MCAT: is one ever ready?

I think I already know the answer to this question, but here goes. My MCAT is in 2 weeks and my practice scores aren’t where I need them to be. I can reschedule today if I need to, but I risk having to push back to the next application cycle.

I’ve also heard that one never really feel prepared for this test-of-all-tests.

Did you feel “ready” before you took your MCAT?

You know, actually I did. Or at least I felt as ready as I was going to get. I don’t know if I could’ve stood to study for any longer; I was soooo sick of MAT prep.

But on my last practice exam I did get a score that I was comfortable with, so that helped a lot in making me feel ready. If I’d gotten a disappointing score I suspect I would’ve felt very different. So I don’t know that I have an answer for you - other than to say that you do need to have your practice score be within a few points of what your goal is; it’s very unlikely that you’ll do substantially different on the real thing.

It’s a tough decision and I don’t envy you - good luck!


I was, if anyhing, over prepared; I had too many facts in my head and not enough practice integrating them. You may be focusing too much on Jeopardy-style answers (‘This hormone regulates blood pressure’ - oh, crap, Renin? Angiotensin? Angiotensinogen? Aldosterone?) when really they pretty much tell you the answer in most of the questions… You just have to prune it out of the possibilities.

Please read Old Man Dave’s excellent post on passing tests; it sheds more light on the method of thinking required.

I’ll second what Timbo said about knowing how to intergrate what you already know and add that having control of your nerves is equally as important.

I’ve never felt ready when I took the MCAT previously and it was reflected in my score. On July 10th, I’m certain I’ll be ready this time around.

My advice is that if you have ANY hesitation about taking the test, wait because if you don’t do well, you’ll likely have to matriculate in med school with a better score anyway.

I certainly have seen several people who can be best described as very over-ready in terms of content, material, etc, and very under-ready mentally, spiritually, and in-focus. They were so high-strung that they choked badly. Like a professional athlete the mental game perhaps more important that the rest. When you are at an “intellectual” peak, you still must be able to focus and concentrate not for what you know, but for when something on the exam comes up that throws you.

The best example is in verbal. You have to have your timing and approach so down that you can focus SOLELY on the question at hand. The previous question, vague, obtuse, and left you completely confused as to what the best answer could be, must be completely out of your mind. The next question or whatever else may be coming up must be ignored. The current question, and only the current question is the only thing in the world. Yet it must be done with comfort and clarity not fast and furious.

My litmus test is not simply how well you did on practice exams but how you felt when you done. Did you feel like you beaten up and run over, or did you feel that a large part of the exam was comfortable and what you didn’t know didn’t scare the shit out of you.

I intended to say wait to matriculate in med school (sorry, I couldn’t edit my previous post).

Yes, I felt prepared, ready, but still nervous because it is a high-stakes game. However, how we all felt is immaterial. You have to decide whether your feelings of apprehension are simply fear or if they are legit harbingers of under-preparedness. Only you decide that.

I wish you the best of luck & success.