How to Review MCAT Practice Tests

The key to reviewing MCAT practice tests is to carefully examine exactly what kinds of errors you’re making. Usually these errors follow patterns and they show a weakness in one or more areas.

If you’re having a problem with comprehension, this can come from a number of places...

If the difficulty comes from understanding what particular sentences say, you need to develop a stronger foundation in grammar. Grammar and knowing how to apply it is the key to understanding any sentence, particularly those very long or complicated ones.

If you’re having difficulty figuring out what a particular essay is about, or what the point is that an author is trying to make, this usually shows a weakness in your knowledge of rhetoric. A strong foundation in rhetoric will give you the ability to pick out the key ideas in an essay and see how they relate to each other, and identify exactly what the author wants to prove.

If you’re understanding the essays but still getting questions wrong, this usually results from three sources:

  1. First, a weakness in grammar, i.e. the ability to analytically understand how the words in a sentence precisely relate to each other in order to understand what the question actually says, and what the constituent elements of meaning are.

  2. Second, a weakness in reflective intelligence, an inability to reflect on each piece of information in the question (a ‘constituent element’) and see how they match wit the constituent elements in the answers.

  3. Third, understanding the strategy of the question, i.e. knowing linguistically precisely what the question is asking you to do irrespective of its form.

Like practicing medicine, diagnosis is 90% of treatment. Keep track of your challenges and diagnose them carefully. A careful analysis will indicate exactly what you have to do.