How to Improve your MCAT Score

Preparation is important if you want to succeed on the MCAT. While you must know the testable content, you also need to be mentally prepared for sustained focus, timing pressure. Here are a few tips our medical consultants have found useful leading to their success.

Write Weekly Full-Length Practice Tests

People have a variety of excuses for not writing many, or any, practice MCATs. To practice doing this as well as to strengthen recall of textbook concepts, full-length practice tests must be incorporated into your MCAT training early and regularly. You will be putting far more money and time into re-writing the MCAT a second or third time than it takes to properly prepare for your first attempt.

Use Real Timing on Every Practice MCAT

Practicing with unlimited section timing, or pausing to take an unscheduled break develops counterproductive mental habits. The real MCAT is tightly timed and you must complete each section on time to maximize your score. You have a 0% chance of getting a question right if you run out of time to do it, so always practice with real timing, including breaks too. You may even want to write your practice tests at the same time of day as your scheduled exam.

Write in Unfamiliar Locations

Writing practice MCATs in your home on your own computer is fine for the first couple tests, but ultimately makes for poor “environmental” training. Your bedroom or apartment is not representative of the testing centre and your laptop is not very similar to a desktop computer. For your third practice exam, go to a quiet public computer lab at your university or local library (not a coffee shop). Put some ear plugs in if you plan to wear them for the real exam. You may like your home workstation better, but the point is to train yourself to perform in the most realistic surroundings.

Work up to Busier Locations

The real MCAT will be in a busy testing centre, and the experience will be similar to that described here. For this reason, challenge yourself on your last couple practice tests to sit in a place in the library or computer lab that is still quiet but has more people walking by, perhaps by the entrance or near a window. If you can maintain focus in this setting, you will have no difficulty in your real testing centre.

Do Take The Test When You Are Well Prepared

The best time to take the MCAT is when you know you’re ready. There are different ways to tell if you are indeed ready to take the test. First, analyze your scores in the mock practice tests that you have done recently. Have you been getting a score that is at least in the 90th percentile? If this is not the case, perhaps it’s time to prepare more before you take the test. Make sure you have been getting good grades in your mock practice tests consistently. This simply means that you should have attained a good score at least 3 times in a row. If you are indeed confident that you are ready for the test, write it immediately.

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