The Medical College Admission Test® (MCAT) is your ticket to getting an entry in medical schools. The standardized admittance exam is a test of your knowledge, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. Administered by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the MCAT is a multiple-choice examination to test knowledge of applicants in the field of behavioral, natural, and social sciences. Critical thinking and knowledge of these fields are a prerequisite to the study of medicine. Are you wondering how to pass the MCAT exam to pursue your dream medical career?
MCAT Exam Guide
Creating your MCAT guide can be one of the most challenging aspects in your preparation for the exam. According to the AAMC, you should spend at least 300-350 hours to prepare for the MCAT. It is critically important to set aside a fixed weekly schedule to prepare for the competitive medical exam. It is a good idea to schedule your test date months in advance.
A high score on the MCAT will positively impact your med school application.
Cramming is a Sin
It would be unwise to apply your cramming strategy while preparing for the MCAT. Most pre-medical students are caught unawares by the expanse of the MCAT syllabus. Even worse, it would be wrong to treat the MCAT as merely a test of your understanding of prior content. The MCAT is an integrated exam that tests your knowledge in various medical fields, including, General Biology, General Chemistry, Biochemistry, Organic Chemistry, Psychology, Physics, and Sociology, besides testing your reasoning and analytical skills. You must understand a range of material from seemingly disparate subjects.
If you know how to interpret complex issues, you can unlock the key to getting a great MCAT score. Strengthening your grasp of the concepts is a crucial part of the preparation process compared to memorizing the nitty-gritty details. Remember, the exam is a test of your critical analytical thinking rather than the regurgitation of information.
- The Chem/Phys section is a test of your integrated knowledge of the basic physical sciences and biological sciences. If you know how to combine both, you can clear this part of the MCAT exam. This requires a clear understanding of the basics of physical sciences and biochemistry and how to apply your understanding to living systems. Of the 59 questions in this section, 15 are discrete questions that are unrelated to passage.
- The CARS section tests your analysis skills. You are judged on the basis of your capability to analyze arguments. The 53-question section tests you how well you can find the underlying assumptions. Answers to the questions are included in their respective passages.
- The Bio/Biochem section is a test of your understanding of the basic life processes and how cells and organs work to keep the human body alive and kicking. In this 59-question section, 15 are discrete while the remaining 44 have answers in the given passages.
- ThePsych/Soc section is an assessment of your ability to integrate your sociological, psychological, and biological knowledge. There are 59 questions in this section, with 15 being standalone and unrelated to the passage.
How To Pass MCAT Exam
The MCAT demands intellectual endurance and lasts seven and a half hours. It would be wrong to treat it just like another college exam. Rather, premedical students preparing for MCAT should treat it more like a marathon than a sprint.
- What are you up against?
When it comes to preparing for the MCAT exam, it all begins with understanding what you are faced with. It is a good idea to start with familiarizing yourself with the test format and content. The AAMC website offers a free practice test online. This will give you a good start and an understanding of how to deal with time pressure. When you know what you are up against, you can focus on that area and hone your skills.
- Do you understand the basics?
The MCAT is a test of your understanding of the basic concepts of science. Besides your ability to answer questions, you need to have a deep understanding of the science concepts so much so that you should be able to explain them clearly even to a fifth grader. When you are successfully able to do this, you are ready to take the test.
- What is your weakness?
Focusing on your strengths alone would be a mistake while preparing for the MCAT exam. Use the practice tests to hone your skills and strengthen your weak areas. When you are looking for ways how to pass the MCAT exam, the best plan is to develop your strengths and improve your weaker points.
All in all, your emphasis should be on problem solving and analysis, because it is where the MCAT exam will test your critical thinking skills. Remember, the MCAT test creators will not reward you for your knowledge of medicine but for being able to apply it.
It won’t be wrong to say that it is a cumulative exam that tests your knowledge gained over during your college years. It’s prudent to focus on honing your weak spots that you didn’t excel at in college. Remember, a knowledge gap in one discipline could limit your odds of getting the correct answer and hurt your chances of passing the MCAT exam.