Here’s a short interview from a student who took the old MCAT, didn’t like the score, and tested again in 2015. This interview reflects the student’s personal opinion and should only be taken as such.
Which practice tests did you use to prepare for the new MCAT?
I took the AAMC sample test, 3 Next-Step exams (get 10% discount here), a few Princeton Practice exams. I also worked through the AAMC packets.
Which one would you say was closest to the real MCAT?
The AAMC sample test was definitely the closest. I felt the real MCAT was longer and a little bit harder, though.
Which practice test was the next best?
I would say that the Next Step was next best- but their CARS (verbal) was a little bit on the longer side compared to the AAMC sample test. But so was the real MCAT
Looking back, what do you wish you would’ve done differently now that you’ve actually seen the exam?
Be stronger in my bio.
How did you study bio, and where do you feel you should’ve been stronger?
I feel like there were some things I understood but not well enough that I could recall it on the test. Like knowing where the reactions and pathways occur and where the enzymes are from.
What was your best resource in preparing for this MCAT?
I took the old MCAT and reused my old books for chemistry. I used Princeton to learn the new material then used Examkracker books (referral link) for a review. For the sciences, especially biochemistry, I only took your biochem bootcamp.
I had the books but felt that it was not adequate for the test. The day I took your course, I realized that I wasn’t ready for the biochem. I postponed my exam for a month and learned all I could from the Biochem Bootcamp. I owe all my biochem knowledge to you!
What advice would you give to students about to test?
Really focus on biochem and get strong in chemistry. Know formulas and understand how they connect with the other topics. With the old MCAT, if you got a chemistry passage, it was only a chemistry passage. This time it’s integrated. It’s chemistry that has to do with physics and they’ll throw in maybe psychology.
I wish someone would have told me to calm my nerves. It’s just a test, and you can’t be attached to the outcome. When you do, things go wrong. You can always retake it. You need to be present in the moment and do the best that you can.
Just go in confident.
I definitely went into it much more confident than when I took the old MCAT in January 2015. I came out of that test destroyed.
What did you do leading up to your exam that helped calm your nerves?
I did a lot of guided meditation to ease anxiety. When I took the test in January there were moments during studying for the MCAT when I would find myself really anxious. I would just take a five minute break. I watched the motivational video you shared on Facebook and it gave me the push that I needed to get back into studying.
Here's the video mentioned:
What do you think made the biggest difference between your prep for the old vs. new MCAT?
The Study Hall Facebook group really helped- knowing that I wasn’t alone, that I had other students to rely on when I had a question. Last time I studied by myself. In the study hall, you would ask, “What’s your goal for this week?” And that was good to keep me on track.
Everybody in the study hall is super helpful and really nice. They responded to my questions. I was especially amazed and happy when I saw a question I had asked in the group pop up on my real MCAT. I’m so glad I asked about that. (MCAT Study Hall details)