The New MCAT: What The First Test Takers Are Saying!

CONGRATS to the first test takers of the new MCAT!

So what’s the verdict?


Was test day a complete unprepared fail? A complete crash and burn?…

plane crash


…or maybe a pleasantly surprised victory?

Were you like Bill and remembered all your science?

bill science



The word on the street aka Reddit and the SDN is that the test was hard.

Not so surprising there, we knew the test would be tough.

Score reports will be out very soon so we’ll see how the early test takers fared.



Here’s a small summary of the common comments from April test takers about the all-new MCAT:


  • Yikes: “By FAR the hardest, most exhausting exam in my entire life.”


  • A new focus on procedural interpretation of experimental data on top of content testing. Basically, you have to know your stuff and how to apply what you know.


  • The CARS section is generally the same.


  • Reading comprehension is heavily tested all throughout the exam.


  • Most people found less physics than expected and more bio/chem/biochem.


  • Biological section the hardest especially biochem questions


  • Data interpretation. Reading peer reviewed articles isn’t just good habit for med school but it seems like it’ll help greatly here too.


  • The Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior section featured a lot of unfamiliar terms and theories and it’s the understanding and application of these things that is imperative.


  • Practice. Practice. Especially with reading passages.



FYI: Registration for September test dates is now open! Go here to register.

 If these first reactions to the brand new MCAT concern/scare/worry /etc. you, study up buttercup! Practice with MCAT Cracker to get you ready for your test day!



Applying to Medical School: The Interview!

The admissions process is long, stressful, and at times it feels like a lot of waiting and uncertainty. During this trying time there’s one clear sign in the process before a rejection or a congratulations letter that your doing well… getting the call or email about setting up an interview!

Reaching this point in the admissions process is exciting and promising but don’t blow it now!

You’re not in yet!

You look good enough on paper to make it this far but are you really what medical schools want?…

prove it


So let’s talk about the interview and how to ace it!


Professional Basics

You know these things but they are important enough to drill into your head some more now…



Projecting “FOMO”

FOMO = Fear Of Missing Out and you basically need to instill in a admissions committee the fear of missing out on what an awesome prospect you are! The interview is a two-way conversation and you not only what to be prepared to answer their questions, you want to be engaging and have questions of your own. You are interviewing them as a potential school as much as they are interviewing you as a potential student and you gotta make them want you. This may be your top choice school… but hey, you’re a catch and half and got other options too so you want them to win YOU over too. Note that this kind of confidence isn’t cocky but reflects a genuine and avid interest in what the program has to offer. You are evaluating the school as much as they are evaluating you.


Be Honest

Besides your Personal Statement (look out for a future blog entry on that), the interview is the only place to speak of yourself in your own words. The school is trying to further get to know YOU and understand your motivations towards medicine. Be prepared for pitfalls and flaws in your application, like a less than stellar GPA or MCAT score, to come up in the interview. This is your chance to shine and reassure them of any doubts and reservations they may have about you as a candidate. Speaking openly and honestly in the interview is always to way to go.


Be “On” At All Times

Each medical program’s admission interview is unique. Some schools do one-on-one interview while others opt for a committee-style set up. Most include all day visits with tours of the school, meeting professors, etc. and it’s important to understand that the entire you’re there is essentially your interview. While you’re on campus act as if you’re always being watched and examined by the admissions committee because you basically are. Making a good impression all day can lead to another professor mentioning something to the committee for instance like, “hey that candidate seemed great and asked really interesting questions on the tour earlier”; keep in mind that this works vise-versa too! So you gotta be on at all times!


Also check out what the AAMC has to say about prepping for your interview here.


With these things in mind you can have a winning interview and be one step closer the congratulations acceptance letter! Until then you can work on getting a winning MCAT score to get you to the interview step with MCAT Cracker. Let us know in the comments if you have any questions or advice to add on interviews!


Happy Practicing!

MCAT 2015 Registration is Open!

The day has finally arrived! Drum roll please…

MCAT 2015 registration is officially open!

Are you excited?loki yes

 …Or completely freaking out? new girl freaking out


It’s here! The all-new MCAT rolls out in April & registration is opened for the April – June dates!


Go forth with your AAMC ID and register to conquer the MCAT here!


Remember there is the Fee Assistance Program to aid the cost of registration for the those who apply. For other concerns on MCAT registration like deadlines, reschedulings and cancellations see here.

Registration for the July – September test dates will be available in late April. Check out the full testing date calendar here.


