5 Most Common MCAT Mistakes [And How to Fix Them]?

June 22, 2024

minute read

Remember that one person in your life told you “we all make mistakes”…

Stay away from them.

(At least until your MCAT is over!)

We as future doctors, can’t afford to be “okay” with mistakes!

Mistakes determine everything in our life and especially on the MCAT.

It’s not only the amount of right answers you get on the MCAT that contribute to your score, but it’s also the amount of mistakes you make that determine your score as well!

Making a mistake as a practicing medical professional can cost you everything!

However, as we’ll cover later in this post, mistakes (during the practice phase) can also be the REASON you succeed.

How? If you know how to use them to your advantage.

We’ll cover more about how to do use them to your advantage later in this post.

First, let’s talk about the stupid mistakes you keep making on the MCAT, or are bound to keep making eventually… (we all experience them!)

Truth is, every small, silly, and stupid mistake on the MCAT adds up.

Yet those are the mistakes that play one of the biggest roles in differentiating the top MCAT scorers from the average-scoring MCAT writers.

We’re talking about mistakes like seeing after the fact that it said ‘pKa’ not ‘Ka’, or not keeping track of units like mm, cm, kohms.

Some people might get every extremely hard question wrong but make no stupid mistakes and still master the MCAT.

Some people might get all the hard questions right but make a lot of stupid mistakes and not master the MCAT.

Your aim, obviously and ideally, is to be the 90th percentile scorer who doesn’t make any stupid mistakes and also gets the hard questions right.

Most of the time, students are making the same mistakes as everyone else.

If you know about them, you’re less likely to do them yourself.

And our job at MCAT Mastery, is to give you an edge over the rest of the people writing with you…

So here they are:

5 Common “Silly Mistake Reasons” To Avoid On the MCAT

1 – Breezing over ‘qualifying terms’ like “except” and “only if”

2 – Reading too fast and not grasping everything in the passage

3 – Confusing similar terms that you may think you know but you don’t really

4 – Not interpreting questions correctly

5 – Calculation errors

A lot of our silly mistakes are a result of our nerves, our stressed mind, and our lack of awareness. I mean you can’t blame us – especially when you’re writing an exam that determines your future!

But if you can figure out how to de-stress, stay calm, and raise your awareness during the MCAT, imagine how much of an advantage you can gain from every other student writing the MCAT with you who is bound to be making stupid mistakes.

Emotional intelligence is a huge measure of success in life and part of emotional intelligence is in recognizing your own emotions.

If you’re feeling anything lower than neutral or positive, you’re doing yourself a disservice because negative emotions like worry and frustration tend to cloud our mind and judgement…

Resulting in silly mistakes that could have easily been avoided.

If you’re interested in learning how to conquer your MCAT stress, raise your awareness, and eliminate all fear during the MCAT, you can read the following articles we’ve written:

Next, let’s talk about practice questions.

When you make a mistake on MCAT practice questions, what do you do next? What thoughts go through your head?

Here’s how you should approach it…

Conducting Mistake Analysis for a Higher MCAT Score

Throughout our research, we’ve come to realize that high scorers on the MCAT understand “the art of strategic mistake analysis.”

First, what is mistake analysis, exactly?

Mistake analysis is one of the most underrated MCAT study strategies.

It is just as important as content review and doing practice passages. Even intelligent students often underestimate it.

For some reason, most students pass over mistakes and write them off as “stupid” or “careless” and then move on.

They see getting something wrong as “punishment” when really, it’s “a blessing in disguise!”

Every MCAT Master performs mistake analysis regularly to discover areas where they need to give more attention and other areas that simply just need some review.

Mistake analysis allows you to develop a strategy to not make the same mistake again.

For example, let’s say you get a question asking you to rank strengths of acid in order. Some people tend to quickly glance through 10 acids, thinking it’s so easy, and end up screwing up because they missed the middle acids that change everything.

So once you realize you keep making similar mistakes, one solution to could be to always mark questions like this, and when the page is done, go back to it and double-check.

Perhaps you want to do that with all questions that you habitually get wrong.

A lot of times, you have to catch what your brain is doing on autopilot and stop it.

Remember, every single mistake is an opportunity to eliminate your weakness.

Most fail to recognize this important fact and their score stagnates because they don’t learn how to improve it.

Most people realize this fact the second time they write the exam.

You don’t want to be that person! You want this to be the last time you ever write the MCAT.

Learn this stuff now, so you don’t have to go through this grueling MCAT prep process again!

In mistake analysis, the goal is to analyze the score reports you get through MCAT prep and try to gain as many insights as you can on your performance.

The key is to memorize fewer details and keep an eye out for trends in data instead.

If you’re interested, we took all our months of research that we spent gathering the study strategies of top MCAT scorers and MCAT experts, and put them all in one ultimate guide.

In this PDF guide that you can download and read through in a day, we have an entire section called ‘The Art of Strategic MCAT Practice’ where we cover mistake analysis and much more in greater detail.

Plus, you’ll find all sorts of MCAT study and testing techniques, shortcuts, templates, frameworks, and hacks in the guide that if put into practice, can lead to a substantial score increase (an increase of 10 points or more isn’t uncommon).

You can download or learn more about the guide by clicking here.

If you spend some time learning our best MCAT study hacks, you can be sure a great MCAT score is yours for the taking.

MCAT Mastery

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