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Is the mcat really that difficult?

beefsbeefs Posts: 2,559Registered User Senior Member
edited February 2011 in Pre-Med Topics
I've been looking at some mcat questions from the actual test, and most of it seems to be high school material and not terribly difficult stuff at that. Alot of the physics and chemistry I did without looking at any material from last year and since I've never taken a serious bio course, I asked my friend who is really into it. She said that most of it is easier than AP BIO in my hs. So I"m wondering, is it really that hard?

EDIT: Sorry if this is a ridiculous question.
Post edited by beefs on
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Replies to: Is the mcat really that difficult?

  • norcalguynorcalguy Posts: 7,541Registered User Senior Member
    Keep in mind, we're all taking the same test. It's not the percentage of problems you can get right that's critical. It's the percentage of other test takers you can beat. That's how the MCAT is curved. The average MCAT test taker has a 3.5 college GPA, meaning they're decently smart. A 30 is roughly 82th percentile and is barely an acceptable score for getting into med school.
  • beefsbeefs Posts: 2,559Registered User Senior Member
    Oh ok makes sense now. Just that I've seen people on here say that they spend months on studying the MCAT and after looking at alot of question, I just don't understand why you would need to do that if youve had a reasonably intensive college/hs course in chem/bio/physics
  • bluedevilmikebluedevilmike Posts: 11,964Registered User Senior Member
    The content on the MCAT is really easy. A tough high school courseload could teach you everything except organic chemistry.

    The problem is:
    1.) The test is officially (and truthfully) a test of critical thinking.
    2.) The test is truthfully a test of reading comprehension. The entire thing. All the way.
    3.) As NCG said: the content is easy, but your competition is smart.

    * * * *

    But yes, it is ridiculous to spend months studying for the MCAT. 6-8 weeks while working full time at something else is perfectly reasonable.
  • norcalguynorcalguy Posts: 7,541Registered User Senior Member
    Just that I've seen people on here say that they spend months on studying the MCAT and after looking at alot of question, I just don't understand why you would need to do that if youve had a reasonably intensive college/hs course in chem/bio/physics

    The scary thing is that there are people on this forum who believe they should spend YEARS studying for the MCAT.
  • BigredmedBigredmed Posts: 3,677Registered User Senior Member
    Other things that make the MCAT hard

    1) the hype - many people fall into the mindset of thinking "this test will determine my future".
    2) the length - longest of any graduate school admissions test, even after they shortened it.
    3) the hype
    4) The format - people freak out about that alot, passage based problems are unique and require a skill set different than just random regurgitation. People fail to recognize that.
    5) Preoccupation with content over critical thinking - there are a lot of questions that don't actually require you to know that much science...even in the science sections.
    6) All the answer choices are reasonable, and distractors are put there on purpose. This can be fear inducing b/c even most college profs tend to put one or two answer choices that are obviously wrong on their multiple choice tests. Even the answer choices on problems that require calculations will either be numbers that are part of the full workup (like the result of step 3 out of 5) or that result from common mistakes.
  • uvajackuvajack Posts: 1,376Registered User Senior Member
    BDM said it very well. If you want to prep, read difficult journals
  • thecalccobrathecalccobra Posts: 902Registered User Member
    ^ Do you know any specific difficult journals?? I've been reading New Yorker and NYTimes but find them to be relatively easy to read, thus i'm looking for something more challenging.
  • bluedevilmikebluedevilmike Posts: 11,964Registered User Senior Member
    The Economist and WSJ are our usual recommendations. And don't just read them. Make sure you're comprehending the purpose of each part of the article and what they contribute to the overall argument.
  • thecalccobrathecalccobra Posts: 902Registered User Member
    Ah yeah I haven't tried the WSJ but unlike washington post, new yorker, you have to pay for it :/ and I don't think I want to do that.
  • bluedevilmikebluedevilmike Posts: 11,964Registered User Senior Member
    My student subscription my freshman year was like $30 a year.
  • thecalccobrathecalccobra Posts: 902Registered User Member
    Yeah I think i'll spare that much and after all if it can help me get a 10+ verbal why not. Do you think if I spend 30 mins everyday reading Economist, WSJ, New Yorker for 2 years, I shouldn't have any problems with verbal??

    thing is I studied a lot for the SAT Verbal but got a really bad score like <660 and so my reading comprehension isn't that good.
  • bluedevilmikebluedevilmike Posts: 11,964Registered User Senior Member
    Do you think if I spend 30 mins ... I shouldn't have any problems with verbal??

    Of course that's not true. It will help some, but it's not a magic bullet.
  • thecalccobrathecalccobra Posts: 902Registered User Member
    ^That's exactly why I want to the bs/md route.
  • bluedevilmikebluedevilmike Posts: 11,964Registered User Senior Member
    To avoid one exam? Trust me, the fullness of a college education will be more than worth the one exam. Besides that, BS/MD programs use SAT's. Medical schools use MCATs. They're still judging you by a standardized exam. The only difference is the actual hassle of taking it, not a likely performance difference. It's like two months of your life. In exchange, you're giving up four years.
  • thecalccobrathecalccobra Posts: 902Registered User Member
    no, not so much as one exam. It's more like working your tail off for a good 3 years trying to get a 3.7+, 33+ MCAT, and doing a whole bunch of other stuff to pad your resume for medical school. Blahhh the thought of all that just scares me.

    whereas in bs/md you can continue to work hard and actually study/learn medically related stuff and not have to worry about having to do things to impress adcoms. As opposed to in college where you take basket weaving and other pointless classes. What a waste of time.
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