First Full length results (Kaplan FL #1)

Well, I finally took a full length MCAT after much deliberation over when to do one and which one to do. I decided to follow with my Kaplan course instructions and take their Full Length #1. I did it today at the same time that I will be taking the test (2pm on a Saturday). I took the breaks as instructed except I started back up early once because I just wanted to get this over with.

There were quite a few questions that I realized I had to review more such as physics optics questions (I am in Physics 2 now and we haven’t gotten to that yet and Kaplan class isn’t there yet either). Also, SHM I still have to get better at. Verbal will be a bear no matter what. I went into this MCAT thinking PS would be the hardest and then a tie between BS and VR. I must say, I am more intimidated by VR than I thought I would be. I think I have good reading skills, etc, but I’ve realized that these MCAT VR’s are quite tricky indeed and so I feel myself totally second guessing and spending too much time on some questions and passages. So, it’s time I do more VR work, too. I have EK books which I understand are the better ones for VR prep so I will have to get cracking on those more than I have been.

However, I must say I thought I’d do poorly on my first full length, but I’m pleasantly surprised, though not pleased with my results. I scored a 29. 9 PS, 9VR, 11BS. I thought I actually did worse on BS than I did. Now, I really don’t know how well Kaplan FL’s relate to the real thing or how the scoring compares, but this gives me hope at least. I know now what to focus on more, have an idea of the time and the mental exhaustion involved (by end of BS I really was ready to just be done!). The real thing is April 27th so I have about two months and I’m going to try to do at least one practice test a week until then, work my flashcards, work EK VR, and keep up with current classes (orgo2, physics 2, orgo2 lab, and neuroscience) that should only help me with MCAT prep, thankfully!

So, if anyone has any thoughts on Kaplan’s full lengths as to how they compare with regard to content, difficulty and scoring, please chime in! Any personal stories (I may search the archives as well) on Kaplan, MCAT practice tests vs real thing, etc. are welcome, too! I have done tons of google searches on this already, too, of course! lol. But, I’d love to hear any fresh comments from the OPMs!

Great job! Well my brother took the MCAT, and his AAMC and Kaplan averages (and real MCAT score) were identical, so that is pretty good! You have plenty of time and most people do much much worse on the first FL. I actually kind of wish my exam was earlier, I might move it up if I do okay on a few practice exams.

Hey, random1234. I know what you mean about wanting to make it a bit earlier. Part of me is just soooooo ready to get it over with. However, I really have more work to do. I have to hone my Physics stuff and work on VR more. Thankfully, my timing was fine. I did not run out of time on any section. Toward the end of BS,though, I thought I actually may not finish it which took me by surprise. I think by the end of that section I was starting to feel the mental exhaustion, but I kept up most of the exam!

It seems most people do pretty similar on the MCAT as they do on Kaplan. The consensus seems to be that the Kaplan average after several tests and the MCAT actual are often within about 1-2 points. So, I’m certainly hoping to pull my average up and just keep getting more experience with this bugger of a test.

I think my focus from now on is going to be more on doing tests, even Kaplan subject tests and banks of discrete questions than on just reviewing and reading. I feel like I’m in the home stretch now. I keep daydreaming about how I’m going to get rid of all this MCAT stuff. Can’t wait to just unload it all on another premed or something.

Ugh, I know how you feel. You must have had a good background to do that well on the first test. I only say that because I definitely was not ready for the first test after covering the first 1/3 lectures in gen chem or physics, lol. Well, for me, I was self-teaching myself physics, so that’s probably why. I need to take your advice and also work on my weak spots. I keep gravitating towards doing questions and reading things I’m good at. My reasoning at first was “well if I cover this hard topic now it’s too soon and I’ll forget it”, and that definitely is a poor excuse.

For what it’s worth, my brother got a 33, so I’m not sure what your target score is, but I think you definitely have time to improve. Honestly I would just keep doing what you’re doing, it is definitely working! Keep it up

I also took a Kaplan course and did most of their full length practice tests. I took the MCAT last year, so I have forgotten much about my practice test results. As I remember, Kaplan practice tests were harder than the AAMC practice tests but their curve was more generous, i.e. you may answered more questions wrong on Kaplan FL but end up with the same scaled scores as AAMC tests. My AAMC practice test average was closer to my real MCAT score as far as I remembered. Except the first AAMC practice test I took (AAMC #3), my practice tests ranged between 35-37 and mostly were 36s, and I ended up scoring a 36 on the real thing. On the other hand, my Kaplan FLs varied a lot more (32-40). I believe that AAMC practice tests are still the best predictor for the actual MCAT.

Way to rock the MCAT, Apple pie! Did you see a big improvement, as you recall, from your diagnostic, or do you feel you just had a good handle on the material from the get-go? Did you use Kaplan only? Any tricks/tips/advice you want to share seeing as you got a 36?

