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Gallivant

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This is not a troll thread but an honest notion that I came upon. I am only a freshman in college so this may excuse my ignorance but I feel like this makes sense. If the MCAT tests the student on introductory level sciences, there is very limited information that one can be tested on. Therefore I don't understand why the MCAT is so difficult. The only part of the MCAT that seems challenging is the Verbal Reasoning section. I took a practice test on the Biological Section of the MCAT and using just my knowledge from AP Biology and AP Chemistry I scored fairly well. So can someone explain to me why the MCAT is considered one of the hardest standardized tests?
 
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This is not a troll thread but an honest notion that I came upon. I am only a freshman in college so this may excuse my ignorance but I feel like this makes sense. If the MCAT tests the student on introductory level sciences, there is very limited information that one can be tested on. Therefore I don't understand why the MCAT is so difficult. The only part of the MCAT that seems challenging is the Verbal Reasoning section. I took a practice test on the Biological Section of the MCAT and using just my knowledge from AP Biology I scored fairly well. So can someone explain to me why the MCAT is considered one of the hardest standardized tests?

You must have failed the Orgo sections on it then. Also AP Biology has all of the same themes as Bio 1 and 2...so that makes sense.
 
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This is not a troll thread but an honest notion that I came upon. I am only a freshman in college so this may excuse my ignorance but I feel like this makes sense. If the MCAT tests the student on introductory level sciences, there is very limited information that one can be tested on. Therefore I don't understand why the MCAT is so difficult. The only part of the MCAT that seems challenging is the Verbal Reasoning section. I took a practice test on the Biological Section of the MCAT and using just my knowledge from AP Biology I scored fairly well. So can someone explain to me why the MCAT is one of the hardest standardized tests?


Its designed to weed out the "unworthy," and requires a fundamental understanding of a knowledge base that is greater than anything you've seen thus far in your life.

Just wait until you get there, and you get hit with the reality check that the MCAT sucks. Its easy to say you'll study and get a 30+, but much harder to do so.


Biology is by far the easiest section IMO.
 

gettheleadout

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This is not a troll thread but an honest notion that I came upon. I am only a freshman in college so this may excuse my ignorance but I feel like this makes sense. If the MCAT tests the student on introductory level sciences, there is very limited information that one can be tested on. Therefore I don't understand why the MCAT is so difficult. The only part of the MCAT that seems challenging is the Verbal Reasoning section. I took a practice test on the Biological Section of the MCAT and using just my knowledge from AP Biology I scored fairly well. So can someone explain to me why the MCAT is considered one of the hardest standardized tests?
There are a couple possibilities here:

1) You're already very educated and likely very intelligent, and the test really won't be that difficult for you. I'm not being sarcastic here, this is the case for some people.

2) The particular test you took played to your strengths. I guarantee the MCAT Biological Sciences section (and definitely the test overall) covers much more material and in more depth than the AP Biology exam.

There are probably other explanations. I would be careful about thinking of the test as "not that much possible material." Yes, a list of possible topics exists, but the depth of understanding required of all of these topics is not insignificant.

Take a full-length practice test if you really want to know what your score range might be coming straight out of high school. ;)
 
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EBTrailRunner

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There's a large amount of material that's fair game for the MCAT, but I think what makes it a particularly difficult exam is that you'll have multiple concepts that individually you may understand, but that are threaded together and presented in an unfamiliar context, and you have very little time to think through each question. Not easy.
 

CoolWhipp

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Yeah, I thought I scored well for a first timer in college but those few extra points will make you bleed.
 
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mmmmd

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So it seems like you've got a good CURRENT grasp on biology. What about all the other subjects?

No one is saying that you HAVE to be intimidated by the MCAT. Being intimidated/tense is bad for test-taking anyway.
 

jameschoun

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Was it full length? Which test?

