5 Steps to Earning a 90th-Percentile MCAT Score

Famous Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz once remarked, “When my teams took second place, the fans called me an idiot. A guy who finished last in medical school is still called a ‘doctor’. Hardly seems fair.”
Lou’s pithy comment may be true for students already in medical school. However, if you are a premed student, finishing last, or even in the middle of the pack, dooms your chances of going to a quality medical school. Every year, students face fierce competition. Scoring “above average” isn’t enough. To be highly competitive as an out-of-state applicant at schools across the country, you need a strong MCAT score—usually in the 90th percentile or above.

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5 Ways to Study for the MCAT Using Your Smart Phone

You can do almost anything with your smart phone these days. You can video call a friend in China, order pizza with the click of a button, and even see in the dark! So, if your smart phone can help you do these and an almost infinitely large number of other things, then why can’t you use it to study for the MCAT? In this article, I am going to show you that you not only can, but should use your smart phone to study for the MCAT. Here are 5 ways that you can start using your iPhone to study for the MCAT right now:

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4 Ways to Address a Low MCAT Score on Your AMCAS Application

low MCAT score

Overcoming a low MCAT score on your AMCAS application can feel daunting. Can they really judge my whole application by my performance on one 8 hour block of life!!? Sadly, most schools do put extensive emphasis on MCAT scores. However, a low score is not the end of the world if you are within the range of applicants to a particular school. Ask yourself: What do medical schools look for? The answer is more dynamic than just a good MCAT score…

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Critical Reading: Building Analysis and Reasoning Skills with Confidence

Anyone who has taken or studied for the MCAT Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills (CARS)—or any other critical reading test—will tell you that these tests can be incredibly challenging. Why is that true, given that people studying for the MCAT CARS are typically good students? There are several reasons why. Part of the challenge is the subject matter in the passages. Many individuals have not read extensively outside of their disciplines–especially in the humanities and social sciences. Another challenge is that many people today aren’t used to reading material that is written much above the high school level, even college students. Thus, many readers are uneasy with complex sentence structures and elaborate or abstract language. In addition, analyzing and reasoning from material in a new discipline or in a style that is unfamiliar to you is difficult. It can require extra thought for anyone. However, these and other reading challenges don’t need to be roadblocks to your success when you take the MCAT or any other test that involves critical reading. Critical reading, analysis, and reasoning are skills that can be learned and practiced. This article is designed to help you understand the skills you’ll need to read effectively and approach testing for the MCAT CARS and other critical reading tests.

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Conquering Organic Chemistry

Organic Chemistry is a hurdle every premed must undertake. For many, it can dissuade you from pursuing your dreams of becoming a physician. This guide is here to prevent that, and instead help you come to terms with the beast commonly referred to as “orgo” or “ochem.”
First and foremost, let’s debunk a couple myths surrounding the subject.

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Study Like It’s Game Day

Preparing for an exam is the same as preparing for any other major event you might encounter. Just like a football player prepares for Friday night’s game or a pianist practices for their upcoming recital, preparation should be completed just like it is the main event. When preparing for a major exam, set the scene up like it is the day of the test.
First order of business is finding a location that is most conducive to studying for you. This might be a quiet location like the library, a place with background noise like a coffee shop, or your favorite nook on campus. Finding the correct place to study for you is very important for concentration and retention of information. If the location does not provide you with the ability to focus on your studies, then try a new place until you find what works best.

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How to use a Pea Plant to Increase your USMLE, COMLEX, and Shelf Exam Scores

80/20 principle

Studying for the boards overwhelms most people. The sheer amount of information to know is … Read more

The Top 5 Ways to Improve Your CARS Score Today

improve your CARS score

For most pre-meds taking the MCAT, the CARS section proves to be one of the biggest obstacles standing between them and admission to the medical school of their dreams. The CARS section is a highly artificial environment, unlike any test you’ve ever taken before. It can be difficult to know where to begin and what steps to take to improve your overall CARS approach. Everyone and their mother seem to have an opinion about how to do well on the CARS section, opinions that often contradict each other as often as they agree. To make matters worse, unlike the other sections of the MCAT which play to the inherent strengths of pre-meds, hardly anyone starts off with a CARS score in range of where they’d like to be on test day. Fear sets in, and the “you’re not going to get in” gremlins starting chanting their mean-spirited slogans; all because of one stinking section.

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What the Adcom Sees (and Thinks) About Your Multiple MCAT Scores

multiple MCAT scores

MCAT History
Back in the olden days (like prior to 2007), the MCAT was only offered a few times a year, and test-takers took the paper exam with a No. 2 pencil. There was also a restriction placed on the number of times you could take the exam in a single year, as well as in your lifetime.
Today, the MCAT is offered 17 times a year with the following limitations on how often an applicant can take it:
– Three times  in one year
– Four times  in two years
– Seven times in a lifetime
It’s become increasingly common to take the exam, retake it, and then sometimes retake it again before  applying to medical school.

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5 Study Tips for the USMLE Step 1

1. Set a goal
As the saying goes, “being begin with the end in mind.” Before you begin preparing for the USMLE Step 1, you should consider where you are with your knowledge base and your score, as well as what your goal target score is. To determine where you are starting from, you should take a practice test. Online prediction calculators use your scores on question banks and the USMLE practice test to estimate how you will do on the actual Step 1 exam.
When setting a goal, consider that 192 is currently the minimum passing score for USMLE Step 1, and 229 was the national average in 2014 (the most recent year for which data is available). However, depending on the specialty into which you desire to match, you may have to aim for a significantly higher score. If you’re not sure what specialty you want to pursue, you’ll want to score as high as possible, though you probably want to do that anyway. This is a table summarizing average USMLE Step 1 scores by specialty in the 2014 Match.

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Exam preparation: More than just studying?

exam preparation

Do you know of a colleague who is extremely good at their job, yet cannot pass the professional exams required to ascend the career ladder? Or an exceptionally bright friend – who seems to fall apart during exam periods? Or do you yourself struggle when it comes to final assessments? I’m sure most of us are familiar with situations like this, as they are a very common occurrence. Failure to pass specialist exams in one’s field is not down to lack of intelligence or an inability to do the job. Rather, it is usually down to inadequate preparation for the examination.

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5 Steps to a Better CARS Score

Better CARS score

The Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) is one of the most well-known entrance exams in all of higher education. It is known for many things: difficulty, length, bizarre scoring systems, and the breadth of subjects covered – everything from basic human psychology to nucleophilic substitution reactions to electrical circuits to the life cycle of plants are fair game on this test. The test is designed to look for several basic abilities and aptitudes of medical school applicants; among these are problem-solving skills, basic grasp of scientific knowledge, and understanding of human relationships. One aptitude that the MCAT particularly focuses on is the ability to quickly synthesize large amounts of information and data and make decisions based on the conclusions; this skill is extremely valuable for physicians in medical practice, but also important for students to succeed in medical school. This skill is tested on each section of the MCAT, but is also almost the sole skill tested on one section in particular: Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills (CARS), formerly known as Verbal Reasoning.

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