Merrina’s Journey To A 518 On The MCAT

YouTube video

January 13

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There’s nothing more frustrating than pouring hours into MCAT prep and seeing no improvement come out of it! 😩

When Merrina started her MCAT prep, she watched dozens of Khan Academy videos, attempted practice questions, and would take her days to finish practice tests only to see no progress…

Until it just clicked 🤯! Merrina changed her approach to studying for the MCAT and was able to score an impressive 518 on test day!! 

If you want the motivation and strategies that will help you make real improvements in your MCAT prep, Merrina’s video is a must-watch!

So, I started studying for my MCAT during the summer of 2020 because everything went virtual due to the pandemic and I had nothing else better to do.

I watched a bunch of Khan Academy videos and did their questions afterwards, but I realized I wasn't really understanding or able to apply what I did to solve new problems that are actually similar to the MCAT. 

I was forgetting the things I learned from the videos very quickly, so that was my biggest struggle. How do I actually understand things and use them to apply to actual questions?

The Beginning Of My MCAT Prep (And Regrets)

Looking back, I wish that I purchased a one-year subscription to UWorld so I could have started doing problems early on. This way I could hone in on all the content that I was learning.

In January of 2021, I actually started doing more problems that were similar to the MCAT. I purchased the entire bundle of the AAMC and was doing a few questions a day because I was also taking classes and juggling other extracurriculars.

I think that it's important that you do something every day. It doesn't have to be a lot, but as long as you have that consistency, you're going to get better over time.

I was also using the Kaplan content book during that time. I was flipping through the pages, highlighting, and circling all the things that I thought were important and then I did the questions after each chapter.

But, the same thing happened with Khan Academy - I didn't remember anything I learned after I finished each chapter! 

I think the content book was way too detailed for the MCAT, so I started doing content review by doing questions from AAMC first and then seeing which areas I need more review on.

This way my review became more targeted instead of very spread out and not specific enough. Doing reviews on areas that I didn't feel confident in, I found that my speed was getting a lot better and I was able to apply the knowledge I learned.

I also took my first full-length practice exam in January of 2021, and it took me a few days to finish it because it was so long, and after each section, I felt like I couldn’t do it anymore. I was just exhausted. 

So I think it is totally okay to feel exhausted doing practice problems, but over time you're going to build up that stamina!

Preparing for the MCAT is like preparing to run a marathon. You have to build the stamina you need to get to the finish line. 

If you want to learn how exactly you can develop your MCAT stamina, this article is a must read!

How I Scored 130 In Psych/Soc Without Any Background Knowledge

What I did was use a flashcard service called Memm. It is very similar to Anki, but it is a lot more organized, and they have very detailed sheets of review for each content area. 

For example, if I just wanted to study genetics today, I could go to that section, look at the important terms, and then do the flashcards there.

I think doing all of the flashcards in Memm helped me get my psychology/sociology score to above 130 in the end.

Psych/Soc is a section that a lot of people might feel uncomfortable with going into MCAT prep, but here’s another helpful article by a 132 Psych/Soc scorer (100th %) to help you ace this section!

The Final Stretch - Study Habits & Strategies That Helped Me Score 518

During the last 2 months before my exam in June of 2021, I was studying for 6 to 7 hours a day because I no longer had classwork to worry about.

However, during the time when I was studying, I made sure to stay very focused. I didn't look at my phone or go on social media. By doing this, I was able to get as much done as possible during the limited amount of time.

During those two months, I mostly did AAMC and UWorld practice problems every day. I also did one full-length practice test every weekend and mimicked the MCAT conditions very closely. 

I woke up at 6 or 7 A.M., I even wore a mask when I was taking the exam because masks were still required at this time!

I think it's very important that you try to do everything just like the exam day, so there won't be any surprises or anything to stress you out.

I wasn't increasing my score linearly as I wanted to, and it was frustrating, but that's okay. You will have ups and downs but as long as you keep working hard, you will improve!

I spent a lot of time after each full length exam reviewing all the questions I missed. I sometimes would write them down on a notebook if I see the same kind of mistakes happening over and over again. I think it's very important that you make sure to avoid mistakes and try to learn as much from your mistakes as possible.

My Unfair Disadvantage in CARS As An ESL Student

Another thing I really struggled with during the MCAT was reading. So I am not a native speaker of English, as you can tell from the way I'm speaking. So it was very hard for me to read very fast, and I wasn't able to do very well on CARS because of that.

Looking back, I wish I had done practice passages a lot earlier on and really stayed consistent with doing one CARS passage every day to get my reading speed up.

If you’re looking for an easy strategy you can use to help you pick the right answer in CARS, check out this helpful article from another awesome MCAT Mastery mentor!

Regardless, when I took the MCAT in June 2021, I was still able to get a good enough score. 

I scored a total of 518. 130 in Chemistry/Physics, 127 in CARS, 131 in Biology/Biochemistry, and 130 in Psychology/Sociology.

I'm incredibly proud of what I accomplished, and I know that this journey was very difficult for me emotionally and physically. 

That's why I decided to join MCAT Mastery to help you guys on the same path.

Merrina’s Parting Words

So, I want you to know that you can do this! This is very challenging. You have to learn so much, but as long as you keep working hard at it, you will end up getting what you want and you will become a doctor.

So far, I have helped many students like yourself get through all the things they struggle with during the MCAT and getting to their dream scores.

I would love to work with you to achieve the score you want. So, if you're interested, please sign up for the free MCAT Mastery emails to learn about strategies as well as watching our videos or signing up for individualized tutoring through MCAT Mastery.

I look forward to working with you guys and sharing more tips along my journey to the MCAT.

Feeling Frustrated On Your MCAT Journey Is Normal! But If You Do Feel Stuck...

Regardless of where you’re at with your MCAT prep, we think that Merrina’s video is full of strategies and advice that can help you get to your goal score.

And if you find Merrina’s advice helpful and would benefit from getting more guidance from top-scoring mentors (like Merrina), our affordable 1:1 private tutoring options would be a great fit for you!

Preparing for the MCAT isn’t an easy task and there will be moments when you’ll feel frustrated, disappointed and sometimes even feel like giving up entirely…

But these feelings are normal! Preparing the MCAT is a test of resilience in its own right. 

So if you're ever feeling stuck or defeated. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that with enough time and practice you will overcome this and reach the MCAT score you've dreamed of!

Don’t stop now and don’t give up on your dream of becoming a doctor!

You got this,

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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