I did flip through some history and political science books.. however, it's probably best to focus on a few events that you can describe vividly and accurately. I suggest examining the 300 sample prompts and thinking of appropriate historical examples for them.. there are certain common themes in those prompts and maybe you can find some more original examples than Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Hitler. If I'd had more time to prepare, I would have done this - just am lucky that I didn't get a historical/political/philosophical type topic
They are not grading you on the veracity of your statements. They're only looking for your writing style, how you follow directions and grammar/punctuation/spelling. You could totally make up what you are saying as long as its done in the proper format.
Frankly, I took the April MCAT and got an "S". I also took the MCAT in 1993 and got an "S". When I see the question, I just start writing and make things up if I need to. I don't take any sort of prep time. I do think about the structure beforehand, but that's it. It's really very simple. They give you a statement and say "what does this mean"? Then they ask for examples. All you have to do is write a couple of paragraphs of bogus nonsense for each question and your done before you know it!
i agree with toejam. one of my april essays was written with entirely fabricated evidence on some made up study on cell phone usaeg in the US. I got a "R". if you're listening to NPR or watching CNN for examples, i think you might be wasting your time. just follow the format, write coherently, have some relevant examples (real or not), it will work out.
I agree with the above posters about not wasting time with studying for it. The prompts I had on Saturday were bogus! There was no way background info. was helpful. I just BS'ed my way through it using hypothetical examples.
I agree with the above posters but I also disagree. I think that the writing style and grammar are certainly what they are looking for and not content. This is what was said above. However, if you have some concrete history/political science examples all ready to go, then this might give you more confidence and also save you time in thinking up bogus or non-bogus examples. The saved time will give you more time to think about the writing style and the grammar, which is really what they're looking for.
Not to mention the history stuff could help you on the verbal as well.
On a previous post, someone suggested browsing through TIME's 100 most influencial people- i thought that was a good idea. Just go over people you admire. When you're trying to explain your principle later on in apps or essays, you have excellent examples!
prepping for the essay section as far as facts etc... is completely unecessary, unless you don't have any imagination. i corroborated my points with specific facts and figures from an acclaimed 18th century british economist, nigel edbury - too bad he doesn't exist. i did fine on the essay section - just follow the directions and pack your essay with any supporting points you can make up and continue on. of course a case may be made for a good imagination relying a bit on reading other things - so be it. but don't bother doing anything along those lines specifically for the essay seciton, you could be spending your time in better ways.
I think reading up on current events will be a lot more interesting, and it'll help you be a better in general. I think I used current events (real ones, not like mr. nigel edbury!) and I got an S on one test, Q on the other.
My topics were soooooooo boring! I do read alot, but pretty much only newspapers, news mags and what I find on the Internet.
You know what else I've found helpful? Posting on these sites. When I see something particularly juicy and I want to comment on it, my wheels start rolling and I reply. But, when I reply, I generally follow the basic essay standard. I start out with my thesis, follow it up with examples and then end wrapping up my main idea. I don't do it all of the time, but sometimes.
What might be a good exercise is to just come up with your own topics and practice the format. The topics that they give you are fairly simplistic and look pretty similar. I've taken this test 3 times now and they all seemed almost the same.
Eg.: Confidence is more important than skill.
What does this statement mean?
Can you give an example where confidence has been shown to be more important than skill? Other way around? Blah, blah, blah.
You could come up with several dozen if you put your mind to it.
I can't remember the exact format so maybe other posters can add to this.
And, really, the content of the essay means absolutely nothing to the graders. The important thing is to follow the format and make sure your grammar, syntax, punctuation, etc. is in order.