For now here are three reasons to register for the MCAT 2015 early:

  • Preliminary percentile ranks will be sent to you about three weeks after testing meaning learn more about your scores earlier in the application process!
  • Med school will get your MCAT 2015 scores at the same time as the applicants that took the old MCAT since your scores will be added before the first round of verified applications are sent by AMCAS to medical schools in early July!
  • April test takers get a $150 Amazon Gift Card!


An official breakdown of the new monster exam can be found here and be sure to check out a breakdown of each of the sections in the blog!

Whether you’re registering now or waiting for a later date practice with MCAT Cracker to really get the edge over the new exam!


5 Awesome YouTube Channels for MCAT Studying!

Registration for the all-new big, bad MCAT 2015 opens soon (like next month soon) and while you’re tirelessly hitting the books studying sometimes a nice visual aide in the form of a YouTube video can be a nice break or even a new perspective for understanding a difficult concept!

While you cannot rely solely on YouTube for your MCAT prep, these videos can be fun while extremely informative and there are great videos out there!

So how about a fun post on a few great YouTube channels to check out for supplemental studying material?


Khan Academy

As previous mentioned before in the blog, the Association of American Medical Colleges (the makers of the MCAT) and Khan Academy worked together to create these video tutorials on a wide variety of MCAT subjects. With the brand-new sections in the MCAT 2015 these videos will be extra helpful! For example there’s a playlist on Social Inequality with this video on Intersectionality:



Everybody loves the Green brothers and they have great videos on a variety of topics from history to ecology! You should specifically check out their ones on chemistry, psychology, and biology like this awesome one on Why Carbon Is a Tramp:


Biology / Medicine Animations HD

Cool, detailed 3D animations to give additional visual understanding on tons of topics, like this video on Muscle Contraction:



Short and sweet mini-lessons! Great for quick but educational break!

Try out this one on the 5 Antibody Types:



Super fun and actually helpful lessons for MCAT studying but in song form!

Just as Barney the purple dinosaur once taught us about sharing and caring…

Mr. W sings and raps on subjects like Mitosis and Glycolysis below:


Happy Studying!

P.S. Right now on MCAT Cracker gain an edge on your MCAT for only $49, regularly $99! Get access to full-length practice exams here!


Applying to Med School: Letters of Recommendation

Applying to med school is a long, trying process and while your probably stressing out already taking the new MCAT soon, it’s time to start thinking about your application too! If you’re currently studying to tackle the new MCAT 2015, you’re most likely planning on applying to enter med school in the Fall 2016.

Which means… RIGHT NOW is the time to be making the connections and developing relationships with future letters of recommendation writers!


You CAN’T just go around asking like this: “I’m great! Write about it!” *self-five*



So here’s the lowdown letters of rec:


Who to Ask?

Professors are bombarded with students asking for letters so the key is to ask the people who know you best in order to get the best letters. This is the time to be making nice with future potential letter writers and develop the kind relationships that make for compelling letters.

Basically you are recruiting for your med school application team, so choose them wisely!

Schools sometimes ask for specific letter writers (like one from a professor, one from an employer, etc.) so research your potential med schools’ requirements and plan accordingly.


Ask In Person.

Everyone really harps on this, as they should! You can set up an initial meeting through email to discuss the possibly of them writing a letter for you but you shouldn’t ask outright over the internet; that’s an in person question! Plus what’s that saying, “it’s harder to say no to someone in person”, right?


Ask Early.

As mentioned before professors are getting flooded with requests and you want a good letter not a rushed one! The absolute least amount of time is three weeks to ask for a good letter.


Go Asking Prepared.

This last tip will really set you apart from what could be many letter of recommendation a professor has to write. Go to your letter writers with all the materials they may need when writing a beautiful letter about you. These things can include your resume, CV, and at least a draft or bullet points from your personal statement. You want to set them up and make it easy for them to write a great letter so they can get a feel for exactly what you’re going for your application.


With these things in mind go forth and prosper setting yourself up for the best letters of recommendation possible! P.S. If you’re still stressing about that new MCAT fast approaching, practice and ace it with MCAT Cracker of course!


MCAT 2015 Tools & Resources

With the first round of the new MCAT just around the corner now let’s talk about the range of your study arsenal! A lot of MCAT resources out there are outdated and tailored for the old/current test rendering them to be of little real help for the MCAT 2015 beast! The word beast is not an understatement. This test isn’t just longer, it’s definitely harder:

jimmy fallon med school joke


AAMC MCAT 2015 Interactive Guide

The Association of American Medical College thankfully has laid everything out pretty clearly covering all the bases of the MCAT 2015. Using their interactive guide here you can explore explicitly stated tested material and even check out sample questions with explanations! The AAMC also sells a book guide to the test along with sample question for $35 here but with the MCAT 2015 costing $300 itself this guide is not totally necessary. Then there is their full-length practice test for $25 here.


