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How I Scored in the 97th Percentile on the MCAT

By Laureano Andrade Vicenty 8/14/2016

Laureano and Tuesday

     Hi, my name is Laureano Andrade Vicenty, and today I will tell you how I went from scoring a 501 on my first diagnostic exam, to scoring a 518 on the MCAT. Hold on to your seats, as the MCAT secrets will soon be revealed to you. I will begin by telling you about my background, then I will discuss programs, materials used, how they were used, and finally study techniques & scheduling. I will tell you the punch line now, it is about discipline, and using the right resources.

     I am an afro-latino male from Rockland county, NY. I played football in high school, love rap & hip-hop, as well as a ton of other music that I don’t know the genre for, and I have a passion for science. I graduated from Albertus Magnus High School in 2012 with a GPA of about 77 or so (Don’t remember exactly). In 2014, for my first two years of my undergraduate career I went to community college (Rockland community college), where I took all my medical school pre-reqs (Except for biochemistry), graduating with an A.S in math and science with a GPA of 3.65. I then transferred as a junior to Stony Brook University. The only courses that I did not take that are related to MCAT topics is statistics and sociology. In 2016, I graduated with an honors diploma in biochemistry with a Stony Brook GPA of 3.91, and a cGPA of both schools of 3.75. As you can see, not a stellar performance, but an upward trend. So how did I score so well on the MCAT? One of the major reasons why I did so well is academic mentorship.

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      During my senior year, I enrolled into a program called the Medical Pathway Program by Mentoring in Medicine. The Medical Pathway Program (MPP) is an intensive preparatory medical school boot-camp. One of the components of the program is a 20-week Saturday MCAT Kaplan MCAT prep course that run between May-August and is based in Manhattan, NY, for a fraction of the normal price ($1,750 compared to $2,299 through Kaplan directly [Not the biggest fan]). With this course comes a live instructor, the full set of Kaplan textbooks (again, not the biggest fan), online MCAT content videos, and a plethora of practice exams, both from Kaplan and AAMC. The other components of the program include study groups, mentors, shadowing opportunities, health-related community service opportunities, and help with your primary and secondary applications. It is geared towards minorities in medicine, but everyone is encouraged to apply! In my opinion, the second half of this program is what really helped me prepare my application to medical school; the first half, not so much.

      Oh and yes, since all of this occurred during my senior year, that means I took a gap year. I took a gap year because I was an idiot during my junior year and thought I could just breeze through the MCAT. WRONG. As you will come to appreciate, you cannot "wing" the MCAT. So, if you are thinking that you are so smart that you can just take it and do well, you will be surely disappointed, and will be taking a gap year, just like me. Though, a gap year is not the worst thing in the world, so if you have already been forced to take one, think of it as an opportunity, an opportunity to do better.

     Now to the meat of things. There will not be many words here on out after this last bit. The MCAT is a test of not only intelligence, but of your mental fortitude and perseverance. You can’t just study two weeks before the exam. You can’t do well on the MCAT without studying. You can’t just give up after every 20 minutes of studying. IF YOU WANT TO DO WELL ON THE MCAT, YOU HAVE TO COMMIT TO STUDYING LARGE AMOUNTS OF TIME A DAY, FOR MANY MONTHS ON END, AND NOT JUST QUIT EVERYTIME YOU FEEL FRUSTRATED, OR YOUR TIRED, OR YOU JUST DON’T WANT TO STUDY ANYMORE. “Work hard now, and live the rest of your life a champion”.

MCAT Content Review

     Below you will tables for each MCAT section consisting of all the textbooks and other materials I used. I hope that you find it helpful!

Chemistry

Figure 1 All the Chemistry materials I used during my study. EK=ExamKrackers

Chemistry

Times read

Scribed?

Self-made audio lecture recorded?

Usefulness (1-10)

Audio osmosis?

