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506, 507, 508, 516. MCAT retaking success story from Reddit

Need CARS help? Check out my free, in-depth guide to scoring 130+ on CARS!


The guy took the test 4 times. He had to take a gap year after going through 2 cycles with no interviews.  He thought the test was super difficult and was sure he bombed it when he took it.

The only materials he used were AAMC materials and UWorld. He’s a huge fan of UWorld, and also of taking the time you need to study.


Full post

Hey everyone,

This post is for anyone out there who is struggling or has struggled with this beast of a test. I’m not meaning to brag about I did, but I want to tell everyone that it is more than possible to do well on this test, and to never give up.

My score (6/29) – 516 (128/128/130/130)

This was my FOURTH time retaking – my last three times were 506, 507, and 508. My highest practice test score was AAMC FL1 (took them out of order) which I took 3 days before and that ended up being a 510. Retaking this test and not seeing the results I wanted hit my self esteem hard. I though it wasn’t going to happen and went through 2 cycles with no interviews. So I made the choice (reluctantly and kind of miserably) to take a gap year, which ended up being the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. Don’t be afraid to take a step back and remember, it is NOT a race. This is your journey and it is going to be unique to you, and something to be very proud of.

I’m going to post my reaction right after the test here in case anyone down the road needs some inspiration, because boy was this unexpected. I did already post this in the reaction thread but thought it could be helpful to anyone struggling, so wanted to make a separate post.

C/P – genuinely considered voiding after writing this section. To me, it was like reading a foreign language. And I’m not being one of those annoying people who said “oh I think I failed” when I secretly felt half decent. I felt HORRIBLE. Panicked after spending 10-15 minutes on the first passage alone, thought I was going to puke. Just goes to show you that it can be really hard to judge how you did walking out and for anyone in the same boat, stay positive!

CARS – this was another miracle. The first time I ever took the MCAT, I was at a 123. I couldn’t seem to raise it much either, even this time around. AAMC practice tests were 124, 125, 126. It was a huge battle for me, especially after C/P. I have to say, for the first time ever, I felt like I understood the majority of the passages I read, but there are never any guarantees with CARS. Best advice is to wipe your memory of the C/P section when going into CARS — that’s crucial, especially if you feel as poorly as I did.

B/B – I’m a bio major with one of my minors being biochem, so I have a strong background in this area. I felt really good about it walking out. But again, never scored above a 129. I was hopefully for a 129, and thought a 130 would be possible… can’t believe it actually happened. I recognized a lot of the pathways being discussed in the passages because I took a lot of molecular bio courses, so that was a huge help. Lots of fluff you have to work through when reading this section, so try to not get weighed down by the details.

P/S – Never know what to expect in this section. I walked out feeling like there was a lot of 50/50s where I struggled to pick between one or the other. That being said, my other minor in my undergrad was Psych, so I took a lot of courses in this field. When I studied, I focused a lot on sociology since it is less familiar to me. Basically just read the 86 page doc posted on here, and hoped I could recognize the majority of terms from my psych courses in my undergrad. Hopeful that I was around a 127 after walking out.

So friends, I hope this can give some people some hope. It took everything in me to decide to retake the test a fourth time (shout out to all you Ontario pre-meds who feel my struggle), but boy am I glad I did. Don’t give up on your dream and don’t ever feel like you can’t achieve your goal. It is a long long road, but hard work pays off. If anyone else is struggling or looking for advice, don’t hesitate to message me. Anyways, best of luck everyone! I cannot thank this subreddit enough – the support, the resources, everything. And I cannot stress how much I loved UWORLD. One of the best resources I have ever come across – highly recommend for practice.

Until we meet again, people of Reddit. Keep working hard!

Well I definitely think that helped, at least partially. I really reduced my hours at work for May and June (maybe to around 10 hours per week) and didn’t really have any other commitments besides studying, so I could really focus on the MCAT itself. On top of more time, I was also more rested – studying wasn’t as exhausting since I had taken the year off.

This time around, I really emphasized practice passages as well – I give UWORLD a lot of credit, as it helped me focus on my weaker areas, practice in MCAT style passages, and the explanations were fantastic! That’s all I really used for practice besides all of the official AAMC material.

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