Took the last practice exam last night:
Physical Sciences: 11
Verbal Reasoning: 10
Biological Sciences: 12
I do all of my practice exams at the office since it’s air conditioned, quiet, and there are no distractions. That’s never been a problem until yesterday. I had just finished reading the first passage and was getting started when my boss and some other people showed up. I work for a really cool guy and he knows about my intent to go to medical school, so I didn’t feel like I had to hide or anything like that. It still distracted me quite a bit and I paused the exam for a couple of hours and did some work-related stuff until he and the others left. When I got started again, I had a hard time getting my timing down, which is weird because timing has never been an issue at all. I wound up not finishing the physical section on time and making several calculation errors, none of which had happened before. When I finished up with that section, I knew I probably hadn’t done well. All things considered, scoring an 11 isn’t ‘tanking’ the section, but it’s still not what I want to see. The physics section has been my best section by far.
One of the challenges I’ve noticed is that, after doing so well on the PS section until now, I feel like I have to double and triple check every answer. There were a couple of sections on the exam that tested things I’m not too familiar with and I really let that get me sidetracked. I spent at least 5 minutes trying to figure out a problem on stress and strain. That’s a big mistake – on the real exam, if I get stuck like that, I need to make my best guess, mark it, and then come back to it at the end. That’s much wiser than burning a bunch of time trying to answer a question on an unfamiliar topic.
Ultimately, I’m not going to let a bad performance (33 is bad?) get me discouraged or anything like that. I’m going to review that exam this afternoon, work some problems on the topics this exam stumped me on, and then call it a night. It’s hard to just let it go and I still feel like I could have studied harder or better, but it’s too late to do anything about it. I’ve scored at and above my target score, I’ve freaked out on some sections and learned how to relax, and I know that if I do my best, I’m going to be fine and will be pleased with my results. Now, just need to tie up a couple of loose ends and relax.
In other news, the lady is coming over this evening – I’m introducing her to the Alien franchise. Chestburster is going to freak her out something fierce.