April 29 MCAT

So it’s come down to it. This test is the only thing missing from my body of work. I just took my OChem lab final so I’m resting today and tomorrow. The following has been my timeline:

Summer 2009 - bought EK books

Fall 2009 - started DIY post-bac

Summer 2010 - started studying for MCAT

Dec 2010 - started seriously studying

AAMC Practice Tests every 2 weeks (Date, PT Nbr, PS/VR/BS):

Jan 7 - PT07 - 11,9,9

Jan 25 - PT03 - 11,9,9

Feb 4 - PT09 - 12,9,11

Feb 18 - PT08 - 12,8,10

Mar 4 - PT11 - 10,10,10

Mar 16 - PT05 - 13,6,11 (tried modifying my verbal strategy that clearly did not work)

Apr 1 - PT10 - 12,9,11

Apr 15 - PT04 - 13,9,12

PT Averages: PS = 11.75, VR = 8.63, BS = 10.38, Overall = 30.75

I took a TPR and an EK paper MCAT but found that they didn’t align very well with the AAMC ones.

I also worked all problems from the EK 1001 series for Bio, Physics, and Gen Chem. I’m finishing OChem II now so I did not do any extra work for OChem. Did most (12) of the EK 101 VR tests. Overall I estimate I worked more than 4500 questions.

I’m encouraged by the upward trend in the past month so I hope I can duplicate that effort on Friday. I visited my Prometric testing center a few weeks ago, saw the room, and talked with the staff there. Just trying to stay calm and be in a good frame of mind.

Good luck, good luck, good luck!!! Cheering you on, and can’t wait to hear how it went…

Well holy crap, that was hard. I walked out feeling horrible and I still feel like I did not do well on it. After taking all the available AAMC PT’s, I thought the real thing was about twice as hard for the PS and BS. VR was about what I expected.

All throughout my practice, I had a good sense of the difficulty of the questions, length of the passages, and timing/pacing. I was actually pretty comfortable with the science sections, especially after scoring 32 and 34 on my last two PT’s. Most of that went out the window for the real thing because it was way more difficult! I know I guessed on more questions than I had done before. There were topics that I had no idea I needed to study…

Overall, the only section I feel good about is the one that really doesn’t matter, the essays (yeah, great). I tried my best but jeez I still can’t believe how much more difficult it was. This test basically whooped my ass. Plain and simple. Nothing I can do about it now except wait until the scores are released…

For everyone else who has taken it, did you also feel like total crap walking out of the test center?

Oh yeah!! I had already submitted my application so I was completely despondent the whole month of August while I waited for my scores. Numerous times I went on the AMCAS site to rebook the test but I relaized that I wasn’t going to be able to study anymore so I didn’t rebook at test date. In the end, I did better than I thought I did (31R - balanced), and about on par with how I was doing on the practice tests.

So my advice, which I know is easier said than done, is forget about it until May 29th at about 3-4pm(or whatever the release date is). The only thing that you may want to do (just for a day), is map out contingencies that you can put into play as of May 30th once you know your scores. After that - don’t think about it.


Hi, Desert-Shawn!

Most people feel like they just got hit by a truck when they walk out of the testing center, so if you felt awful, that’s normal. I felt completely wiped out afterward, and really doubted my performance.

But, I ended up with a 36T. So don’t let it get you down for the next month - just try to plan some fun things to do and spend time with loved ones. Stay busy and try not to think about it. Easier said than done, I know.

If you didn’t leave the test center feeling like you did I would be worried about you…


Well first of, I would say that I can’t imagine anyone coming out of the test center saying s/he is all happy to have aced the MCAT. So your feelings are in the norm (which should be reassuring).

I also know that if you try to rate your own performance, it is unlikely you would be off more than 4 points on either side. I thought I did 31-33 and I got a 30 (there was not way I scored less than 27 and more than 37).

I remember that I thought I aced the BIO (feeling 13-15, got 12), I screwed the PS (feeling 10-11, got 12) and was uneasy with my VR but relied on my practice scores and thought 7-9, got 6. So you can probably come up with a reasonable range for your own score. Statistically and obviously it is unlikely you got less than 20 or more than 43. You know what you did and you know yourself. I am sure you have a gut feeling.

Now some people are uneasy trying to predict their own performance (and it is usually not recommended, to avoid psychological torture) but I think that it can be useful for strategic reasons. What if you did well? Are you ready to apply? And what if you did poorly, what is the plan? Also it might be useful to start thinking about your thresholds (when to retake, when not retake and when to think about it).

The MCAT is tricky. Some are able to do well on the first try and others not. I think that while the preparation is of course essential, the form and luck of the day cannot be discounted. That’s probably why adcoms take into consideration multiple attempts (and often look at the highest or at the combination). You can be a great photographer, yet you can screw up pictures every now and then. I am not saying you did do poorly at all. There are just things that cannot be controlled. While I agree that the scaling is a way to even things out, one must also take into consideration personal affinities (like I hate immunology and would like do poorly on that, while others may love it and do well).

For now, forget about this. Take it easy and who knows, you may well end up with a very good score. While it is true that most people end up with their average score (on AAMC), I ended up with a lower score. By the same token, due to stats, there are those who end up with a higher score than their average. Why not you?

Enjoy this time during which you won’t have to do MCAT stuff.

Thanks for the posts. By no means was I expecting to feel great or even normal after the test. I was totally expecting to feel uncomfortable or anxious like I had on my practice ones. But what I didn’t expect was to feel almost abused! Like me and the MCAT decided it was going to be a one-on-one fight and then on fight day, MCAT brought 2 extra friends wearing brass knuckles.

I’m trying not to think about it but let’s be honest, it’s still near the top of my mind. I have already started thinking about worst-case scenarios (probably first entered my mind on the drive home from the test center). Good thing I have an OChem final next week to keep my mind occupied and then I start working full-time a week after that. I’ll also work on my AMCAS application and personal statement but the month of May is going to be absolute torture.

Hi desert

I understand your feelings and frustration. It is kind of hard to concentrate on anything. That’s perhaps why I didn’t want to start on my application before I found out.

Well hang in there. Do what you have to and try to forget. There it nothing you can do now that will change your score, so just proceed as you had planned hoping for the best.

For what it’s worth, I felt that way after every test; the MCAT, every shelf exam and step exam in med school, every inservice exam in residency, and the Family Medicine Boards after that. It always turns out fine, but I still walk out feeling like I must have slept through half of what I was expected to know. Onward through the fog…

Holy cow, just got my score!!!

PS 12

VR 10

BS 12

Essays Q

Total: 34Q

I am ecstatic!!!

Awesome!! Congratulations

Good job.

Awesome man!

I knew it… Congratulations, that is a FANTASTIC score. You should feel really proud of yourself, and I know it makes this summer’s application process that much easier… Way to go!!! You can breathe now!!!

Congrats! That is great and should open some doors!


Great job!

Awesome job! Congrats!


You actually took your MCAT on my birthday, so I was sending positive vibes your way and waiting with baited breath for your scores!

Congratulations on this triumph! Next stop, medical school…

Congrats! Anyone should be happy with that score! That’s fantastic!