Bummer! My Diagnostic Results

After a few days of MCAT specific studying (SN2ed prog), I decided to take a practice test on Kaplan’s website.

Now, I am so in the depths of doldrums that it seems if I managed to get some FUD I’d be in better shape than I am now.

I haven’t taken physics in about 3 years. I took cell bio and zoology at my postbacc school, since they don’t offer Bio I and II. I took gen chem and orgo I and II post bacc, most recently finishing with a 99 avg in orgo II. I also used to be a professional writer. But I got a 6, 7, 7 (phys, verbal, bio). PANIC SETS IN!

My undergrad gpa was 3.0, post bacc was 3.8. So, cum gpa is now around 3.2. I wanted to do an MD/PhD program. Now, I’m doubting I can be competitive in either.

I was originally planning on taking an early May 2012 MCAT, now I’m considering taking a full yr to study (if I take another year I will have to work FT).

Has anyone else with a disappointing diagnostic drastically changed their MCAT plans? Is it unusual to increase one’s score by 13+ pts over 4 months (during which I would be working PT only)?

First I would say take the free online practice from AMCAS. The free KAPLAN test while good has to be some sort of sales tool, so ofcourse you are going to fell like you did bad because “you can’t do well unless you have the KAPLAN mether”. And I took the KAPLAN course. I doubt there is anyone who could get above a 30 on the free online one. Also a 20 at the begining is a good start, there are plenty of folks out there with 15’s at the beginging.

I agree with BaileyPup 100%. That Kaplan test is nothing at all like the real MCAT - the feedback you got was worthless and not at all indicative of how you can expect to do on the real thing.

Head here:


They cost $35 each, but worth every penny IMO.

I took practice test 9 2 months before the real thing, followed by practice test 10 2 weeks before the real thing just to make sure the results of the first test was not a fluke and to psych myself up into test mode. I got the same score/score profile on both practice tests & the real thing. So I would say that in my case at least the AAMC practice tests (which are retired versions of actual past MCAT exams) were very predictive of how I did on the real thing.

Ok, thanks. Dang Kaplan! Their physics prep book was a waste of money, too. Not very well structured or written in my opinion. I should have known!

Also, think of it this way: Even if the Kaplan were a valuable diagnostic (and I tend to agree w/ consensus that aamc tests are best), you have 4 months to raise those scores. Study hard, keep slogging it out and then take an e-mcat and report back.

Good luck!

I wouldn’t get too hung up. If you are working only PT then it’s possible. I took the initial Kaplan test and scored a 24. I have been studying since Sept about 4 hours a day and taking full advantage of my weekends and am now averaging a 34 on the AAMC exams. I used the Kaplan online course (Do not take Kaplan tests 10 or 11, unless you want to destroy your confidence). It is pretty basic information, it helps more if you can synthesize the material and see how everything connect together. I’ve been out of school for close to 10 years. I take the exam in a few weeks…Good Luck!

An update-so, I’ve actually been working 40-60 hours a week. I took an AAMC today and got a 29.

PS: 8 VR: 12 BS: 9

Previous AAMC was 24.

I’m scheduled for July 27, and I have a 2 weeks of vacation beforehand to study FULL TIME! (Who’s spoiled? This girl ) Compared to one day a week (not including audio osmosis time) over about 5 months (that’s a lot of time to forget what you started working on), it all feels approachable.

I have a lot to review (dang circuits and acid-base chemistry), but it all seems a lot more approachable!

Question though-for verbal, I have consistently reviewed and thought, ‘Honestly, that was so poorly phrased I wouldn’t even say that’s the right answer with the answer key staring me in the face!’ I’ve only heard about verbal books people don’t like, any positive verbal review rec’s?

I just read and read and read any practice materials that I could get my hands on. The kaplan stuff was okay and I used some old exam crackers book. I have some PDF materials I can send you. I didn’t too to well, 8, but I got 10s on the AAMCs, got stage fright I suppose. Send me an email at mblarkin@gmail.com and I’ll send you some stuff. It better to try and know which answers are wrong and then narrow it further from there if you can. I wish I could just retake the verbal. Don’t get stuck on one passage for too long, that was my big mistake I think. Good luck.

I just can’t seem to budge my scores much-

AAMC results: PS, VS, BS

Test 5: 8, 12, 9

Test 7: 8, 13, 9

Test 8: 8, 12, 9

Test 9: 9, 11, 11

I’ve been doing detailed review after each test, then studying based on that info for about a week in between each test.

My strong spots are verbal and OChem (both of which I have neglected somewhat, but I got 100% OChem question right on test 9 and had a lot of ground to cover with bio).

Anyone else ever get stuck in a score rut? My test date is in 10 days. I’m not especially nervous, definitely looking forward to getting it over with, I just wish I had a bit more direction to my last 1.5 wks of prep since most of what I’ve read suggests I should expect up to a 5 point drop on my real score.

I was going to write a couple of paragraphs about my own practice test experience, but this chart tells the story just as well:

As I understand it most people do tend to get “stuck” in a certain range eventually. You can see from my scores that I don’t really get outside the low 30’s.

Best of luck on your MCAT 2!

I did AAMC 10 today…10/11/10 for yet another 31.

I’m kind of torn-I worked FT and have had about 1.5 wks of FT studying to really focus and beef up my score. I’ve seen definite improvement-faster with formulas, have learned that relationships and ratios are more significant than precise calculations, and that every concept I set out to cover in depth I get 100% right on the following AAMC test.

I feel like if I delayed and sat in January and applied next cycle, I’d be able to score a decent chunk higher and have the advantage of applying early in the cycle.

The thought of waiting another whole year kills me though. I’m moving with my family to Los Angeles right after the exam and don’t want to have to relocate by fall of 2013, but I doubt I’ll be competitive there with a high 20’s-low 30’s.

Right now I’m leaning towards sitting the exam in a week and applying to about 5 schools.

Ah well, back to test review.

Ended up with a 31P. Hopefully that will land me somewhere starting next fall!

That’s a good score, RHouston. Congratulations and good luck this cycle.


This is a great score and it will make you competitive at more than 1 school for sure.

Good luck and keep us up to snuff.

  • RHouston Said:
Ended up with a 31P. Hopefully that will land me somewhere starting next fall!

That's not bad at all assuming it was well-balanced. This is the national average for accepted MD program applicants (at least as of 2 years ago it was).