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Is it impossible to do well on the MCAT with poor critical thinking skills?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical Allopathic [ MD ]' started by Bammy, 05.19.14.

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  1. Bammy

    Bammy 2+ Year Member

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    I have HORRIBLE critical thinking skills! I am going to take the MCAT this September.
    Are there any ways to improve critical thinking skills fast?
    Also, is it impossible to do exceptionally well on the MCAT (score of 40) if your critical thinking skills suck?

    Recently I started doing lots of Sudoku and Cross word puzzles in hopes that maybe those will help a little.
     
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  3. Copernicium

    Copernicium wenk 5+ Year Member

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    Yes
     
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  4. mrh125

    mrh125 Banned Banned Account on Hold

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    You can memorize a lot and do decent if you expose yourself to a ton of different scenarios, that should help a lot. A lot of bio is pure intricate memorization and you just have to expose yourself to a lot of material and memorize it. Phys sci can be improved in a similar fashion. Verbal you're going to have a lot more trouble in because a lot of it is more than recall and tests your ability to think critically in different ways. If you do enough problems you should develop enough intuition to think critically or at least appear to. It's takes a lot of work but that's how to skip critical thinking, also good pattern recognition can compensate for critical thinking at times.
     
  5. phunky

    phunky 2+ Year Member

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    Yes it's impossible to do exceptionally well with poor critical thinking skills.

    Critical thinking is more important than knowing the material front and back.
     
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  6. Ace-Co-A

    Ace-Co-A taking up the mantle cell lymphoma 2+ Year Member

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    Better yet, is it impossible to be a good physician if you have poor critical thinking skills? The answer is an emphatic yes!

    There are ways to improve critical thinking skills. Do as many practice problems as you can get your hands on. For the questions you get wrong, go back and explain to yourself why you were wrong. Prove to yourself that the correct answer is correct and discover the 'trick' underlying the thought process that would lead to that answer. Best of luck.
     
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  7. Bammy

    Bammy 2+ Year Member

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    FML
     
  8. Bammy

    Bammy 2+ Year Member

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    Great explanation! I am hoping that I can do A LOT of practice exams, reviews, and problems and hopefully that should help.
     
  9. Bammy

    Bammy 2+ Year Member

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    You make a good point. Thanks!
     
  10. mrh125

    mrh125 Banned Banned Account on Hold

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    Thanks, I have one question however: How good and detail-oriented is your memory? This is why the way I pretty much learn these days, but you have to train yourself to be insanely nitpicky and detail oriented to make this work especially in the biosci section where general picture knowledge rarely gets you anywhere, and if you don't memorize a ton of little specific details you'll end up missing the score you want by 1 or more points (assuming your goal is a 10).
     
  11. PreMedOrDead

    PreMedOrDead I'm sure you'll get in... 2+ Year Member

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    It may be extremely difficult (never say impossible) to score that high on the MCAT with poor critical thinking. However, a high score is certainly reasonable. It all comes down to how much you're willing to sacrifice to get that score at that point.

    I knew a girl that struggled with critical thinking and had instead committed to memory the minutiae in her KAPLAN study books to the point she could cite things by memory. The best part is that KAPLAN provides some kind of laminated hand out. You could ask her what formula X was and she would state it, as well as the page number on the packet and the exact location on the page with its surrounding formulas.

    She's in medical school now, so whatever works for her.

    Crazy, imo.
     
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  12. Bammy

    Bammy 2+ Year Member

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    Oh wow! I might have to do something like this. Thanks for sharing.
     
  13. Bammy

    Bammy 2+ Year Member

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    I always tried to understand the concept and the whole picture instead of tiny details. I guess I need to do both for the MCAT. It is very difficult for me to remember tiny details as my memory really sucks. But I will try to find a way. Thanks
     
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  14. mrh125

    mrh125 Banned Banned Account on Hold

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    Yea, I know. It sucks, just use flashcards, flashcards, and more flashcards and it'll stick. Also try mapping out/writing down various parts of the organ systems key neurotransmitters etc.
     
  15. IL Pre Med

    IL Pre Med 2+ Year Member

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    If critical thinking is troubling you you may want to look into a new career. Maybe pharmacy, those guys don't do much of anything other than check pills and tell customers which aisle the diapers are in, maybe that's more your thing.
     
