posted by Memm Team
Welcome to the next installment of our User Spotlight Series, where we highlight a recent MCAT examinee so that you can learn from their experience.
A North Carolina native, Noah Rice is currently a senior at the University of North Carolina Ashville. In his free time, he enjoys doing pretty much anything active: running, playing tennis, and lifting weights. When it comes to the MCAT, Noah scored 507 on his first try. Not terrible, but he knew he could do better. He tried Memm and saw his score jump from 507 to 514. Here’s how he did it.
Kevin Jubbal (KJ): Noah, how did you prepare the first time you took the MCAT?
Noah Rice (NR): I first took the MCAT in June of 2020, and I studied using The Princeton Review (TPR) prep course that I received as a scholarship through my university. I used their textbooks and live classes that included live online videos with a PowerPoint and instructor. Even while I was using this study method, I knew it wasn’t right for me. Everything felt too scattered, and it was hard to remember things I learned the first month. There wasn’t enough repetition or reinforcement.
Using this method, I studied for three full months, but it was difficult to keep everything organized in my mind. I found that there was way too much content to review, and a lot of it was low-yield fluff. I was wasting my time studying for things that weren’t important for the actual test.
KJ: How did your practice tests compare to your actual test score?
NR: When I was studying, I took one practice test per week, alternating between AAMC and TPR. My last AAMC test was highly predictive; I got the exact same score as the real test. The TPR tests I took were deflated by nine points on average.
When I received my actual test score in July, I scored 507. I wasn’t upset because it wasn’t a terrible score, but I was disappointed. I knew I could do better, so that motivated me to keep trying. I knew that the score didn’t accurately reflect my knowledge and that I understood the material better than a 507 indicated.
KJ: Did you change up your strategy when you decided to start studying again?
NR: Yes. I knew I needed to look for new strategies that would make a difference. I knew it wouldn’t make sense to repeat the same resource and study the same way. I needed a better plan.
I browsed other paid services, but I didn’t feel like I had the time to do live online courses because I was in school full time. At the end of the semester, I also had a full-time job. I looked into self-studying options, primarily Khan Academy and AAMC. Those seemed more manageable with my schedule. I also had some Anki decks lined up.
My experience with Anki was less than ideal. The decks were messy and unofficial. I only used them for about three weeks because I felt like I was wasting my time. Everything was too open-ended and sometimes too overwhelming because of the overabundance of information. There were also too many different decks to choose from, and none of them were efficient.
When I have limited time, I need something that can cut through the superfluous material and give me what I need. Anki decks didn’t really do that. Overall, I found the decks too unorganized and overwhelming.
I even made my own flashcards in Anki — about 800 of them. Writing and making my own cards did help me. I used creating my own flashcards as a way to study.
Eventually, I saw a video on Med School Insiders about Memm, and I decided to give it a try.
KJ: Tell me about your experience using Memm.
NR: I was drawn to Memm because the flashcards were neat, organized, and followed best practices. I started the free trial in October for one week. I loved how the schedule was made and ready for me to follow it. It streamlined the studying process because I didn’t have to think about what I had to do that day. I wasn’t wasting time planning everything out; I could just log on when I was free and get it done.
After the free trial, I was already seeing improvement; I felt more confident when I was doing practice questions. I wanted to self-study because after taking the MCAT once and seeing my real scores, I knew what I was weak in, but I wasn’t quite sure the best practices for fixing that.
I used Memm about 25-30 hours per week, typically every single day. I probably averaged about five hours on Saturdays and Sundays and two hours on weekdays. I was busy with work, so I had to make the most of the time I had. With this schedule, I completed all the content within two months. If I knew something well, I went through bio sheets quickly and focused on cards. I ended up spending more time on chemistry and physics.
With Memm, things were so clean and organized. It made sense why the information was on each card. I also used flashcards that I created alongside Memm for particular topics that I was struggling with. By self-studying, I could focus on exactly what I needed. Memm allowed me to keep up with everything since I was constantly repeating cards and not forgetting.
I also took AAMC practice tests while using Memm. It didn’t matter that I had already taken them because I didn’t remember things from the first go around. They were also highly predictive of my real score on the second take.
KJ: Tell me about how your second test went.
NR: My second test went very well. I was nervous going in because it wasn’t fun being a retaker to begin with, and I knew I wasn’t going to take it a third time. I really needed to score well and do the best I could.
My last AAMC was a 515 the week before taking the real thing, so I was confident going in but still nervous and anxious. I was doing Memm the day before the real exam to make sure everything was fresh.
Once I got into the test and got in the zone, I felt good about everything. It went just like the practice tests. I had my timing strategies down, so I knew where I should be time-wise with each question. That was a problem the first time I took the test. I had big-time timing issues and didn’t quite finish CARS. I had to guess on 4-5 questions. This was frustrating because CARS is my strongest section though. I also always had to guess the last 2-3 questions in Chem/Phys due to timing.
My timing was so much better for the second MCAT because:
When I got my score back, I was very pleased with my score of 514.
KJ: What would tell other students about Memm?
NR: It’s one of the most efficient ways of studying for the MCAT that I’m aware of. It’s really high-yield stuff.
Use it every day, even if it’s just a couple of hours or even an hour going over review cards and nothing new. It does help and those hours really add up over the course of a month. It’ll lead to big improvements in your score.
Memm is very well organized and very clean for a lack of a better word. You can save time and not have to stress and worry about your own study schedule. In Memm, things are just laid out for you. Simply choose the order you want to do the subjects in and then you’re good.
December 17, 2020MCAT 20-Point Improvement as a Non-Traditional Retaker
Learn how this non-traditional student retook the MCAT and improved his score by 20 points while working a full time job.