7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Jan 14, 2003
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I heard that they don't grade writing samples off of your academic knowledge (ie. get a higher score if you use real historical examples), but I kind of don't believe that because I think people are usually more impressed when they see the student knows some stuff and would tend to give a higher grade. I only practiced a few prompts so far but it seems as though they ask a lot of political questions. However, I know absolutely NOTHING about us history and politics because I found it so boring when I took it in high school, so it went in one ear and out the other, and also I don't keep up with today's politics b/c it just doesn't interest me. But now I see now that wasn't a good idea since my mind is completely blank when I'm trying to write about something related to that for the writing sample.

So, I was thinking if I should buy a book like an idiot's guide to us history or something so I can at least have some sort of clue. Do you think that's a good idea or have someone had an experience that you still got a good score without giving academic examples? Or should I not even be stressing about the writing sample? Does anyone recommend any books that can catch me up on all the important us history and such?


10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Feb 21, 2004
Medical Student, Resident [Any Field]
The writing sample has nothing to do with your academics. It has to do with your ability to articulate an argument to what they ask you to see that you can think and see things from both sides on a given issue.

Most of the writing always asks things about historical comments made by famous people or about politics.

There are several essay prompts and sample answers to them on the AAMC website that you can look at if you want to know what they expect.

My former Verbal MCAT teacher only took the MCAT Verbal and writing section when he took the test because he only took it to teach at TPR. He got a 15 in verbal and T on writing. Anyhow, to get to the point, he didn't even write on the topic, but he wrote in an articulate manner how he thought it was stupid etc, without directly coming out and saying it. The point was he articulated his thoughts quite clearly and concisely.


Why so Serious?????
15+ Year Member
Oct 16, 2003
Philadelphia Area
Attending Physician
If you want some good ideas for the writing sample, there is no need to buy history books. You will not only be wasting your time and money but you will get so bogged down with thinking that you have to memorize the important legislative acts that FDR did for his new deal that you will get frustrated and forget to study the more important things.

Do yourself a favor. Pick up a newspaper. Read magazines like Time, Newsweek, US News and World Report, Life, etc. All of these things have a myriad of topics that you will be able to draw on for your essay.

the reviewers are not going to care if you can spit out the actual facts thats led Andrew Jackson to declare war on Mexico. They want to see that you can form an argument and defend your views. Pure and simple.

Remember that the MCAT not only tests BASIC scientific knowledge but it also tests your ability to think critically. That is why, unlike the Reading COMPREHENSION on the SAT, the verbal REASONING section of the MCAT is there.

If you have any questions let me know. I am not one to toot my own horn, but when I first took the MCAT in 1997 I received an S on the writing. So I can help you. And reading magazines and the newspaper is what helped me backup my arguments.