Top 10 Mcat tips

Work questions out of order.

Spending too much time on the hardest problems means you may rush through the easiest. Instead of working questions in order, ask yourself whether a question is a Do Now, Later, or Never. No need to agonize—this decision can be made very quickly:

  • NOW: Does a question look okay? Do you know how to do it? Do it now.
  • LATER: Will this question take a long time to work? Leave it and come back to it later. Circle the question number for easy reference.
  • NEVER: Know the topics that are your worst, and learn the signs that flash danger. Don’t waste time on questions you should never do. Instead, use more time to answer the Now and Later questions accurately.

Choose a “Letter of the Day.

Just because you don’t work a question doesn’t mean you don’t answer it. There is no penalty for wrong answers on the ACT, so you should never leave any blanks on your answer sheet. When you guess on Never questions, pick your favorite two-letter combo of answers and stick with it. For example, always choose A/F or C/H. If you’re consistent, you’re more likely to pick up points.

Forget the right answer—find the wrong ones.

Multiple-choice tests offer one great advantage: They provide the correct answer right there on the page. ACT hides the correct answer behind wrong ones, but when you cross off just one or two wrong answers, the correct answer can become more obvious.

Know the best way to bubble in.

If you’re worried about accidentally filling in the wrong bubble on your answer sheet, this tip will save your score. Work a page at a time on English and Math and a passage at a time on Reading and Science. Circle your answers right on the booklet. Then, transfer a page’s worth of answers to the answer sheet at one time. It’s better to stay focused on working questions rather than disrupt your concentration to find where you left off on the scantron.

There is no such thing as a "Practice Go"

A "practice go" is just a waste of your time and money. Since most people can only retain knowledge learned for exams for a limited period of time, if you do a practice go a year or even only 6 months before you intend to sit the real test, then the chances are that you'll have forgotten a large part of what you learned by the time you get to the real thing. So you'll have to learn it all over again. That's wasted time. Plus it's demoralizing to have to start all over again. And this is before we even start talking about the cost of the Gamsat entry fee which isn't cheap. But what if it's a long time before you need to do your "real" sitting for med school entry and you want to get started? Look, I know people who have passed Gamsat with very little preparation, in some cases with just a couple of weeks prep. And remember that Gamsat results are valid for two years. So if you want to start on your Gamsat journey ahead of time within your two year window within which your results can still get you into med-school DON'T have the attitude that if you sit Gamsat it's "just a practice". Have the attitude that every time you take the test it's to pass and go all out for it even if you haven't had time to do what you think is enough prep. Because as I said above you COULD pass - so just go for it. It would be a real shame to miss out on a pass by just a few marks because you had the attitude that "it's just a practice" so you didn't give it 100% either leading up to the test or even worse on test day itself. How many people didn't pass because they got tired towards the end of section 3 and gave up because "it's just a practice"?

Don't expect it to be easy

Working as a doctor isn't going to be easy. Gamsat is supposed to test the skills that doctors need, so don't expect Gamsat to be easy either. I often see people complaining that Gamsat isn't a good way to select doctors because doctor's don't need to interpret poems, or understand complex physics problems or write essays etc. But Gamsat isn't really testing those things. Gamsat is also testing your ability to teach yourself new information, your resilience, your perseverance and your work ethic. And yes it's also testing your intelligence. A lot of Gamsat is basically just an intelligence test, and this is going to be hard for some people to accept, but not everyone is intelligent enough to be a doctor.

Tailor your strategy to each section of the ACT.

Check out our test-taking tips for each section of the ACT:

  • English
  • Math
  • Reading
  • Science
  • Essay

Make a plan

Most people taking Gamsat are either already studying another degree subject or are working full time. So combining that with Gamsat study can be challenging - don't underestimate it. Now most people's idea of a study plan is just to look at the total amount of what they've got to do and just split it up over the time available. Your Gamsat plan will have to be more detailed than that. You'll need specific goals for each stage, plan when you are going to do your practice tests and which ones i.e. the official ACER ones or other commercially available practice tests etc. By the way if you want more help planning for Gamsat I recommend you read my other article on this blog - Gamsat Preparation Plan

Don't spend too much time on student forums

Or should I say don't WASTE too much time on students forums. At the beginning it's normal to spend some time on the internet researching the test, getting ideas, finding resources etc. But don't get obsessed. Or use it as an excuse to procrastinate and not do any real work. All too often I see people spending hours on forums or Reddit engaged in pointless discussions and speculation. It's a case of the blind leading the blind.

Don't start with Gamsat questions right away

The official ACER Gamsat questions are time consuming and difficult. Starting on them right away isn't a great way to kick off your studies and it's also time inefficient. Now this doesn't mean that you shouldn't get all the official ACER questions - you should. But it's better to use them as practice once you've already learnt a new topic and preferably tested your skills out on some easier quicker style questions of the type which will come in a standard science A level (year 12) text book.