I have taken the MCAT on March 26 and wanted to share my impressions and feeling (The MCAT agreement prevents me from discussing topics, content, questions and answers, unfortunately).
1- PS: I feel shortchanged. The exam was not hard but I realized that I have screwed up a few questions because I WAS NOT ANSWERING THE QUESTIONS! I expected to do really well on this section but likely missed 5 out of the 52 questions. So I am mad like hell. The Chemistry was very easy and so was the OChem. Classical stuff. The physics was also quite easy except the two last passages. I didn’t expect this kind of stuff and it threw me off. I had to guess and when I have a doubt on more than 5 questions on a 50 question test, it starts to hurt my confidence level. On the AAMC practice tests I have scored in the 13-15 range for this section, but I expect less on the real thing (maybe 10-12 at best).
2- BS: This section has not been a problem for me. I know I probably have two wrong answers at least but not many more (I know one is wrong because I didn’t understand the “english” as stated in the question). I expect to be in line with my practice tests on this section: 13-14. One passage was insanely difficult to comprehend. I usually finish this section with 15 minutes to spare, but I had to work about 17 min alone on 1 crazy passage. (I had only about 5 min to spare in the end). The passage was not hard, but it was more the kind of VR stuff than really Bio stuff (intense reasoning on many facts).
3- VR: Absolute crap shoot and my weakness. I was scoring in the 9s-10s on the practice test and very likely did worse on the exam day. The passages were very easy to read but the questions were insane. You could easily narrow it down to two answers but the ambiguity made it so hard to guess. At times, when reading a question, I was wondering if I had read the passage at all. I don’t think I did too well and I may end up with anything between 6 and 9, probably not much and likely not less (unless I really screwed up). The timing was good although I didn’t have time to review the questions I had marked. In practice I always had 3 to 4 minutes to review a few questions but not on the test, so I am not sure as to why. The passage were of a reasonable length and the wording was actually easy to understand. The questions on the other hand are another story.
Finally, it seems that more standalones are mini-passages. They give tables and graphs to answer 1 single question. So it takes away quite some time to digest the info.
Again these are impressions. Even though I did great in the sciences, I wanted to void the score but I don’t know what happened, I don’t even know if I voided or not (I have emailed the AAMC about it and awaiting a response). After 5h of testing I didn’t have all my mind.
Although I would excpect to hit the 30’s, shit happens and I have no clue as to where I will end up. On the other hand, it sure (like 95%) that I won’t reach my target score. I really feel I could have done much better in the Physics section (because I know I have made very stupid, but really stupid mistakes). I don’t think I could have done better in Bio (although the two mistakes I know of were very stupid as well). As far as VR it is a lost cause for me (even with all the time in the world).
So I may have to retake because after analysis, to ensure high chances at my target school, I would need a 35 or so. Right now, the best case scenario for me is 37 (but that would mean a 10 in VR, which seems very very unlikely).
As for the test, I know it sounds crazy but I enjoyed this test so much! In fact, if I don’t get the score I want OR if I happen to have voided, then I will be very happy to go back and try to beat the beast. The test is challenging and time flies when you are behind the computer.
Obviously I will keep you posted. Score should be released end of April.
Note: of course the OChem was part of the BS (sorry if I confused anyone).
Congratulations on being done with your first (and hopefully last ) MCAT! After all of the trials and tribulations the last month, it sounds like you really gave it a good shot. While you may not get the high score you were aiming at, you sound like you know the material. Hoping with you that you get the scores you wanted after all!
Thanks for posting your MCAT impressions. For PS, I have scored a 13 on some of the AAMC practice tests by missing 5 questions so there’s still a good chance you’ll hit your target range for that section.
I have less than a month before I take mine (on April 29) so I am definitely feeling the pressure.
Good luck passing the time while waiting for your score.
Thank you all for your nice words. I wish I could say more about the test. All that I can say is that you should definitely review all the classics. Most of the stuff in the previous AAMC test reappeared on my MCAT. So by doing all the AAMC tests, you cover pretty much 80 to 90% of what is on the test. Of course there are variations but concepts don’t change. But note that these folks are pretty inventive in coming up with passages that are “very new” and can sometimes be tricky. Frankly, I didn’t think I could get tricked, but I did.
