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Practice MCAT tests and the real thing

So what do your practice MCAT test scores tell you about how you’ll do on the real MCAT? To find out, we collected data from our site members on how they did on practice tests and how they did on the real MCAT.

We had a couple of surprises. First, of all types of practice tests only one had any predictive power. All the others were basically useless in predicting how you would on the real MCAT.

So, how do Kaplan practice tests do. Not so good – the courses are great – but in our data set the practice tests were useless in predicting your real MCAT score. The Kaplan practice MCAT test scores only accounted for 30% of the variance in real MCAT scores. The other important parameter is how close the slope of the line is to 1. The closer to 1, the more the average Kaplan score is to the average real MCAT score, and this case the slope was 0.58.

Real MCAT scores plotted against Kaplan practice MCAT scores.

The Princeton Review practice tests did only slightly better. The practice MCAT scores were no more predictive of the real scores (30% of the variance in the MCAT scores is accounted for by the TPR scores) than were Kaplan test scores. However, the slope was even further from 1, so even the general trend wasn’t very reliable. That said, the Princeton Review scores tended to underestimate the real scores. That makes sense when TPR has to live up to its “improvement guarantee” – having a cushion between their practice tests and the real MCAT makes it easier for TPR to keep its guarantee money.

Princeton Review practice MCAT scores

Real MCAT scores plotted against Princeton Review practice MCAT scores.

The clear winner? The AAMC practice tests. These practice MCAT scores accounted for 44% of the variance, and the slope was much closer to 1, at 0.78, than either Kaplan or Princeton Review. So, on average, the AAMC MCAT practice tests were the best predictors of your eventual MCAT score (we didn’t collect data on the writing section).

AAMC practice MCAT

Real MCAT scores plotted against AAMC practice MCAT scores.

Here’s the all important caveat. We gathered a lot of data – but there are lots of practice tests out there, so our correlations are limited. The relationships look real – but take them with a grain of salt.

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Topics #aamc #kaplan #mcat #medical schools #practice mcat #practice test #premed #princeton review #tpr