  16. jm192

    jm192 7+ Year Member

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    Yeah!

    Right up until your patient has an allergy to Drugs A and B and can't have drug C due to their impaired renal function. Then that pill counter is your new best friend.
     
  17. xffan624

    xffan624 2+ Year Member

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    It's hard to get a 40 even if you have great critical thinking skills. I wouldn't be banking on that score regardless of your assessment of your critical thinking skills. Take a few practice tests and that will give you an accurate assessment of how you will do on the test.
     
  18. jm192

    jm192 7+ Year Member

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    OP:

    Critical thinking isn't something you're born with. Some maybe pick it up more quickly than others.
    Chemistry and Physics classes improve it more than you realize.

    Practice practice practice. Get practice tests/problems/whatever and do a ton. Read the solutions and understand the thought process that you were supposed to use to connect idea A to idea B.

    If you're someone who struggles with it: maybe a structured program will help.

    I didn't use anything for the MCAT and wasn't thrilled with my score.
    I got a deal on a Step1 program, and I thought the day to day structure really helped me. It took away the stress of "am I doing the right stuff?"

    But the biggest thing is to just keep reviewing the material and applying it to problems day in and day out. You'll get better at it as you go.

    If you're doing well in Chemistry and Physics classes, the capacity is there.
     
  19. IL Pre Med

    IL Pre Med 2+ Year Member

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    Actually the Walgreens computer system is your new best friend. It has a pop up warning whenever there's a drug-drug interaction lol the pharmacist really doesn't need to be very knowledgable.. Just speaking from experience

    The automated system gives pop ups for allergies, drug/drug, drug/food, impaired hepatic and renal function. You really have to go out of your way to hurt a patient.
     
    Last edited: 05.21.14
  20. jm192

    jm192 7+ Year Member

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    That has NOTHING to do with what I posted.

    You're going to have patients with a laundry list of medical problems that restricts which drugs they can take. And that has NOTHING to do with drug-drug interactions. Most academic ward teams carry a pharmicist or pharmacy resident for these very issues. The ones that don't have one, have a pharmacist on speed dial.

    Doctors call the pharmacist every day.

    If your SOLE point is that it's not that hard to hand out pills at a CVS, ok, you win. But to act like pharmacists are glorified robots shows a ton of ignorance. You're going to rely on them a lot more than you realize.
     
  21. IL Pre Med

    IL Pre Med 2+ Year Member

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    Yeah I was referring to retail pharmacy in particular. Also I was in pharmacy school with many students who were very below par on the intellectual scale and it was quite alarming to think they would become future pharmacists. Made me think "how many of these individuals have slipped through the cracks throughout the years?" Scary stuff.

    I guess I lost a lot of respect for the profession after being in the school and seeing so many bad students and bad pharmacists. It's also interesting to mention that many of them started off as pre-meds, apparently many failed pre-meds end up in pharmacy.

    Sorry for thread jacking, rant over.
     
  22. IlDestriero

    IlDestriero Ether Man 7+ Year Member

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    Poor memory and poor critical thinking skills are not consistent with a career in medicine.
     
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  23. jm192

    jm192 7+ Year Member

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    Well, go to medical school and you'll meet bad medical students. And they'll "slip through the cracks."

    There's a process in place for a reason. It's designed to make sure you're a competent physician. I don't have an ounce of pharmacy experience. But I'm sure there's a similar process.
     
  24. Gauss44

    Gauss44 2+ Year Member

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    Even though AAMC claims that MCAT tests critical thinking skills, I believe that it really tests pattern recognition much more. In general, MCAT answers are right because they are relevant to the proper application of a topic being tested (in the science sections). In the verbal reasoning section, in general, answers are right because they are stated or implied by the passage and serve the function described (ie supporting the main idea, being the main idea, supporting an argument stated, etc.). Look for patterns, learn the information being tested, and you should do fine.

    BTW, I wanted to make sure you knew about the MCAT section here: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/forums/mcat-discussions.31/
     
  25. WingedOx

    WingedOx AND USE A PRETTY FONT 5+ Year Member

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    Those are the MDs who scare the sh-t out of me when I work with them.
     

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