discouraged over MCAT

Hello All. Sorry I haven’t posted in awhile, but it’s been a hard summer and I’m very discouraged over the MCAT. The August MCAT is less than 2 weeks away, and I’ve decided that I am not taking it even though I was registered for it. Therefore, I will obviously wait a year to apply and take it next year. “Marathon, not sprint” as we say in OPM.

I am not going to post my scores because they are very low and I don’t want you all to think I’m stupid. I’m not stupid, just lacking in the critical thinking/analysis skills the MCAT requires.

I did take a prep class (TPR) and I’ve taken 5 full-length practice tests: 3 as part of the class and 2 on my own. The last two Saturdays before the MCAT, TPR actually gives two AAMC tests. I just took Test 8 and next Saturday is either Test 7 or Test 9.

Basically, my scores are so awful I could not get into any medical school with them (M.D., D.O. or even overseas), and I have been so depressed all summer. I have attended every class (except for two) and taken all the diags. I study 4-6 hours per day and class is M-Th for 2.5 hours a day. I also have a two-hour commute to class. I have learned everything (via class) that could possibly be on the MCAT, but mastered nothing.

The MCAT is the hardest thing I’ve ever done and it makes me concerned for my future because I know if I can’t get past it, I can’t be a doctor. I’m just so discouraged/depressed.

How did you all study for it? Flash cards? Working problems? I have read all the TPR book chapters and then I do the problems. I usually get them half-wrong (or more), and my tests are about the same. My scores are evenly bad across all sections (Physical Sciences, Biological Sciences, and Verbal) although I have improved the most overall in Verbal. When I get my diag sheets back, there is a breakdown of categories but in my case, it doesn’t matter. I suck at everything, but hey at least I’m consistent.

I obviously have not studied the right way although I’m not sure how you can really study for the MCAT?? I thought I’d be able to study in 12 weeks and get an amazing score, but that’s not happening so I’m going to try studying throughout the year and hard-core next summer. I am currently aiming for a July or August 2007 test date.

I spent so much time and money (lots of $$ in gas, parking, etc.) on the MCAT and feel like I got nothing in return. I may try the Examkrackers books next year b/c they seem to be simpler and many of you have done well with them.

Any words of wisdom or support? For those of you who did well or are currently doing well, how did you study?

Oh, I did manage to get my highest score all summer on Test 8 so that’s one bright spot. I try to focus on the positive and questions I get right, but those are few and far between. I know the first thing I should do is look at the diags/HW and go over all I did wrong (which probably will consume several months but I’m usually so upset that I don’t even want to look at them again. It’s a vicious cycle.

Thanks for listening.

For those of you taking the August MCAT, good luck! I will be thinking about you.



Stacy, I think the thing you’re most afraid of doing is the thing you have to do: look at the practice tesks you have taken. The Examkrackers method is to go over EVERY QUESTION (right or wrong) and ask: why did I get this right? Why was this the right answer? Why did I get this wrong? If wrong, did I not understand the science (review the science), or did I not understand the question (go over the explanation until you see how they tricked you)?

Analytical skills can improve with practice, but if that’s the skill you lack, you have to improve it by analyzing, not by studying more science. Reviewing those old exams will help you identify whether that’s the problem, and the act of reviewing actively that way will give you exactly the kind of practice in analysis that you need. It’s not a sad, tragic sign of failure going over the exams. It’s a treasure hunt. As you sift through all this information, you’re developing the skills that will be the key to this exam for you. Go get 'em, Tiger!



I am currently studying for the August MCAT and also am taking the TPR class. I did not find class to be as usful as TPR books which I use extensively. I also got the exam Kraker books and all the MCAT exams I could afford. My way of dealing with this exam is to study the science, do the homework and then tons of practice question and passages from other sources (I found the 1001 question of exam karker very helpful). I have to say I spend all summer studying for this exam usually about 8 hours a day and that does not include class time. I do see an improvement and I attribute it to my persistence and checking my mistakes on the diags and doing the problems I got wrong again. I am sorry you are so discouraged at this point but do not think you can not do it because you can. The material is not hard it is just getting used to the format and what they are actually testing and I find the practice of aamc exams the most useful. Hope this helps a little bit and good luck.


Stacy, one thing that I know helped me a lot was Exam krackers audio osmosis. I also was doing 2+hrs a day of commuting whioe prepping for the MCAT and I found it helped keep me focused and made me feel like my commute wasnt just dead time. I listened to those cds so many times I can still conjure up any part of them in my head, but they really only help with the content, not the stategy. You can usually find good deals on a used set on Ebay, that where I got mine. Dont give up, it will start to click, good luck,


I actually have been listening to the Audio Osmosis CDs in the car all summer too although I think I remember the jokes more than the science…(“Islets of Langerhouse? Why aren’t their Jugs of Jordan? So a mushroom walks into a bar, and says bartender give me a drink…”)

I have been going over solutions to HW problems tests and it varies per question. Sometimes, it’s I mixed up a formula or did the math wrong, sometimes I should have memorized X but didn’t or had a brain fart and forgot X but remembered Y and chose Y as my answer, but most of the time, I don’t understand the question. I’m not sure what they’re asking or I misinterpret the question, or (esp. in Verbal), I miss one word or phrase and therefore miss the answer.

