Skip to content

Gold Standard MCAT Practice Tests

2012 April 2

One of the biggest problems that pre-meds face when studying for the MCAT is finding enough practice tests. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) offers actual old retired tests, but there are only eight of those available. In my opinion, that is not enough for a successful preparation. I took 22 different full-length computer based practice MCATs, and used material from the AAMC, Kaplan, Exam Krackers, and Princeton Review. However, I think the best practice exams were offered by Gold Standard, and here are a few reasons why:

1.  Price and Quantity- The Gold Standard offers 10 unique, full-length tests. The best part is that you can get them all for only $15 a piece. As comparison, the AAMC sells their tests for $35 a pop. Studying for the MCAT is a big financial burden for most college students and other pre-meds. You won’t find a better product for the price than the Gold Standard MCAT Practice Tests.

2. Difficulty- These practice exams kicked my butt. The breadth of content and difficulty of questions that Gold Standard uses is outstanding. I can’t tell you how many times I found my areas of weakness while using these tests. As I have said in other posts, reviewing the practice MCAT is just as important as taking it. After taking eight Gold Standard practice MCATs, I felt that no topic could surprise me on the real deal.

I will prove it to you:

Date

Test

PS

VR

BS

Total

3/17

AAMC 3

12

12

10

34

3/18

AAMC 4

13

12

10

35

3/19

AAMC 5

12

11

12

35

3/24

AAMC 6

11

10

13

34

3/25

Gold Standard 1

10

9

10

29

3/26

Gold Standard 2

10

9

10

29

3/27

Gold Standard 3

12

12

10

34

3/31

Gold Standard 4

10

10

10

30

4/1

Gold Standard 5

10

10

10

30

4/2

Gold Standard 6

10

10

10

30

4/4

Gold Standard 7

11

11

11

33

4/5

Gold Standard 8

11

12

11

34

4/7

AAMC 7

12

13

13

38

4/8

AAMC 8

13

13

12

38

4/9

AAMC 9

13

12

12

37

4/12

AAMC 10

14

13

14

41

4/14

AAMC 11

11

12

15

38

This is a table of my practice test scores and sub-scores leading up to my MCAT test date last April. I decided to take AAMC #3-6 before starting on the Gold Standard full-lengths. I was sitting in the 34-35 score range. After taking eight different Gold Standard tests and generally scoring around 30, I came back to the AAMC tests. Look at the scores on AAMC #7-11. I was killing it! As you know on the real MCAT I scored a 37, but I don’t think I would’ve gotten there without the gauntlet that was the Gold Standard practice MCATs.

3. MCAT Prep Forum- Something unique about Gold Standard is that with the purchase of the practice exams, you are given access to a forum. This forum has a place for individuals to ask questions about any question, on any exam. Most times when I needed an explanation there was already a question and an answer on the forum. However, when I asked follow-up questions there was an answer posted within hours. It is nice to have an expert with answers at your fingertips and this resource was priceless. I even got into a healthy debate over the answer to one of the questions, and an administrator would always respond and explain why my reasoning was faulty (which it was).

When I took the Gold Standard practice tests on my laptop, it felt like the real MCAT. The interface was user-friendly, with scores and explanations available as soon as you submit your test. I didn’t have any real problems with the Gold Standard practice MCATs, but I was occasionally frustrated with the difficulty of some of the questions. If you are getting ready to take the MCAT this spring or summer I suggest that you take a look at the Gold Standard website and consider buying the 10 test package.

 

**Disclaimer- Gold Standard advertises with my blog but I receive no compensation for your purchases or for writing this piece**

32 Responses Post a comment
  1. Stephen permalink
    April 6, 2012

    Did you decide where you will be attending? You mentioned a school in the Carolinas – North or South? And are you a resident of that state or did you apply out-of-state?

    • April 6, 2012

      Hey Stephen,

      I have decided actually! And it is in the Carolinas as well haha. I am a resident of North Carolina, but I am not going to say which school I am going to yet. I haven’t decided whether to specify that and lose some of my anonymity.