There's a reason why bs is the last section you take... Like others have said, you'll know why when you actually take the real thing
 

Aerus

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If all you took was the BS section, then your score might be a little higher than what it probably would have been on the real one. I will admit though: you probably have a really good grasp of biology.

Remember: this is a LONG test. A lot of people are mentally fatigued just going through the test.

Also, which practice test did you take?
 

Gallivant

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If all you took was the BS section, then your score might be a little higher than what it probably would have been on the real one. I will admit though: you probably have a really good grasp of biology.

Remember: this is a LONG test. A lot of people are mentally fatigued just going through the test.

Also, which practice test did you take?

It was kaplan
 

Aerus

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It was kaplan

At least you took it from a reputable source.

Now, back to your original topic, you can take a FL for fun (during the summer?) if you're curious about how hard it is.

Make sure you time it perfectly (no going over the limit).

Once you have your score, subtract 1 or 2 points from it to account for any outliers (stress?) and that should be a score you would want to expect on the real thing, if you took it then.

After that, when you're ready to actually prep for the MCAT, make this score a goal to beat.

But that's thinking ahead. You still have another year or so to go.
 

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Great job starting to study for the MCAT early (you can never start too early). If I were you I would do the following;

1) Cut classes and review for school exams using Berkeley review books. The MCAT is a standardized test and depending on your ugrad may weigh much more than your GPA. Hence, kill 2 birds with one stone. Physics lectures were a waste of time at my ugrad. Take passages from Kaplan and Princeton too to prep for school. Passages, passages, passages.

2) A verbal passage a day will keep the "top ten medical school rejection letters" away. Pound at this while your classmates are slaving away doing meaningless stuff like volunteering in a hospital or doing PCR in a lab. Smile knowing you are using your time far more wisely.

3) Read, Read, Read. Get your hands on journal articles in Cell, Nature, etc. and analyze the graphs. Read their results sections and how they came to conclusions. Notice patterns on how researching test their hypothesis, and critique their controls. LEARN science this way. Don't pay attention to the crap your cell molec. professor is saying. He DOESN'T write the MCAT...hence what he or she says should be meaningless to you.

4) Whatever you do: DON'T FREAKING MEMORIZE. The ENTIRE point of undergrad is to prepare you for the MCAT. That's it, there's nothing more to it...a stepping stone to prepare you for the test that dictates your future (just like Step 1). A liberal education means learning concepts like why there is a pressure change at higher elevations or deep in the sea, and why pressure affects gas solubility. Don't take writing classes, take lit. classes that analyze texts from philosophy. Focus on classes that will benefit your MCAT score. Don't learn for the sake of learning, learn to bust a nut on the MCAT.

5) Work, work, work at the MCAT. It should be on your mind every single moment of the day, every day, and even when you are with a girl!!! (warning this may cause severe ED) MCAT first, school a far second, and everything else an incredibly distant third.

This is the key to pulverizing the MCAT and getting into the upper crust.
 
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unrealplayer

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The MCAT is difficult because it encompasses so much material. You have to know gen chem, physics, cell bio, bio, orgo, physiology and probably some other stuff I'm forgetting. The MCAT can test you on ANY of it. You may be familiar with the material now, but try taking the test two years later (assuming you take it your junior year), under pressure, no calculator, and with a little ticking cock at the bottom corner of your screen. As stated above, fatigue does come into play with a marathon test like the MCAT.
 
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The MCAT is difficult because it encompasses so much material. You have to know gen chem, physics, cell bio, bio, orgo, physiology and probably some other stuff I'm forgetting. The MCAT can test you on ANY of it. You may be familiar with the material now, but try taking the test two years later (assuming you take it your junior year), under pressure, no calculator, and with a little ticking cock at the bottom corner of your screen. As stated above, fatigue does come into play with a marathon test like the MCAT.

I sure hope not.
 
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Personally I think kaplan scales are so inflated you can't possibly use them to give you a good idea of where you're at , even though they say their tests are harder. I thought it was easier to score higher on kaplan then AAMC.