I’ll go back over stuff I missed, and I’m hoping the extra science classes will help even though it’s only supposed to test from the core classes. I’m taking anatomy and physiology this semester (starting next week - no rest for the weary!).

I guess there’s no magic formula for the MCAT. I’ve just been so discouraged with it. Better luck next year I guess.

  • StartingOver Said:
I guess there's no magic formula for the MCAT. I've just been so discouraged with it. Better luck next year I guess.

Hi Stacy,

It's hard on the ego, but it's a wise decision to pull back and wait until you feel ready. How do your verbal reasoning scores compare with your science? perhaps working on the logic/trickery aspects of the exam will be useful; I have the impression MCAT is as much a reasoning test as a content test.

Best of luck,

My Verbal scores have improved the most overall. This is probably because I have analyzed my weaknesses/strengths more on Verbal than Sciences and because this section pisses me off more than Sciences: I started out on the first diagnostic test with such a low Verbal score that anyone I talked to about it thought I must have misbubbled.

Doing AAMC Test 8, I felt like Biological Sciences was Verbal! Questions were very passage-oriented and my head was pounding by the time I finished the test.

I take Test 7 in a few days and then I can relax some. My semester starts Monday so I’m trying to get myself situtated for my regular classes.

How does anyone get through the length of this exam?? By the time I get to Biological Sciences, I almost don’t even care any more. Mentally I’m o.k. in PS but Verbal just zaps my energy. The lunch break helps, but BS is so late in the day that my brain is fried at this point. I usually do the organic passages first b/c they require less thought but I’m totally drained by the time I get to BS.

Overall, my best section is Verbal, worst is Physical Sciences, and Biological Sciences is in the middle. I think this is backwards of everyone else.

I still feel like a total wimp for not taking it next weekend but better to take it later and get a better score than take it now and not get in.

come on you’re not a wimp, you’re very smart! It’s a wise move to not rush into this. Just keep at it until you slay the beast. I would suggest varying your strategies. If Kaplan gets you only so far, you might try Princeton or EK for a fresh perspective, and drop by Q of Qimica’s MCAT forum on studentdoctor.net once in a while to pick up some tips.

My scores were also VR > BS > PS. I agree with you that it’s a draining, exhausting day; the worst part was sitting there while these people slowly picked up the answer sheets, counted them, read the prompts to us “you may now take a 10 minute break, bring your ID when you return” and this kind of thing. I got there at 7:00am, and left at 5:50pm.

Since the test day will be shorter with the computerized version, perhaps this will be less of an issue, but of course everyone will do better so the same curve will be there.

Just wanted to pop in again. I took my last practice MCAT yesterday (at least for this go round). It was AAMC Test 7 and I was really happy about my Verbal score. At least I’ve done something right this summer! On this one, my BS went down 2 points, VR went up 3 points, and PS stayed the same but scores have fluctated all summer.

Classes start tomorrow and I’m excited about that. I’m taking anatomy & physiology this semester, which is two seperate clases at my university, and of course their corresponding labs. Just going to class alone will help a lot with the BS section. I wish I had some down time though - a week off would be nice. I will probably chill on the MCAT prep for a few weeks while I get into the groove of fall semester/work, etc.

Good luck everyone! I’ll be thinking about you this weekend.

Hi Stacy,

You did the right thing by waiting if you weren’t ready. I think that the advice you’ve gotten to spend time analyzing what kinds of topics, problems and passages give you the most trouble is right on. We all have weaknesses, and even though it’s not fun to dwell on them, there is no doubt that the fastest way to get better is to take your worst area and turn it into your strength. In my case, this was physiology and physics. I took my intro bio and physics classes in 1993, and hadn’t really studied either one since. I was using the Kaplan online course, and I went through all of the units in those areas. In contrast, I didn’t spend very much time at all on organic (that’s what my PhD is in!) because the returns for the investment of my time would have been minimal. But I was able to improve greatly in physics and physiology over the course of the ten weeks that I studied. You should figure out what are the biggest two or three problem areas that you have, and focus hard on improving those.

If you have questions about any of the skills and science topics covered by the MCAT, or you want to read some test-taking tips posted by high scorers (several of whom are nontrads!), please do come visit us in the MCAT study questions subforum on SDN. Best of luck to you.

sorry . bumped this thread by accident


The August MCAT is less than 2 weeks away, and I’ve decided that I am not taking it even though I was registered for it.


Do NOT FEEL SHAME AT THIS. I did the exact same thing and THANK GOD.

By the way, I think Princeton Review will either give you another course for free or massively discount another go-round if you think your progress was insufficient. Just call the office where you took it last time, I guarantee the sales guy will be cool about this.

And… as hard as it is Stacey, you have to calm down. Your anxiety is just bleeding through the post and I really think that’s a big factor lowering your score. You’ll get some benefit from concentration on deep breathing from wayyyy down in the diaphragm, as you diagram (ha! ha!) the passages.

Good luck-- everyone has felt discouraged, even people who have had great success with this process.