When Do I Need More Content Review vs MCAT Test Skills?

Session 90

When you’re struggling on the MCAT, there may be a few different reasons, with content review and test skills being just two. How do you know what to work on?

Great news! The Medical School Headquarters and Next Step Test Prep have again teamed up for a book. The Premed Playbook: Guide to the MCAT is coming very soon! Just go to MCATBook.com and signed up to be notified when it’s available or find out where to purchase it. Please take a listen to all our other podcasts on the MedEd Media to help you on this journey to medical school!

As always, we’re joined by Bryan Schnedeker from Next Step Test Prep. We talk about how to figure out where to go if you’re not getting the score you think you need but the score you want. Let’s dissect further whether it’s a content or test skills issue.

[01:40] Content vs. Test Skills

As what I’ve been mentioning, the MCAT is not a content-based test. You have to know the content but it’s not testing you specifically on the content. You have to analyze and think critically, etc.

If you’re a student struggling with taking your practice exams, how should you figure out what those next steps are to improve?

Bryan clearly explains that for every student, it’s always both. Meaning, no student has the perfect MCAT content knowledge and no student has the perfect test strategy. So everyone can always improve both.

[03:20] If You’re Scoring Below 500 (490-500)

At Next Step Test Prep, their rule of thumb is that if you’re scoring below 500, you almost certainly have quite a few content areas that you haven’t yet mastered. In fact, Bryan has never seen a student who scored below average that didn’t have some content areas they need to work on.

This doesn’t mean though that you don’t need to build up your MCAT test skills. It’s possible even if your performance is below average and your content is above average. Nevertheless, you need to work on content.

[04:26] If You’re Scoring 480-490

Now, if you’re scoring between 480-490, almost universally, there are very, very serious content deficiencies.

Every student unique and every situation is unique. But if you find that you’re consistently scoring in the mid to low 490s, you are not going to do well on the MCAT until you address those content concerns. This being said, you will also have to work on strategy.

If it has been many years since you took the class in college, which is common among nontrads. They could be 3-4 more years out of college and they only did okay in the class, then they may need to go back again and audit some classes at a college.

[06:45] Resources to Help You

Bryan has noticed too that it does tend to come back once you start studying it. In this case, Bryan recommends mixing books and videos. Work through the Next Step books and then do the Khan Academy videos in conjunction. So you’re getting a multi-modal presentation and not just all text again and again.

Lastly, this is not a one-size-fits-all problem so go to as many places as you can – forums, reddit, and ask these questions. Ultimately, it’s up to you (not somebody else) to figure out to tell you what the answer is.

[07:50] Next Step Test Prep

Check out Next Step Test Prep, the company for full-length practice exams. Buy them i packages of 4, 6, or 10. And save 10% off those packages using the promo code MCATPOD.


Next Step Test Prep

The Premed Playbook: Guide to the MCAT

Khan Academy MCAT Test Prep

MedEd Media

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