Khan Academy Tutorial Videos

The AAMC with the Khan Academy has also released over 100 videos on numerous topics to be tested for free. Just by using your AAMC log in, you can access the video tutorials here.


Class Notes & Textbooks

These are your best tools for studying and reviewing and since you took tests for these classes already you know the best ways to study for you. Stick to these strategies when studying for the MCAT. The saying “treat it like a class” is real. Using the AAMC guide mentioned earlier as well a guide is the best thing you can really do. Since the material is laid out so well you can pin point areas for review. Commonly students tend to spend too much time reviewing material while spending not enough energy on practicing…


MCAT Cracker Is More Than You Think!

Speaking of practicing: with MCAT Cracker you take MCAT 2015 practice tests that simulate the look and feel of the new MCAT and that emulate the difficulty level of the real thing. To start you can log on to and take a free diagnostic test here to see where you stand and pin point your weaknesses.


MCAT Cracker also shares awesome videos giving an overview to each section. Check out the introductory MCAT 2015 video below and here’s the MCAT Cracker YouTube channel to watch all the videos.


Besides using MCAT Cracker for practical practice and advantageous tutorial videos, THIS BLOG is a treasure trove for an inside scoop on all things MCAT 2015! Be sure to check out our breakdown series where we talked about in length not only the new test itself but each of these new integrated sections! Shameless plug: There’s also great posts on study tips and study motivation! So thanks for tuning into the blog and stay tuned for more tips and tricks!

MCAT 2015 Study Tips!

The big, bad MCAT 2015 has got some pre-meds running for the hills, no really. The drastic changes to the Medical College Admission Test are looming and many students are going to great lengths to avoid the new MCAT 2015 before it rolls out in April. Testing centers are all booked up before April and desperate times call for desperate measures including travelling far and wide for available seats. Check out CommonHealth’s awesome article on pre-meds stressing the changes here.


…but that’s not you. You brave soldier, are taking on the MCAT 2015 beast.

In case you missed it, MCAT Cracker posted a few study pointers (pictured below) for preparing the MCAT 2015 on Facebook so let’s expand on that list now, shall we? P.S. If you don’t already, go ‘Like’ MCAT Cracker on Facebook right here and now. After scouring the pre-med forums and developing tips specifically for the MCAT 2015, here is a carefully selected best of the best compilation of MCAT study tips!

MCAT Pointers

Give Yourself 3 to 6 Months of Preparation

This is a big test to say the very least with an immense mountain of material to get through. This isn’t a test you will be cramming for. Brightside is you’ve already been preparing with all the hard work you’ve sure to have done in your classes. So now is the time to prove it. Now all you have to do is prepare for an extremely long exam that tests on all your classes ever in a highly integrated and all encompassing manner. Yeah, not easy so give yourself at 3 months!


Set Aside Time Everyday To Study

The tried and true saying of “treat it like a class” is not to be taken lightly you need to be setting out time everyday to study. With your real life (school/work/etc.) it’s understandable if you can’t marathon big block time of like 8-10 hours of study time everyday but you should be doing something each day. You must make the most of your time and focus, sticking strictly to the 50/10 rule! That’s 50 minutes study time and 10 minute break time.


Take Several Online Practice Exams

Practice, practice, practice. The endurance and stamina needed just to get through test day is going to take some getting used to. Practice tests like with MCAT Cracker are not only helpful with in content tested but also in getting used to computer testing and exposing you to the time needed for your brain to last through the whole exam.


Make Your Own Study Guide

Through your college life thus far you know how you best work and study so why not create your own study guide. You do you. Stick to what works just do it on a grander MCAT 2015 sized scale. Sitting down and laying out a plan and stick to it. Many of the guides and study schedules out on internet are designed for the old MCAT anyway so take the opportunity to personalize it for you. When creating a study schedule make sure to have a review day perhaps once a week.


Tutor Subjects Covered On The MCAT

Once you’ve figured out the subjects you need extra help on tackle them! With the MCAT Cracker diagnostic tests you can pin point specific areas in each section that you’re weakest in. This is not to say, “Well I’m a bio major so I can totes ignore the bio section and focus on the others”, that’s the worst. Sharpen your strengths and strengthen your weaknesses. This is the MCAT. You gotta do it all.



