The MCAT must not be THAT difficult

<p>A standardized test that is ubiquitously judged with an emphasis on an extremely small margin for error, must not be that difficult - right?</p>

<p>The MCAT is pretty difficult, but what make's it especially hard is the fact that the curve is set pretty high and so the high scores are really dependent on a tiny number of questions being right or wrong per section.</p>

<p>Some of the things (though by no means an exhaustive list) that make the MCAT tough:</p>

<p>1) Length - while the transition to CBT has made it less of a gap, last I checked, the MCAT is still the longest pre-admission standardized test out there both in time and number of questions. Fatigue is a very important part of it. Today's students don't have to deal with the all day affair the paper test was (I personally got to the testing site at 715am and didn't leave until 445pm) but it's still daunting.</p>

<p>2) Required knowledge base - with the exception of the DAT and PCAT, no other standardized test requires a the level of pre-existing knowledge that the MCAT does. You have to have some background knowledge (in particular knowing physics equations) in a variety of subjects to stand a chance to do well.</p>

<p>3) It's not a knowledge test - with #2 in mind, the "average" pre-med student taking the MCAT thinks that if they master gen chem, organic, bio and physics they'll do well on the MCAT...but while you have to have the basics in those subjects, mastery is not a requirement for a stellar MCAT score. The exam really tests critical thinking, which is missed by most students and as such leads to a misallocation of study resources. The DAT and PCAT are almost entirely 1st order questions, but the MCAT is overwhelmingly 2nd or 3rd order questions, requiring you to understand, think and then apply. </p>

<p>4) Select group of test takers - with #2 in mind, the entry barriers to taking the test are high, resulting in very few people sandbagging. While every college student probably has a least one friend who couldn't figure out what to do with their lives and ended up taking the LSAT just to see what happens, the MCAT with it's required knowledge base tends to weed these people out. Further, poor performance in those classes also thins the herd leaving only the most successful students. This results in the narrow distribution of test takers, making it difficult to distinguish one's self as mmmcdowe alludes to in their post.</p>

<p>You just keep thinking that lol</p>