scores for first practice test

Well, I thought I had low expectations for my improvement on taking the first full length practice test. I wanted to improve each area by one point. Actually I met my goal in that I did increase PS by 1 and BS by 2 points, unfortunately however my VR went DOWN by 2, so I only had a net gain of 1 point. I have a long ways to go to get my score to 30, which is my target.
My worst enemy today was time - I ran out of time on every section!
The Kaplan class is helping with some things, but overall I have not been that happy with the classroom setting itself. I get more out of the online materials and the tests, etc. that I print off and take at home. The instructor is a 24 year old graduating med student and he goes SOOOO fast thru the material and since he’s done it a hundred times, it all seems very self-evident to him - but not the the rest of us! He’s nice and funny in his approach, but I leave almost every class wondering why in the heck I think I could be a physician because I feel so stupid! Its been pretty discouraging I have to say. I really have to focus on bringing my PS score up, its at a 5 as of now, and I think if I can get the time pacing down, I’ll do fine on the other two sections. ITs quite a process for my forty-somthing brain to manage!
Good luck to everyone else who’s taking their practice tests!

I found the Kaplan PS sections to be terribly unrealistic. Unless they have changed these tests recently, the full-lengths get worse with time; 2 is nearly impossible to finish in time, 3 gets worse, etc… They are much too computationally intensive and just plain take too long to figure out. The only good thing is that it teaches you to guess and move on, which is a good MCAT skill to have.
- take the Kaplan PS scores with a grain of salt.
- before looking at the correct answers and your score, go back and take as much time as necessary to redo PS. Note how much time it takes, but mostly just work on finishing the problems. See how much of a difference there is between the first score and the redo.
- do an AAMC full-length or two, on days when you are scheduled for a Kaplan full-length. These should be available at your Kaplan center for free. AAMC 3 and 5 in particular have a couple of good challenging passages on the verbal section (I have not done 7 and 8, which you should DEFINITELY do). You need to see tests written by different companies, and AAMC will be much more realistic in some ways.
If the classroom time is not doing it for you, skip it. You need to use your limited time most efficiently. A good instructor can provide shortcuts and really useful tips, but the standard Kaplan curriculum alone is nothing special.

Thanks so much for your advice and encouragement Ms. meowmix! I will take it to heart and keep plugging away.
I want to do another 1-2 tests in the next 4 weeks to see if I can get my score up a couple of points more, because I have not registered for the MCAT for APril yet and if I don;t see steady progress by mid-March I probably will wait until August to take the test. This is based on everything I have read here from all you “old pros”. Anyone please let me know if this is not in alignment with your thoughts.
As always, I am grateful for the help and advice.

personally, and as an MCAT instructor, I felt it was a drawback for someone to have a backup exit plan. You have to study with a certain intensity, instead of just dipping the toe in the water; you have to study as if you’re taking it in April, or you won’t be motivated enough to really learn the material and work out your test-taking problems. If you can study with that intensity, then your plan sounds good, to look for steady progress.
A lot depends on your practice test scores now, and your weak areas. If your instructor is so experienced, he should be able to provide excellent personalized advice for you, and recommendations for how to proceed and how to make a decision on April/August.
A lot also depends on whether you will have more time this summer to study, whether you will have the discipline to study when it’s nice outside, and whether for application reasons you’d prefer an April score.

Thanks. Don’t get me wrong! I am still making a heads on effort to get this done in April because I don’t want to wait until August, when I will not have the discipline that I have now unless I do the Kaplan again, which I can’t afford to pay for. So I plan on getting it right and really think I can on the VR and BS, but the PS definitely is my great weakness. I will ask my instructor after we go over the tests on Sunday night.
Thanks again,

sounds great. Good luck.