The primary objective of the Medical College Admission Test is to determine if prospective medical students have the correct conceptual understanding and analytical skills for medical school. The MCAT is a challenging and competitive exam. Taking it can be very stressful.
To combat that stress, you must know as much as possible about the test, including which pieces of information are authentic and which ones are false.
Here are some of the common myths about MCAT:
1. There’s One Perfect Study Method
Research has proven that when students use appropriate study strategies, their test performance will improve. Many people believe that there is only one way of studying for an MCAT exam.
But what many do not realize is that many learning strategies are equally effective, and the most important aspect is doing what works for you.
One of the most popular ways to study is using the classic note-taking technique. Research has shown that handwriting your notes enhances your memory of the subject.
But make sure you only write down the most relevant information. You can also use underlines or highlighters to select essential details of the subject.
But aside from note-taking, several techniques are equally effective, such as verbal encoding, auditory approach, buddy system, and visual approach.
In preparing for your MCAT, you can try these techniques and determine which one is the most effective for you. You can also search online for the most effective MCAT preparation course to help you prepare for the big day.
2. You’ll Lose Points For Wrong Answers
Many people think the MCAT docks your score if you get a question wrong, so they leave questions blank. The MCAT does not dock your score if you get a question wrong.
Your wrong answers in the test are scored the same way as unanswered questions and do not affect your final score. There is no penalty when you write the wrong answer, and there will not be any extra deduction from your total score.
So when you take the exam, make sure to answer every question without getting stuck on the difficult questions. You can skip the difficult questions and continue answering.
When you’re done with the easy part, go back to the difficult questions and respond appropriately.
3. You Can Retake the Test Until You Get a Perfect Score
According to the latest AAMC data, around 36% of MCAT test-takers between 2017 and 2019 took the exam more than once. So it is entirely normal for people to take the MCAT exam more than once.
But remember, you can only retake under some conditions. You can’t take it endlessly, the AAMC (American Association of Medical Colleges) has regulations, you can take the test:
- Three times per year
- Four times in two years
- Seven times total
Just make sure to prepare and review if you decide to retake the exam. Different medical schools will have different ways of assessing your multiple MCAT scores. Some will consider your highest score, while others might take its average.
It’s better to contact the medical schools for their specific policy.
4. You Don’t Need To Worry About the Verbal Section
The MCAT is divided into four equal sections, and each part is essential. While the MCAT is a STEM-focused test, the verbal section is part of your score and still very important.
Many premedical students who take the MCAT find the verbal section difficult.
The verbal reasoning section of the MCAT is a one-hour test that has 40 questions associated with passages. The passage content involves social sciences, humanities, and natural sciences.
Make sure you are well-read before taking the MCAT. Read newspapers, magazines, editorial, and other articles to widen your understanding of different topics.
5. You Need To Be an Expert to Succeed
The MCAT is a seven-and-a-half-hour-long computer-based test divided into four sections:
- Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
- Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
- Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills
- Psychological Social and Biological Foundations of Behavior
According to the AAMC, you only need an introductory understanding. You only need to know as much your classes would reasonably have taught you at this point (you don’t need to learn new info that you won’t have been exposed to in pre-med).
In other words, you don’t have to be an expert to succeed in the MCAT. You don’t have to know every tiny detail of the subject but only the important ones.
Focus on a solid understanding of the fundamentals of all sections, rather than intense learning in one area.
Focus on the Basics
The MCAT is an essential step in your journey toward having a medical education.
As such, you cannot take it lightly, and you should prepare. Take a few weeks to review each section and understand the concepts.
You can also enroll in MCAT preparation courses.