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How hard is the MCAT?

student14xstudent14x Posts: 782Registered User Member
edited February 2012 in Pre-Med Topics
Well, I need a rough estimate of just how hard the MCAT is. What would a 2400 on the SAT translate to on the MCAT? I assuming a comparison can be made since they are both standardized tests that stress critical thinking skills.
Post edited by student14x on
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Replies to: How hard is the MCAT?

  • norcalguynorcalguy Posts: 7,541Registered User Senior Member
    The SAT tests your ability to do eighth grade math and read a couple of Amy Tan passages. Not comparable to the MCAT.
  • shades_childrenshades_children Posts: 2,206Registered User Senior Member
    The tests are different. A 2400 guarentees you... nothing on the MCAT. So much happens between the SAT and the MCAT that it's impossible to predict how well you'll do. Of course, people that test well will generally do well on the SAT and MCAT, but that's more a rule of thumb than anything certain.

    I took the SAT (this was back when it was scored out of 1600) three times and ended up with my best score. Not really a lot of studying - just practicing the math problem types over and over again.

    My studying for the MCAT was totally different. I took a Kaplan course to stay on track. I worked on building up knowledge, but more importantly, I practiced all the sections. The critical thinking on the MCAT makes the SAT seem like a farce.

    The MCAT was far more work than I put into the SAT, ACT, and SAT IIs combined. There was also the "planning of test day": I practiced "MCAT Day" by planning out a breakfast, packing a lunch and snacks, and eating the food on the days that Kaplan held practice tests to make sure nothing would disagree with my stomach and that I'd be full but not sleepy.

    So there's a lot of more prep involved in the MCAT. The SAT is not a good judge of how you do that, so there's no way to predict. norcalguy is basically right.

    Also, why do you ask? This seems like one of the hyperventilating-pre-med-student questions that I really hate.
  • student14xstudent14x Posts: 782Registered User Member
    "Also, why do you ask? This seems like one of the hyperventilating-pre-med-student questions that I really hate."

    Well, I'm just curious and I don't want to go through the whole testing process just to have my question answered. SAT requires less prep because it is known as an aptitude test. I thought the MCAT may be the same.
  • bluedevilmikebluedevilmike Posts: 11,964Registered User Senior Member
    The MCAT is an aptitude test, but it's one that relies on:

    1.) Different skills than the SAT. Reading comprehension dominates the MCAT, while there is no math section, no vocabulary, and no writing.

    2.) Skills that are so different in difficulty that they become different in nature. MCAT Verbal is so much harder that it's like asking how a college linebacker will do in the NFL. It's just not an answerable question, which is why there are draft busts every year.

    For that matter, Heisman winners often go undrafted.

    3.) The curves are totally different; it's a completely different pool.

    4.) The MCAT is an analysis test, yes, but it requires background knowledge. The quality of your education -- as determined mostly by the effort you put into your undergraduate courses -- will matter. Some.

    5.) If SATs could be used to reliably predict MCAT scores, medical schools would just ask for SATs instead.
  • hostiletakeoverhostiletakeover Posts: 245. Junior Member
    You can't simply convert the one score to the other, but I would say that it is safe to assume that even though they are not the same skills being tested, a person who got a 2400(perfect score) on the SATs would more than likely, when the time came, do well on the MCATs also. Not because the SAT was good prep for the MCATs but simply because the type of person who is smart enough, and studies hard enough, and is a good enough test taker to get a 2400 on the SATs; is also the same type of person who would prep well for the MCAT.
  • bluedevilmikebluedevilmike Posts: 11,964Registered User Senior Member
    Or, as Shades said four posts up:
    Of course, people that test well will generally do well on the SAT and MCAT
  • hostiletakeoverhostiletakeover Posts: 245. Junior Member
    Really?????? I had no idea, I just picked a random thread to post random info in......

    What was I thinking agreeing with someone else and confirming to the OP that multiple people agree on a certain standard, how foolish of me.
  • Opie ofMaybery2Opie ofMaybery2 Posts: 1,815- Member
    bluedev has it pretty spot on, but left off one aspect...

    the mcat seems almost to be an endurance test as well. It is very hard to keep that intensity up for the long period of time the mcat takes. My S who was fighting the flu when he took it really said the hardest part was after hours and hours of intense questions, there were still more...

    Even if he wasn't ill, the mcat takes alot out of you...
  • bluedevilmikebluedevilmike Posts: 11,964Registered User Senior Member
    Heh -- Opie, I've started thinking of the MCAT as rather a short test! "Back in the day," the exam was nine hours long.
  • eg1eg1 Posts: 647Registered User Member
    I had been out of school a few years before taking the MCAT - engineering major, so needed to review freshman chem and physics, but didn't feel too overwhelmed by that. Biological sciences - different story. When I took the MCAT I was enrolled in my first EVER bio class (HS or college) through the extension program at the state u. and had never taken org. chem. I didn't take a prep course, but I did study on my own. So, overall, if it can be taken with that sort of background, I don't think it's too hard a test. I did not get superhigh scores, but I did a decent job on the test (33R-10/11/12). And just to make things interesting, I was nursing at the time, so I spent the entire break in the restroom expressing milk - what fun. I still ended up leaking through the entire second half of the test, which was somewhat distracting. Obviously, I don't recommend my method to others.
  • BigredmedBigredmed Posts: 3,677Registered User Senior Member
    Endurance is absolutely part of it...and completely off topic, endurance probably becomes an even bigger issue when one gets to the USLME...at least with the MCAT you have some interesting passages to read.
  • eg1eg1 Posts: 647Registered User Member
    Hmm...but by the time you get to USMLE, the chance to just SIT IN ONE PLACE without beepers going off, etc. makes it seem like a mini-vacation. And all you really care about at that point is passing :) - at least, that was all I cared about.
  • uvajackuvajack Posts: 1,376Registered User Senior Member
    i actually scored almost exactly the same (percentile wise) on the sat and mcat. this is the exception however not the rule. i've heard of countless cases where there seems to be no correlation (high sat/low mcat is what i have HEARD about mostly).
  • bluedevilmikebluedevilmike Posts: 11,964Registered User Senior Member
    It does make sense that that would work that way. The MCAT does depend on the test-taking skills that the SAT depends on, so a bad SAT score is probably (somewhat) predictive of a bad MCAT score. The MCAT also depends on a lot of other skills as well, however, so a good SAT score doesn't give any promises.
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