
  • Verbal section (Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills or CARS) is really killer. Take some classes that can really help you with reading and reasoning (ex. a semester of philosophy or literature)
  • Study physics too.

What to expect from the new MCAT:

  • It is a long, exhausting day! Practice full 8-hour practice sample test. It is definitely an endurance test.
  • In the old test, they present the questions all at once. In the new test, they present a single question at a time. So you have to hit the “next” button to see the next question and so on. Skipping around the test is a total non-starter!
  • The highlight on the screen has changed. (Be aware of this nuisance)

Having a moving target:

  • Brian recommends that you get a spot at an actual testing office instead of satellite centers in university campuses.
  • If you wait until “you’re ready,” you will never take the MCAT. Just go ahead and do it!

More about the material:

Chemistry foundation:

New version: 30% chem, 25% biochem, 25% physics, 15% organic chem with a little biology scattered here and there

Tips:

  • Cover all your bases.
  • Amino acid chemistry is heavily tested. Study everything related to it (real detailed knowledge)
  • Start early in prepping for it (3-5 months)
  • For chem foundation, go right to the questions first.

CARS section:

What’s changed:

  • 90 minutes instead of 60 minutes
  • 9 passages instead of 7
  • More breathing room to do the passaging questions (from 8 to 10 minutes)

Biological and biochemical foundations:

What’s changed:

  • 2/3 bio, 1/3 biochem
  • Minimal organic chem
  • More focus on the cell level and down
  • Enzyme function questions
  • Metabolism questions
  • Amino acid questions

Tips:

  • Make sure to cover all your bases.
  • Organ system/physiology is much less emphasized but focus on the endocrine system (signalling and integration)

Psychological and social foundations:

This is the new beast!

Feedback:

A lot of questions that ask for detailed knowledge yet a lot are also verbal passages

Tips:

  • Buy at least two psychology books (from two different editors)
  • Study broadly here.
  • Watch AMC video resources

The biggest takeaway for premed students:

  • Keep calm and carry on. Everyone in the room is exactly in the same position you are.
  • There is a lot more breathing room in the MCAT. So keep your head down and keep up with and exceed the performance of other people in the room.
  • READ!

What Next Step Test Prep offers:

  • One-on-one tutoring
  • They sell books on Amazon
  • Full-length tests to simulate the exams
  • High quality, free resources (Half-length diagnostic exams)
  • Free webinars

Links and Other Resources:

  • Check out our partner magazine, www.premedlife.com to learn more about awesome premed information.
  • Free MCAT Gift: Free 30+ page guide with tips to help you maximize your MCAT score and which includes discount codes for MCAT prep as well.
  • Next Step Test Prep: Get one-on-one tutoring for the MCAT and maximize your score. Get $50 off their tutoring program when you mention that you heard about this on the podcast or through the MSHQ website.
  • Hang out with us over at medicalschoolhq.net/group. Click join and we’ll add you up to our private Facebook group. Share your successes and miseries with the rest of us.
  • Listen to our podcast for free at iTunes: medicalschoolhq.net/itunes and leave us a review there!
  • Email me at [email protected] or connect with me on Twitter @medicalschoolhq

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