Treat the MCAT like you would treat a patient!
July 10, 2013
Hello, my enterprising future doctors/current MCAT studiers. Today I want to recommend a course of action for MCAT studying that you will repeat thousands of times as a physician when you are in the clinic or the hospital. Bonus! You don’t even need to attend medical school to perform these actions- diagnose, treat, and reassess.
1. Diagnose- One of the main duties you will have as a physician will be to listen, evaluate your patients’ symptoms and develop a diagnosis. When studying for the MCAT you can use quizzes, tests and flashcards to help diagnose your weak and strong areas of study.
Don’t make the major mistake that most students fall prey to! Don’t assume that you know the material just because you stared at the page in the book for twenty minutes. Use quizzing yourself as a way to diagnose your strengths and weaknesses
2. Treat- Once you know your weak areas, you need to develop a treatment plan that addresses your personal testing issues. Much like in medicine, you want to come up with a prescription or treatment plan that is specialized to meet your MCAT needs.
Some potential treatment plans- If you’re misreading the question, practice reading questions more carefully and re-phrasing them to ensure clarity. If you have a calculation error, make sure to do questions that are calculation heavy or refresh your math skills with some math drills. If you’re running out of time, work on timed drills for passages and questions. If you are distracted by tempting wrong answer choices, practice answering the questions without using the available answer choices to ensure a strong prediction.
Once you have diagnosed and treated your patterns for picking wrong answer choices, you get to the most rewarding step.
Reassess- Physicians love to schedule follow-up appointments to check on their patients’ recoveries. As an MCAT student, you will need to check up on your wrong answer patterns to make sure that you’re not falling into the same traps on future passages and questions. Take the time to re-quiz yourself to make sure that your treatment was effective. It’s super exciting to see the progress you can make after targeted treatment drills! After reassessing, you can decide whether to re-treat or move on to a working on a different issue.
Emily has been a teacher for Kaplan for over six years; she's taught MCAT, ACT, SAT, SAT2 and tutored pretty much every subject under the sun in both the classroom and live online (aka Classroom Anywhere) settings. She's also worked for Kaplan in content development and teacher mentorship roles. Emily is currently a second-year medical student at the University of Colorado and is hoping to go into Pediatrics. She's involved in many campus opportunities such as being a Prospective Student Representative, admissions committee member, CU-UNITE member, and co-president of the Education and Teaching Interest Group. Prior to medical school, Emily got a BA in Biochemistry and Spanish from Lawrence University and a Masters in Public Health- Epidemiology from the University of Minnesota. In her free time, Emily enjoys dancing, baking, playing tennis and exploring her new Colorado home.