The MCAT. It can be scary, stressful, and nerve-wracking. I'm sure you've heard horror stories from your friends and are determined to ace your MCAT. As you begin preparing for the MCAT you may be trying to figure out how to approach this massive undertaking. Everything you have done up to this point has led to this moment and your future depends on your score. But how do you even get started? Years of undergraduate coursework tested in one 8 hour test day. So now you are trying to sort out what's a good MCAT score. Figuring out what a good MCAT score is going about it all wrong. Yes, I said it. Wrong. Stop what you are doing and read this.
Why Be Good, When You Could Be Great?
If you think this is going to be another blog where I tell you the magic score you need to get into medical school and you should just focus on that number, think again. Your goal is to get into medical school right? Do you want to be able to choose where you go? Do you want to be competitive? Do you want to get into your first choice school? If you said yes to any of these questions, stop focusing on one score. I can sense a panic in you. Do not worry; there is a reason, trust me. Focusing on a score that will just get you in, is a bad plan. You should be spending your time focusing on what will give you the highest score possible. Obviously, your goal should be to earn a good MCAT score. You may be thinking what does a good score even mean? Getting a good score on the MCAT is the best score you can achieve in as few tries as possible. MCAT advice and tips to achieve this are listed below. You don't want to settle for a "good" score, you want to strive for a great score. You should be putting all your energy into studying and knowing this test forwards and backward. Be able to answer every question. Why settle for mediocre? You are not mediocre and no one wants to go to a mediocre doctor. You need to have the right mindset, one that is going to lead to a successful test day. Ready to start planning, click here!
It is pertinent to know what schools accept you based on your score, but you should focus on that after you have successfully taken your MCAT and know what your score is. Already know your score? Check out this list of easiest medical schools to get into. Wasting time on getting an exact score just for one school is a bad approach. It is distracting and you need to take all the time you can and put it towards the MCAT. So why am I suggesting this you may ask? Simple, if you only plan for one school, and get a lower mark than expected, it is going to be devastating plus a waste of your effort. Your time is precious. Devout all your energy into this test. It is a big part of your application. It is important because it can influence other parts of your application and it is entirely dependent on how you study and prepare for the exam.
Now I am not saying that you can’t have a dream school. We all have them. But you will be applying to more than one school. Each school has slightly different admission stats and requirements. So if you prepared and have your goal at 500 but realize these other schools want to see 505, you are at a disadvantage. Maximize your options by maximizing your score. That way when you go to apply to your dream school and beyond you will be a competitive candidate all around. You do not want to have a lower score because you read somewhere that suggested that score and instead of studying you spent time focusing on that one number. You want to keep your options open. You want these schools coming after you.
Maximizing Your MCAT Score
While I know I just said not to focus on a good score, so let’s focus on our potential best score. There are four sections of the MCAT:
- Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
- Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills
- Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
- Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior
The scoring range on each section is between 118-132. You add your score from all four sections for your total score. The mean score is around 500. So if you want to focus on anything, concentrate on being on the higher end in each of the four categories. This means understanding what is tested in each section. You can get a feel for the sections by taking specific practice tests for each section. This way you can see how you are scoring in each section and how to better distribute your time. Spend extra time on the sections you are weaker in but don't neglect the sections you score well in either. You need to strike a balance between them and this will get you on your path to achieving your best result. The psychological, social, and biological foundations of behavior section is the new section that was added when the MCAT was redesigned in 2015. Students often find that they don't have enough experience with this section based on their undergrad curriculum. If you haven't taken those classes as an undergraduate, make extra time to prepare for this section. Get ready for test day here. By zoning in on the best you can possibly score, you will be headed in the right direction. To further maximize your score, follow the MCAT advice and tips below.
MCAT Advice and Tips
- Make a study schedule. Outline how much time you have to study and allocate time to subjects you need help. Stick to your schedule to maximize your study time.
- Take a full-length practice test. The MCAT is long, like 8 hours long. You need to practice test taking not just practice the material. Having the stamina to focus for that long is a big part of test day.
- Review subjects you haven't taken in a while. Did you take general chemistry first semester? Then it is probably a good time to revise it now.
- If you don't feel ready, delay your test. If you know you need more time, then take it. You want to have the best score in as few attempts as possible. Take it when you are ready and have confidence that you will score well.
- On test day, take the breaks. Do not think you are going to power through without taking a break. Bring lots of snacks and water. Get up and stretch your legs. It is a marathon, not a sprint.
When it comes to MCAT prep, you want to have done everything you possibly could to earn the best score in as few attempts as possible. Set yourself up for success. Spend your time wisely. Review concepts you are struggling with. Read up on subjects you haven’t touched in a few semesters. Do everything you can to ensure that you are going to score the highest you can and become the best applicant. This is not a time to be scraping the barrel with a good score. Plus what one school might think is good another might think is poor. Avoid all this by achieving your best possible outcome. Spend your time wisely. If you still need some help, BeMo is here for all your MCAT and medical school application needs.
To your success,
Your friends at BeMo
BeMo Academic Consulting