      -A

      • Stephen permalink
        April 8, 2012

        That’s awesome! I’m a NJ resident, and attending undergrad here as well, but I really wish I could move to and attend school in North Carolina! Any suggestions for someone who is out-of-state and has hopes of attending?

        • April 8, 2012

          The public medical schools in North Carolina (in fact ECU takes zero out-of-staters) are pretty biased towards in-state applicants. You will need a very strong MCAT and GPA to get an interview and then it is just a matter of impressing with your application and personality. Wake Forest also has a medical school and since it is private there isn’t really that bias.

          Maybe to get a “foot in the door” you could try and do research at Chapel Hill during the summer or find contacts at your school with connections in NC. I wish I had better suggestions but there is no magic formula for this. Hope this helps!

          -A

  2. prinee permalink
    April 26, 2012

    Hey,

    SO, i have been using the gs tests. I completed the first four tests and my range is from 28-30. They are extremely hard, I cant seem to break a 30 and I am really worried. I just want to score 33 on the real mcat!

    Is there any way to improve?

    Thanks for your input

    • May 4, 2012

      I think that you are OK. I would expect to be 2-4 points lower on GS than on the real MCAT. They are just simply hard. The important thing is that you are learning new things, and discovering you weaknesses.

  3. Fred permalink
    May 15, 2012

    Hey, I was wondering what your thoughts are on the Kaplan MCAT exams? I feel the verbal sections are more straightforward in comparison the the AAMC exams; however, the Physical Sciences and to a lesser extent the Biology portions seem to be a bit more challenging. In terms of difficulty, how accurate do the kaplan exams reflect your actual score?

    • June 3, 2012

      Fred,

      I didn’t like Kaplan practice exams at all. I thought that the PS and BS were extremely difficult and not really reflective of what I had seen on the AAMC tests. I actually didn’t keep track of my scores with Kaplan, so I don’t know how it related to my actual score. I know that I got a 26 on the Kaplan diagnostic before I started studying.

      -A

  4. Hayley permalink
    May 29, 2012

    Would you recommend any of the GS tests in particular? I have 7 AAMC tests to take (all but AAMC 3) and access to all 10 GS tests, and I plan on beginning FL work with about 4-5 weeks before my test. Any GS tests to prioritize over others, or are they all roughly equivalent?

    • June 3, 2012

      Hi Hayley,

      I would start with GS #1, and work your way up. I didn’t notice a real difference among them, so you might as well take them in order as they are roughly equivalent.

      -A

  5. June 6, 2012

    Hey there,

    Could you comment on how GS Verbal Reasoning compares to AAMCs? Are they easier/harder? And do they think they are reflective of what you’ll actually see on test day?

    Thanks

    • June 6, 2012

      I actually have not seen the new Gold Standard Verbal Reasoning. I guess they completely redid that subsection in the last year or so. Back when I took it, the questions were hard but the passages were really interesting. It was not terribly different than the AAMC’s or the real deal. My favorite VR prep is still Exam Krackers though.

      Good luck!

  6. June 8, 2012

    Hello I took GS exams 1 to 4

    Gs tests PS VR BS
    1 5 4 7
    2 6 7 8
    3 9 9 8
    4 7 8 7

    For GS-4 it was so calculations heavy. I guessed on 15 questions or so because it’s better than leaving anything blank. For Verbal, I had to guess on the final passages because I was running out of time. For Biology, I finished with 12 minutes to spear and there were some questions I forgot the information for, for example, meso-ecto-endo and etc. These are really easy questions but I definitely forgot some of them. I am trying to take my test mid-August and wanted to know is it possible for me to improve to a 30 before my test date. I am going to go over my test thoroughly tomorrow to see where did I go wrong. I am going to take another test next week Tues or Wed and just focus on passages from TBR and TPR.

    What is your advice and with hard work and dedication I am determined to get a 30 on my exam. Gold Standard is really hard though and there are so much calculations as well.

    Thanks,

    I

    • June 11, 2012

      You still have over 2 months, so it is definitely possible to raise your score to a 30+. If you are forgetting content, or not remembering formulas on the practice tests than you probably could use some more content review. I personally recommend doing the practice tests after you have studied and know the information like the back of your hand. Gold Standard is super hard, and heavy on the calculations, but it is a great study tool.

