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Reviewing an MCAT FL/ Practice Exam

Updated: Jan 4, 2022

April 7, 2020


Soooooo this week, I took my first MCAT practice test after a bit of studying and got a 495. Was I disappointed? ABSOLUTELY. I debated whether to share this with y’alll, but if not me, then who? This journey to medicine has become some competitive - cut throat even. My goal is to break down the barriers that have been put up and be completely transparent about this process.


I started with a 498 diagnostic in October with Altius, and I began studying in February. I was hoping to hit 500 with the half-length practice exam from Kaplan, but instead I got a 495. However, after taking the exam, I have learned a lot about how to alter my study habits as I continue content review. I plan to incorporate A LOT more practice into this second phase of content review, so hopefully I will see some better results.

NOW, to the important stuff. Like I said, I felt a bit defeated after taking my practice exam. But two days later, I feel rejuvenated and ready to tackle this MCAT head-on. I feel this way because I reviewed my exam. Aside from taking FLs to build up endurance, reviewing them might be the second most important part of MCAT prep. I learned so much about content gaps, test-taking strategies, and how to better prepare in the future. And here’s how I did it:




It took me about 15 pages in a composition notebook to review my practice exam from this week. I started by putting my score, the date, and where the exam came from if I ever need to reference it again. I created a chart of how many questions I missed per section. I also included a column for the number of questions I had the right answer but switched to the wrong answer! I’m big into second guessing myself, so I want to track this over time. Then I jumped into each section!





For B/B, P/S, and C/P, my review was pretty much the same. Generally, I created a chart with the question number, topic, my reasoning, and the explanation given by the test company. In the question column, I color-coded the question number based on whether I got it right or wrong and put a star beside questions that I flagged while taking the exam. The topic of each question will be give by the test prep company, and that column will help me easily determine which topics need to be reviewed and find major content gaps. I figured out that I desperately need to review Attitudes and Behavior for P/S. For the my reasoning column, I put any scratch work I jotted down during the test in addition to why I may have gotten it wrong. That could be anything from misread the question, didn’t read the passage well enough, need to review the content, etc. Finally, I put a column for the explanation from the test prep company. I tried to rephrase their explanation in words that made sense to me. I also made sure to not only include explanations for right answers but why other answers were wrong.

CARS was a bit different. I split everything up by passage and instead of topic, there is a column for question type. This is also given by the test prep company and includes things such as inference or strengthen/weaken. This is imperative to understand which types of questions you have issues with in this section. I also had one big column for explanation where I wrote down where I went wrong and how the test prep company explained it.


I reviewed every single question on the exam. I filled in my chart for every wrong answer and some right answers. For questions I got correct, I filled in the chart for questions I got right through guessing, got right because of the wrong reasons, or questions regarding topics I wasn’t super confident in. I'm going to use this notebook to guide me in creating more Anki cards for weak subjects and targeted practice questions in the future.


When reviewing, don't just focus on content. Knowing your content is important, but the MCAT is also about understanding passages and interpreting data. In my notebook, I jotted down some strategies to utilize in future practice based on the mistakes I made. There are so many things I learned from this practice exam like read the passage because sometimes the information is right there in your face, build up my endurance for CARS and learn how to read extremely boring things, check over your answers, and trust yourself.


My first practice test after studying was definitely not where I expected it to be. I think that my studying so far has been productive but not as effective as it could’ve been. I’m planning to incorporate more practice questions, more passage practice, and more Anki in the future. Stay tuned for post on phase 2 of content review.


Until then, check out my insta for all things pre-med at melanin.in.premed✨

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