#1 Reason Why Students Fail the MCAT (And How to Avoid It)


I’ve spoken to hundreds of students.

I’ve noticed one thing in common with every student that has received a score they did not like (myself included).

The number one reason: we all took the test before we knew we were ready.

So the question becomes: why do we do this and how can we prevent it from happening again?

Here are some reasons why along with my responses:

Reason #1: We don’t know how to determine our readiness.

You know you’re ready for the MCAT when your content flashcards are >85%, your timed practice passages are >75%, and your timed practice test scores are >506. No student who has hit these benchmarks has failed the MCAT.

Reason #2: We want to apply to medical school in the same year as our peers.

I know how you feel.

Unfortunately, this is where you must humble yourself.

You and your peer, as much as you may have in common, might simply be different test takers. That’s okay. Let’s say that they get into medical school two years before you do.

So what?

The root of humility comes from the Latin word humus which means “ground.” Humility is being grounded. It is having true reality be your only reality.

That is a strength that not many people have.

So instead of looking at yourself as somehow “worse” or “slower” than your peers, take this as an opportunity to learn one of the most important virtues of life: being humble.

Remember: your ability to take the MCAT is NOT a reflection of your self-worth.

You are worth much more than that. In fact, the sooner you accept your actual ability, the sooner you can improve and reach your dream ability.

Reason #3: We are ashamed of postponing our medical school applications every year because of our MCAT scores.

Imagine that you are a doctor. Imagine that you’re seeing a patient.

You walk in your room and say “Hi, I’m Doctor ___.”

The patient says “Hi Doctor ____, before you treat me, I have to ask you a question: what medical school application cycle did you apply for? 2020 or 2021?”

… Pretty silly, huh?


Patients don’t care whether or not you apply this year, next year or the year after. They just care that you are qualified to help them!

Reason #4: We equate the fact that we have spent several months “studying” for the MCAT with readiness.

Time spent does NOT equal progress.

Imagine you are walking on a treadmill for an hour.

You worked up a sweat and burned a lot of calories, but you never actually traveled anywhere!

It’s the same thing with the MCAT.

You can be sitting down, reading a chapter on physics or taking practice passages and feel like you are making progress.

But, just because you feel like you have been putting in time does not mean you actually made any progress.

Read my response to point #1 to learn how to determine if you are actually making progress.

Reason #5: We succumb to the endowment effect which says basically that since we purchased that test date, we must stick with it.

Listen, it’s very simple: if you get a good score on the MCAT, you’ll have a much higher chance of getting into medical school.

(In fact, a student with a 3.6 GPA and a 509 MCAT score is about 60% likely to get into medical school according to AAMC data reports).

What’s the rush? If you don’t want to lose $300, cancel your seat and get a refund.

If you are too late to get a refund, take the test and void your score!

Yes, you will have lost $300, but you will have gained precious MCAT test-taking experience and medical schools will have no idea you took the exam.

Even with all of those points, there are still others to share.

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Next steps (please comment):

Comment below, and let me know: have you ever felt rushed with your MCAT deadline? If so, why didn’t you postpone it?

Talk soon. 😊


Nicholas, Founder of SecondChance MCAT Prep

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