Students who wish to get admission into a medical college have to first take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) and get a reasonably good score. However, MCAT experts claim that premedical students who are getting good grades in college, will not automatically get good grades in the MCAT for a number of reasons.
What’s the difference?
One of the reasons is that the MCAT is a far more comprehensive exam and it is interdisciplinary, so the student should have a good knowledge of physics and chemistry in addition to biology. The verbal skills of the student which test the ability to read and interpret data quickly and accurately are also tested. Hence, the MCAT prep of a pre-med student should be comprehensive and consider all aspects of the exam.
You’ll need stamina
Another of the major differences of the MCAT compared to college exams is that the length of the exam is far longer than your average college exam. If breaks are considered, it can take more than 7.5 hours. This means the student should have the mental stamina to complete the test in the time period.
Learning comprehension is important
Most college exams involving memorizing the information and recollecting the information to answer the exam questions. Though having a good memory can help in completing the MCAT faster, it should be noted that MCAT is mainly about understanding the concepts of the various subjects well. The MCAT involves knowing and applying the various concepts especially in biology, chemistry and physics to check the ability of the student to critically analyze the data provided and solve the problems.
This is because doctors are provided a lot of information by their patients of the symptoms of the disease, and they are expected to discard the irrelevant information and correctly diagnose the problem to offer a solution. The medical students should be able to detect a pattern in the patients who approach them, and find a suitable solution to their health problems, and there are many MCAT questions which are also contain confusing information to fully evaluate the student.
How you should approach you MCAT prep:
Medical students who have successfully taken the MCAT advise students that they should focus mainly on the science subjects they scored well on in school. This is because it is an interdisciplinary exam, and a lack of understanding of a particular science subject can adversely affect the scores.
Students who are keen on becoming doctors should start preparing well in advance by enrolling in a MCAT prep course, taking practice exams, and using question banks. Experts claim that the MCAT is a very advanced exam and that it will test the students’ knowledge of the various subjects. Premeds should plan to study for at least 300 hours before taking the MCAT. It is advisable to focus on topics which are relevant in medical school like oxidation, reduction, molecular flow, because these are relevant to the human body.
Additionally, students should not ignore verbal questions, reasoning skills, critical analysis and social sciences. There is a tendency for science and technology students to spend less time studying the social sciences, however when they get their scores, it may adversely affect their chances of getting admitted into medical colleges.