The MCAT, or Medical College Admission Test, is a standardized exam you must pass to get into most medical schools. This article identifies misconceptions about getting high scores on this US medical exam. Learn the truth behind these MCAT score myths.
Busting the Top 5 MCAT Score Myths
Because it is such an important test, people often go online looking for tips or other information. The problem with this is the huge amount of misinformation you’ll come across. There are loads of articles about how to get a good MCAT score floating around the Web.
This is why we’ve created this list of top five MCAT myths to clear the air about these misconceptions:
1. Myth: The CARS Section Isn’t Important
Sub-Myth: You Need Upper Division Sciences to Pass
According to the AAMC, the creators of the MCAT, you only need an introductory understanding of the core sciences to do well. You’ll need knowledge of:
- Organic Chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry
Keep in mind there may be some questions that describe an upper division-related topic. However, answering the question won’t require any upper division knowledge.
Being prepared to show good reasoning skills is very important. The CARS section focuses mainly on reasoning. This is why it makes up a fourth of your overall score. You need to prepare for this section. It’s not something that just comes to you.
If you’re wondering how to get a good MCAT score, you have to prepare for the CARS section. Make sure to practice active reading, while identifying the main points, arguments and conclusions of a text. Choose complex materials like New York Times editorials and practice breaking down lengthy articles about subjects you are not familiar with for practice.
2. Myth: There Is a ‘Magic Score’
Sub-Myth: Competitive Medical Schools Are All Different
There is no ‘magic number’ that will make all the major medical schools accept you. The MCAT is very important to medical school admissions. But it is just one piece of the puzzle when applying to medical school.
This means even with a high school on the MCAT, you need a decent GPA and relevant extracurricular activities on your resume. Different med schools require different combinations for admissions.
So, if you’re thinking about attending medical school, plan to succeed in all areas.
3. Myth: The MCAT Gives Everyone Identical Questions
Sub-Myth: It’s Graded on a Curve
Standardized doesn’t mean identical, which is another one of the common MCAT score myths. The day of your test and your test itself will be very different for everyone. There are so many MCAT score improvement stories online, but don’t think these stories will be just like yours.
This US medical exam is not graded on a curve. When anything is graded on a curve, you do get a bump in your score but it also limits the percent of people who can get high scores. This isn’t the case with the MCAT.
In order to keep the test standardized, examiners give different questions different weights. They base this difficulty weight on hundreds of other test takers’ answers. This way, test takers get accurate MCAT scores, regardless of when they take the exam or who is in the room with them when they take it.
4. Myth: The Exam is Purely Knowledge-Based
Sub-Myth: Taking a Pre-Med Course Is All That’s Needed
The MCAT does not test innate ability. This is a US medical exam, not an intelligence test. It can’t tell you how well you will do in medical school or in your medical profession. And it doesn’t try to do so.
Instead, the exam tests your will power more than anything. Administrators want to know how badly you want to become a doctor. Why? …because you have to want it pretty bad to get through medical school and ace your residency.
How to get a good MCAT score? Study more than just your pre-med class material. Some people might have a slight advantage of being naturally great critical thinkers. But anyone can learn to think critically through consistent practice and work.
The more you practice what you learn in pre-med, the better off you’ll be when test time arrives. Technically, the MCAT isn’t much different from the SAT or any other test you had to take in high school or college.
5. Myth: You Can Take the MCAT as Many Times as You Want
Sub-Myth: You Should Avoid a Retake at All Costs
In an ideal world, everyone would take the MCAT only once and pass it with good scorea. We all know that isn’t the case though. If you don’t get the score you wanted the first time, don’t be ashamed. Just prepare to take it again.
The MCAT is an expensive and stressful test that takes a full day. So, you do want to limit your retakes.
However, it doesn’t hurt you in the long run to take it again for a better score. Despite the most common MCAT score myths, there are some limits to consider. You can only take the MCAT:
- 3 times in any one year period
- 4 times in two consecutive years
- 7 times total in your lifetime
MCAT Score Myth Busters & Test Prep Services Atlanta, GA
Hopefully, these tips will help you prepare for your US medical exam and leave some common MCAT myths behind. Misinformation can hinder your progress and success. Don’t let that be the case with your score.
Get MCAT tutoring and test prep services from MedSmarter in the Atlanta area. Our skilled professionals understand what it takes to prep you for this test. Let MedSmarter help debunk MCAT score myths. Grasp the art of test-taking on your journey to practicing medicine in the US right here in the Atlanta, GA area.