Saturday, 16 March 2013

Guest Post: How to Slaughter the MCAT

Below is a guest post from a good ol' friend of mine who did a fantastic job at slaughtering the MCAT last summer and earned a whopping 6 interview invites. I'm very pleased to share his generous post with you all today - keep in mind that while this does have ONT specific tips, much of what he has written is universal. Good luck!


I think that if you get used to reading passages (especially VR) on a computer screen instead of using paper/pen, then your eyes will get used to following the lines of text to different paragraphs. This is key when you need to read fast, and get to the important areas of the passage.


Many schools these days are looking more to VR as a cutoff/important eval. tool (Mac, UWO, Calg) and my suspicion is that without WS, Queens might actually begin using VR as well this 2013 cycle. If you can score high on VR, you improve your chances for these and other schools. I would recommend if you're not "good" at VR (consistently scoring 11-13 on practice):

  • 50% of your study time should be dedicated to VR
  • practice NOT looking back at the passage at all to get the answers
  • use Process of Elimination as much as possible. 
  • get to know the question types (ex. detail, main point, etc) and their associated "Traps and Trolls" (ex. quoting directly from the psg, usually WRONG)
  • some books tell you to get the "overall" point. I really think that it's a good practice, but an even better one is to get the point of each paragraph and how they relate to one another. Some question traps lead you to the Main Point (MP) in their answers, but it's actually the detail within a paragraph, or vice versa.

You're aiming for 11+ in VR.


Yes there's a lot to learn or review. I think that though it's better to get dirty while you learn, such as doing practice problems regularly and using the full lengths to practice on a weekly basis. Not only does this reinforce your learning, but it gives you motivation to work and study harder. Will the 20-something score on your first mock hurt? Yes, but it's just a necessary pain for the 40+ that you're planning to hit. It's always better to study what you don't know than going over the things you do know from your notes.


You need time to study. Some ppl take less time to study than others, but you need to dedicate hours reviewing again and again the key concepts that will score you more points than the minutia that will rarely come up. If you're on a schedule (Ex. part time job, research), then you need to be reviewing more problems regularly and skim through the material. EK Audio Osmosis is a corny (but fun) way of doing so, as well as Kaplan Flash cards. 


Sometimes people aim for a September write, but end up not scoring what they aimed for (ex. 9 VR) which will hurt their OMSAS application later in that same month. Also if you write on the VERY last day, you won't find out your scores until Oct which by then, your OMSAS application would have already been submitted and you won't know your scores at all. It's a big gamble and I'm sure most of us would like to know what we're going in with instead of that uncertainty and possibly wasted dollars (ex. not making cutoff at UWO b/c you didn't score an 11 VR for non-SWOMEN). Instead, write your first one in Aug, and continue studying for a possible Sept. Re-write. If you find out you scored well, then you can go celebrate for a month. But if you didn't, then at least you have one more shot to go at it because you can write up to a max of THREE times for the summer. So why not have a back-up plan just in case?


 Thank you for stopping by!