[MCAT Success Story] — How Peter Went From 499 To 513 On The MCAT In 8 Weeks

April 22, 2024

minute read

Be honest…

Before you began studying for the MCAT, you thought it wasn’t going to be so bad…

You figured you’d have a good shot at getting a 510+ or a 515+ MCAT score if you just spent enough time memorizing the content…

But then you got your first practice exam score back and…

Ouch! Reality hits you in the face like a ton of MCAT prep books!

That’s what happened to Peter Kim, our featured top scorer in today's MCAT Master Interview.

Peter's goal MCAT score was a 515, but when he was 75% of the way into his MCAT prep, he did a practice test and scored a 499. 

Extremely discouraged, Peter knew something had to change. 


Peter faced many of the most common dreadful MCAT prep frustrations:

  • Plateauing scores leading to constant self-doubt and never ending stress... 
  • Limited time to test date with scores staying the same...
  • Low CARS and B/B scores and no idea how to improve them...

And the list goes on.

It was tough but by his test date, Peter figured it out...

And scored in the 89th percentile!

Want to know how he did it?

Want to know how he overcame all those MCAT prep obstacles?

You're about to find out 🙂

As you know, we're constantly interviewing top MCAT scorers to collect the most reliable, most common, most powerful MCAT study strategies, and bring them to you through our articles, emails, and especially in our downloads

For this success story, we've released the entire recorded interview with Peter that you can listen to and watch on our YouTube channel!

PLUS Peter was kind enough to write out summarizing points to some of the key questions you'd want to know about his journey.

Questions like...

  • How long did it take you to go from your lowest score to your highest MCAT score
  • What advice would you give to someone who wants to score like you did?
  • What was your MCAT content review and practice process like?
  • What were your biggest challenges, frustrations, obstacles, and how did you overcome them?
  • What MCAT prep resources did you use and which ones do you recommend the most?
  • How did you score a 131 in Psych/Soc and what recommendations would you have for someone struggling with that section?
  • Why was your lowest score in the Chem/Phys section? What happened and what would you do differently?
  • And much more!

There are  insights in this article that aren't mentioned in the interview, and vice-versa...

Which is why we recommend reading through the summary points in this article AND listening to the full interview so you can better embed all the wisdom Peter has to share with you from his 513 MCAT score experience.

You can click the play button below to listen to the full video interview or read on to get more insights from the interview...

When you think Back to the MCAT, What were Your Biggest Challenges?

peter headshot

"I underestimated the rigor of the MCAT at the beginning of the study... I figured that I would have a good shot at getting a good score (515+) if I put enough time to memorize the content. What a rude awakening it was after I got my first practice exam score. It did not help that my score was starting to plateau and I was starting doubt my intelligence 

and my ability to do well on the MCAT. I was getting more stressed day by day as the test day was approaching and I was not sure what I had to do to improve my score. 

Time was limited and I knew I had to be strategic about how I spent my time studying and what subjects to focus more on. I spotted my strength and weakness fairly early on. I was a chemistry major so I naturally did best on Chem/Phys section. Psych/Soc was somewhere in the middle. CARS was on the low side. Bio/Biochem was my lowest section and I knew something had to be done.

What MCAT Prep Resources Made the Biggest Difference In Helping You Achieve Your Score?

UWorld in my opinion, was the best non-AAMC resource for me. UWorld questions were very challenging but it trained me to think critically and helped me fill in wide gap of materials that was not covered in my content review period.

The best part of UWorld is the explanation of each question choices with amazing illustrations that stick to your memory. I largely attribute my increase in my Bio/Biochem score to UWorld and wish I had known about it earlier. 

For Psych/Soc, the Khan Academy P/S 100 Pg Document is the most valuable resource as it covers all you need to know about the content. I would go over the document multiple times with the Khan Academy video playing (you should be able to follow along). I would reinforce the knowledge with UWorld Qbank as well.

For CARS, I found the CARS Mastery Report, JackWestin Passages, and TestingSolutions to be most helpful. Repetition and consistency is important with CARS.

