Jul 6, 2009
67
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Status
Pre-Medical
I am not sure how much most of the members on SDN do outside reading, reading materials outside of your science textbooks, your MCAT review books, and SDN threads. Regardless, I want to start this thread to highlight a new angle on a topic that has been discussed by writers, thinkers, and researchers for the longest time: What makes someone truly great at something?

Of course, everyone here has theorized on this topic and has arrived at his or her own conclusion on what it takes to be great. But the new angle that I mentioned above is being underscored by writers who have researched something that is known as "deliberate practice." This concept has been touched upon in books such as Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers, Geoff Colvin's Talent is Overrated, and another one titled The Talent Code (forgot the name of the author). In these books, the authors focus on the habits of the world's most successful people and have arrived at the conclusion that each one has practiced his or her respective craft to an almost-unprecedented extent, much beyond their own natural limits and abilities. Now, I know this concept may not seem novel or innovative to many of you but the authors are really focusing on this thing called "deliberate practice," which is not practice in the common "practice will make you perfect" kind of way.

Deliberate practice is a specific kind of practice in which the performer zooms in on aspects of a skill that need to be strengthened and then working on them with discipline and repetition. Deliberate practice also makes use of a good system of feedback which could come from a friend, a tutor, and so on and so forth.

If you google "deliberate practice," you will see more information on this technique.

So I want to know what you all think about deliberate practice in relation to the MCAT. Can the same concept be applied to tackle this beast of an exam? In my opinion, yes. Some people may require more practice than others but with the use of deliberate practice, scoring a high score on the exam is never beyond the reach of anyone here. It simply requires the ability to identify weaknesses and focus on them until your brain bleeds; it requires the discipline to repeat passages and practice problems that focus on your weakness until you can't take it anymore; it requires a good feedback system (mine is SDN) that will take a look at what you need to focus on, review your results, and offer the feedback necessary to go back and fill in the gaps in your studying.
 

LostInStudy

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jan 14, 2008
773
2
Status
Pre-Medical
I am not sure how much most of the members on SDN do outside reading, reading materials outside of your science textbooks, your MCAT review books, and SDN threads. Regardless, I want to start this thread to highlight a new angle on a topic that has been discussed by writers, thinkers, and researchers for the longest time: What makes someone truly great at something?

Of course, everyone here has theorized on this topic and has arrived at his or her own conclusion on what it takes to be great. But the new angle that I mentioned above is being underscored by writers who have researched something that is known as "deliberate practice." This concept has been touched upon in books such as Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers, Geoff Colvin's Talent is Overrated, and another one titled The Talent Code (forgot the name of the author). In these books, the authors focus on the habits of the world's most successful people and have arrived at the conclusion that each one has practiced his or her respective craft to an almost-unprecedented extent, much beyond their own natural limits and abilities. Now, I know this concept may not seem novel or innovative to many of you but the authors are really focusing on this thing called "deliberate practice," which is not practice in the common "practice will make you perfect" kind of way.

Deliberate practice is a specific kind of practice in which the performer zooms in on aspects of a skill that need to be strengthened and then working on them with discipline and repetition. Deliberate practice also makes use of a good system of feedback which could come from a friend, a tutor, and so on and so forth.

If you google "deliberate practice," you will see more information on this technique.

So I want to know what you all think about deliberate practice in relation to the MCAT. Can the same concept be applied to tackle this beast of an exam? In my opinion, yes. Some people may require more practice than others but with the use of deliberate practice, scoring a high score on the exam is never beyond the reach of anyone here. It simply requires the ability to identify weaknesses and focus on them until your brain bleeds; it requires the discipline to repeat passages and practice problems that focus on your weakness until you can't take it anymore; it requires a good feedback system (mine is SDN) that will take a look at what you need to focus on, review your results, and offer the feedback necessary to go back and fill in the gaps in your studying.

You aren't saying something new that hasn't been said on these forums before. Just look up the threads that Rabbit36 (who got a 43) here: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showpost.php?p=7358575&postcount=1
and the thread by mterp45 (who got 15s on both science sections) here: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showpost.php?p=6696422&postcount=1
They both preach that the way to an outstanding score is practice practice practice. Not just "regular" (whatever that means) practice but practice ironing out your weaknesses until there aren't any.

With that said, I think it is important that you bring up this point because a lot of us have seen the above threads (hopefully) but we sometimes forget all the things that are needed or the hard work and practice required because we get so caught up and lost in the details.

In conclusion, what I'm trying to say is that you are absolutely right about deliberate practice and that there are documented (if you count sdn as valid when it comes to mcat preperation, which I do for the most part) cases of deliberate practice. The whole 30+ thread is another example.

-LIS

EDIT: I would also like to point out that this brings up a whole new question of: is this much practice required? For the majority of people who want a fantastic score, I think so. However, there are also people who need more (if that's even possible) or much less (shischicd, who got a 44S only spent 4 weeks). So ultimately, in my opinion, it comes down to what you need to work on specifically and what your needs are and how your study MOST efficiently. Remember, all brains are not the same.

EDIT2: This also brings up the point of: If that is what it takes, then why can't everyone do it? Some people just don't believe it so they never end up trying, some are too lazy/don't care enough, and others simply don't have the time. I know that someone will come on here and say "even if you do all the hard work there are still people who, no matter how hard they work, will not be able to reach a fantastic score". I agree that this is the case but only for a VERY small percentage of the premed population. If you go to an accredited school and are able to do well enough in your classes (say B+ or a 3.3 and above GPA), then you should be able to get a fantastic score.
 
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