Since the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) is one of the most well-known and important post-grad exams out there, there is a lot of information about it floating around online. Unfortunately, sometimes this information isn’t quite reliable, which leads to a lot of rumors that can end up hurting those trying to work on their MCAT test prep. To help combat some of the misinformation, we’ve decided to tackle the 3 most common MCAT myths.
Myth 1: They Grade On A Curve
Many students are used to important college exams being graded on a curve, which tends to work in their favor. This doesn’t work for the MCAT. Instead, the AAMC uses a scale in order to ensure that each test score is equal. There are so many different versions of the MCAT available during testing that sometimes some versions of the exam come out easier or more difficult than others. In order to compensate for this, the AAMC converts your results into the “MCAT score scale”. This helps make sure that your test results can accurately be compared to the results somebody gets on the opposite side of the country, allowing medical schools the chance to equally measure students’ qualifications.
Myth 2: You Need A Specific Score
While it’s true that every medical college will have its own requirements for admission, it isn’t the only consideration. First of all, there isn’t a minimum score you need to reach in order to be competitive in medical schools. You may have a certain goal in mind that you are working towards during your MCAT test prep, but there is no standard. Of course, it is important to have a goal, and working with an MCAT test prep expert or talking to your target schools can help you find one. However, studying and admissions can be stressful enough on their own without worrying that being a couple of points below your target means you’re doomed.
You also need to keep in mind that your score isn’t the only factor schools use when considering your admission. Admissions committees understand that students are human beings, which is why they’re going to try to get an idea of who you are and what kind of student you will be. They’ll be looking at your experiences, transcripts, references, etc. and factoring that in with your MCAT score.
Myth 3: MCAT Test Prep Is Just Reading
There are a lot of different ways you should be studying for the MCAT, but the common denominator is that you need to practice “active” instead of “passive” test prep. Passive studying is sitting at your desk reading through your notes or prep books, without applying any of the information you’re reading. You can put in 8 hours a day of passive studying but in the end, you’re not going to be much better off than when you first started.
Instead, you need to be actively working on your test prep. This means taking multiple practice tests, rewriting your notes or specific concepts in your own words, and even teaching the material to somebody else. By doing this you’re required to think through the material more completely and in different ways. Not only will this help you retain the information better, but it can show you any gaps in your knowledge that you may not have even known were there.