How Andrea Scored 522 on the MCAT

June 25, 2024

minute read

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Hey this is Andrea from the MedLife Mastery team! Today, I'm going to tell you all about my MCAT journey.

To start off, I want to preface by saying that I would not recommend that people do what I did because when I first started studying for the MCAT, I was working a full-time job too.

It was the summer transitioning from junior year to senior year when I studied for the MCAT exam. Not only was I burnt out from school, but I was also working full-time, and my two-hour commute to work was a lot to balance. 

A little bit of background about me is I'm actually an immigrant from Mexico. Since English is not my first language, it caused me to struggle a lot in the CARS section.

Being Multilingual Is Hard: CARS as an ESL Student

Even though I'm definitely comfortable with English now, being bilingual is hard. In my experience, knowing two languages narrows my vocabulary compared to someone who only knows English. 

I would recommend to those who have the time and resources to prioritize their time studying for the MCAT because studying for the MCAT alone is a lot to manage. If you have to work or take classes while you study though, I am a testament to that. It is challenging, but definitely doable. You can still be successful in your MCAT goals. 

There are a couple of things that helped me achieve my 522 score, and I want to share them with you all below. 

My Perspective Shift: What They're Really Testing Us On

The first thing that I realized is that the MCAT is a test of persistence. Obviously, it matters if you're intelligent and if you grasp the content. At the end of the day though, anyone can do well on the MCAT because it's a test of persistence.

I think they're mainly testing if you can study for a long period of time for a rigorous test. Can you showcase diligence by practicing the same thing over and over again? I promise that you're definitely going to need that for studying medicine. 

I think that the most important thing is to keep on trying when you are struggling because honestly, studying for the MCAT exam is a very discouraging process. I was disheartened a lot. I hit a score plateau of 508 that I could not get over for weeks. 

Once I realized that the MCAT is a test of persistence, I shifted my perspective knowing that they're testing me on how much I want it. During my prep, I would just keep that in mind and let that motivate me. 

Everyone has their own unique motivation. For me, I took the mentality of, “Oh, they think I can't do it… So I'm going to prove them wrong. I know I can do it.” Everyone has their own mantra, but that was just mine. 

By the way, we offer tutoring and free strategy emails that helped me stay motivated during my prep. I'm also a tutor, so if you would benefit from MCAT tutoring, I am definitely available!

Getting Comfortable with Frustrating Mistakes

Another important thing that I did during my prep was analyze my mistakes. I think this is another way that the MCAT is a test of persistence because you get tired of making the same mistakes and tracking the same mistakes for certain areas of content. 

Although it can be annoying and tedious, it's important to keep reviewing those mistakes no matter how frustrating they are. 

It definitely got very discouraging for me. I struggled with CARS and kept missing the reasoning within the text question types. I had to keep reminding myself that the MCAT exam is a test of persistence, and I had to keep going. 

Although, this is much easier said than done! Everyone has motivation barriers when studying for the MCAT. 

Managing Stress During MCAT Prep

I think for me, what helped me get through it was that I heavily relied on my friends. I would vent to them all the time. People sometimes view complaining as a negative thing. Granted, sometimes it can be. 

When you're studying for the MCAT and ranting or letting it all out, I think it can be a good way to relieve stress. If you're just studying and being frustrated all day without an outlet, it's going to be harder on your mental health. Definitely resort to your friends, family, pets, or any other support. 

Another thing that I really relied on when I was studying for the MCAT was running as an outlet. A lot of people hate running, I know. However, I recommend some sort of exercise while you're studying because it's a great stress reliever. 

Some days I would be so stressed out and think to myself, “Oh my goodness, I'm taking a full-length tomorrow. I am really dreading that, and I'm really nervous to see how I'll perform.”

When I started to get stressed, I would go on a run, and then all my worries would just go away. Just remember, try your very best. That's all you can do. Try your very best to balance studying, your work, and your friends. I think that's how I figured it out. 

I was able to manage my time in a way that I had to prioritize my studying which sometimes meant sacrificing time to hang out with my friends and family. I still went out with them as much as I believed I could while staying on top of my studies.

This worked out well for me...

Getting My Dream Score: If I Can Do It, So Can You

I ended up getting a 522 on the MCAT! When I found out my score, I was leaving my class and I was thinking, “Oh my god, it came out. My MCAT score finally came out.” 

Then, I sat in a corner, opened the scores, and started crying—lots of tears of joy, tears of relief. 

I just want to say that if I could balance all my responsibilities while not having English as a first language, and still do well on the MCAT, I think you can too. 

I truly believe you, and I think anyone can do great on the MCAT. 

Thank you so much, and we will talk more next time! 

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A note from the MedLife Mastery Team: 

All of our mentors are like Andrea - incredibly compassionate, smart, and dedicated to seeing you get to your dreams without the struggle...

You'll be doing your MCAT score, your confidence, and your future self, a huge favor by having one of them by your side. We can pair you up with your ideal mentor here.

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About the Author

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