Imagine this. It's the last week before the MCAT and your biggest MCAT prep fear has come true...
What do you do!? This is definitely a scenario that calls for a lot of anxiety and panic.
Well, that's exactly the situation Rachel found herself in...
And in this article, you're going to learn exactly how she managed to take her score from "disappointing" to hitting her target score in less than a week!
With her MCAT prep insights and strategies, we hope you can replicate her results for yourself and increase your MCAT score significantly in just a week, regardless of how far you are from your MCAT test date!
Over the last few months, we've received A LOT of positive feedback about our interview emails with students just like you, who achieved competitive MCAT scores.
We hear you and we're happy to send you more as we continue to interview and hear back from top scorers in the community!
In today's MCAT success story however, we'd like to introduce you to Rachel Stevenson, a non-traditional MCAT test taker who has a lot to share with others who are in the shoes she was recently in...
I had a lot of anxiety about the MCAT, knowing that I had to "get it right" the first time in order to keep on track.
About a week before the test, I started to panic. I was only getting 502s on the practice exams and the week before the test I was panicking and considering voiding my score..."
"As an older student and career changer, my goals for medical school are modest and practical. As a Virginia student, I knew if I could at least get a 503 I would have an automatic interview to Virginia Commonwealth University.
To be competitive at my other school choice, Uniformed Services University, I needed a 508, their average admission score. And my practice tests had me freaking out that I could get neither!"
We know we're always talking about scoring 510+ to be competitive. Today we want to acknowledge that for your situation, for your target med-school, a 510+ may not be necessary and that's completely OK.
At the core of it all, we're always pushing for your MCAT "success". MCAT success isn't determined by a score, it's determined by if you get a score that makes you competitive for your first choice med-school. That's all.
At the same time, we know if you were to use our strategies designed to get you over 510, you'd be competitive for any school, which is why we emphasize that score level.
Now as you noticed, Rachel isn't like the average student. There were a few factors that probably made this process a little tougher for her...
For one, the fact that she had the courage to switch her career from business/finance and follow her passion into medicine. A decision like that comes with extra pressure to do well.
Another major factor is that as an older student nearing your mid-30's, you see the value of 'time' a lot more differently than someone who is in their early 20's.
We've interviewed several non-traditional applicant's who struggled with the MCAT because of these extra challenges that the average premed doesn't face, yet in the end, they still managed to achieve incredible MCAT scores.
For example, there was Valentina, a non-trad applicant who increased her MCAT score by 19 points and achieved a 514, even though she was 24 weeks pregnant when she took the MCAT!
Then there was Jennifer, another non-trad who only saw her score increase by 1 point after 4.5 months of studying! Then in the last 30 days before the MCAT, she skyrocketed her score by 10 points!
We recommend you read their stories as well to get more insight into your MCAT prep!
So with one week before the MCAT, low practice test scores, and anxiety reaching an all time high, what steps did Rachel take to try to reach her score goal? Let's find out...
"During that panicked week, I found your site and got the practical exam advice I needed to *understand* the test. One strategy The Top Scorer MCAT Strategy Guide recommends is reviewing the practice exams and creating a spreadsheet to record what I missed and what I knew well.
I used the last 7 days before my scheduled MCAT to exclusively review my past practice exams, and I found that I was consistently missing questions with answers IN the passage, in every section. So my goal for MCAT day was to use every second for each section to find those answers."
Before we continue with more strategies Rachel used, we want to highlight that if there's one key takeaway you get from Rachel's story that could have the biggest impact on your score, it's this...
Knowing the right strategies to take and review your practice exams can be the difference between achieving or surpassing your target MCAT score and being forced to write again.
For example like Rachel mentioned, using and creating a spreadsheet for tracking your practice exam performance is extremely useful. Most premeds don’t have a proper system for tracking their mistakes and thus, don’t see steady improvements in their scores. They miss key ingredients and factors that must be noted.
In fact, for anyone who downloads the strategy guide that Rachel used and mentioned, we also give them the MCAT Mastery Mistake Tracker & Analysis Worksheet, which provides you with a perfect ready-to-print template that you can use to track practice exam mistakes, that gets you asking the right questions to identify your weaknesses.
Top scorers have found this incredibly valuable to prevent them from making those same mistakes again, which leads to scores increasing with every practice exam.
With that said, let's keep going and discover what else Rachel did to increase her MCAT score in the last week before her exam...
"The guide also mentioned the importance of finding the right strategy that works for you, and I put this to use in CARS. Originally, I had been simply reading the passage, highlighting nothing, and scored 129.
I changed my strategy on the last few practice exams and started highlighting like crazy, only to see my score drop to 126. Since the original strategy got the better score, on MCAT exam day, I went back to simply reading and answering the questions and my score went back up to 129!"
This is huge. A lot of premeds come across a strategy that's 'supposed' to work, apply it, and start seeing a decline in their scores. Remember, there's a difference between doing the 'right' thing and doing the thing that works.
If 99% of MCAT "gurus" tell you to highlight, but you notice your scores dropping when you highlight, don't force the strategy just because 'everyone's doing it' or because someone with authority said 'you HAVE to do it'.
Like Rachel said, we always recommend that you only use the strategies that work for you.
At the end of the day, you have your own strengths and weaknesses. You just have to identify what those are.
We're happy to give you an entire toolbox of highly effective strategies top scorers have used in our strategy guide, and we highly recommend you try out as many as you can... BUT when you're done trying them out, ONLY keep the ones that give you the best results and throw away the rest! You don't have to use ALL of them.