There is also the luck of the day. That counts as well, but it is not something that can be controlled.
This pretty much describes my MCAT experience as well. Hopefully, you will find out next month that you got a good score that you can be pleased with and that you didn’t void after all. This is not an ordeal you want to have to endure more than once if you can avoid it. Best of luck to you!
Thank you, we all need some luck on this journey! I hope you are right. In truth, taking the MCAT was not really the hard part. But carving up the time between my wife’s schedule and I (with the kids), was morally exhausting. That is the part I would like to avoid.
This one month wait is ridiculous. They could at least provide us with raw scores. Well, I will wait and pray.
an update, I got my score. This is the shittiest score I have had on any MCAT test thus far: 30Q. I can’t even believe it and I am so mad. Two 12s on the science sections which are OK but still I have never had two 12s (I was considering getting one 12 an accident). So I am very disappointed by these. And the VR, I got a F***ing 6. How the hell was I able to do that? Like I was trying to avoid the correct answers. The worst score I have had was 7 on my practice tests (it happened once) but mostly I scored 9s. My scores ranged from 33 for the lowest to 37 for the highest.
After the exam my feeling was Bio 14, PS 12, VR 9. I wouldn’t imagine that I would score so poorly. It is devastating. I mean I can get a 6 probably answering randomly without reading the text or maybe a 5. How can I recover from such a low VR score? I am not sure what happened. I didn’t run out of time, read the passages and picked what seemed to be the best answer for me, like on every practice tests. So obviously I don’t get the VR section, I can’t see the logic and I am not sure how I can improve that. It is one thing to improve on something when you know what the problem is. But here, I am totally blind. I can’t understand the problem. Well I have a lot of thinking to do.
I have a Q for the writing so it is not too bad, but who cares…
Now it is true that during the 3 weeks before my test a lot of shit happened (my 3 schleritis and my wife appendicitis, so I had to take care of my work, the kids, my wife, the house and didn’t spend a single hour practicing at least 2 weeks before the exam, when my wife had her surgeries). And I was all stressed out as I was emerging from a crazy period and suddenly I had to wake up and go take the MCAT.
But I can’t blame such a low score on that. OK maybe I could have scored normally on the sciences with 13 or 14 had I taken it in better conditions. But the score improvement would have been marginal. The VR is truly the killer for me. While I see for most people that they tend to remain within their average from practice tests, I am at least 4 points below. That’s terrible!
I obviously have to retake the MCAT. But I may have to work on the verbal an entire year!!!
At least I enjoyed taking the test, but now, I am not sure I will like taking the VR. The stress may kill my attempt before it even starts.
I just wanted to update you guys.
I’m sorry that you were disappointed by your score. I don’t know about most folks, but I found that my score was 3 points below what I had been averaging and had the impression that this was not that unusual.
A 30 is not an impossible score for many med schools, (the avg score at my school was lower than that this year), but I know that you prepared with a view to a higher score.
I did have one thought for working on the VR. I think it often depends on shades of meaning…the connotation of some words. Before I went to graduate school, I took the Miller Analogy Test, which tests logical reasoning, vocabulary, and ability to distinguish subtle shades of meaning (i’m not sure if that is what it is SUPPOSED to test…). I got a prep book from the library which I used (for less than 2 weeks)and aced the MAT. I remember when working on prepping for the VR section that my prep and experience with the MAT helped me out to do well on that section (it was my best section). I am a huge reader (read 6 to 10 books/wk as a teen and young adult - mostly historical fiction, mysteries, and science fiction), so that in itself led to me having strong vocabulary. You might check into those prep materials and see if they give you another way of looking at the wording of the questions on the verbal reasoning passages.
well thanks for the info you provide. I certainly didn’t think I would get a 30. My worst expected score was actually 31 (with a 7 on VR). I guess I screwed up that section pretty bad. The worst part is the unbalanced. I would have preferred a 10,10,10 and would have probably applied with that. But with such an imbalance and a blatant weakness, I am afraid that the automatic screening of the applications will throw mine off. I know that some people enter Med School with lower scores, but to me, a 9,9,9 is probably better than my 12,12,6.
