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Test Taking Skill....Thinking!

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by ankit1ag, Mar 4, 2007.

  1. ankit1ag

    ankit1ag 2+ Year Member

    Mar 2, 2007

    I have taken the MCAT three times now and have only been seeing slight improvements. I know that I got the content down pretty well, but there is something I need to change in my studying this time around. I have a lot of resources from several different test prep companies. I have realized that once you have the content down, critical thinking plays a huge part. How can I learn to look at big picture concepts and piece them together, or how do I learn to take something very foreign and think about what underlying simple concepts they are playing with?

    Does anyone have any advice on how to increase one's critical thinking skills, once they have all the content down? I know practice, practice, practice, and go over the tests, but there has to be something I can read to help me understand how to piece things together and think the right way for this exam. I commend the test makers for making the exam like this and I understand why Med Schools use it to determine who gets entrance, but I also know that it is very possible to beat them at their game.

    Please provide some insight, I would really appreciate it,


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  3. eddie13231

    eddie13231 Member 10+ Year Member

    Apr 9, 2005
    I believe EK books (IE 1001 questions series) has a bunch of questions with detailed explanations. You can try there it could help!
  4. ankit1ag

    ankit1ag 2+ Year Member

    Mar 2, 2007
    Do you think that following the EK schedule works? If you read through all the lecture notes and do all the 101 verbal, does it really help, besides increasing the content knowledge. Maybe, I need to go back to those books and immerse myself in them?
  5. lisichka

    lisichka certified demonologist 7+ Year Member

    Dec 3, 2006
  6. mdm2fly

    mdm2fly 5+ Year Member

    Jan 13, 2007
    The test is about the application of basic concepts. The idea behind "practice, practice, practice" is that if you practice enough, you should have a good idea of the way in which the mcat tries to test the way you can apply these basic ideas, and you should be familiar with common instances in which they test your ability to apply basic knowledge to foreign situations.

    Sometimes questions require you to use knowledge from passages, while other questions that are supposed to relate to the passage really have no correlation to the passage whatsoever. The key for me was to approach each question like this:
    1. what major concept is this question testing (ie ochem-a reaction mechanism? titrations? stereochemistry?, bio-kidney function? genetics? immunology?, physics-projectiles? electromagnetism?...etc)
    2. Do I need knowledge from the passage to answer this question, or can I answer it by myself?
    Also, I liked to skim through the passage before answering questions. Some people go to questions first, and try to answer them as stand-alones before even looking at the passage for info. I am a fast reader, and I like to have a general idea of the major concepts in the passage (which may not always be the major concept behind questions) because I feel more comfortable and focused with the questions, so I read the passages first. If you read the passages first, it should only take approximately 2 min to have read through a passage and have gained a good idea of the major concepts involved in it.

    It sounds like you are having a hard time in the application of concepts, since you have the concepts down. In the passages, the application is right in front of you; you have to work backwards and figure out what the basic concept is, and that takes practice.

    I hope this helps. I just took the MCAT in January, so all this stuff is still fresh in my head, although I don't think I'll ever forget it.

    This approach helped me for PS and BS, but I didn't really study for verbal so I don't have any help for you there.

    Good luck!

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