The goal of getting a good drives many applicants to use a variety of resources available to them, including MCAT Reddit and , and . And while it’s totally understandable to seek help online for , you should also know that getting your information about the MCAT from Reddit is a risk. In this blog, we will discuss why using MCAT Reddit as your source for MCAT prep is inadvisable and what other FREE resources are available to help you prepare for this challenging exam.
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The MCAT is one of the most difficult exams you will ever encounter. While there are , if you are a medical school hopeful, you are likely to encounter this exam on your journey to becoming a doctor. Most and the United States require their applicants to score high in this test to be competitive candidates. Furthermore, many med schools abroad, while they do have their own tests and exams for premeds, will often accept MCAT scores instead. This makes the MCAT a very influential part of your medical school application.
You may have prepared your answer for , or compiled a list of what extracurriculars you are going to include in your , you cannot anticipate which questions will come up in your MCAT. This is why MCAT prep is such a tremendous undertaking. In addition to reviewing the necessary content, you are expected to get comfortable with the MCAT format, practice with sample , chemistry questions, physics questions, go over MCAT CARS passages, and time yourself as you are doing all of this.
The MCAT is notorious for its length and difficulty, so part of your prep must include getting to know the structure of the test and procedures of the test day. This means doing as many full-length MCAT practice tests in one sitting as possible, timing yourself as you go through practice questions, and learning how to overcome fatigue in those 7 hours of test-taking. You have probably heard many scary stories about how hard and , but don’t trust everything you read or hear.
Particularly, you should not believe everything you read on threads about the MCAT. While there is certainly some good advice and some really helpful people on the MCAT Reddit forums, you have to be careful. I am here to give you top 5 reasons why you should exercise caution when it comes to using MCAT Reddit as one of your prep sources.
Did you know that the average MCAT percentile rank of medical school matriculants is 85%?
This is probably the most obvious reason for avoiding MCAT Reddit as a serious source of information. By entrusting your MCAT prep strategies to Reddit users, you are taking a huge risk. MCAT scores greatly affect , so you do not want to take preparations for this test lightly.
Firstly, you do not know the people, or users, on Reddit. You have most likely never met them and have only spoken to them in online threads. You do not know whether they have actually taken the MCAT or whether they have really done as well as they say they did. It is simply unreasonable to believe everything you read on Reddit, so do not trust users who boast 528 MCAT scores or know the "secret trick" to acing the MCAT.
Secondly, MCAT prep is a tremendous undertaking. It takes hard work and dedication to ace this test, so relying on questionable and undependable advice is not a good decision. Every hour of MCAT prep is precious, so you do not want to waste your time and energy on dubious advice and information.
Thirdly, the amount of information on MCAT Reddit is overwhelming. Most students find it difficult to decipher whether the advice they read is genuine. Not to mention, this procedure is also time-consuming.
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There are genuine threads on MCAT Reddit that offer tips for MCAT prep, but you should also know that the majority of Reddit threads are not reliable sources of information. Like with most topics, MCAT Reddit boards are filled with threads that aim to mislead and misinform you. Not only are they misguiding, but they are often rude and unsubstantiated. This phenomenon is present on a variety of . Some posts boast about acing the MCAT without any preparation, while some claim that there is only one legitimate MCAT prep company (these are typically posted by the representatives of this prep company). Furthermore, there are posts about the difficulty and unfairness of the test that dishearten future test-takers.
Firstly, never believe anyone who discourages you from dedicated studying. Anyone who posts dismissive threads about the difficulty of the test or the need for preparation is not your friend. Anyone who tells you that the MCAT is not worth worrying about does not have your interests at heart. This is why MCAT Reddit is dangerous: there is no sense of responsibility or accountability for what is posted. Nobody checks the legitimacy of posts on Reddit, so people can literally post whatever they want. No matter how many stories of you read on forums, do not let your guard down. If you find that MCAT Reddit threads are creating a false sense of reassurance and dissuade you from studying, consider it a red flag and disregard the thread.