Going back to Rachel's story, here she summarizes and gives us a more specific breakdown of the steps she took to raise her score when she had only 7 days before the big day...
"First, I took about 5 practice exams.
Second, I reviewed all of my practice exams and made a spreadsheet showing what I missed/got right and why.
Third, I found that I was missing questions that were obviously asking for answers that were located in the passage, so I focused on sleuthing out those answers.
This combination was enough to pull my score up from 502 on my practice exams to 508 on my actual exam..."
Hearing Rachel's story makes us feel all kinds of ways...
Firstly, we have a lot of respect for her for following her passion, whereas many people in her shoes would fear taking the steps she did and going after their dreams.
Secondly, we feel very proud of her and her success because after all, she is one of our own MCAT Mastery Community members 🙂
And lastly, we're super impressed at her ability to strategically pull her score up to her EXACT target score that she wanted in just one week!
Also, here's what Rachel said regarding her biggest challenge to increasing her MCAT score...
"For me, my biggest issue was simply maintaining my confidence. During my post-bacc program, I always went class, did my work, and knew I knew enough material.
I just seemed to lose my confidence, and for that, MCAT Mastery really helped me feel like I was prepared and helped me feel a lot more confident about my strategies on exam day.
The advice in the mastery guide was exactly what I needed to hear in my panicked state. Hearing the basic advice to review my practice exams was gold. I am so glad I googled "MCAT strategies" a week before the test or I very likely would have voided my score and had to retake.
The way I see it, I spent $30, but saved $300!"
We're extremely thankful to Rachel for sharing her advice and story with the community.
We've been hearing from a lot of frustrated and panicked students who are taking the MCAT soon.
We told Rachel that her story will definitely inspire and ignite some confidence in a lot of future doctors who really need it right now...
"I do really hope that it helps someone else. For me and many of the other post baccalaureate students failure is simply not an option. Thank you guys again for doing all that you do!"
It's genuinely our pleasure.
We succeed when you succeed.
Want us to send you new 515+ scorer MCAT success stories when we release them?
Each case study will bring you new tips, new strategies, and revive your motivation to dominate the MCAT!
Additional Reading -- MCAT Success Stories:
- How Jennifer Increased Her MCAT Score By 10 Points In Less Than 30 Days
- A 17-Point MCAT Score Increase: 496 to 513! (ft. Stephanie Hayes)
- From 490 To 511 On The MCAT: His 21 Point Score Increase
- Siraj’s 3-Month 523 MCAT Study Plan As A Full-Time Student
- From 485-495 Plateau + 4 MCAT Attempts To 514 (1.5 Years Later!)
- 41-Year-Old Accountant and Father Dominates The MCAT With a 520!
- Noah’s MCAT Success Story: From 496 To 510 On The MCAT In Less Than 30 Days!
- 19 Point MCAT Score Increase In 6 Weeks While Working Full Time
- From 500 Plateau to 516 in Less than 30 Days (ft. Abbi Shrontz)
- How I Went From 500 To 513 on the MCAT In 4 Weeks
- From 501 Plateau To 513 On The MCAT
- From 499 to 512 on the MCAT in 24 Days
- Melissa’s MCAT Scores Kept Going Down, But She Didn’t Give Up
- How Tanmay Scored 514 On The MCAT In Just 3 Months!
- How Peter Went From 499 To 513 On The MCAT In 8 Weeks
- From 494 (2015) to 502 (2019) to 513 on the MCAT (ft. Jennifer Nagel)
- From 498 To 514 WITH A Busy Schedule!
- From 499 To 511 In 4 Weeks On MCAT Retake!
- From 500 To 512 (Exact Goal Score) In 30 Days!
- From 500 To 514 On The MCAT (2.5 Years Later)
- From 501 To 514 In The LAST 2 WEEKS Before The MCAT!
- From 64th Percentile To 98th Percentile On The MCAT In Less Than 30 Days
- How He Increased His MCAT Score From 499 To 512 In 3 Weeks
- How Kayla Scored 131 In Psych/Soc on the MCAT (MCAT Case Study)
- From 489 To 509: How Miriam Improved Her MCAT Score By 20 Points
- How Melanie Increased Her MCAT Score By 12 Points (From 505 to 517)
- Interview with a 519 Scorer, Re-Taker, and MS1: Julia Meguro
- MCAT Master Interview With A 100th Percentile Scorer: Priya Swaminathan
- Best MCAT Bio/Biochem Strategies – Top Tips From A 131 Scorer
- From 499 To 515 On The MCAT In 7 Weeks!
- Hope’s MCAT Retake Story: I Went From 500 to 514 In 6 Weeks!
- How Oleksandra Retook The MCAT and Scored 510
- How Suman Scored Over 510 The Second Time
- From 503/505 To 511 In The FINAL 2 Weeks!
- How Sara Scored 522 On The MCAT
- Taylor's Secret To Scoring 131 On CARS and 511 on the MCAT
- Tara’s MCAT Study Advice Based On Her 510 MCAT Score
- Jenny's Motivational MCAT Success Story: From 499 To 511 In 3 Weeks?!
- A Non-Traditional Applicant’s 514 (91st Percentile)
- How Lindsay Scored 513 On The MCAT While Working Two Jobs
- How Morgan Improved Her MCAT Score From 498 To 511 While Working Full Time
- 10-Point MCAT Score Jump in 2 Weeks: From 503 to 513!
- Can You Have A Social Life During MCAT Prep? (ft. two 515+ scorers!)