Preparing for the Computerized MCAT


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Some tips and information about the new computerized Medical College Admissions test.

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Preparing for the Computerized MCAT

  1. 1. Preparing for MCAT By Drnjbmd
  2. 2. MCAT <ul><li>Medical College Admissions Test </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is a standardized, multiple-choice examination designed to assess the examinee's </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>problem solving </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>critical thinking </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>writing skills </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>knowledge of science concepts and principles prerequisite to the study of medicine. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Scores are reported in </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Verbal Reasoning </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Physical Sciences </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Writing Sample </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Biological Sciences. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Medical colleges consider MCAT scores as part of their admission process </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Almost all U.S. medical schools require applicants to submit MCAT scores. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Many schools do not accept MCAT scores that are more than three years old. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Complete Required Coursework <ul><li>Biology </li></ul><ul><ul><li>One year of General Biology (for science majors) with laboratory </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Chemistry </li></ul><ul><ul><li>One year of General Chemistry (for science majors) with laboratory </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>One year of Organic Chemistry (for science majors) with laboratory </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Physics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>One year of General Physics (for science majors) with laboratory. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>May be calculus-based or non-calculus based </li></ul></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Required Coursework <ul><li>Two years of undergraduate study </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Make sure your science coursework has covered the topic tested on the MCAT </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Download a copy of Physical Science topics from the MCAT website </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Verbal Reasoning </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Critical reading and writing course </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Math </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Thorough knowledge of algebra and trigonometry </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Be able to interpret information presented in graphical or tabular form </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Review <ul><li>Commercial Review Course </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cons </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Expensive (average $1,500) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Will not replace poor/inadequate undergraduate coursework </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pros </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Provide plenty of practice tests </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Help with organization of material </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Systematic Review </li></ul></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Review <ul><li>Review book/tapes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cons </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>May or may not contain practice tests </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Will not replace poor/inadequate undergraduate coursework </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pros </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Generally less expensive than commercial review course </li></ul></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Practice Tests <ul><li>Available from MCAT site (purchase) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Retired questions from previous exams </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Should not be memorized </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Practice tests </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Can thoroughly familiarize yourself with the manner in which the MCAT tests </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use to gauge your understanding of the application of your pre-med course information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Take these tests under actual MCAT testing conditions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Timer </li></ul></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Other Considerations <ul><li>MCAT Exam </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A test of your ability to apply the skills and knowledge from your pre-medical coursework to problem solving. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Testing/questioning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Generally far different from your undergraduate coursework </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A test of your critical reading and writing abilities </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Scoring and Retakes <ul><li>Score </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Compiled from the number of correct answers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>No penalty for guessing </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Huge penalties for not completing sections </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Work efficiently </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Retaking </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not recommended if you prepared poorly </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Cancel the test or reschedule if you feel that you are not ready for this test. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>This is not a test to “take for practice”. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Recommended </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Personal illness directly affected your performance </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>You strongly suspect that you make a procedural error </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Usually affects one block </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Scheduling <ul><li>Computerized MCAT </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Twenty-two test dates scheduled each year </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Majority in April/May </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Next greatest option is August/September </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Be aware of test registration deadlines </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Register early (may not be able to get desired dated if you wait until later in test registration period). </li></ul></ul></ul>
  11. 11. MCAT Information Booklet <ul><li>MCAT Essentials </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This is required reading at least a year before you plan on taking the test. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Download from MCAT website </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Contains what you need to know about the test. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Preparation <ul><li>There are no short-cuts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If your undergraduate course is inadequate, take/re-take another course that contains what you need for the test. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Be sure that your course covers the topics tested before you take it. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do not underestimate the time it takes to thoroughly prepare for this exam. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Make a review schedule and stick with it. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Preparation <ul><li>Undergraduate Grades </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Just because you received a grade of “A” in a pre-med course, does mean that you are guaranteed a strong MCAT score in that material. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Memorization </li></ul><ul><ul><li>You cannot “memorize” every question and answer for the MCAT. You have to understand concepts and be able to apply them </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Reading skills </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If you are a poor reader or have very poor reading comprehension, you need to correct your deficiencies before taking the MCAT. </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. “ Talking yourself” out of doing well <ul><li>Confidence </li></ul><ul><ul><li>You have to have confidence in your ability to prepare and take this test. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>If you consider this test “impossible” it will be impossible for you to do well. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>If you consider this test to be a “beast”, you will likely find it a “beast”. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If you were able to prepare and do well in your coursework, you can prepare and do well on this test. </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. People who do not do well on MCAT <ul><li>Poor preparation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Poor performance in coursework </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Poor knowledge base </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Poor study skills </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Poor reading comprehension skills </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Poor discipline </li></ul></ul><ul><li>All of the above can be overcome with diligent review and solid preparation. </li></ul>
  16. 16. The MCAT <ul><li>Importance </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Taken in conjunction with your undergraduate GPA, the MCAT is another means of separating you from other applicants. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This is not a test to “take for practice” or take if you are not prepared. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This is another step that must be taken in order to gain admission into medical school. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Take the time to prepare well. </li></ul></ul>