Many of you, like me, have probably been disappointed and discouraged by your first practice MCAT score. Don’t worry! Just think of all the improvement that can be made! In fact, I would say that the lower your first practice MCAT score, the more satisfying it is to improve and do better. My MCAT score rose 10 points between my first and my actual MCAT, and I felt great about that. Unfortunately, there is not really a hidden secret to quickly improving your MCAT score besides practice, but below are some tips that might help put things in perspective, especially if you are short on study time:
Understand Your Strengths and Weaknesses
This is pretty obvious, but really the best way to improve your score is to capitalize on your strengths and minimize the losses on your weaknesses. When I talk about strengths, I mean which sections you are good at, and vice versa with weaknesses. Much of what I say in the following paragraphs is under the assumption that you have at least one weak section. If all sections are equal to you, you can pretty much disregard this post. But I’m guessing that isn’t most of you.
Bring All Sections to at Least a 10
Once you know your weaknesses, bring those weak sections to at least a 10. Getting a 30 on the MCAT isn’t too shabby, and it’s a good starting goal. If on your practice exam you scored above a 10 on a section, focus on the other sections instead until you can also score a 10 or better on those. Prioritizing the sections in this way will help you build up your weaker areas while you still have study time. Practice, review, and practice some more until you can get a 10 on your weak sections.
Make Your Strengths Rock Solid
Because my physical science background was pretty strong, there were fewer things I needed to review in the PS Section than in the BS section. Take the time to fill any gaps in your strengths so that you can consistently pump out 13-15 in that section. Scoring poorly in your strong section would be devastating to your MCAT score, so make sure your strong section is rock solid. Studying for your strong section should be the easiest, so this has the greatest return on investment in MCAT study time.
Build on your So-So Sections
My so-so section was Biological Sciences. There was more for me to review in that section, and this was the section where I saw the most improvement. Build your so-so section until it is also a strength. Practice, review, and practice. It may never get rock solid, but your scores should become more consistent and higher than before.
Cut Your Losses on Your Weaknesses
This depends on how much time you have and whether or not you want a 45 on the MCAT. If you have the time, you could potentially practice enough to make your weakness into a strength, but for most of you I’m guessing that that is unlikely. Because your weak section is the hardest for you, studying for this section is the least efficient and your score will most likely be more variable than that of your strengths. Thus, I would recommend spending the rest your valuable study time on your weak section only after you’ve strengthened your moderate and strong sections.
Summary (in order)
- Identify your strong and weak sections
- Get at least a 10 on each section
- If you can’t get a 10 on a section, work on that section until you can.
- Make your strong sections consistently strong.
- If you have time, go back and strengthen your other weak sections, starting with your moderately weak section first.
This advice isn’t really anything amazing, but it will help you improve your MCAT score in the shortest amount of time. Good luck!