Main study source

Comments

EK General Chemistry 2015 (OLD)

Many

No

No

8

Yes

Needs some supplementation

EK Chemistry 2016 (NEW)

1

No

No

8

Yes

X

EK Organic Chemistry 2015 (OLD)

Many times

Yes

No

5

Yes

Most of it is NOT tested on the NEW MCAT

Kaplan General Chemistry

1

No

No

1

No

Wasted my time

General Chemistry: An Atom’s first approach by Chemwiki

2, then by chapter

Yes, chapters on solution, thermochemistry, & Acid/base chemistry

Yes, for aforementioned chapters

10

No

This is a really good book if you are confused with any topic.






 

Physics

Figure 2 All the physics materials I used during my study.

Physics

Times read

Scribed?

Self-made audio lecture recorded?

Usefulness (1-10)

Audio osmosis?

Main study source

Comments

EK Physics (2015) (OLD)

Many

No

No

10

Yes

X

Great for concepts

EK Physics (NEW)

1

No

No

10

Yes

X

Almost the same as old book, with added questions about physics within the body

EK Physics 1001 question series (2002)

Partial

No

No

7

No

Old-style MCAT questions, but I found it helpful in fluids, waves, circuits, and kinematics

Lectures Slides: Physics Correlates to the Human Body by The MCAT Disciples

Many

No

Yes

10

No

Great for physics applications that you may see on the MCAT.

“The MCAT Physics book” Nova

2

No

No

8

No

Great book if you haven’t done physics in a long time. You should start here.

Doc physics YOUTUBE Channel

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Used for clarification and studying.

Khan Academy

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Used for clarification and studying.




 

Bio/Biochem

Figure 3 All the bio/biochem materials I used during my study.

Bio/Biochem

Times read/watched

Scribed?

Self-made audio lecture recorded?

Usefulness (1-10)

Audio osmosis?

Main Study Source?

Comments

EK Bio book II: systems

1, and review

No

No

6

Yes

It is a little light on content

Leah4sci

Partial

No

No

N/A

No

I used this to learn fischer projection manipulations and carbohydrates

Stony Brook BIO 203 Cellular and Organ Physiology Echoes

Learned the whole class

N/A

N/A

10

No

X

Cabot lectures are GREAT for the MCAT

Stony Brook BIO 320 General Genetics

Learned the whole class

N/A

N/A

10

No

X

Hollingsworth lectures are GREAT for the MCAT

Stony Brook Bio 361 Biochemistry I

Learned the whole class

N/A

N/A

10

No

X

May need to supplement with AK Lectures

Stony brook Bio 362 Biochemistry II

Learned the whole class

N/A

N/A

5

No

X

Most of it is NOT on the MCAT, but portions are.

Stony Brook Bio 310 Cell biology

Learned most of the class

N/A

N/A

6

No

Introduces you to many potential biology passages

AK lectures (YOUTUBE channel)

Supplemented biochemistry

N/A

N/A

10

No

Very good, clear lectures.

Khan Academy

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Used for clarification and studying. Used to learn embryology & bone anatomy

How to approach research-based passages by The MCAT Disciples

Applied for all passages

N/A

N/A

10

No

X

Critical for Bio/BCH & Psy/soc






 

Psychology and Sociology

Figure 4 All the psychology and sociology materials I used during my study.

Psych/Soc + CARS

Times read/watched

Scribed?

Self-made audio lecture recorded?

Usefulness (1-10)

Audio osmosis?

Main Study source

Comments

EK Psych/Soc

2

YES

YES

10

N/A

X

The audio lectures I made for this book was CRUCIAL in my studies. Contact me for access. Supplemented lectures w/ Kaplan

Kaplan Psych/soc

Partial

Chapters 11 +12

Yes, Ch 11 +12

5

N/A

Used to supplement audio lectures

Khan Academy

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Used to supplement audio lectures

EK Reasoning Skills (CARS)

Partial, i-2

Chapter ii & chapter 2

Yes, Ch ii, and Ch 2

10

Yes

X

Chapter ii is critical for all sections of the exam

How to approach research-based passages by The MCAT Disciples

Applied for all passages

N/A

N/A

10

No

X

Critical for Bio/BCH & Psy/soc

IF YOU CAN’T SPEAK ABOUT THE TOPIC IN QUESTION, YOU DO NOT KNOW IT WELL ENOUGH AND NEED TO GO BACK AND REVIEW.

Practice

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