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Cerberus

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It has been said that much of them MCAT has to do with good test taking skills. Some posters have mentioned various methods for dealing with the more tricky MCAT questions in the MCAT forum. However, I thought i'd post a thread here with the same intent since most of you have already taken "the beast".
 

Celestron2000

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Know what you need to know, then know what you need to know, then know that you know what you need to know.:p

But seriously, it's all about confidence
 

Integra96

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Confidence is bueno, but what's even more important (IMO) is taking as many practice MCATs as possible without burning out. Knowing what to expect will give you confidence. Other than that, well...the test blows. It will make you run home crying like a little girl. Oh well.
 
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I never really believed the concept of someone being a "good test taker." Now, you can totally freeze up at big tests, and freak out, thus making you a "bad test taker" of sorts...but it's not like there are certain people out there who just know how to somehow "win over" the test. You either know the answer or you don't. And if you know enough, you may be able to eliminate some of the incorrect answer choices, but that's about it.
 

camstah

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actually i think there are some people who know how to "win over" the test......i think a lot of test taking skill is in your ability to read carefully....in fact, i know it is, because i really didn't know much when i took the mcat the first time, didn't really have a chance to study, but because my most time consuming hobby is reading (which i do voraciously, can't help it) i did alright on the mcat.......i think (especially on the MCAT) that reading skills were my biggest asset...in the end, standardized test questions like those found on the MCAT follow a pattern in a way....some people just understand that pattern better than others....does that makes sense?
 

haldane3

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There is almost no way to know all the material that could be on the MCAT. There were physiology questions in last April's MCAT, and there's no physiology requirement. They curve it by throwing out tough questions. In the end, the ability to take the test comes up near the top in scoring well, hands down.
 

Celestron2000

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If you study Exam Krackers material, pretty much everything you need to know is in there. If you're taking the MCAT and come across something new, about 99% guranteed it's something you can awnser by aplying logic and the info you know to what's in the passage.
I have to agree w/ camstah, my experience was similar to hers. I took it once w/ very little studying, did fine. Took it again after about 3 mo of studying approx. 1hr/day, did quite well.
 

Persistence101

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Originally posted by camstah
in the end, standardized test questions like those found on the MCAT follow a pattern in a way....some people just understand that pattern better than others....does that makes sense?

what kind of pattern?
 

ZekeMD

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I found a trick that helped me score much better on the exam. I did horrible on the first few practice exams I took. I found that I was thinking too much on my own and going into way too much depth. I changed the way I took the test and my scores improved dramatically. I tried to think as little as possible and just use the information given in the passages. I know it sounds like a bad way to go about it, but use as little of your own information as you can to answer the questions. Instead rely on the passages more.

My scores started at around a 28, and jumped into the mid 30's (34-38) as soon as I changed my approach.
 

Cerberus

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Another poster suggested traps to look for, and ways to guess on multiple choice questions that are tricky. I was hoping for more stuff along those lines. I feel that I know the material pretty well now but making the majority of my mistakes to what I would call the "blasted trickery" of the beast.
 

Cerberus

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Originally posted by ZekeMD
I found a trick that helped me score much better on the exam. I did horrible on the first few practice exams I took. I found that I was thinking too much on my own and going into way too much depth. I changed the way I took the test and my scores improved dramatically. I tried to think as little as possible and just use the information given in the passages. I know it sounds like a bad way to go about it, but use as little of your own information as you can to answer the questions. Instead rely on the passages more.

My scores started at around a 28, and jumped into the mid 30's (34-38) as soon as I changed my approach.

Interesting.

Right now I am just trying to understand the mentality of the test makers so i can figure out what answer they want. I know the material, I need to know the test (that sounds like some metaphysical BS:laugh: ).
 

camstah

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but that's exactly what i mean by recognizing a pattern....the way the exam makers ask questions, the parts of the passages they choose to pull out and focus on, it's all the same in standardized tests...there's a pattern to how they pick information to ask you about.......that's what i mean....i think it's intuitive for some people, and for those for whom it isn't intuitive taking a lot of mcats helps because i think then you become sort of subconsciously aware of the pattern or the way in which questions are asked.....i know it sounds weird, but i really think it's true.....and yes, don't think so much....MOST of what you need to know is in the passage....really, i'm proof of that.......you can get a 30 on the MCAT just by being really great at picking info out of a passage....trust me.......this is why practicing with mcat passages increases your score.....
 

Pinkertinkle

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Just remember-- never is usually not in a correct answer.
 

Sunflower189

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I am proof that it is not necessary to know anything in order to do well on MCAT :D
It is definitely possible to be a good test-taker.

Some things I've picked up:

1) An ounce of balls is worth a pound of competence. Walk in *knowing* that you will whup some MCAT and send it whimpering home to its momma.

2) Remember, the test-makers have handed you a sheet with all the correct answers on it. Think of it like a game of hide-and-seek. (Heeere, answer answer...)

2b) Would they really say that about [minority]? Dirty extremists! (Get rid of that choice.)
2c) "Wait, that's not physically possible..." Get rid of that one too.
2d) If you're really hosed, pick the answer that looks most like the others. Especially in PS.

3) On comprehensive tests, there are always long chains of related questions. Even if you know nothing about the topic, logical consistency often requires that the whole set work out in one particular way. I probably saved myself 2-3 PS points that way last August.

4) First principles are your friend. Don't be afraid to push electrons, know thy latin/greek.. and when in doubt, it increases surface area. Remember this, and you will never get an MCAT question you know nothing about.

5) If you're going to sit on a desk chair until your a$$ is chemically bound to it, you have to go prepared. I always bring a bag of bagels and a (small!) bottle of homemade iced tea.

6) If you find yourself talking yourself out of an answer for no other reason than your own paranoia, smack yourself immediately, or smack yourself later while checking your answers at home.

Hm...that's all I can think of for now. I agree with the people who push practice tests though. Test-taking is a skill, and it needs practice.

Avoiding work as usual,
Sunflower
 

Adapt

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When you have to guess, guess D. It's the difference between a 30 and a 29.
 

jlee9531

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i dunno cerb...

i just reviewed my lecture notes and took the test. no tricks or whatever.

just go through...if you know something about the passage already...dont bother reading too deeply into the passage and just head towards the questions.

everything you need to know is in the passage basically...outside of the free standing questions of course.

be confident and dont panic and you'll kick some ass man.
 
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