Being the keener you are, we’re sure you’ve heard plenty of talk about the MCAT, but are you sure you’ve got all the facts, right?
While there’s some great information online that could help you in better understanding and prepare for the MCAT, there are also some common myths floating around that may hinder your approach to taking on the MCAT.
Even we were fooled by some of these early on!
We at MCAT Mastery want you to take on the most challenging exam of your life with the right information, so we gathered some common myths about the MCAT along with their associated facts.
MCAT Myth 1: High Course Grades = High MCAT Score
"The MCAT should be easy peasy if you're already doing well your pre-med courses"
Sure, it helps to know the MCAT content that’s covered in your pre-med courses but doing well in your pre-med courses doesn’t automatically set you up for success for the MCAT.
The MCAT is a rigorous test that is formatted unlike your pre-med courses. It’s a very long 7.5-hour long test, mixed with information from every one of those pre-med subjects.
On top of all of that, you’ll be tested on your critical analysis and reasoning skills, so don’t be too surprised if you come across a passage analyzing something outside the realm of your pre-med courses like Ancient Egyptian history.
So, throw this myth out the window and put in the necessary hours needed to prep because you’ve most likely never written a test like the MCAT.
MCAT Myth 2: More Advanced Courses = Mastery of the Subjects
"You need to take upper-level pre-med courses in order for you to do really well on the MCAT"
This is a misconception and according to the AAMC is just not necessary. You will need a strong understanding of the introductory level knowledge on Physics, Biology, Organic and Inorganic Chemistry, Biochemistry, Psychology, and Sociology. Although some passages may touch on topics covered in upper-level courses, answering them correctly can be done with a strong foundation in the introductory level knowledge.
MCAT Myth 3: The Magic Number
"Scoring a 5**+ on the MCAT will get you accepted into your dream school!"
We know there’s a lot of emphasis put on the MCAT, but you can’t forget that it isn’t the only factor medical school will take into consideration. A lot of factors come into play, like your personal statement, volunteer experience, GPA, or interviews. It’s great to aim high and set goals for yourself with the MCAT, but there’s no ‘magic number’ that will guarantee you admission.
MCAT Myth 4: Science>Verbal
"You're going to be a doctor studying science and medicine, so don't worry too much about the verbal sections!"
We really hope you haven’t been fed this information because the opposite is true. Many medical school admissions officers actually weigh the Critical Analysis and Reasoning Section (CARS) section the heaviest out because they see it as a measure of a student’s ability to learn and communicate. In fact, majority of the MCAT questions come in form of complex written passage (even the science ones!) So, believe us when we say that good reading skills are vital for doing well on the MCAT.
MCAT Myth 5: Lack of Accommodations
"Students with disabilities applying for the MCAT won't be considered for accommodation. If considered, their scores will be flagged, marking them as someone with a disability.
While this was the case in the past, it is no longer practiced today. In fact, the AAMC explicitly ensures that they cater to everybody to demonstrate their proficiencies on the MCAT exam and that “Flagging, or the act of placing an asterisk on students’ examination results indicating that they tested with accommodations, is no longer practiced.”. So, don’t let this myth get to you!
In fact, if you need more information on accommodations and accessibility needs you should check out the AAMC’s page on MCAT Accommodations.
Also be sure to check out fellow mentor Michael's journey to scoring 517 on the MCAT with a learning disability here!
Be Critical: Get Proven Information
With so much information floating online about the MCAT, reading the wrong information can easily discourage you from preparing. It’s best to take the information we’re given online with a grain of salt. The last thing you want is to be stressing out about something that actually isn’t true.
So don’t let those myths get to you! If you’re ever stuck trying to figure out if something you read online about the MCAT is true, remember that there’s a lot of helpful resources available to cross-reference with, like from the AAMC or from your helpful mentors here at MCAT Mastery!
The MCAT Mastery Team
Your "MCAT Success" Mentors