Take Classes In New Sections Like Sociology or Psychology

The new sections of the MCAT are the scary additions to the exam that have people stressing the most. Be mindful that these aren’t just new sections being added to the test but that all the sections have got an integration emphasis on them. But you’re not stressing. Look at you reading this blog and possibly even using MCAT Cracker already? You got this. Maybe you’re taking the new MCAT in the summer so you’re signed up to take a psych class in the spring semester? Because that would wicked smart. Either way if you are planning to take the MCAT 2015 there’s time to sharpen your knowledge in these subjects.


Well there they are now go forth and conquer! Be sure to check out other blog post on the changes of the exam and even breakdowns of each section. Plus get your practice on with MCAT Cracker. Got any other MCAT 2015 study tips to add to the list? Share with the class in the comments!

MCAT 2015 Breakdown: Introduction Guide to the All-New MCAT!

Starting in April 2015 the completely revamped Medical College Admission Test rolls out and to put it simply: IT’S A LOT!

In case you’ve missed it, here on the blog we’ve discussed the changes in the MCAT 2015 and even had a series of posts breaking down each individual section of the MCAT 2015 so check them out!

Consider this post a bonus round of breakdowns for a look at the all-new MCAT as a whole!


Why the big changes?

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) really out did themselves crafting this new exam! The changes reflect a shift of focus on a more holistic approach to medical education and testing how students can apply their all their knowledge to the medical field. In addition to testing on the application of the natural sciences there is now a section on the social behavioral sciences highlighting the importance of sociocultural and psychological expertise integration needed in today’s diverse healthcare world.


Registering for the MCAT 2015

You can start registering the new test starting in February 2015!

Fun fact: To encourage examinees to be the first to take the new exam, AAMC will provide April 2015 examinees with a $150.00 gift card. FAP (more on FAP below) recipients who take the exam in April of 2015 will receive a $60.00 gift card.


$ Cost of Taking the MCAT 2015 $

The test is a bit pricier than it’s predecessor at $300 (up from $275). This is to make up for the fact that this MCAT is longer with more questions in each section and longer in actual test time.

Keep in mind the AAMC will continue to offer the Fee Assistance Program (FAP) to help student who may need financial assistance. Those who qualify for FAP benefits will be charged a reduced registration fee of $115 so be on the look out for that and apply asap!


What’s on the MCAT 2015?

On the new MCAT there will be 4 big broad sections (remember there are individual breakdown post on each):

  • Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems, 59 Questions & 95 minutes
  • Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems, 59 Questions & 95 minutes
  • Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior, 59 Questions & 95 minutes
  • Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills, 53 Questions & 90 minutes

Overall the AAMC have slated 10 Foundational Concepts and 4 Skills within the sections that they are testing you on. These concepts and skills reach across all the courses you’ve taken and really stretch your knowledge to the limit! Each of the Foundational Concepts are broken down further into Content Categories for further detailed clarification on the subjects. The test makers here are really thorough! Learn about each section, concept, content category and skill with the AAMC’s  tour of the exam here.


How long is it?!

Get ready for this. Ready? It’s a marathon with total testing time is 6 hours and 15 minutes! But counting everything including the tutorial, breaks, and check-in procedures, test day clocks in at around 8 hours! Time breakdown below:

MCAT 2015 Breakdown


Scoring the MCAT 2015

You will receive 5 scores, that’s one for each of the four sections and one total score! Each section’s score ranges from a low 118 to the high of 132 with the midpoint for each being 125. Thus the total score range is from 472 to 528 with a midpoint of 500. That’s a little confusing to conceptualize so check out the AAMC’s graphic below:

Scoring the MCAT 2015


This all is really an outlined introduction to everything MCAT 2015 (it’s huge). See everything the AAMC’s has got to say on the test here and be sure take a gander at the FAQs here. Remember that with this major overhaul of the MCAT a lot of resources available out there are now outdated and won’t be the right in preparing for MCAT 2015. MCAT Cracker has it down though and you can PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE to gain the edge over this new beast.

MCAT Study Motivation!

Hey! How’s studying for the MCAT going? Great? Just all right? Let’s take a minute to talk about motivation. The Medical College Admissions Test is no easy feat and the many (necessary) hours preparing for it can be grueling. The feeling of burning out is a common occurrence for many Pre-Meds and can really throw you off track of your path to MCAT domination. When test day arrives, it basically comes down to which Stark you want to be: Tony Stark aka Iron Man aka the badass that walks away from the explosion without looking OR Jon Snow aka the Stark bastard from Game of Thrones aka the guy that knows nothing.

