I just graduated from USC (undergrad) about 1.5 months ago with a double major, one of them being Biology. I after graduation I took a 1 week break at my parents' place (ATL) before starting my full-time job here in FL.
Why am I taking the MCAT? Well, I'm not exactly your typical pre-med. My grades were pretty crappy in college, around a 3.1 GPA. I have a bunch of reasons why, but in the end they don't matter. I basically screwed up. Definitely not competitive for MD (Allopathic) which has an average of around 3.7 nor DO (Osteopathic) which is around 3.5. However it IS competitive for DPM (Doctor of Podiatric Medicine). At the moment my thought is to apply for podiatry school. I can see myself working as a podiatrist in the future, and I find foot/ankle reconstructive surgery fascinating. However, depending on my MCAT score I might consider applying to DO school. The MCAT averages for the different schools are: MD 31, DO 27, DPM 22. As you can see, DPM is by far the easiest to get into. That doesn't mean the curriculum is that much easier than MD/DO though. DPM is easy to get in, tough to get out. But that saying probably originates from the fact that there are fewer applicants, so less-qualified students barely make the cut and aren't able to keep up with the intense workload of professional school.
About 2 weeks ago, I registered for the September 11th MCAT (can you believe it costs $230 to take a computerized test? Insane). That night, I started studying for the MCAT in earnest. Because I have no money, I'm using the ExamKrackers study material (books checked out from the library plus Audio Osmosis downloaded for free) in combination with my textbooks from school. My friend also let me access her Princeton Review account so I can take a few practice exams for free over the next few weeks. For those who don't know, these test prep companies (Kaplan, Princeton Review, etc) charge ridiculous prices for their stuff. I think she told me her courses + online test material cost her around $1800!
So far I've been studying for around 3ish hours a day tackling one subject per day. Here's the ExamKrackers Home Study Method that I'm following. I would like to study more, but I'm working full time during the day so I only have time to study at night.
I've taken 2 practice tests for far: the AAMC 3 and 4. The AAMC 3 is supposedly by far the easiest exam so I took it as a pre-test 2 weeks ago before I began my study routine. I got a 8b8p10v totaling a composite of 26.
Some of you may be wondering what that means. Well, the MCAT the covers a variety of basic sciences plus writing and verbal reasoning. There are 3 sections (b/p/v) out of 15 points each for a maximum score of 45. There is also the writing component, which is scored on an alphabetic scale from J (worst) to T (best). "8b" means I got a score of 8 out of 15 in the biological sciences section, which includes general biology and organic chemistry. Likewise, 8p means I scored a 8/15 on the physical sciences sections (general chemistry and physics). 10v means I scored a 10/15 on the verbal reasoning section, which is basically a reading comprehension test. The writing sample portion isn't graded for free (you have to pay for it) so I haven't really prepared for that. But I'm not too concerned because unless you completely fail that part, schools don't care too much about your score. If you score an O or better most schools won't bat an eye unless you're aiming for a super elite school, where you'll want a Q or higher. This is why you see people write their scores as 29M, 33Q, etc.
I just completed another test about an hour ago and I scored a 10b7p10v, which is a 27. Improvement! (lol). Honestly though, I'm pretty happy with my score at this point in time. My weakest area is by far physics (I especially hate the topics of fluids, electricity, and magnetism), and that's what is dragging my score down. I couldn't even answer some of the physics problems because I haven't committed all the formulas to memory yet. But that's OK since I haven't covered that portion of the material in the study guides. I'm glad that my verbal is staying in the double-digit range and most importantly my biological sciences score went up by 2 points to 10! This is pretty amazing considering that I haven't even opened up the organic chemistry study guide yet.
According to the score report these are my percentiles
Organic Chemistry: 70%ile
General Chemistry: 60%ile
Physics: 25%ile LOLOLOLOL
Verbal Reasoning: 75%ile
After reviewing my errors, I realized that I made a few stupid mistakes here and there which could have easily been avoided. I also need to stop over-thinking problems because I changed my answers to 3 or 4 problems from the correct choice to an incorrect one (doh).
I know that people tend to score on average around 2-3 points lower on the real exam than their practice exam due to nerves and stuff so I have to work hard to improve my score until I'm hitting consistent 32 or 33 on the practice exams.
Anyway it's already 3am here on the US east coast so it's time to go to bed. I have another full day of work and studying ahead of me. I cannot wait until 6pm, September 11th when I walk out of that MCAT test room. Until them, I'll keep you guys periodically updated on my progress!