Would You Recommend MedLife Mastery Resources To Other Premeds Struggling With The MCAT?

"The Top Scorer MCAT Strategy Guide is a Must-Read for anyone who wishes to do well on the MCAT. It has amazing strategies and tips that you will not find in ANY test-prep company material (Kaplan, TPR, NextStep, etc). I wish I had known about it earlier in my studies because it brought my strategy aspect of the MCAT to a whole new level. I was hesitant at spending money on it first, but it was worth every penny.

I then went through the CARS Mastery Report which included in-depth analysis of AAMC CARS QPack. This included great strategies for CARS and showed me how high scorers think. I was getting amazing explanations for dense passages that I would have no clue on when I read through it the first time around. All answer choices were explained very logically and helped me spot out trap answers. I would highly recommend this if you are struggling with CARS."

Side Note: Peter's State "Pre-MCAT"

When there were only 2 weeks left before the MCAT, Peter reached out to us and here's what he said...

"CARS is the most frustrating section on the MCAT that I just cannot improve. The score has been the same for the last 3 months I've been studying even with daily practice. Biology/Biochemistry is also another section that has been difficult for me but I have improved significantly over the past few weeks. I just want to do well on the CARS section!

My worry is that I don't have too much time and I'm panicking as the test is approaching in about 2 weeks. I hope I could bring my CARS section up by 2-3 points from 125. Other sections I am ranging from 127-129 depending on test prep company/AAMC so I hope to end up with around 129 on the other three sections. My goal score would be anything from 512-515.

I am not too nervous or worried about med-school admission process as I am looking to take things step by step. I do think the MCAT will be the biggest factor in my competitiveness for medical school."

Looks like he got just what he wanted! Way to go Peter 🙂

You Scored A 131 In Psych/Soc! What Are Your Best Recommendations For Someone Wanting To Increase Their Score In P/S?

"I did not expect to get this score as my highest score ever on a practice exam was 128. What I could say about this section on the real exam is that it might look very different and almost unrepresentative of the AAMC practice exams (this was my experience). 

The key is not the panic when you see that questions are not phrased the way you are used to, passages that seems very obscure, or if you see terms you have never encountered. Staying calm and solving problems methodically with a critical-thinking mindset helped me get through this section and I did better than I had ever hoped for!"

Your Lowest Score Was In Chem/Phys. What Happened and What Would You Do Differently?

"I spent the least amount of time studying this section since it was consistently my highest score throughout the study period. On MCAT test day, I was shocked at how much organic chemistry there was, as it was weakness that I had not covered in detail.

I figured that it would be low yield. If I could do this differently, I would never assume that a certain topic would not come up just because it is considered "low yield". There is no low yield on the MCAT and anything on the AAMC outline is fair game!

Creating Your Own MCAT Success Story

With every MCAT success story you go through, we hope you realize that the top scorers we interview aren't much different than you.

They go through the same struggles, the same challenges, the same emotions as most MCAT writers...

But what sets top scorers apart from those who get average or lower scores on the MCAT,  from those who have to keep rewriting the MCAT, is that they take a step back and problem solve. 

They realize studying 'harder' isn't going to help, so they ask themselves how they can study smarter. They try to figure out what's missing from their approach to the MCAT.

That's when they come to the realizations, the epiphanies, the strategies that help them improve their MCAT score to the top scorer level in just weeks.

Imagine if those realizations and strategies of not just one, but dozens of 90+ percentile scorers were compiled in one place, so you can go through them and know exactly what you need to do to improve your score just as quickly as they did...

So you don't have to waste your limited time and energy trying to figure it out yourself...

No need to imagine... It's all available here 🙂

You got this, 

The MedLife Mastery Team
Your MCAT Success Mentors

P.S. If you haven't already, listen to Peter's full interview here for a more in depth look at his MCAT journey and how he took his score from 499 to 513.

Additional Reading -- MCAT Success Stories:

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 achieve your goal MCAT score, we take turns hosting these Live MCAT Courses and are also available for 1:1 private tutoring!

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