On the other hand, MCAT Reddit is also filled with posts about . The posts you see and the threads you find are often full of intimidating, discouraging information about the MCAT's difficulty. The MCAT is indeed a challenge, but dedicated and catered study tactics have been the key to students’ success for decades. Reading negative, vague information about the difficulty of the MCAT does not help your preparations. These Reddit posts tend to worsen the fears of those who have not taken the MCAT themselves. There is no need to worsen your anxiety! It does not help you prepare mentally and cognitively for the test. The truth is somewhere in the middle. While nobody can deny that the MCAT is a difficult test, thousands of students have successfully written it and went on to achieve their dream of becoming a doctor.
Bottom line is that those who boast about the easiness or the difficulty of the MCAT are probably not the best sources of information and advice. Why? Well, the former are anomalies in our world who do not have to prepare for a 7.5-hour exam, while the latter struggled so much during the test that you probably do not want their advice in the first place.
Learn what makes the MCAT challenging in our infographic:
You should also keep in mind that Reddit is often used by businesses to promote their own hidden agendas. Some are also keen to use as a defamation platform to attack their competitors. MCAT prep companies use Reddit as a tool against each other, posting dissuading threads to scare students from turning to their competitors for help. It is certainly up to you to choose whether you sign up for a company’s MCAT prep programs, but be wary of posts that are rude, angry, or insulting of other people’s and companies’ prep tactics. Be vigilant of anyone who vehemently dismisses alternative study strategies, , or uses rude and contemptuous language towards other Reddit users. These tend to be written by prep agencies who are after your attention and money.
Reddit users are not typically a reliable source of information about higher education, especially when it comes to competitive programs like medicine, dentistry, law, and so on. Even when a user posts something true and applicable to their situation, you must be cautious of their advice because it might not fit your situation. I would like to point out that not all information on MCAT Reddit is false. There are people who genuinely want to share their and divulge information about their prep tactics and methods to other Reddit users. While this information is not false, it is often one-sided. This means that while the prep tactics they write about may have worked for their circumstances, they may not always be suitable for you.
You might be wondering why it is dangerous to use Reddit threads that actually share detailed and actionable prep tactics? Because while the person posting may genuinely wish you to succeed, they do not know you, your academic background, or your strengths. They have done their job – they passed their MCAT test. Now they want to share what’s worked for them, but they are not accountable for your success. They simply posted information about what worked for them and now it’s up to you to work hard to ace your test. If you use their advice and do not get the same score, they are not responsible for these complications. They simply shared what worked for them and did not have you in mind when they devised their study schedule. There are Reddit users out there who truly want to share their experience and help you anticipate some of the most challenging aspects of the test. They genuinely want to share what worked for them in preparations for the MCAT. However, it is wise to remember that not all advice can be applied to your circumstances.
Yes, the Reddit users may have taken the MCAT exam, but this does not make them experts. They may have aced or sections in their test, but they cannot prepare you for yours. While they can describe how they studied and what the test day was like, they cannot help you practice your test-taking strategies or learning the content. MCAT prep relies on your personal learning style, your schedule, whether you stick to it, your study habits, and your dedication. No amount of information on Reddit can prepare you for the test.
Firstly, if you are a medical school applicant, you probably already know that the MCAT has different versions of the test in the same year. The test forms are different and the exam administrators try to create equally difficult exam forms in one test cycle. This means, that whatever you hear about the test from test-takers in one cycle does not mean that you will have the same testing experience. Furthermore, test-takers in the same cycle get different questions. So, what can discussion boards really divulge about the questions you will face?
Secondly, while there are generally accepted MCAT prep strategies, everybody’s areas of strength and weakness are different. For example, someone may post that the first section of the MCAT, the Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems (CPBS), was the most challenging section of the entire exam. It may be true for this particular person, but this might not be true for you. Perhaps this person neglected their review of the most important ? Or they have always found chemistry a very challenging subject. We simply cannot know this person’s learning style and academic inclinations. While it’s fine to read about other people’s testing experience on Reddit, you should not take it at face value.
Do you know the sections that compose the MCAT?
When you are reading discussion threads, you should keep in mind that everybody’s journey to medical school and MCAT are different. The content areas or MCAT sections that a particular Reddit user may find challenging are not challenging for everyone. Do not panic after you read each Reddit post – just because some people find certain content on the test difficult does not mean that you will as well. You must have a clear personalized schedule, which must reflect your needs. If you jump from topic to topic based on MCAT Reddit posts, you will never get ready for the test.