      Basically do more content review, then more practice tests, then an in-depth review of wrong answers. Two months is plenty of time.

  7. July 1, 2012

    If you had two months to study for MCAT, what study technique would you best recommend?

    • July 12, 2012

      I would shorten and tailor everything that I have suggested in this blog into your own schedule. This would mean putting a ton of hours a day into studying though!

  8. August 17, 2012

    Have you posted your brief notes you talked about in your blog here somewhere else? It would be a big help to have an example. Thanks!

    • August 31, 2012

      My brief notes? Could you point me to where I said that?

  9. Nai permalink
    February 24, 2013

    Hi,

    I stumbled across your blog and it has been extremely helpful! I started taking some GS and have scored VP 10, BS 9, PS 9, after about two months of content review. My mcat is a little more than a month away and I’m juggling school as well. I was wondering how often you would recommend I take practice exams and if at this point I should leave content review aside and just do practice exams/review the test.

    Thank you so much!

    • February 24, 2013

      Nai,

      With being a little over a month away I would probably say you should be done with content review. Do a few more Gold Standard practice tests, but make sure to review every single question and correct answer! You should also end your test prep by doing all of the AAMC Practice Tests as those will tell you how well you are probably going to score on the real MCAT. Good work on the first GS, those are hard!

      Does this answer everything?

      -A

  10. Nai permalink
    February 24, 2013

    Thank you for the prompt response. Looking at your dates I assume you took a test every day or at least every other day, how soon did you start doing this/ did you take any break towards the end? Also, I look at all the questions on the practice test (right and wrong) but feel like I should review the content for all those I got wrong, not sure if that’s a good idea/waste of time. What are your suggestions? I still have a EK 1001s and 101 passages left to complete and I’m just not sure how to prioritize doing practice tests or end of the chapter 30 minute tests.

    • February 24, 2013

      You are correct, I took a test everyday or every other day for about a month before the test. I would use the other day to review all the answers. For my wrong answers I would quickly review the content and make some short notes (Wikipedia is good for this part). Record what you are getting wrong in a separate notebook or binder for a quick review the morning of the exam.

      At this point I would probably stop doing the EK 1,001. I finished the EK 101 VR Passages during my content review, and love that book so I would maybe try and get through those if possible. Practice tests are your best bet though. You have a lot of resources and little time, concentrate and go hard, really hard, from here on out.

      I wouldn’t do a practice test the day before the exam, read through your content and wrong answer notebook once, and then take a run, relax, get a massage, etc.

      good luck!

      -A

  11. SAID permalink
    May 1, 2013

    Hey there, I took the MCAT last summer and scored poorly on it, low twenties. I studied all summer long, 11 weeks too! I felt I put a solid effort into it, however I feel I should have focused more on taking practice MCATs rather than conquering the material. I took a total of 7 or 8 practice MCATs, all of them being the AAMC’s retired exams. The highest score I got was only a 28. It has been a bit of a discouraging journey for me because I’m not the best test taker. Having said this I have a decently high GPA and got an A in Biochemistry even, so I know that it must be developing a testing strategy rather than an issue with the content, necessarily. I find this to be the greatest confusion for me: how much time reviewing as opposed to how many practice MCATs to take. I took a course through PREP101, it didn’t help me very much. I feel I need help developing an effective MCAT test-taking strategy that works for me but don’t feel I can achieve this unless I take like 20 practice MCATs or something. So I have exactly three months until my next MCAT. I spent all last summer reviewing the material, but I’m positive that a lot of it has become fuzzy again. I am also thinking I spent too much time reviewing the material last summer. I heard you mention earlier in the blog that you spent your final month doing practice tests either every day or every other day. What would you recommend me do for the next three months? Since I’m not as strong a test taker should I spend like 1 1/2 months to 2 months or even all three months doing the exam a day or every other day? Also I am using my old Exam Krackers books with all my writings and markings in it. In fact most of my practice questions from the 1o1 VR book and 1001 question science books have been already done by me, so I have concern about whether I should buy new ones. Then again I don’t know how to balance time spent on all those extraneous things rather than simply attacking the MCAT itself. My Dad recommended me to not spend so much time on the material but simply use my old MCAT prep resources as review but focusing moreso on the MCAT itself. I guess I am concerned about that balance again. I plan on graphing my trouble areas after each practice MCAT to notice patterns. I plan on then focusing more of my theory review on these problem areas. Essentially, how should I spend the next 3 months of my time having given my last summer’s experience and my weak test-taking characteristic? Would Gold Standard help me? What do you think? Thanks for your help!

