The MCAT is really a test of your ability to apply basic knowledge to different, perhaps unfamiliar, situations. You’ve worked hard to prep, review, and practice—these test-taking tips will help you capitalize on all that hard work. Use these strategies on the general science sections of the MCAT. 

MCAT strategies

1. Back to the basics

Don’t panic if something seems completely unfamiliar. Understand the basic content well, find the basics in the unfamiliar topic, and apply them to the question.

2. Process of elimination is paramount!

The strikeout tool allows you to eliminate answer choices; this will improve your chances of guessing the correct answer if you are unable to narrow it down to one choice.

3. Tackle questions in the order YOU want

Answer the straightforward questions first. Leave questions that require analysis of experiments and graphs for later. Make sure to use your scratch paper to record questions you skipped.

4. Take it easy with the highlighting tool

Otherwise, you will end up with a passages that is completely covered in yellow! Highlighting should draw attention to main themes or supporting statements.

5. Not all “true” statements are the right answer

Make sure that the answer you choose actually answers the question, and isn’t just a true statement.

6. Avoid extremes

Try to avoid answer choices with extreme words such as “always,” “never,” etc. In science, there is almost always an exception and answers are rarely black-and-white.

7. Don’t get tricked by LEAST/EXCEPT/NOT questions

These are the questions that ask you to pick that answer that doesn’t fit (the incorrect or false statement). It’s often good to use your scratch paper and write a T or F next to answer choices A–D. The one that stands out as different is the correct answer!

8. No blanks!

Remember, there is no guessing penalty on the MCAT. Never leave a question blank!


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