K. Oyemade

K. graduated from college more than a decade ago and spent many years working and raising a family. She needed a study plan that included time to refresh her knowledge of subjects she had taken as an undergraduate, while also allowing her time to delve into and learn new material well enough to take the MCAT exam. By building a study schedule that lasted eight months and fit the demands of her life, K. achieved a score of 516 on her first attempt.

Undergraduate institution: Spelman College
Major: Computer Science
Minor: Math
Exam score: 516
    Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems: 130
    Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems: 129
    Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior: 130
    Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills: 127
Time spent preparing: 8 months. 15 hours a week for the first 5 months, a 6-week commercial prep course while studying 5 days a week for 4–5 hours a day, and self-study again for the final 6 weeks for 8 hours a day.


Overall study approach

I started with books from Examkrackers®, reviewing each chapter in order. After taking two full-length practice tests, I wasn’t happy with the results so I signed up for a test prep course from Kaplan® and started using my incorrect answers from quizzes and practice questions to determine what material to review. The class helped me with test-taking strategies, and I used AAMC resources for content help. I learned how to maximize the time to get as many points as quickly as possible. After that course ended, I went back to self-study but incorporated many AAMC resources in my study plan, including the Practice Exam 1, which I took in the weeks before the actual test. It was awesome—it gave me the high-stakes environment.

Top tips for preparation

  1. The MCAT is a lesson in endurance. You have to build up your stamina and the more full-length tests you take, the less daunting it will be on test day.
  2. Some test-taking tricks save time and help you get the answer quicker. Practice these strategies.
  3. Know the content so that the latter part of the preparation is about testing well and getting through the exam. Get a solid content foundation before you start.

Traps to avoid

  1. Don’t get discouraged. Don’t get into your head and get depressed by low scores. Take a breath, step away, and relax and recharge when things get overwhelming.
  2. Don’t study alone. People can be active networks to help you study better.
  3. Don’t cancel your score. Sometimes you will be surprised that you scored well.

What types of exam prep were the most useful?

Kaplan® offered quite a few products that helped me prepare for the exam: quizzes, question packs, and practice exams. I also used AAMC materials, including the Practice Exam 1 and the Section Bank.

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

Trying to juggle a busy work schedule with a busy home life (three kids) was a struggle. My mom came to stay with me for five months so that I could dedicate the time to studying.

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

If I could have, I would not have worked and studied at the same time, but that wasn’t an option for me so I did everything I could to prepare in the right way.


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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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