Take kaplan 11 BS section. Ill bet money you wont get a 12. Or take aamc 11 bs section for that matter, lol.

I think VR is the easiest section though, it's mainly just common sense. With the current bio trend you actually have to apply common sense+background knowledge.

I'm not trying to sound like a douche but you getting a 12 on a kaplan practice is a lot different then the real thing. If you took the real thing now without studying I almost guarantee you wont see a 12 on bio having no college bio classes or practice. So yes, the mcat is tough. If someone says it's easy, ask what they scored. The mcat is arguably the hardest grad school entrance exam.
 

Gallivant

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Great job starting to study for the MCAT early (you can never start too early). If I were you I would do the following;

1) Cut classes and review for school exams using Berkeley review books. The MCAT is a standardized test and depending on your ugrad may weigh much more than your GPA. Hence, kill 2 birds with one stone. Physics lectures were a waste of time at my ugrad. Take passages from Kaplan and Princeton too to prep for school. Passages, passages, passages.

2) A verbal passage a day will keep the "top ten medical school rejection letters" away. Pound at this while your classmates are slaving away doing meaningless stuff like volunteering in a hospital or doing PCR in a lab. Smile knowing you are using your time far more wisely.

3) Read, Read, Read. Get your hands on journal articles in Cell, Nature, etc. and analyze the graphs. Read their results sections and how they came to conclusions. Notice patterns on how researching test their hypothesis, and critique their controls. LEARN science this way. Don't pay attention to the crap your cell molec. professor is saying. He DOESN'T write the MCAT...hence what he or she says should be meaningless to you.

4) Whatever you do: DON'T FREAKING MEMORIZE. The ENTIRE point of undergrad is to prepare you for the MCAT. That's it, there's nothing more to it...a stepping stone to prepare you for the test that dictates your future (just like Step 1). A liberal education means learning concepts like why there is a pressure change at higher elevations or deep in the sea, and why pressure affects gas solubility. Don't take writing classes, take lit. classes that analyze texts from philosophy. Focus on classes that will benefit your MCAT score. Don't learn for the sake of learning, learn to bust a nut on the MCAT.

5) Work, work, work at the MCAT. It should be on your mind every single moment of the day, every day, and even when you are with a girl!!! (warning this may cause severe ED) MCAT first, school a far second, and everything else an incredibly distant third.

This is the key to pulverizing the MCAT and getting into the upper crust.

Wow thanks for the advice. The only thing I disagree on is skipping lectures. My biology teacher from high school once told us that when you listen to lectures and study from the textbook you double the chances of remembering a specific fact for the test. And plus I actually enjoy lectures (with the right teacher of course). Also I was wondering since the new MCAT 2015 is coming out, will studying with prep material for the "old" mcat prepare me for the new MCAT?
 

kasho11

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Wow thanks for the advice. The only thing I disagree on is skipping lectures. My biology teacher from high school once told us that when you listen to lectures and study from the textbook you double the chances of remembering a specific fact for the test. And plus I actually enjoy lectures (with the right teacher of course). Also I was wondering since the new MCAT 2015 is coming out, will studying with prep material for the "old" mcat prepare me for the new MCAT?

Trolling, this one knows not of.
 

unrealplayer

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Personally I think kaplan scales are so inflated you can't possibly use them to give you a good idea of where you're at , even though they say their tests are harder. I thought it was easier to score higher on kaplan then AAMC.

Take kaplan 11 BS section. Ill bet money you wont get a 12. Or take aamc 11 bs section for that matter, lol.

I think VR is the easiest section though, it's mainly just common sense. With the current bio trend you actually have to apply common sense+background knowledge.

I'm not trying to sound like a douche but you getting a 12 on a kaplan practice is a lot different then the real thing. If you took the real thing now without studying I almost guarantee you wont see a 12 on bio having no college bio classes or practice. So yes, the mcat is tough. If someone says it's easy, ask what they scored. The mcat is arguably the hardest grad school entrance exam.