    • May 7, 2013

      Spend a week or two on content review and than do the Gold Standard exams. Review every single mistake from your previous practice exams and keep on chugging. You can do this!

  12. June 1, 2013

    So what is up with the new scaled scores? If people get a 30, for example, now on GS should that be what they expect to get on AAMC or even the real thing?

  13. Jen permalink
    June 4, 2013

    Hi, I am extremely worried to take the MCAT being that I began studying 3 weeks ago and I plan to take the exam July 26th (about 7 weeks from now). I did terrible on the diagnostic exam [VR 3 PS 3 BS 5 total score of 11 :( ]. I haven’t taken part 2 of physics yet I will take it in july. I am currently using the EK package along with TPR. As of now I do not know what to do in terms of how much time I should devote daily and what to focus on. I used the EK syllabus for 2 weeks so far but I have not done many practice problems outside of EK. I looked into 1 on 1 tutoring which is very expensive so that is not an option. Should I disregard the EK questions and use the GS/AAMC questions only along with the EK content? Please help, thanks in advance!

  14. Jordan permalink
    May 14, 2014

    I am getting around 26-28 consistently on the Gold Standard Exams. I pretty much average an 8 on the physical section and consistently get 10′s on the bio and verbal. How similar should I expect my real MCAT to be to the Gold Standard Exams? Would it be unreasonable for me to expect to go up a few points?

  15. khadijah permalink
    July 8, 2014

    Hi, I am taking the gold standard exams and my AAMC test scores were lower than the scores I received on gold standard 1, 2 and 3. the gold standard 4 exam was much more difficult for me than gold standard 1, 2, and 3.

    My physical science portion is steadily decreasing and I am concerned that I have not understood the content review as well. Even though I went over all of the content review….any suggestions.

    I have about 25 more days until my real exam

  16. Rao permalink
    July 13, 2014

    Hey Aaron,

    I took the MCAT on 5/31 after taking all 8 of the practice AAMC’s and average around a 32 on all of them. Unfortunately I received a 26 on the real thing (8, 8, 10), and I was extremely upset.

    I have taken your advice on taking the Gold Standard exams and so far my scores for the first two are as follows:

    7/10
    GS 1: 11, 9 10

    7/13 (today)
    GS 2: 10, 11, 10

    I am happy about my bump in Verbal, but I know it means nothing unless it is consistent. I saw that you had a significant jump from GS 1/2 to GS # 3 so I want to make sure I am reviewing properly. I know it has been some time since you took the MCAT but do you remember how you reviewed the exams in order to make sure you did better the next time?

    Any advice you have on how to review and LEARN from the practice exams would be highly beneficial

    Thanks!

    • Rao permalink
      July 20, 2014

      Update:

      GS# 3: 11/10/11

      GS#4: 11/11/12

      Seeing an upward trend, but not getting my hopes up unless it keeps going.

  17. Laura permalink
    July 18, 2014

    Are you sure the GS tests are harder? I just scored the highest I ever have on any MCAT practice exam on GS. Mid thirties. Tell me that’s a good sign.

    • Rao permalink
      July 20, 2014

      Hey, I think they are slightly harder but not by much. Mid thirties is always a good sign, I just hit a 34 on my last one (yesterday) but we’ll see how this translates on the real thing since I’ve exhausted all my AAMC exams already.

      Good luck!

Leave a Reply

Note: You may use basic HTML in your comments. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS