Getting consistently low MCAT scores and feeling confused, frustrated, worried, and stressed during MCAT prep is the result of one simple but crucial failure on your part...
Your failure to use the correct MCAT study strategies.
If you know someone who scored high on the MCAT, they had a strategy. Whether they actually know it or not, they were using techniques and shortcuts that most others weren't using, which led them to getting a competitive score.
In this article, you'll discover:
By the end of this article, you'll have a newfound perspective on how to conquer the MCAT and achieve your competitive MCAT score that gets noticed by med-schools.
The MCAT is a war and whether you like it or not, you're getting ready for battle.
Many go on to conquer the battle and are now living their dreams. A lot more return wounded, humiliated, unsure of what to do next.
You've got to make a choice today - right now in fact - are you seriously determined to conquer the MCAT? Are you willing to do everything in your power to make that happen and get a high score?
Top scorers of the MCAT were and are determined, discipline, and strategic. When you're determined you care about winning. When you care about winning, you think outside of the box. You think about ways you can outperform the competition.
Everyone is competing for your spot in med-school. Everyone is writing the MCAT like you. How are you going to stand out? You must do something different.
When you're not determined, when you're looking at the MCAT as just another 'longer, harder' test, you fail to take action that separates you from the average MCAT writer.
Your first step is to recognize that following in the footsteps of those who have dominated the MCAT is one of your greatest keys to success in this battle.
Learn from them because they're more than willing to teach you. We've made it easy for you at MCAT Mastery because we facilitate that connection between you and them - bringing their wisdom to you.
Leverage it - you can't afford not to.
One of the key pieces of insight you'll receive is that during MCAT prep, in order to get a high MCAT score, you need to understand the two main sides of this battle extremely well; yourself and the MCAT.
You need to not only know how to study and prepare to win, but you also need to know how the MCAT was created to defeat you.
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” - Sun Tzu, The Art of War
Our other articles and resources help you understand yourself and how you can evolve your MCAT studying habits to destroy the MCAT.
In this article however, we're a little more focused on helping you understand the MCAT and how the questions were created so you know how to approach the questions strategically.
There are mainly just 3 different types of questions you'll find yourself answering on the MCAT.
Knowing how to deal with each one is your first step to understanding the MCAT and beating it.
The 3 types are:
The "Do You Know Your Stuff?" Question Types
The "Can You Apply What You Say You Know?" Question Types
The "What Did I Just READ?!?" Question Types
Let's start with the first one...
These questions will test you on how familiar you are with the subject at hand. They will test how well you remember the content.
It’s mainly about memory here.
At times they’ll be detailed questions, other times they’ll be straightforward.
Your strategy here is to figure out two things:
1 – What related information do I know about this that can be useful to me?
2 – What is the main concept or the main equation here?
If you can’t remember, don’t sit there trying to remember. That can take up a lot of precious time. Instead, try to eliminate as many answers as you can. Pick one, and move on!
Lastly don’t worry, because these will never be way too detailed or way too specific for you to answer.
This is where critical thinking comes into play.
Sometimes this question will require you to use general concepts that you already know, other times they will give you the concepts in the passage itself.
What they want to know is how you apply those concepts.
The strategy here is to solve the problem presented, one part at a time.
Your strategy is to figure out:
1 – What context do I have right now? What do I know for sure?
2 – How do I use this information, along with the concepts I have, to break this question up into individual components?
As you successfully break it up into individual pieces as suggested here, you will be able to answer this difficult question with more ease.
Again, don’t worry because they won’t ask extremely difficult, complex, and detailed questions and assume you know everything about the concept. They know you’re not an expert, yet.
These are the questions that were designed to throw you off.
Worded with confusing terms, you’ll feel like the question writer woke up that morning and decided to screw over everyone answering that question.
But relax, if you had that “aaahh” reaction, that’s exactly what the test creators wanted.
They wanted to see if even while you’re thrown off, are you still able to stay focused?
Those who remain focused, will eventually realize that the question isn’t as hard as it seemed initially.
Here’s the strategy for answering these type of questions…
1 - The first strategy here is to stay calm.
2 - Identify the confusing words meant to throw you off and set them aside in your mind.
3 - Identify the key terms, the ones that really matter.
4 - Relate those key terms to concepts you already know about.
5 - You’ll understand what the question is really asking and you’ll realize that in its essence, the question isn’t that difficult.
6 - Identify the question itself as Question type #1 or #2 from above, and take the appropriate strategy.
Once you understand how to strategically approach the different types of questions you'll see on the MCAT, the next important strategy you want to consider is how to strategically approach passages.
Keep in mind that there are many powerful and proven strategies that top-scorers recommend in order to properly approach passages.
Here's one highly recommended step-by-step approach:
Here we'll cover a simple but effective bonus strategy that you can start using right away. This is coming directly from a top MCAT scorer.