It is the hardest grad school entrance exam. What compares? The GRE? LSAT?
 

Aerus

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It is the hardest grad school entrance exam. What compares? The GRE? LSAT?

QFT. :thumbup:


Wow thanks for the advice. The only thing I disagree on is skipping lectures. My biology teacher from high school once told us that when you listen to lectures and study from the textbook you double the chances of remembering a specific fact for the test. And plus I actually enjoy lectures (with the right teacher of course). Also I was wondering since the new MCAT 2015 is coming out, will studying with prep material for the "old" mcat prepare me for the new MCAT?

Please tell me you're not going to take his post seriously...
 

TheGloaming

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5) Work, work, work at the MCAT. It should be on your mind every single moment of the day, every day, and even when you are with a girl!!! (warning this may cause severe ED) MCAT first, school a far second, and everything else an incredibly distant third.

On the contrary, if you have truly mastered the MCAT material you can your knowledge to your advantage. For example, when with a girl think about the hormones that may be affecting your body. What type of hormones are these? Where are they coming from? What hormones could be affecting her? If you should get lucky, what is the route the sperm take to leave the body? What happens if they should enter her? If the sperm finds an egg, what are the stages of development the fetus goes through? What are the hormonal cycles during pregnancy? These are the only things you should be thinking of when with a girl.
 

IncognitoGuy

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Wow thanks for the advice. The only thing I disagree on is skipping lectures. My biology teacher from high school once told us that when you listen to lectures and study from the textbook you double the chances of remembering a specific fact for the test. And plus I actually enjoy lectures (with the right teacher of course). Also I was wondering since the new MCAT 2015 is coming out, will studying with prep material for the "old" mcat prepare me for the new MCAT?

In case you didn't catch it, that is bad advice - very very bad advice :laugh:

Take what you'll enjoy taking, major in what you love/find interesting. Don't let the next four years of your life be dictated by a stepping stone (albeit a large one) to medical school. The test can be studied for, it just takes an enormous amount of determination to do it properly.

Even if you major in a non-science, you still have to take science subjects/courses that will be on the MCAT because medical schools require them (and MANY do NOT accept AP credit), so don't give me anything about being at a disadvantage because you're not in a hardcore science. If you want to graduate on time, you'll be taking the courses at the same time as everyone else in your year, or at the very least before you take the test.
 

TheKDizzle

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This is not a troll thread but an honest notion that I came upon. I am only a freshman in college so this may excuse my ignorance but I feel like this makes sense. If the MCAT tests the student on introductory level sciences, there is very limited information that one can be tested on. Therefore I don't understand why the MCAT is so difficult. The only part of the MCAT that seems challenging is the Verbal Reasoning section. I took a practice test on the Biological Section of the MCAT and using just my knowledge from AP Biology and AP Chemistry I scored fairly well. So can someone explain to me why the MCAT is considered one of the hardest standardized tests?

Your first statement is just false... There's a lot of material you can be tested on.

If it's not hard for you, then it's not hard for you. What did you expect to get out of this post?
 

breeniee

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I don't think you should be worrying about the MCAT at this point in your life. Go through college - and dedicate the time to things that will benefit you as a person. What a lot of people don't realize is the MCAT or medical school is just a path and your destination is far far far ahead of any of those things.

I have loads of acquaintances and family friends who decided to forgo life for the sake of the MCAT and medical school. They don't have true friends, they don't have stable relationships (love or otherwise), they don't have hobbies or decided to not pursue them, and most importantly they don't know who they are. These types of people will be good doctors, no doubt, but once medical school and residency is over and they want to start a life - that's when they realize that there's a hole in their life or that they allowed the definition of a doctor to be the definition of who they are as a person which is a terrible thing to do to yourself because it's so limited and it means you haven't tapped into all the resources that surround you that could've potentially added to the definition of who you are. And when you're 40, a doctor with your own practice, and you look back at your life - you'll be so depressed when you can't find someone to marry, when you don't have any hobbies or when you can't go back into hobbies you might have had because you neglected it for 20 years, that's when you'll regret not taking all the opportunities that college or young-age can provide.