29 is a pretty good score for a first practice exam IMO. I did not completely follow the Kaplan schedule, and instead I took my first practice test after I am about 80% done with my content review. I did improve significantly from my diagnostic (27). I studied quite hard for the test. Because of my foreign background, I felt the MCAT is the best equalizer for ADCOMs to compare me to other students. My Kaplan teacher told us the best strategy to prepare for the MCAT is to practice, practice and practice, and I took it to heart. Other than Kaplan, I also did the EK1001 questions and other materials I found from the local library. Verbal was the most difficult section for me, so I tried to read as much as I could to improve my VR skills. The is a website recommended by my Kaplan teacher that collects a variety of articles which I found useful.

My advice is to do all homework assigned by Kaplan and do them on time. Also, be careful with pushing yourself too much and burning out quickly. It is normal to take a break and relax a little during your MCAT preparation.

Best of luck! I am sure you will perform really well on the MCAT with lots of practice.

Thanks for the advice, Apple pie. I have thus far been pretty good about keeping up with the Kaplan readings and assignments, though it can be easy to get behind a little on particularly hectic weeks. I do my best, though. My strategy right now is to continue keeping up with the last of the classes. We are in the final 1/3rd portion of the class so there is still much to review and learn! I have to focus in on my weaknesses and work on directed practice in those areas as I get through these last two months of prep before my actual exam. I am also fully intending to do at least one practice full length each week up until my actual test. By mid March when I am about 1 1/2 months away I’m going to work on doing two a week, but if I feel I am burning out and only doing more harm than good, I will slow it down. How I do on each practice test will help guide me on me on what kind of pace I want to work at.

I still have these darn classes, too! My orgo2 lab is 6 hours a week in lab and umpteen hours outside class. Each experiment requires a full lab report and those just can never be rushed. I cannot wait to have a break from these labor intensive 1 and 2 credit labs! I actual enjoy the labs themselves, though, and I do not feel like they are a waste of time (something I cannot say for my physics 1 lab that was a complete joke-may not be a complete joke everywhere, but in my experience, on my campus, it was ridiculous). Orgo lab is kind of fun, but the pre and post lab sucks up so much time. I actually had to write some of my latest lab report while sitting in the bathroom last night as my daughter took a bath! Got to do what I got to do!

Anyway, this is all good practice for med school. I am not going crazy yet and I thought if any semester was going to “break” me this would be the one, but I’m managing fine. Some weeks are more hectic than others, but that is always going to be the case. So is life!

Okay, I’m done “thinking out loud”…back to mothering and schoolwork!

Thanks again for great advice, Apple pie!

You are well on your way to MCAT success! I do not have kids, but every time when I see how well my friends multitask, I have always been impressed. Being a parent prepare you for med school for sure.

I am sure we will hear good news from you in a couple of months.

I can’t wait to post some good news in a few months, too! Thanks for the confidence booster!

Shanon I have taken chem 1 and bio 1 and now going for chem 2 and Bio 2. My question, were you studying with Kaplan while taking prerequisites? how does that go. I thought you do those after after you are done with prereqs?

  • chiongo Said:
Shanon I have taken chem 1 and bio 1 and now going for chem 2 and Bio 2. My question, were you studying with Kaplan while taking prerequisites? how does that go. I thought you do those after after you are done with prereqs?

Hi. I was in Organic Chem 2, Organic Chem lab, Physics 2, and a Neuroscience (upper level Bio) course while I took my Kaplan course for the MCAT. I took the MCAT in April of that semester. So, I had the majority of my prereqs finished when I started my Kaplan course and was concurrently in orgo2 and physics 2 while I studied for the MCAT. IMO, the Orgo2 class material is not necessary to take before the MCAT, taking it concurrently as I did was fine for me. There was some physics stuff I had in my Kaplan class before seeing it in my course, but it worked okay for me to do it this way. I am a Bio major so I had my bio prereqs done and then some plus I had, obviously, already taken my inorganic chem courses and labs which are prereqs for organic.

As you can see also, I took on a lot during my spring semester. Taking a full science course load including a lab course that required easily 6 page lab reports weekly on top of the Kaplan MCAT course, on top of shadowing and volunteering on top of working part time on top of being a single mom (with help!), was crazy beans for sure. But, I survived(and my daughter and those around me did, too!) I did well in my courses and on the MCAT, applied early decision to my #1 school and got in. But, it was a lot work and a lot of stress. However, I also sort of had to do it this way in order to apply for 2014 admission. My timeline would not have allowed for me to do it any other way. Plus, I kept thinking of it as good preparation for medical school. I'll find that out when I start in August!

However, let me just say also that your path is your path. Take words of advice from others carefully. Look to what others did as guidance, sure, but trust your gut and always look inside you for what is best for you. You are the one who has to do this so follow the best path for you. I know myself pretty well at this point and I would not have done what I did during my spring semester 2013 if I had not had the experience of prior stressful semesters and life in general to know that I had worked up to this point and could "hack" it. I also dipped my toes into school slowly and worked up to full time course loads, and carefully monitored my activities along the way until I was comfortable juggling it all. I did not jump right in taking it all on at first. I went back to school (taking two classes) while working full time and going through a divorce. I took classes, did well, went on to summer courses and added a little more in fall, and so on and so forth. I wisely got my feet wet first, assessed my situation as I went along, and found a good balance that worked for me (and for those around me). Whatever you decide to do it has to be the best for you.

Best of luck!!!