MCAT Relevance, Explained
Medical schools aren’t looking for walking encyclopedias. They’re looking for doctors. And they’re using the MCATs to see whether you’ve got what it takes to work in medicine. Show that you’ll be a great doctor by remembering why they use the exam in the first place, keeping an eye on the big picture, and using this as an opportunity to show that you’ll become the best possible medical professional.
You can prove your grasp of science with your GPA. Use the MCATs to show your soft skills, the skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, dealing with time constraints to show your ability to be a real doctor.
The skills tested on the MCAT are strikingly similar to the skills used in medical school and in medical practice.
Critical Thinking. You’ll need to use critical thinking skills during the MCATs, particularly in the critical reading section. You’ll need to use critical thinking constantly as a doctor too, to read between the lines when talking to patients, to determine underlying causes of symptoms, etc.
Problem Solving. You’ll need to use problem solving skills constantly when approaching problems in any section of the MCATs. You’ll need these same skills in your medical practice, as you think through differential diagnoses, and as you reason through multiple possible courses of treatment.
Elimination. The MCATs are multiple choice, and all the choices will be diabolically difficult to sort through. You’ll need to use elimination to help you come to the correct answer. You’ll have to use that same strategy of elimination when thinking through possible diagnoses for patients. The possibilities in the real world are just as diabolically difficult.
Time Constraints. The MCATs ask you to work under tight time constraints. You’ll need to work just as calmly as a doctor, as, particularly ER doctors and surgeons, have to make quick decisions that affect patient lives.
Passages. The MCATs CARS section (the Critical Reading and Analysis section) will ask you to read new information and to apply it on the fly, just as you’ll need to keep abreast of new developments in medicine, and to use that information with patients immediately.
Critical Thinking. Reading through the dense MCAT passages, full of confusing information, false leads and red herrings, will use the same skills that you’ll need when you talk to patients about their complicated and symptoms and confusing histories.
As you study and prepare, remember why the MCAT is a great predictor of future doctors. Understand why it’s relevant.
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