Now I am thinking of seriously reworking on the VR section but I don’t want to rush it. So this will likely delay my plans a year. I almost registered for the MCAT this coming June, but I doubt that given my schedule I will have anywhere near the time necessary to strengthen up this section on which I am apparently much weaker that what the practice tests lead me to believe. I even think that on a Kaplan diagnostic, first test I took even before beginning preparation, I scored 31 (PS:10,BIO:11,VR:10). Since I scored 10 on VR, I didn’t worry too much about the VR (I also score 10 on the first EK test I took). I knew that the science was a bit rusty. So apparently, the preparation was useless. I probably did something wrong (although my AAMC test scores went up to 37)
So I think I need to restart from scratch with no assumptions. I am also going to explore other materials for other tests (LSAT, MAT) to build up a wider (and I hope a stronger) base. I am not sure what my problem is with VR frankly, and I need to identify that first. So, I want (and I need) to take time and don’t even want to try to apply this year. As for the sciences, I should be OK. Rereading the first post of this thread reminded me that my feeling was not far from being accurate. Hitting the 30, done poor on the VR (but didn’t expect a 6). I thought I had done a bit worse in Phys and a bit better in Bio. I also knew I probably would have to retake. So that was a good prediction, not far off from my feeling.
The other disturbing fact I must say is that while taking the test, I didn’t feel it was hard compared to other practice tests and thought the feeling is comparable, but a bit more uneasy largely for the VR and though I would void but somehow I didn’t (but I knew I had read the screen for the question, and it is like reading without reading, I picked a choice, and don’t know what I did. The AAMC later confirmed I hadn’t voided and it was not longer possible to do so outside of the Prometric center). In the end, I have comparatively done poorly on all fronts. So I have come to learn that this test is even trickier than I thought.
Well I have a lot to think about here. Not sure what happened, I need a deep breath, good self analysis and an awesome plan.
I will certainly keep you posted as always.
Oh man, Redo, I’m sorry to hear about your score. That is actually one of my greatest fears as well since my science scores have been solid but my VR has fluctuated between 6 for a low and 10 for a high. Good luck in however you decide to proceed.
As hard as you’ve worked, and all things considered (i.e. the completely crazy list of things you faced leading up to the exam)… is it possible that the VR score was really just a fluke? I know you mentioned that you haven’t identified the problem, which is the most dangerous part of retaking immediately. But…to delay a whole year… wow… that would just be so hard to swallow. If it were me, I would have to take a hard look at retaking asap (focusing on nothing but VR practice until then) and continuing with the plan to apply this summer.
Of course, I don’t know what your goals are as far as the programs you want to attend, but I would be putting “delay a whole year to study” as my very last option on my list of solutions. Man, that stinks…
I’m so sorry that you’re in the predicament of even needing to make that decision… the bottom line is that your score wasn’t what you’d hoped–but it’s still a much higher score than some will ever hope to get. (Just pushing some optimism out there…) So it can always be worse–but I hate that you are forced with some tough choices because of that crazy VR portion.
I won’t even take this exam until next spring, but I feel your pain! Just wanted to send some support your way–I wish you the best, regardless of your choice!!
I have not taken the MCAT as yet; still i understand your frustration. I also understand that must of us with children and spouse would prefer to attend medical school close to home and avoid too much disruption in our family life.In my opinion, one year delay of application to get accepted into your school of choice,is a reasonable option. For others getting accepted one year earlier at any school/location might be a better deal. Take some time to think about this and go with your gut feelings. Just remember that things are not always what they look like at first. You cannot be sure of your chance of acceptance in your school of choice until you apply. Take comfort in the fact that you have an outstanding academic record and other life experiences that many applicant can only dream off.
All thank you for the support. I do appreciate.
Desert_shawn, knowing what I know now, if I am still scoring within this range (and mostly 9s), I would do my best to get the score up before taking the test. Things didn’t work well for me and that is just my experience. This may work well for you, who knows. I would concentrate on the VR a bit and try to do better.
Carrie, it is true that I have been through quite some unfortunate events right before and basically the 3 weeks prior to the exam I didn’t practice more than few hours total (like 2 or 3h over the course of 3 weeks). So has this cost me some points? Maybe a few in the sciences 1,2,3? I don’t know. But I don’t think this really hindered my VR section. I am at a loss regarding what happened. I thought well English is not my first language, but yet I got a Q for the writing assignment so my composition (and English) is not truly the issue (although when I write, I can chose the words, which is not the case when I read). So the English issue is not really a case I can make. Ahhh well.
