The new MCAT is going to be given out starting in spring of 2015 and you need to start studying. Luckily, Khan Academy is revamping their entire MCAT curriculum to help you out and best of all, it’s free! The entire project is being overseen by AAMC to ensure it meets proper standards and thus making it all the more reliable. The sections covered are:
- Organ Systems
- Physical Processes
- Chemical Processes
- Processing the Environment
- Individuals and Society
- Society and Culture
Khan Academy is an excellent tool to help pre-meds understand general and basic concepts that are most crucial to the MCAT. However, the website mostly only establishes foundations rather than building on them. Khan Academy will give you a lot of material, but it won’t tell you what to focus on — rather, it is more of a general database of MCAT topics without guidance as to what to study first and foremost.
I’m not saying Khan Academy is a bad tool. Khan Academy is still great, but you need to use it in conjunction with other, more-detailed MCAT study methods to ensure you’re focusing your energy on the most worthwhile MCAT topics.
From my experience, I’ve learned that many of my pre-med students have particular issue with the Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills section. Since the MCAT 2015 is going to make changes to this section, you are going to want to pay special attention to how critical reasoning experts process an argument.
Specifically, you’re going to want to learn how to interpret elements within an argument, elements that an author would agree or disagree with, and especially how to take an author’s point of view and apply it to new situations.
This is the core difference between the Verbal Reasoning section of the old MCAT and the new CARs section of MCAT 2015.
How Do You Get There?
The best way is to take an extra class (sorry!) on either critical theory or symbolic logic. I like the critical theory classes better, because you work with a lot of different argument types. However, be careful, because a critical theory class goes well beyond the types of reasoning that will be tested on MCAT 2015.
Here’s a free class that I found on the web about critical theory. It’s long, about 40 hours, so pick and choose the parts that you think will be the most useful.
If you want a more-focused alternative, my colleague Prof. Kevin delaPlante from Iowa State University and I put together a critical reasoning course that is specific to this section of the MCAT. You can learn more goodness about this course by going here now.