MCAT harder than the LSAT?

Pelicanator
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MCAT harder than the LSAT?

Postby Pelicanator » Mon Oct 29, 2007 2:23 am

Someone told me the MCAT is a lot harder than the LSAT. I've always considered going to medical school, but never studied for the MCAT. Anyone here taken it? Does it have a significant weight on admissiosn like the LSAT?

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Origin
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Postby Origin » Mon Oct 29, 2007 3:05 am

The MCAT is far more important to getting into med school than the LSAT or GMAT are for jd/mba


I find that hard to believe with LSATs being 70 or 80% of law school admissions.

But yes, it is a hard test. My roommate and his girlfriend - both ridiculously smart - did not fare too well on the MCAT.

LawSchoolWannaBe
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Postby LawSchoolWannaBe » Mon Oct 29, 2007 8:20 am

If the LSAT is 50-60%, the MCAT is more like 30-40%. Med schools actually go for well rounded candidates. Volunteering, good grades, research experience, tests scores...they all factor in. Kids with 40's and 3.9s have found themselves with no acceptances to med schools. You take a kid with a 175 (I'd say 40~175), and I bet he gets into a TON of good law schools.

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Alex138
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Postby Alex138 » Mon Oct 29, 2007 8:56 am

I think the MCAT just requires way more info to memorize while still asking the test taker to think intuitively with that information. You basically need recall of two semesters biology, two general chem, two organic chem, two physics, all college level math up to calc to be able to apply to hypothetical scenario type questions, not your basic definition questions. I would not want to prepare for that exam...

EDIT: ^^ previous post also plays into my belief that it is easier to get into law school than med school. I think several LS candidates would at least easily get into a t4 school, but it is difficult to get accepted to even the lowest tiered US medical schools (the easy option for Med school is to go out of the country, Carribean schools are a big trend now).

LawSchoolWannaBe
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Postby LawSchoolWannaBe » Mon Oct 29, 2007 9:38 am

Alex138: You are 100% right it is much easier to get into LS. It really isn't a comparison. I've got a roommate and a friend both applying. The process goes from June after Junior year through March~May of Senior year. It's absolute hell, you need to really want to pursue medicine to even think of it.

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brokendowncar
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Postby brokendowncar » Mon Oct 29, 2007 9:49 am

I have taken every class that I would need to prepare myself for med school. After taking all of these classes and doing well, I would never be able to study enough to do as well on the MCAT as I did on the LSAT. The amount of information that you have to grasp is unbelievable.

bonesinger
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Postby bonesinger » Mon Oct 29, 2007 3:57 pm

the medical world and law world are completely different

your LSAT score and GPA will determine your school, and subsequently your school determines your job.

You can go to any medical school, and get the same job, as long as you do well in your exams. I know this because my sister and brother are both doctors, neither one of them went to u.s medical schools, yet they make the same as u.s graduates.

edit: they didnt even take the mcat

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prelaw76
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Postby prelaw76 » Mon Oct 29, 2007 4:50 pm

It is just not fair to compare these two tests at all. The MCAT requires vast knowledge of biology, chemistry, physics, etc, subjects that you would have to have taken semesters of college level courses to know well.

With the LSAT, in contrast, one could start studying with an initial diagnostic score of 150 and increase dramatically within only a few months.

zeezoo
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Postby zeezoo » Mon Oct 29, 2007 6:30 pm

Anecdotally I know some science geeks that found the MCAT easier because they had extremely good memories, which is not as much of an advantage on the LSAT.

I'd bet the LSAT is more closely correlated with IQ. And I bet in the MCAT prior knowledge and prep time spent would be far more significant variables.

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thisabyssisbliss
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Postby thisabyssisbliss » Mon Oct 29, 2007 6:52 pm

how can you even compare the two?

I am sure there a plenty of people who would do great on the MCAT and poorly on the LSAT and visa versa.

They are two different tests and it all depends on your strengths.

velder
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Postby velder » Mon Oct 29, 2007 7:05 pm

I agree that the MCAT is a harder test in the amount of preparation needed, while the LSAT may be more stressful to test-takers in that you can't prepare for it as thoroughly.