Things are what they are now and somehow I have to make the best out of a bad situation. I have been thinking that delaying a year could have some benefits:
- I can get closer to the 90 Credits limits that some school require
- I can take a few upper course at a 4 years
- I will have more time to prepare for the MCAT
- I can perhaps do some volunteering. I did some shadowing already and I am not sure doing more would bring anything at this point.
So right now, I don’t know what my plan is. As Idalyn pointed out, it is all about priorities. I would even delay two years if this could give me a decent shot at the school of my choice. The closest school has a high average MCAT score (close to 34), and that’s unfortunate. I really want to attend this school for family reasons and also because of connections and opportunities I will have there (do research and I hope more exciting things).
Now would I attend a university far from my place? Yes I will do it, but first I want to do everything possible to get a competitive application at my first choice. If I have a good MCAT score (35+) and yet don’t make it, then I can look at myself and think that I have tried hard. I would then have no regrets.
And as you say Idalyn, if I don’t try, I won’t know. But I don’t want to give up on this score. It is not so much about applying but more about personal satisfaction. Now it is true that for the application, my academic background is a plus (heck I was just interviewed and quoted in Nature 2 months ago regarding some awards I got), however it doesn’t help when it comes to the MCAT:
- First, expectations are higher, so I should get a good score otherwise the adcom may be harder on me
- When working on the sciences (bio and chem), I have to tap into a vaster pool of knowledge and I get sometimes lost in the multiple considerations I make while a minimum amount of knowledge would not lead to such a confusion. I mean there are things I just can’t forget for the purpose of the MCAT.
Well right now, I am going to keep analyzing things, look closer at the VR and see what and when to retry (June, Sept or next Jan).
Finally and to make matters a bit worse, there is a possibility, due to some very high level connection (a former collaborator, who knows me and would want me to collaborate again), to get in an MD program away from my place. All I have to do is take the MCAT and apply (and s/he will get me in no matter what). In fact this person would be a reference of mine and it will be an excellent letter. But truly I want to earn my interviews and my spot and be damn proud of it. I want to do well and apply and think, well “I earned it”. I will happily take a spot with help from a connection but only if it is deserved and if my first choice didn’t work out, yet with a MCAT score that would be acceptable to me. There is nothing worse than to owe someone for something you didn’t deserve in the first place. I don’t think I could live with that.
This journey to Med School is tricky. At first you think you want a good score, to put a nice application together and that is still the case. But it seems now that the good score is more important for me than it is for my application. It is all about looking at yourself in the mirror and be proud.
Well as always, I will keep you posted. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the thoughts, support and nice words.
Redo-it-all, what an inspiring post! Even though you may feel like the wheels just fell off, you made us all very proud. Add “character” to your long list of accomplishments and qualities. Regardless of which class or school you matriculate into, they will be lucky to have you.
Thank you very much for your very nice words. They are helping quite a lot in these difficult times!
The support on this forum is incredible. I am happy and proud to be a member of the OPM community. That is, thus far, quite a reward earned on this journey to Med School.
I rolled the dice with an imbalanced score and am struggling with the bloody steroid hormone pathways right now!
I guess it’s a personal call.
- Dazed Said:
I guess it's a personal call.
Not saying you'll struggle, just that you can get in with an imbalanced score too.
I understood what you meant (and like probably most students, I will struggle as well - that’s part of the deal and your blog illustrates the “hoops” to jump even in Med School). Jeez how I would like to struggle on this stuff right now.
I agree that trying with an unbalanced score is a reasonable strategy but I would say that the devil is in the details. What score? How unbalanced? What school? I don’t mean to be inappropriately curious at all, but my point is that I have serious doubts that in my situation it would be wise. I may be wrong but better safe than sorry.
Not that I chicken out but there are things I can control and others I can’t. So right now, I am seriously thinking of giving it another shot ASAP and perhaps still apply this year. But this is quite a tough call.
Thank you for the input. It is comforting.
jmdmd is right… your words speak so highly of your integrity and your character. That you want it to be right for the sake of it being right… that you want to earn your spot and not have it given to you? Complete affirmation that you have just the right heart for this.
So, if anything, be encouraged by that… Any school would be lucky to have you.