Correcting a Common MCAT Misconception

320px-Panic_buttonOne of the questions I get asked most frequently as a teacher is, “Exactly what questions will I see on my test?”  If I knew the answer to that question, I would be making tons of money setting everyone up with their personalized MCAT answers. Although I can’t tell anyone exactly which questions they will be answering on Test Day, I do want to help out all of my intrepid MCAT studiers today and correct a common MCAT misconception.

Misconception: When I take my test, all of the material will be 100% familiar

Here’s the deal- yes, you have been studying for hundreds of hours. You have completed dozens of practice tests and successfully conquered countless numbers of MCAT passages. You are extremely well-prepared. However, the AAMC realizes that students prepare for the test and thus include passages with experimental set-ups that you have never seen. There is a critical thinking component to the MCAT, and the AAMC likes to keep test-takers on their toes.

So, if you get to your test and see something totally new, that’s okay! You’re not expected to have previously seen every inch of the test. Your job is to get out the relevant information from the passages and work on correctly answering the questions.

The most important thing you can do when you get to an unfamiliar passage, is to not panic. I repeat, don’t panic! If you think a passage looks difficult or unfamiliar, chances are that everyone else is struggling with the same passage. If you see an extremely complicated experimental set-up, they are really asking about concepts you know. I have seen ridiculous looking MCAT passages that are essentially asking about flow of electrons or F=ma.

When you’re taking your test, expect the unexpected and know that you’re well-prepared. Use that confidence to propel you through even the trickiest-looking MCAT passages.

 

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