Stark Option One: Tony Stark.

Stark Option One: Tony Stark.

Stark Option Two: Jon Snow.

Stark Option Two: Jon Snow.

Let’s get down to business…to defeat the Huns? No. The MCAT! So when motivation wanes, what can you do? (Besides listen to awesome motivation songs like that one!)

Here are a few strategies for motivation and keeping yourself on track:

Stop & Take a Practice Test: If you’re in the middle of a studying block and suddenly hit a brick wall: Take full timed practice test. Your score just might give you the kick in the rear to knock you back into focus. With MCAT Cracker you’ll even pin point exact weak spots in your preparation thus far.

Change it up: A swift change in the subject you’re studying or change in normal study location can revive your spirits and give you boost in motivation! But don’t change too often be sure you’re sticking to the 50/10 rule…

Be strict with yourself: The 50/10 rule of studying really does work! That’s 50minutes of straight focus studying then a 10minute break to refresh your brain! Do it. Discipline. “There are no short cuts to any place worth going.”

Turn off everything: Echoing the last tip, be hard on yourself and put all things you don’t need to study away, really. It may seem harmless to leave open Facebook open in a tab or have your phone lying there beside you but come test time these things won’t be there. You want to your studying environment to emulate that of the test day. So put away all distractions and save them for your breaks!


So study study study and practice practice practice (3x for emphasis) because when test day comes, you’re definitely going to need the confidence of Tony Stark not Jon Snow.

Lesson Learned: Be Iron Man.

Lesson Learned: Be Iron Man.

MCAT 2015 Section Breakdown: Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills

This is Part 4 of a series breaking down each section for the new MCAT 2015. Be sure to check out the whole series to get the full rundown of all things new with the upcoming MCAT 2015 because this really is a whole new ballgame! The new sections really aren’t just revamped versions of the old 3 sections: Biological Science, Physical Sciences, and Verbal Reasoning, these integrated giant sections are really brand new monster sections! On the menu today: The Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills or CARS Section! The official tagline of this section is that it assesses your ability to “Analyze, Evaluate and Apply Information Presented in the Passages”. As you’re aware of by now, the magic word for the MCAT 2015 is integration and the CARS section is basically testing your comprehension by integration! Yep, integration is here too!


The CARS section is different from the others in quite a few ways. First off it’s slightly shorter, you only have 90 minutes here and about 50-60 passage-based questions (no free-standing). It’s also different from the other sections because you don’t necessarily need specific content knowledge to answer these questions; all the information needed is in the text (and your interpretation of said info). The topics of the passages fall into two broad categories and are distributed equally in the section: 50% Humanities and 50% Social Sciences. These cover big subjects like Ethics, Population Health, Philosophy, Studies in Diverse Cultures, and etc. Below is MCAT Cracker’s further breakdown of possible topics in Humanities and Social Sciences:

CARS Subjects

Notice that these aren’t the ‘Natural Sciences’ kind of subjects and that’s because Medical Schools want to see you apply your analytical and critical thinking to these areas of study too! You have to be well-rounded and well-read to succeed not just in future schooling but also to be a productive member of the healthcare community. Keeping that in mind, you should know these passages are highly stylized in writing type and contain a fancy vocabulary. They are meant to be complex and thought-provoking pieces, different from medical journals and textbooks that you’re used to. You’ll have to read the text and consider the author’s intentions, tone, point of view then be make inferences and suggestions based of all that. If it’s been a while since you’ve had to do this kind of reading, that’s completely understandable! Recreational reading? Who’s got the time? With practice, *coughMCATCRACKERcough*, you really can hone your Critical Analysis and Reasoning skills set! Check out the AAMC’s spiel on the CARS section here and MCAT Cracker’s full introduction video to it below:


Although there are no Foundation Concepts covered in this section like the rest of them, here are the skills and percentage breakdown being tested here:

1) Foundations of Comprehension (30%) – Summarizing the text and developing the overall meaning

2) Reasoning Within the Text (30%) – Evaluating and critiquing the big picture!

3) Reasoning Beyond the Text (40%) – Synthesizing, adapting, and reinterpreting the concepts and content of the passages

This Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills section is not to be taken lightly and the skills they’re testing really are important for you sooooo PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE! This is not just reading comprehension; you gotta Analyze, Evaluate, and Apply your reading of the text! Hop to it! Go to MCAT Cracker and PRACTICE!