Mastering the MCAT

Year after year, test after test, the MCAT asks the same science questions over and over again. And there just aren't that many questions. So "Why, you may ask, can't I just learn the answers to those few questions?" The answer is, "If you are an EK student, you are learning the answers to those questions."

If we were to use straight forward questions to test your knowledge of the science tested by the MCAT, you would probably pass with flying colors. But MCAT doesn't ask science questions in a straight forward manner. The typical difficult MCAT question is a basic science question disguised in a lab coat. As you are no doubt discovering, the MCAT passage can create an intimidating research-notes type environment that engenders second guessing. Additional charts and graphs often obfuscate rather than clarify. Your job, as an MCAT student, is to see through the disguise and find the basic science question to which you already know the answer.

As you read each MCAT question, you should be saying to yourself, "What is the basic science that this question is really asking me?" Find that basic science behind the question, and the question becomes easy to answer. The correct answer to an MCAT question is never one that relies upon the knowledge of some obscure lab technique or the understanding of advanced scientific theory. Nor will memorization of minutia typically prove helpful. The correct answer rarely depends upon correct mathematical calculations. The answer can always be found by applying science at its most basic, first year undergraduate level. MCAT wants to know the following: Can you predict what Newton's laws of motion would dictate in a given circumstance? Are you confident enough to apply conservation of energy to some strange electromagnetic system that you have never seen before, or perhaps you might be convinced that the first law of thermodynamics is more of a guideline than an inviolable law? Do you understand that mitosis passes on a complete set of genetic information to both daughter cells, or perhaps you can be persuaded that different types of cells behave differently because they receive different genes? If an alcohol moiety is drawn on a large organic structure, will you panic and forget how an alcohol normally behaves in an organic chemistry reaction? Learn the basic science well, find the basic science; have the confidence to apply it; and you will have mastered the MCAT.

Good Luck,

Jonathan Orsay
President of Examkrackers