Check out our recap of why you should avoid MCAT Reddit:
As I already mentioned, Reddit users cannot really spend their time and efforts to prepare you for the MCAT content or test-taking strategies. All they can do is share with you how they prepared. Their answers to your inquiries about what questions they encountered in their test are also futile - you might get a different test form or write your test months or years later when the test is completely different. In addition to not being able to prepare you for MCAT content , Reddit cannot prepare you for the test format either. Furthermore, MCAT prep should include more than content revision: it should be about reading, comprehension, analysis, attention to detail, stress management, and so on. All of these skills cannot be developed by reading Reddit posts. They are honed using diligent MCAT prep strategies.
As you know, your MCAT preparation tactics should always include CARS prep. While some students find biochemistry or questions very challenging, this does not apply to everyone. However, CARS is notoriously challenging for most students. This MCAT section is very difficult to prepare for because you cannot simply memorize formulas or terminology to ace it. This is why it is common for Reddit users to share their CARS prep tactics. There is a sort of comradery between MCAT test-takers regarding the difficulty of this MCAT section. More than often, you hear that CARS is impossible to prepare for. Alternatively, students often hear that they must cover as many passages and questions to do well in this section. In truth, this is not enough.
There are methods and strategies you can implement in your study plan that will help you develop the skills necessary for acing this test, such as active reading, communication of concepts and ideas, relating seemingly unconnected concepts with each other, and so on. All these prep tactics help you develop skills and knowledge that will last beyond your MCAT exam. They can last you a lifetime. For example, your should involve the development of your reading and comprehension skills. These skills take time to cultivate but they are essential for becoming a successful professional. In some way, building lifelong skills and knowledge should be the focus of your MCAT prep, not finding quick tricks on Reddit that might help you ace the test.
If you are wondering how you may develop skills like attention to detail and comprehension, there is one simple, reliable, but time-consuming and demanding method: reading and analyzing challenging texts. While it’s important to run through practice questions and passages to get familiar with the format, reading and analysis of literary materials is the only way to habituate yourself to identifying theses and arguments, as well as growing your vocabulary, in other words, skills necessary for acing CARS. As you can imagine, this takes time, dedication, and hard work. Therefore, no amount of MCAT Reddit tips and tricks for how to choose the right answer can help you ace this section. So don't waste your time reading MCAT Reddit threads, but focus your attention on developing skills and knowledge that will serve you long after you write your MCAT.
Keep in mind: there are no effective “ploys” or “crash courses” that can increase your MCAT prep progress. Development of attention to detail, reading, comprehension, and analytical skills takes commitment.
Learn why it's not wise to use Premed forums:
As you may have gathered from this article, your success on the MCAT depends on your personal preparations and studying. No amount of advice from your family, friends, classmates, or Reddit users, can instill in you an intrinsic motivation to succeed. Ultimately, your MCAT score will heavily depend on your study habits, how sufficient your study strategies were, and how much time you put into it. Simply put, you must prepare in a way that is helpful to you and avoid relying on tactics that are untested, unproven to work, or merely allege to work. You cannot risk entrusting your MCAT score to prep methods posted by unfamiliar MCAT Reddit users.
Firstly, the study strategies you read about on Reddit are not designed by professional and advisors. You may think this is irrelevant but prep techniques and review strategies are most effective when they have been devised by professionals who have previously tested them and proved them to be effective for a variety of students. The Reddit user who shared their learning strategies may have succeeded, but:
- We do not know if this person is being earnest. Maybe they are not disclosing some other tactics they used to ace their test or the fact that they used a prep company.
- Their success does not guarantee that their methods will be effective for your MCAT prep.
There are some sincere students on MCAT Reddit who want you to succeed. They are bright and eager to help; however, your strengths and weaknesses may not be the same as those of MCAT Reddit users you like and respect. Even if a user wishes you well and shares their personal methods of learning, it does not mean that these methods will work in your favor.
Does this mean you cannot get external help? Absolutely not! You are encouraged to use that can help you prepare. There are MCAT prep professionals who can work with your schedule, concentrate on your needs, and customize prep plans for your learning style. Additionally, there are dozens of free MCAT prep sources you can use to organize your own study schedule and increase your chances for success!
