From 500 to 520 – Hanes’ Journey on the MCAT

YouTube video

January 17

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What if we told you that you might be wasting your MCAT study prep time with the way you’ve been studying?

We hope you’re not, but there are some common assumptions and mistakes premeds make
during MCAT prep, that even slowed the progress of some of your mentors here at MCAT Mastery!

Your MCAT Mastery mentor, Hanes, started his MCAT prep by watching content videos, taking notes from textbooks, and memorizing the terms he thought he needed to know before he realized…

He had wasted an entire month of his MCAT prep 😶

To make sure you don’t make the same mistakes he did, Hanes made this video detailing his MCAT journey! 

We’ll pass it off to Hanes from here! 

I decided to start studying for the MCAT in the fall of my junior year, and during that semester, I was taking physiology and biochemistry as well as balancing extracurriculars.

I knew that adding the MCAT on top of this was going to be a challenge and it did not help that when took my first diagnostic exam, I scored a 500.

This was definitely not the score I wanted to start off at.

Where I Went Wrong With My MCAT Prep

I decided to start studying for the MCAT the way that most students do. I started reading textbooks and study books, taking notes, and watching videos. I was trying to cram as much content into my mind as possible.

I felt like I was doing a lot. And so a month later, when I took my first full-length practice exam, I was pretty frustrated and felt really dejected when I didn't see a large score increase. In fact, my score barely went up at all.

I chalked this failure up to me not putting enough time and energy into the MCAT and into my study.

I spent the next month doing even more reading, watching even more videos, and taking more notes. Thinking, these strategies are what I've been doing all through college. They're effective, and that's what I need to do for the MCAT.

But at the end of that month, I realized I was very wrong because I took another full-length practice exam and I didn't see any score increase from my last full-length.

And so I realized, I just wasted a whole month of my MCAT journey.

So that's when I realized something needed to change.

The Importance Of Active Study Methods

I started researching online and using websites such as MCAT Mastery which pointed me in the direction of active study methods instead of passive study methods.

Active study methods include taking practice questions, taking practice exams, and doing flashcards.

I basically challenged myself by asking myself questions about the content I was learning, because this is how the MCAT works. The MCAT isn't going to ask you to write down your notes. It's going to ask you questions about the content.

So, I realized that all the strategies I had used for the previous two months were very passive approaches. They included reading, watching videos, and taking notes. But I wasn't challenging myself.

I spent the final month of my MCAT preparation using these active studying techniques. I was using a lot of practice questions. I was studying my full-length exams, trying to learn where I went wrong, and using a lot of flashcards.

If you want to learn how to use flashcards to prepare for Psych/Soc, this article is a must read!

How I Increased My Score to 520

Going into my final exam, I felt very confident. I was able to look back at all the practice exams that I had taken and noticed my steady score increase. So a month later, when I got my score back and received a 520, I was very excited!

But I realized that the majority of my score increase came in that final month of concentrated active recall studying.

I compared this to my first two months of very passive studying approaches. I realized that if only I had spent more of my time using these active approaches, where could my score have been?

My Road To Becoming An MCAT Mentor

At this point, I thought my days of learning Aldol synthesis pathways and Kohlberg's developmental stages were over. 

However, I started hearing stories from classmates and friends at other schools about their struggles with the MCAT. I personally knew several of these students, and I also knew that they would become great physicians, researchers, and leaders if they were given the opportunity to enter the medical field. 

I realized this was happening to more and more students across the country. I felt called to become an MCAT tutor to help students overcome the barrier of the MCAT in their medical school application, so they could enter the field and become great physicians, researchers, and leaders.

MCAT Preparation Should Be Personalized To You

So since I've become an MCAT tutor, I've gotten to walk alongside many students in their preparation for the MCAT. And the most important thing that I've learned is that the MCAT is not a one size fit all test.

In fact, a lot of the tips and techniques that you see online cannot be applied to everyone's scenario.

It is actually best to test out different strategies and learning methods that work best for you and not use the ones that don't work for you.

The Next Steps To Achieving Your Score Goal

So now you may be asking, okay, this is awesome, Hanes, but what do I do now? And so I would recommend doing two things.

The first is to sign up for MCAT Mastery's free email strategy course. In this course, you will receive strategies and stories of students who have successfully taken the MCAT.

The second is to sign up for tutoring sessions through MCAT Mastery. These tutoring sessions can be with myself or another tutor who would love to walk alongside you in your MCAT journey.

Again, my name is Hanes Grafe! Thank you for taking the time to read this and remember, you can achieve a good MCAT score!

Ensure You’re Ready For Test Day!

What did you think of Hanes' tips? It’s The MedLife Mastery Team back again and it’s not often that you get MCAT advice from a 520 scorer like Hanes, so make the most of his support and guidance from his video here!

If you ever feel like you need more guidance and assistance during your MCAT prep journey from someone who’s been through the process and did well (like Hanes!), we can pair you with the perfect mentor for your unique circumstances who will get you to your goal score with our affordable 1:1 private tutoring!

The MCAT is an important test, so we want to make sure that the energy and time you’re putting into prep doesn’t go to waste!

Remember that everyone runs into frustrating roadblocks during MCAT prep that will prevent you from reaching your goal score…

But it’s nothing you can’t overcome!

If you’re already seeking out and learning strategies to ensure your success (like you are now!) we know that you’ll reach your goal score by your test date 💪 

The MedLife Mastery Team
Your MCAT Success Mentors

Your MCAT Success Mentors

About the Author

We're a team of future doctors passionate about giving back and mentoring other future doctors! All mentors on the team are top MCAT scorers and we all are committed to seeing you succeed in achieving your physician dreams ????To help you increase your MCAT score to the competitive mark quickly, we have collaboratively created these self-paced MCAT strategy courses and are also available for one-on-one tutoring!

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