This interview came from a Leah4sci subscriber who took the MCAT in April 2015. The interview below strictly represents the student’s personal experience and opinion and should be taken as such.
Real MCAT vs Official AAMC Sample/Practice Test + Packets
Have you taken the AAMC sample test?
How do you feel it compared to the real MCAT?
It was much easier in my opinion than the real deal (as always).
overall and by section
Have you worked through the AAMC bundle packets?
Have you taken any 2015 MCAT full length practice tests in preparation for your MCAT? if so which company?
Yes, by Examkrackers (See MCAT Resource Page)
Do you feel that it prepared you for the real thing?
It was a really good overview and was structured similar to the real deal.
Which books did you use to prepare? Do you feel it prepared you?
Exam Krackers. I noticed quite a few things did pop up that I saw from the prep books.
Comparing the Old and New MCAT
Have you taken the old MCAT prior to taking this one?
How do you feel the new exam compared to the old?
It was really similar in structure to the old exam but longer.
Does it have the same “feel” as the old MCAT questions?
Yes, I think using old exam questions would still be useful in prep for the new one. (So, is reviewing old MCAT exams worth it?)
MCAT Exam Questions
How in-depth were the sciences? Did you need an overview or did you require knowledge of minute details?
I think a little of both. It had questions that required a general concept and then it had questions that required in depth knowledge.
Were the passages comprised of mostly text, graphs, charts? Yes
Was there a lot of math? if so was it detailed or simple?
Not more than old practice exams.
Do you feel there was enough time to go through the questions?
I had enough time to complete the sections with enough time to review marked questions.
Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills – CARS
How many avg questions per passage?
I believe it was 5-7 but I’m not 100% sure.
Did it seem similar to the old VR section?
Yes but the topics seemed a little more interesting.
Were the passages dense or not dense or somewhere in between?
I thought they were less dense than the previous VR test.
Were you able to finish all passages? Yes
Questions seem more main idea or paragraph/detail specific or something else? Main idea.
Science Sections – Chem/Phys and Bio/Biochem…
How in-depth were the questions?
They had some pretty in depth questions that required your knowledge of several topics (experiments, concepts, and linking them all together to answer 1 set of questions)
How much focus on equation/concept memorization was required?
The basic equations that are listed on the MCAT site are a must. Other than that memorization wasn’t a huge requirement.
Did you see a lot of organic chemistry?
Not really. A lot less than the old MCAT. A lot more Biochem. I thought the test really emphasized biochem.
How difficult are the sciences compared to the old MCAT?
I would say about the same.
Psychology and Sociology Section
Was it similar to CARS strategy, meaning more about reasoning than knowing the concepts? No, I don’t believe so. I think you had to have a strong understanding of many concepts that I was unfamiliar with.
Having gone thru it, what would you tell a student how to study for this section?
I would use the prep books (whatever kind your partial to). I would seriously spend some time in psychology and sociology as it was more in depth that I thought it would be and it’s a full section of the test. I made a big mistake overlooking this section and focusing on the other sections.
Did sections test specific science psych topics or a general overview?
Both. How depth were the questions. Some general and some in depth.
Looking Back – Advice for Future MCAT Takers
What do you wish you could have done differently in preparation now that you’ve seen the exam?
I wish I would have really attempted to get my stamina up by taking more full length tests (by only taking breaks like the real mcat allows). See: Building Endurance for the 7.5 Hour Exam
What advice can you give to students who are about to sit the new MCAT?
I found myself really burned out because it was a very lengthy exam. It was hard to maintain focus the whole time. I think that if I retook it I would really focus on increasing my stamina and my focus for the full exam time. I wasn’t the only one who felt that same way.
What would should someone spend more time doing to excel on the exam? Psychology/Sociology and stamina. Less emphasis on organic chemistry/physics but also spend a decent amount of time in biochem. Also I would really take full length practice tests only allowing 10 minutes in between sections and a 30 minute half break. This is the format of the exam and will be necessary to be able to maintain focus throughout the whole exam to do the best you can.