MCAT curve easier in august?

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I have heard from many that the curve in august is, on average, 2 points easier than it is in april. This is due to the fact that the people taking the test in april are, on average, more competitive than those taking in aug. Yes the august people have the entire summer to study for the test, but they are generally dumber...

Thoughts?

tBw

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some sections set in august are also set in april. These duplicate sets are used to standardize the test. As a result the curve is exactly the same for the April and August tests as they are curved to both sets of test-takers, not independently. There is no difference in the curve therefore.

dr kevin40

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I'd think maybe the curve in april is easier b/c more ppl r taking it.

SuzyQ

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Where did you get the idea that august mcaters are dumber then april mcaters? I think that is totally untrue. As for the curve being easier....I really dont know but it would make sense they it isnt easier and similar to the April one.

tBw

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Originally posted by the boy wonder
some sections set in august are also set in april. These duplicate sets are used to standardize the test. As a result the curve is exactly the same for the April and August tests as they are curved to both sets of test-takers, not independently. There is no difference in the curve therefore.

Okay, I'm going to quote my own post as people obviously didn't read it the first time.......

What do you think STANDARDIZED TEST means?????? It means it is STANDARDIZED between the different times it is set. It DOES NOT MATTER whether you take it in April or August as your scores will be curved exactly the same.

A simplified example is -

say in April, section A, and B are set with averages 50%, and 40%

and in August section A, and C are set with averages 40%, and 50%

Then the August scores for section A will correspond to the SAME scores for section A in April. But - and this is where the standardization comes in - it is assumed that section B was harder than A, and section C was easier than A (because of the averages) and THOSE scores are adjusted. Note that I do not mean August is easier - in this example it is, but one could quite easily have done it the other way round.

Thus, the April and August MCATs are normalized to a COMMON set of questions and so CANNOT have different curve adjustments, just different averages depending on who set them - ie IF dumber people took one sitting then the average from that sitting would be lower. They would only benefit from this if they were normalized against ONLY the test-takers at that sitting. However, as they are normalized against common sections between sittings of the MCAT there is no benefit to their scores.

I don't think April or August MCATers are dumber than one another - perhaps the only 'dumb' ones are those that can't understand the term "standardized test".....ie the "Many people that say the curve is two points higher"....

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Lavndrrose

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Yes the august people have the entire summer to study for the test, but they are generally dumber...
Thoughts?

Yeah...sure

Lavndrrose

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Thank you, Boy Wonder, for clarifying the term "standardized test" for people who don't understand.

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Okay. You guys are obviously missing the point. First of all, I misspoke when I said that people who take it in august are "dumber" than people who take it in april. I was only being half serious - and really what I meant to say was that they are "less competitive" for all of you who insist on being technically correct! Once again, this is not my own personal opinion, but rather that which I have heard from numerous sources.

Now, as for the test: I am not saying that the test itself is easier or harder in april. The difficulty of the questions is of course standard, but the CURVE depends on the caliber of people taking the test on that day. Now, here is the theory: if John Doe takes the test in April which a bunch of people who are on average more competitive than the august people, and John Doe gets a 33, then if John Doe took the same test in August with a bunch of people who are less competitive, then he would get a 35.

Yes the test is standardized - it is standardized relative to the other people taking the test on that day. Thus if the people in April are more intelligent, then the curve will be "standardized" to be harder than the curve in august.

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Boy wonder

are you saying they repeat entire sections from the august exam and use it in the next april exam? If that were the case, there would be a lot of cheating going on. If, for example, the august test involved a lot of phase changes in the PS section, then the august people would tell all their friends to study that material heavily because there might be an entire section on it the following april.

mws99

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I think they do repeat passages from test to test. When I took the MCAT they made all the retakers take a specific form instead of just getting a random form like the rest of us got. AAMC knows what form you take so they make sure you won't ever get the same passage twice.

Doctor Octopus

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Yes the test is standardized - it is standardized relative to the other people taking the test on that day. Thus if the people in April are more intelligent, then the curve will be "standardized" to be harder than the curve in august.

Wrong.

You still don't understand. Pleas re-read Boy Wonder's post over and over again.

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pocwana

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i just skimmed everyone else's responses, and didn't see this brought out. don't forget about those people who take mcat august of this year for next year's application cycle. i know quite a few of those.

wgu

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august takers mostly consist of people who did bad on april's exam (and therefore would be try to raise from their ashes) and smart people who planned on ahead to do the MCAT early w/o school interference. It is hard to argue august takers would do worse.

jd star

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my advisor told me that people generally do better on the august MCAT. she didn't really say why, but that was just her opinion.