Also, i doubt that the MCAT is weighed heavier than the LSAT. With the exception of Berkeley, LSAT is 60-80% of most law schools admissions index... well... according to some statisticians anyway. It certainly isn't hard to believe either judging from my 1 year of perusing through lsat numbers.com

bonesinger
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Postby bonesinger » Tue Oct 30, 2007 7:17 am

they really are different tests

MCAT tests your ability to memorize information, and apply concepts to situations

LSAT test your reading comprehension, critical thinking, logical reasoning, and the ability to order things, spatial arrangements and such.

they both are very hard in thier own respect, mcat being the vast (but basic) information you have to learn, and the LSAT being hard due to the lack of information thereof to learn.

You can feel more confident going into the MCAT because you know whats expected of you.

You can feel confident going into the LSAT based on your practice, but it feels different, its like knowing 2+2=4 for the MCAT, but for the LSAT it could be 2+x=4, and x could be the curveball lol

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senegalese_filmmaker
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Postby senegalese_filmmaker » Tue Oct 30, 2007 2:21 pm

MCAT harder than the LSAT?


Yes.

velder
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Postby velder » Thu Nov 01, 2007 10:21 pm

does the above post have any relevance to your initial question at all? We know it takes longer, and that it's harder. Why do you think I'd rather be a lawyer than a doctor? Duh

Tex_Mex13
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Postby Tex_Mex13 » Thu Nov 01, 2007 11:04 pm

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Last edited by Tex_Mex13 on Fri Jan 02, 2009 6:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

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ilove
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Re:

Postby ilove » Wed Feb 13, 2008 3:34 am

bonesinger wrote:they really are different tests

MCAT tests your ability to memorize information, and apply concepts to situations

LSAT test your reading comprehension, critical thinking, logical reasoning, and the ability to order things, spatial arrangements and such.

they both are very hard in thier own respect, mcat being the vast (but basic) information you have to learn, and the LSAT being hard due to the lack of information thereof to learn.

You can feel more confident going into the MCAT because you know whats expected of you.

You can feel confident going into the LSAT based on your practice, but it feels different, its like knowing 2+2=4 for the MCAT, but for the LSAT it could be 2+x=4, and x could be the curveball lol


as a former pre-med who endured taking a 9+ hour long MCAT sitting, I wholeheartedly disagree with the comments made above. The MCAT while generally does require more knowledge of the background subjects like physics and organic chemistry for example, I would say less than 10% of the test is rote memorization. The MCAT is passage-based, and invovles applying concepts to situations given in the passages. Much like the LSAT, it is a test of critical thinking and higher level information processing. If as you claim, it is a test of memorization, there wouldn't be a need for passages nor the need to read them if you are given them.

JSandlin
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Re: MCAT harder than the LSAT?

Postby JSandlin » Wed Feb 13, 2008 4:13 am

Having taken the courses that people would say are required for the MCAT, chem, physics, organic, Bio, Math etc. If you paid attention and did well in those courses, from the questions I've seen the MCAT would not be too dificult to pass. The MCAT rewards studying and documenting knowlegde a lot more than the LSAT. One can take all the classes in the world to maximize their LSAT score, but still never pass a certain level. However, given enough time (and that the student isn't a complete idiot) one can study their way into doing very well on the MCAT.

Which one is harder? I have no idea, but I think from the classes I've taken, I would rather take the MCAT.

Now if I were and English Major...

MLBrandow
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Re: Re:

Postby MLBrandow » Wed Feb 13, 2008 7:48 am

ilove wrote:
The MCAT while generally does require more knowledge of the background subjects like physics and organic chemistry for example, I would say less than 10% of the test is rote memorization. The MCAT is passage-based, and invovles applying concepts to situations given in the passages. Much like the LSAT, it is a test of critical thinking and higher level information processing. If as you claim, it is a test of memorization, there wouldn't be a need for passages nor the need to read them if you are given them.


ilove,

This is the crux of testing. Your subsequent statement is a flaw in reasoning, and since you are posting on this board, I assume you are studying for the LSAT and therefore capable of pointing it out in further review.




JSandlin wrote:If you paid attention and did well in those courses, from the questions I've seen the MCAT would not be too dificult to pass. The MCAT rewards studying and documenting knowlegde a lot more than the LSAT. One can take all the classes in the world to maximize their LSAT score, but still never pass a certain level. However, given enough time (and that the student isn't a complete idiot) one can study their way into doing very well on the MCAT.

