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Is the new MCAT really an accurate gauge of knowledge

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by mr.mkitty, Aug 3, 2015.

  1. mr.mkitty

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    AAMC states that although tests can be, and are different, they each accurately test the "mastery" of a students ability in each of the sections. Yet, I question this due to the wide diversity within the tests. I realize I could be being misled by information, but for instance, I have heard students claim that they had A TON of a certain subject on their test ( say perhaps O-chem) while others say that they had none. I'm just curious on others thoughts about this and whether they believe the 2015 testing group is being used too much as a guinea pig group.
    BTW My own opinion is that the test lacked a consistent balance.
     
  2. GrapesofRath

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    The MCAT is not a knowledge test. It is a test of reading comprehension and reasoning abilities. To master each section on the MCAT requires an overall level of reading comprehension as well as reasoning abilities for a specific subject.

    As for your other question when a test like this new MCAT has so many different topics, there is bound to be variation in what is tested specifically topic wise from test to test. This is particularly true for newer versions for where AAMC is still feeling there way out for how they decide is the best way to design the test.
     
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  3. piii

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    The MCAT is first and foremost a test of critical reasoning. Where does it state "mastery"? I thought AAMC has said that you just need a good grasp on the fundamentals of basic science - hardly any mastering involved. At it's heart, the MCAT wants to test you how you adapt to different applications of basic, fundamental science concepts. In this vein, you may see some subjects heavily featured and others omitted on different tests because the AAMC wants to through you curve balls. I see nothing wrong with this.
     
  4. mw18

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    I was always going to apply last year, but the reason I wanted to make sure to take the old mcat no matter what is because of the scaling process. I may be incorrect; but the way I understand it, each person had some questions on their test that didn't count toward their score. The test taker didn't know which ones those were. How well people performed on those questions scaled how much they were worth in the future when they were no longer experimental and counted toward the score. I'm not sure how the new mcat remedied this, because the $40 amazon new mcat section on last year's test was taken by people who weren't trying and hadn't prepared for it. I'm not sure what mechanism they used to correct that bias.

    But the fact that someone could get a subject they were strong on, or a lot of one they were weak on has always been luck of the draw. The mcat is much more a thinking test than a content test, but having a high level of understanding is always helpful.
     
  5. Goro

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    It's a competency test, not an IQ test.
     
  6. efle

    efle not an elf
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    I'd maybe believe it was just testing for competency if it gave pass/fail with a cutoff instead of percentiles...

    The MCAT asks you to apply a lot of reasoning onto topics you should be knowledgeable about/familiar with. Lots of studying and brainpower are each necessary (and neither alone is sufficient) to score very well. It was true on the old one too that a lot of topics would be skipped and a few really emphasized in any particular test day - but it samples the majority of topics on every test so you should study all possibly appearing subjects in order to feel really well prepared.
     
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  7. Lucca

    Lucca Will Walk Rope for Sandwich
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    I would add the new exam is additionally a test of stamina when compared to the last exam. 7.5 hours of focus is something you have to train. Looking at the discrepancy between individual practice section scores and FL exam scores makes this obvious, at least in my personal case. In addition to being intelligent and knowing your stuff one should be so familiar with the testing format and question styles that answering a certain type is second nature.
     
  8. gannicus89

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    My experience of the test is that...it is a test of stamina and critical thinking skills. Not necessarily strictly what you know, but if you can apply what you know to a different situation and extrapolate.
     

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