Boost Your MCAT Prep Through Increased Self-Awareness

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Session 163

This week, we talk about self-awareness and how you can improve that so you can do better on the MCAT. Phil from Blueprint MCAT (formerly Next Step Test Prep) joins me again today for another episode to help you score great on the MCAT.

Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.

[02:45] The Power of Self-Awareness

'Self-awareness in this premed path, in being a physician, in being a medical student, in being a human being, is so important to being successful in life.'Click To Tweet

It’s important to understand where you’re going wrong and how to get better. The best way to do that is through exams, reviews, and doing questions.

When the patient comes into the clinic and says they’re sick, you don’t just give them a pill and they’re better. You have to figure out what’s wrong with them.

Phil likes to use exams as analytic tools. You develop stamina and endurance. You get a better understanding of the data analysis. It helps you figure out your strengths and weaknesses.

Self-aware students that try to figure out how best to improve don’t just review their right and wrong answers. They ask why they chose the wrong answer. 

[06:35] Same Mistake, Different Approaches

There can be three different students that all missed the same question but they may have to approach the passage differently.

For instance, they all missed the same calculation questions. Student #1 may just not have known the equations they needed to use. Student #2 might have known the equations but didn’t know what equation to use. Student #3 may have known which one to use but had math errors.

So what these students need to be doing is different. Student #1 obviously needs to know their equations and memorize them.

Student #2 is what the majority of the students are. You want to understand when a certain equation applies. In this case, the student probably just needs to do a bunch of discrete questions.

'Students think they just need to memorize the equations and they'll be fine.'Click To Tweet

Whereas Student #3 just needs to do a math review. Maybe they need to watch videos on doing scientific notations and logarithms.

So all three students got the same score but they’ve got different homework. One needs to do flashcards. One needs to do practice questions. And the last one needs to watch videos on logarithms.

There are also those students who believe that they’re answers are correct and the testmakers are wrong and this is very common in the CARS section. 

[09:33] How Long Should It Take to Review

'90% of students don't review like they should.'Click To Tweet

It takes a long time to go through an exam. Generally speaking, it should take longer to review the test than it takes to take the test. And it already takes forever to take the test so students don’t want to spend 10-12 hours reviewing.

Look at the passage and the questions as a whole. Try to understand what stuff they asked about and what they didn’t ask about. This way, you can understand what the MCAT writers care about and what they don’t care about.

Each passage is about 80% full which is stuff you just don’t need. So those could be deleted and the students will do better since they would have more time.

Recognizing which information is important and not is really tricky and comes from really thorough review. There are some things that students don’t pay attention to just because it’s not important in real life.

[Related episode: When Do I Need More Content Review vs MCAT Test Skills?]

[12:50] Reviewing the Passage and Figures

Most students reviewing end up ignoring the passage. They may have missed one question in the passage but there may be some stuff there that they don’t understand. Hence, reviewing the passage is big.

For instance, in any given random passage with six questions, four of them are from the figures, one of them is from the passage, and one of them is a pseudo-discrete that doesn’t actually doesn’t need the paragraphs at all.

'Pay attention to the figures as those are really high-yield.'Click To Tweet

[14:50] Being Self-Aware of Your Weaknesses

'Everyone is ignorant of everything at some point.'Click To Tweet

Phil feels that when he is struggling is when he is growing. And students need this kind of growth mindset.

Nobody wants to admit they’re wrong. But take pleasure in not knowing something earlier but now you know this so you’re better. 

People want to continue believing and not admitting that they were incorrect. So be aware of that.

'Somebody who is never wrong is someone who never took any risks.'Click To Tweet

[21:00] Blueprint MCAT (formerly Next Step Test Prep)

If you need some more in-depth with your MCAT prep, check out Blueprint MCAT (formerly Next Step Test Prep). Sign up for a free consultation to figure out how they can best help you.


Blueprint MCAT (formerly Next Step Test Prep)