Cameron Clarke

A 2017 Rhodes Scholar, Cameron got a 515 on his first attempt at the MCAT exam. He spent 12 weeks studying for the exam and took a Kaplan course offered through his school. Since he had not taken any sociology or physics courses as an undergraduate, Cameron focused on teaching himself the skills he would need for the Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior and the Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems sections.

Undergraduate institution: Howard University
Major: Biology and Community Health (double major)
Exam score: 515
    Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems: 128
    Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems: 128
    Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior: 129
    Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills: 130
Time spent preparing: 12 weeks, 4–5 hours a day, 5 days a week.


Overall study approach

I followed the Kaplan® study plan. For each section I had a plan, from using mnemonic devices and memorization, to applying concepts learned in the classroom to the test materials, to practicing answering the questions without making assumptions (particularly in the CARS [Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills] section). The practice exams simulated the actual testing experience well. They are a great resource to get the look and feel of the exam and to test under high-stakes conditions.

Top Tips for Preparation

  1. Don’t cram.
  2. Keep refreshing your knowledge of material you’ve already studied.
  3. Treat studying and test prep like an important (five credit) class.

Trap to Avoid

  1. It will never feel like enough prep, but at some point you have to trust yourself and take the exam. No matter how well you prepare, when you get into the test room you will be stressed out. Don’t let the stress get the best of you.

What challenges or obstacles did you face, and how did you overcome them?

Having never taken physics at the college level, I had a minimal understanding of this subject, so I basically had to teach myself.

Is there anything that you would’ve done differently to prepare?

I hadn’t taken courses in physics and sociology so I wasn’t as confident about the sections that dealt with that content. I also took 22 credits concurrently with MCAT prep—something I definitely don’t recommend. More preparation before taking the Kaplan® course would have been helpful. It also would have been good to have had more time in my overall plan to go back and review everything again.


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These students’ testimonials were selected because they represent interesting stories. The views expressed herein are those of the students and do not necessarily reflect the positions or policies of the AAMC. Any reference in these testimonials to a specific third-party product, process, or service does not constitute or imply an endorsement by the AAMC of the product, process, or service or its supplier.

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