So enjoy undergrad. Take the pre-requistes, focus on your classes, but don't shove away friends, don't take classes just because you think it will benefit you for the MCAT. Don't think about the MCAT when your with your bf/gf - like seriously whoever suggested even the idea of it needs to evaluate their life because it's sad.

Take classes that will make you a more well-rounded person- philosophy, psychology, ethics, anthropology, engineering or math - whatever you feel like you want to add to your knowledge base to make you more well-rounded and so that you allow your mind the ability to tap into different avenues that you wouldn't otherwise do because it may not be under the pre-med curriculum. And don't be shy to take fun classes like wine-tasting or casino management (a class I took and now I love playing Craps at Atlantic City =P)

And as for what you got on the BS in that practice MCAT, that seems great and also doesn't come as a surprise to me. I know for a fact that even to this day - I draw upon my knowledge from AP Biology to answer about...hmm... ALL of the biology question in BS of the MCAT. I think you might have had a pretty amazing AP Bio teacher, because I know I did, and it truly helps. I took AP Biology 6 years ago and to this very day, if I close my eyes I remember everything that my AP Bio teacher taught me - from his corny bio jokes to his amazing powerpoint slides and handouts (which I still have).

In high school taking an AP course, provided that you have a good teacher, is a better experience than in college because the way they teach, the way they give out homework, and the way they test you makes you retain and learn the information better. They give you a structure and by going to class M-F and having homework to do every night and a test every week or every two weeks keeps you on your toes. It's not like that in college. Some professors give out periodic quizzes, but otherwise you're probably just going to have 1-2 tests, a mid-term, and a final (sometimes JUST a mid-term and final) which is NOTHING compared to how frequently you learn and get tested in high school.

So when KnockedUP suggested cutting classes, while I wouldn't agree entirely, I do agree on using that time to self-study. It doesn't have to be MCAT books - in fact you probably shouldn't because what the MCAT books will do is review the basics plus tricks and tips with the assumption that you already learned from textbooks in undergrad. So if you're going to self-study - use the textbook but make sure you can discipline yourself very well. A lot of the times, I wouldn't go to lecture - have friends sign me into class - and attempt to study on my own. But that takes disciple and sometimes you do get distracted by friends so you can try it for a few weeks but if you notice yourself slacking you just can't and shouldn't.

But really...don't worry about the MCAT now. If you work diligently and you keep your focus just like you are doing in high school for your AP classes, then you'll get pay-offs in the end. My cousin is in medical school right now. She went to an Ivy League college, she was some singing group (I forgot what it's called), she plays instruments, she did research there, she took engineering classes, she performed in dozens of concerts, was in a number of groups and societies, and basically enjoyed life while studying hard for the classes she took. She studied for the MCAT for a month - not even - and got a competitive score. I would say she really stretched herself and it probably stressed her out a lot in order to do everything I listed but she enjoyed every minute of it and that's what counts. The best part is that she STILL does these things despite being in medical school (just doesn't it during winter, spring, and summer breaks instead). I know my cousin is also not the norm - but the point is that she's a hard-worker and she wasn't afraid to keep doing the things she was passionate about and she didn't just think about college as an MCAT-prep-school. She used it for what it's supposed to be for - a place of opportunities to shape who you want to be - not just a place where you learn stuff for a job.

So please, get off of SDN for the next 4 years.... don't just think about the MCAT all the time.... enjoy life, enjoy undergrad, and do everything you can so that 20-30-40 years down the road, you can say that hey...that was a great ride.
 
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