This will work for any science passage, so everything except CARS. For CARS strategies, you can check out this article.
The main point of this strategy is being smart in selecting what you want to focus on in the passage. Either by highlighting, underlining, etc.
So for example, the average premed's thought process goes something like this...
"I will underline everything I think is important in this passage"
Makes sense, right? That's what you're probably doing as well.
Except what ends up happening is that you end up underlining 80% or more of the entire passage! And that's not helpful at all. Just a waste of time and leads to a lot of confusion.
So the question is what do you highlight or underline to get the maximum benefit? The answer is to only underline keywords that you recognize from your content review.
A lot of these science passages mention research studies and are overflowing with scientific wording that is unnecessarily advanced. This is the kind of stuff the test creators include to try and throw you off your game.
You're not expected to understand any of that stuff. What you are expected to understand are the content terms that you DO recognize.
Which means that if you're doing practice passages, you need to already be quite familiar with content that you're going to have to know for the exam.
Bringing your attention to keywords in the passage will help you when you read the question. You'll find that you won't need to think about the answer too much because you're already mentally prepared for a question about those keywords.
This saves you time by helping you not get stuck thinking about and getting caught up in useless information. This strategy helps you focus on strictly the content within the passage, making it easier for you to get the right answer a lot more often.
By the way, we highly recommend bookmarking this page, or printing it, or making notes, or just doing something to keep these steps with you through MCAT studying and practicing. Don't just rely on your memory. There's no point in obtaining knowledge if you don't act on it.
The sad truth is that if your MCAT score isn't high enough, med-schools don't look at any other aspect of your application.
The MCAT acts as a filter, telling med-schools if they should even bother looking at your application that you've worked years putting together.
What that means is you can't afford to not have a competitive and impressive MCAT score. It determines everything.
Studying in the way you've always studied for a test won't cut it. The MCAT was designed to break those same study habits that every premed has developed going through the same undergrad schooling.
You need to do something differently. And that is approaching the MCAT from a different, more strategic, more smarter angle than everyone else.
That's how top MCAT scorers do it. We know because that's our sole purpose at MCAT Mastery - to figure out how top scorers achieve competitive scores and show you what they did.
And as we've demonstrated and constantly repeated throughout this post and throughout our blog, it all comes down to strategy.
Strategies that include secret techniques, question analysis breakdowns, proven frameworks, memorization shortcuts, high cognitive performance tips, passage reading hacks, and so much more...
Top scorers know that content is important to MCAT success, but not having proper strategies to approach passages leads to inefficiency and not being able to finish the exam on time.
Plus as you've seen, top scorers also understand passage-based deduction strategy. They understand strategies on how to take apart an MCAT passages the way AAMC (the creators of the MCAT) want you to.
You've seen a small sample of how effective that can really be (wait until you see the effectiveness of everything else we have for you...)
On the other hand, not approaching MCAT prep without applying the right strategies leads to huge disadvantages like...
Writing the exam at really slow speeds, scores not moving on practice exams, finding the material much harder than expected, not retaining information, lacking clarity on how to approach certain sections, not being able to apply your knowledge, silly mistakes, and so much more.
Most premeds are suffering from all of these things at the same time! We can't even imagine the level of frustration and anxiety that would lead to.
Plus such emotional states can even further cloud your judgement, clarity of thought and decision making process, making it impossible to choose the right answer consistently.
We wanted to do something about this. We wanted to bring back your confidence, and passion for becoming a doctor that you've dreamed of becoming for years now.
If you had a map to get to your goal destination (a high MCAT score), how much more confident would you feel? How would you feel if this map showed you the shortcuts that top-scorers used to get to the same destination?
We have that map for you.
It took us months (with ongoing improvements over years) to gather all our top MCAT scorer research which includes the best of the best strategies for dominating the MCAT, and compiled them all into one downloadable guide.
The MCAT Mastery Strategy Guide.
Remember, what distinguishes a high MCAT score from a low one is not only based on how much you practice or many hours and days you spend studying.
It's whether or not you're apply powerful, proven strategies.
Once you get this guide and apply the strategies within it, you'll know that your upcoming MCAT test date is going to be the LAST time you'll ever write the MCAT.
You'll leave your MCAT exam, ready to celebrate with your closest friends. Not because the MCAT will be done, but because you'll know you killed it.
You'll know med-school isn't far now.
How do you know if this MCAT strategy guide is really for you?
At the beginning of this article, I asked you if you're determined to conquer the MCAT. I asked you if you're willing to do everything in your power to make that happen and get a high score...
Imagine not getting a competitive MCAT score and wishing you did everything in your power to not let it become a reality...
Lastly, we truly hope you take advantage of not just the guide, but all our other resources and articles on our blog. We're proud to say that we have some of the best hacks for skyrocketing your MCAT score that you won't find anywhere else.
Good luck and keep in touch!
You got this,
Your MCAT Success Mentors
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