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Elimination of answers

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by bluesTank, Apr 15, 2007.

  1. bluesTank

    bluesTank Zombie 5+ Year Member

    Feb 2, 2007
    College Station, TX
    In many of the EK sample questions (lecture questions etc) some of them are over a very obscure piece of knowledge, and the explanation discusses it, but then simply says "you should be able to easily eliminate the other answers, so this knowledge is unnecessary."

    This got me wondering, do they make questions on the MCAT like this, where they expect you to eliminate answers to find the right ones? Because when I am looking at some of these questions, if it weren't for the elimination process, i would have been screwed.
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  3. eddie13231

    eddie13231 Member 10+ Year Member

    Apr 9, 2005
    There is a strategy from Kaplan which I find very helpfull. Basically it is to forumlate your own answer before looking at the actual answers.

    Keep in mind the main idea and this helps (me at least) make wrong answers not supported by the passage stay wrong. When looking at the answer choices, sometimes it is easy to pick one that seems right, but when you go back and see why you missed it, it becomes clear that it was not supported by the passage.

    Maybe you should try this strategy and see if it helps.
  4. AnEyeLikeMars

    AnEyeLikeMars Member 7+ Year Member

    Dec 2, 2005
    Carrboro, NC
    I had an MCAT question like that. I think the thing about these questions is that they can be answered in a straightforward manner, but the quicker route is through elimination (I guess the ability to find the quickest route to the correct answer is another way to discriminate among testtakers).

    The question was basically a "given these values for these variables, what would x = equal." The answer choices were fractions with the terms arranged differently in the numerator and denominator; basically the uncalculated formula set up. I don't remember why I couldn't figure it out (it was so long ago). I think I had forgotten the formula. But, the way I answered it was that in only one of the answers, seconds/time cancelled out (which I knew it had to since the units of the answer had no dimension of time).

    There were definitely a couple for which I knew 3 choices were definitely wrong, so I knew it had to be the 4th choice even though I didn't know anything about that answer or how they got that answer. What I don't know is whether that is something that I should have known but didn't, or whether the MCAT was testing our ability in that we should know those 3 choices were false.
  5. jochi1543

    jochi1543 President, Gunner Central 2+ Year Member

    Apr 4, 2007
    Alberta, Canada
    Not necessarily, but you will sometimes encounter discretes asking about things you don't know, and analytical/elimination skills can make a difference here. For example, I did a good job prepping for the evolution topic and my MCAT had a discrete asking about evolution - some terms I had NEVER heard before (you had to evaluate the 4 answers and say which one did NOT apply to the particular population they were asking about). Instead of just doing a blind guess, I compared the 4 answers and realized that 3 of them seemed rather similar, while the 4th one dealt with something totally different, so even though I did not know anything about the subject that the question dealt with, I was able to pick the right answer. I know it was right because I Googled it after I came home, haha.:laugh:

    Also, be on the lookout for answers that say the same thing phrased differently, as it means both will be wrong - e.g., A: "fluorine is less electronegative than hydrogen," B: "hydrogen is more electronegative than fluorine." Even if you don't know anything about the relative electronegativities, if you look closely, the 2 answers say the exact same thing, and it's a very good indicator that both are incorrect.
  6. Asianagirl

    Asianagirl 2+ Year Member

    Apr 15, 2007

    This is a good example how MCAT is more about strategy than knowledge :(
  7. Degrouchy

    Degrouchy 7+ Year Member

    Dec 4, 2006
    I even tried looking up the answer to see where the answer came from, but could not find anything in the EK books. So, I just chalked it up to being out of school for 10 years and it being a little nitpicky detail and really the question was seeing if you could find the answer through elimination.
    I also tried looking for any kind of response on the EK forum, but when I checked the site there was an error that the site was down.

    The EK forum is back up now.

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