If you are looking for an MCAT tutor, check out our inforgraphic for choosing the best MCAT professional:
Understandably, you want to compare your study tactics with others’. As I already mentioned, discussion boards and online forums are often a source of companionship for premed students. However, we strongly encourage you to avoid using these threads to build your own MCAT prep strategy for the reasons we listed above. Feeling a sense of belonging during MCAT prep and medical school applications is great – especially if you are a who feels lonely in their endeavor. But remember that MCAT Reddit cannot be a serious source of information.
As I have pointed out repeatedly throughout the article, the advice you read on MCAT Reddit is not dependable. No one on Reddit is accountable for your success. What you need are MCAT prep strategies that have been tested and proven to work, and these are available to you for free on our website. Whether you are planning your study schedule or looking to figure , we have compiled a series of detailed, informative blogs and videos that can help you make sound decisions regarding your MCAT prep methods and schedule the optimal for you.
I want to emphasize that our free resources, such as blogs, webinars, and videos, do not withhold any of the information we use in our one-on-one consultations with students. The difference is that some students are great at incorporating the strategies outlined in our free resources independently, while others may feel that they need a more personalized approach. If you are struggling to apply our MCAT advice to your learning style or schedule, you may find a personal, one-on-one consultation helpful for your MCAT prep. If you are still deciding if , you can always reach out to us for a .
And remember that we are not your only option! There is plenty of other reliable resources that can help you with your MCAT prep. Do your research and choose the help that is right for you.
Whatever your situation is, remember that while MCAT Reddit and other premed discussion boards are there for support and chitchat, they cannot be your primary source of information about the MCAT. The information on MCAT Reddit is not vetted and reliable. Make sure to use the free MCAT resources on our blog and YouTube channel – these are tested and professionally approved prep strategies. If you ever need a bit more attention, make sure to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our admissions experts. We can help you decide on the best MCAT prep strategies for you moving forward.
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1. Should I use MCAT Reddit for test prep?
We would strongly advise you to avoid using MCAT Reddit as a source of information about the test and prep strategies. There are many reasons to be cautious, but the main are:
Please navigate to each section of the blog to learn more about the reasons why MCAT Reddit should not be your primary MCAT prep resource.
2. Is everything I read on MCAT Reddit unreliable or false?
Not everything you read on MCAT Reddit is meant to misguide you. Some users genuinely want to help you, so they share their personal experiences related to MCAT prep. However, this advice is untested and the source of the information, i.e., the user, cannot be authenticated. There is no way for you to know whether this person has truly studied for the MCAT using these strategies or whether they are lying. It is a big risk to put your MCAT success in the hands of unknown and unreliable people. While it’s normal to browse the internet and see what worked for other MCAT takers, it is not advisable to follow tips and study methods of unfamiliar, often anonymous, Reddit users.
3. Is there a better online forum for MCAT prep?
No, online premed forums are not a good place to find study strategies and tips for acing the test. Just like MCAT Reddit, all these forums are not reliable.
4. What should I use as my primary prep source?
First of all, you should visit the AAMC's official website to learn the latest information about the test. The AAMC also provides you with guidelines and advice for how to prepare for the MCAT.
5. What other prep resources are available to me?
You can use tested and professionally approved prep tactics you find on authoritative sites like ours. Not only do we provide thorough guidelines for every MCAT section, but we also review sample questions and expert analysis of correct answers. Make sure to visit our blog for most up-to-date information on MCAT prep and .
6. Why would I buy your paid services if you give your information out for free?
The information we provide in our blogs and videos is the same information we give to our students in one-on-one consulting sessions. However, one-on-one consultations are more personalized. We have the chance to address each student's needs and tailor their MCAT prep specifically for their circumstances.
7. How should I start my prep?
You should always start your MCAT prep by figuring out your baseline. To do this, you must take an . This practice exam will demonstrate your strengths and weakness, as well as introduce you to the test format.
8. Is taking practice questions enough, or is there another way to study?
Doing practice questions is a good study strategy for the second half of your MCAT prep plan. The first part of your prep will mostly consist of active study strategies while reviewing the exam content. Once you cover a substantial amount of MCAT content, you can move on to practice questions.
Additionally, remember that practice questions is not enough for MCAT CARS prep. You must do challenging reading and analysis of text to prepare for this test section.
To your success,
Your friends at BeMo
BeMo Academic Consulting
Disclaimer: MCAT is a registered trademark of AAMC. BeMo and AAMC do not endorse or affiliate with one another.