Hemichordate

Peds
10+ Year Member
May 5, 2008
1,091
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Resident [Any Field]
I'm having trouble improving my BS score. I've improved a total of only 2 points ever since I started studying for the MCAT, and somehow I can never get above an 11. I don't really make many stupid mistakes, it's just that most of the questions I miss are because I fail to make certain connections between the question and some piece of information in the passage or with a piece of outside knowledge. I do go over my answers (both right and wrong) and understand the reasoning afterwards, but I keep making the same type of mistakes over and over again. Any suggestions on how I can improve?
 

rockaction

casemed'14
May 3, 2009
1,909
2
Status
Medical Student
1. More content, the better. There's always more facts you can memorize for the biology portion. Stand-alones need to be money, so memorizing all those hormones, digestive enzymes, and weird quirky things your content books tell you to know will go a long way.

2. Knowing when to use the facts you know or the passage. This is the toughest part. You need to really get into using the passage. It seems that you're not comfortable doing that. Good rule of thumb - if you can answer it with the passage, answer it with the passage. Sometimes they fling exceptions at you, and if you followed your outside knowledge, you'd get the question wrong. Get used to weird approaches to things you already know.

3. Organic needs to be CAKE. The only way they should be able to steal right answers from you is with hard, obscure bio. You have to be getting all (if not most) of the Organic correct. MCAT Organic is comparatively easier than what you learned in Organic I & II, so it's not outside your abilities.

4. Have extra time!!! I wouldn't have gotten a 14 on the BS section on the real thing if I didn't have extra time to debate myself on those really hard questions. Double-checking is very important. You may not even be making stupid answers and double-checking can still help you. How much time do you usually have left over?

The Biology section is all about style. People go into their MCAT studying thinking "oh, well that'll be the easiest section for me cause I'm a bio major" and get destroyed because it's a hard, hard section. But it's a section that reaps great reward if you can get it to "click".

By the way, an 11 is great. So if you get an 11 on the real thing don't be disappointed.
 

Cunninglinguist

Removed
Jul 20, 2009
161
0
Status
Non-Student
1. More content, the better. There's always more facts you can memorize for the biology portion. Stand-alones need to be money, so memorizing all those hormones, digestive enzymes, and weird quirky things your content books tell you to know will go a long way.

2. Knowing when to use the facts you know or the passage. This is the toughest part. You need to really get into using the passage. It seems that you're not comfortable doing that. Good rule of thumb - if you can answer it with the passage, answer it with the passage. Sometimes they fling exceptions at you, and if you followed your outside knowledge, you'd get the question wrong. Get used to weird approaches to things you already know.

3. Organic needs to be CAKE. The only way they should be able to steal right answers from you is with hard, obscure bio. You have to be getting all (if not most) of the Organic correct. MCAT Organic is comparatively easier than what you learned in Organic I & II, so it's not outside your abilities.

4. Have extra time!!! I wouldn't have gotten a 14 on the BS section on the real thing if I didn't have extra time to debate myself on those really hard questions. Double-checking is very important. You may not even be making stupid answers and double-checking can still help you. How much time do you usually have left over?

The Biology section is all about style. People go into their MCAT studying thinking "oh, well that'll be the easiest section for me cause I'm a bio major" and get destroyed because it's a hard, hard section. But it's a section that reaps great reward if you can get it to "click".

By the way, an 11 is great. So if you get an 11 on the real thing don't be disappointed.
The bolded is really the difference between an 11 and a higher score. No question.

If you not missing Organic question, then try to think about what you were thinking when you missed certain questions. I know for me I was choosing answers against my better judgment, so as soon as I stopped questioning myself and not reading too far into the questions my scores increased from the 10/11 range. I had to stop bringing extra info in that wasn't in the passage. Just because you know something happens one way, if it's not in the passage it doesn't matter. They are all surface level questions if you can find the angle they are trying to get at.

Good luck. I also agree with the above poster, and 11 is solid, so if you end up with an 11 on the real deal you deserve a night out on the town and a plethora of alcoholic beverages and dancing ladies. ;)
 
OP
H

Hemichordate

Peds
10+ Year Member
May 5, 2008
1,091
4
Status
Resident [Any Field]
1. More content, the better. There's always more facts you can memorize for the biology portion. Stand-alones need to be money, so memorizing all those hormones, digestive enzymes, and weird quirky things your content books tell you to know will go a long way.

2. Knowing when to use the facts you know or the passage. This is the toughest part. You need to really get into using the passage. It seems that you're not comfortable doing that. Good rule of thumb - if you can answer it with the passage, answer it with the passage. Sometimes they fling exceptions at you, and if you followed your outside knowledge, you'd get the question wrong. Get used to weird approaches to things you already know.

3. Organic needs to be CAKE. The only way they should be able to steal right answers from you is with hard, obscure bio. You have to be getting all (if not most) of the Organic correct. MCAT Organic is comparatively easier than what you learned in Organic I & II, so it's not outside your abilities.

4. Have extra time!!! I wouldn't have gotten a 14 on the BS section on the real thing if I didn't have extra time to debate myself on those really hard questions. Double-checking is very important. You may not even be making stupid answers and double-checking can still help you. How much time do you usually have left over?

The Biology section is all about style. People go into their MCAT studying thinking "oh, well that'll be the easiest section for me cause I'm a bio major" and get destroyed because it's a hard, hard section. But it's a section that reaps great reward if you can get it to "click".

By the way, an 11 is great. So if you get an 11 on the real thing don't be disappointed.
Thanks, I'll try to follow that. With organic, I have a general knowledge of everything that's required, but on some sections, it seems that the question tests beyond what I learned in basic review (i.e. parts of a distillation setup and what its purpose is). So on those questions, I really have to reason and I'm not very confident doing those.

As for extra time, I'm usually on pace with the exam, so I have at most maybe 2 minutes extra.
 

Cunninglinguist

Removed
Jul 20, 2009
161
0
Status
Non-Student
Thanks, I'll try to follow that. With organic, I have a general knowledge of everything that's required, but on some sections, it seems that the question tests beyond what I learned in basic review (i.e. parts of a distillation setup and what its purpose is). So on those questions, I really have to reason and I'm not very confident doing those.

As for extra time, I'm usually on pace with the exam, so I have at most maybe 2 minutes extra.

I took all the AAMC's and never saw those type of questions. You need to know what it is and what it does, but not setup.