Which one is harder? I have no idea, but I think from the classes I've taken, I would rather take the MCAT.


JSandlin,

As someone who has also taken much of both standard course loads and done well in both (for pre-med and in social sciences), I will say that the MCAT is far more difficult than the LSAT, the intelligence required is, in fact, on par, and the amount of work required to do well on the MCAT is much greater.

One requires more learned knowledge, the other merely honed intuition. Given the premise that one is smart, I think one would find the MCAT to be a much more difficult test to master. Such a level of intellect is the necessary condition to even do well in the classes that are basically requirements for the MCAT.

I don't believe Joe LSAT Taker who struggles with the fundamental logic concepts would ever pass classical mechanics or organic chemistry. For someone who has taken these science classes, you don't seem to respect the relative difficulty of those courses. There are a lot of people who change their major after failing Physics I and Organic, and so your sample size for comparison is inherently biased.

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aguyingeorgia
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Re: MCAT harder than the LSAT?

Postby aguyingeorgia » Wed Feb 13, 2008 7:56 am

The LSAT is easier.

goldscdj
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Re: MCAT harder than the LSAT?

Postby goldscdj » Wed Feb 13, 2008 10:05 am

i took the MCAT and am now studying for the LSAT... this isn't a perfect comparison but it seems that the MCAT is tricky "LSAT thinking" but you must have knowledge of chem, physics, biology, blah blah blah... It was as if all of my physics, o-chem, gen-chem, biology finals were all rolled up into one test... anyone could pick up an LSAT book and have a fighting chance, that isn't the case for the MCAT

arisbottle
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Re: MCAT harder than the LSAT?

Postby arisbottle » Mon Feb 18, 2008 2:14 am

as one who has taken both the mcat and the lsat and now earns his keep teaching the tests... the mcat is easier than the lsat. much easier.

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Carnodel
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Re: MCAT harder than the LSAT?

Postby Carnodel » Mon Feb 18, 2008 5:32 am

Just take both and see how you do. You might end up doing both at the same time:

Dual MD/JD degree programs

fa40
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Re: MCAT harder than the LSAT?

Postby fa40 » Sat Feb 23, 2008 3:42 am

This thread is a bit dated but I figured I'd throw my two cents in anyway. First, I want to say I have taken both exams and found them both to be difficult, but in different ways.

The MCAT requires the test taker to summon knowledge about chemistry (organic and inorganic), physics, pre-calc math, and biology in solving problems that are mostly in the form of an experiment. Unlike other health professions exams, however, the MCAT is also largely a thinking exam (in this way it shares some similarities with the LSAT). For example, there is no "plug and puke" going on here. What I mean by that is that you don't get a very "neat" problem- like a standard strong acid-strong base titration- and then are asked for molar concentratons, volumes, etc. That's high school stuff. Instead, you are literally asked to take the role of a researcher/investigator, and you must account for results and offer a logical explanation based on the data at hand (just as with the LSAT, one should never get too far ahead and start assuming things based on prior knowledge- i.e. thinking too much).

While some questions require mathematical problem solving or rote memorization, most require abstract thinking. The MCAT mostly asks "why" and not "what". The point of this is to weed out those who fail to undersand the material abstractly and who rely largely on the plug and puke problem soving technique that is "monkey see monkey do". The idea is that doctors should think, not mimic (Although I am sure there are many who are like that- usually the worst ones).

I won't go into the idiosyncracies of the LSAT here, since I am sure almost all of you are familiar with it.

Now in order to answer which exam is harder, we must answer "Which one are you better prepared for?" I would not expect a student who has had taken no more than a few basic science courses in high school to be able to perform very well on the MCAT. You do need some concrete knowledge for the MCAT, unlike the LSAT. But there may be, out there somewhere, a student who can find a way to crack the MCAT with ony high schol AP classes in bio/chem/orgo/physics. I frankly think that the MCAT is not as hard as some people make it out to be, but this depends on several factors:
-Knowledge base, again
-Ability to understand the material intimately, answering "why" instead of just "what" (I find it funny that so many MCAT takers bring silly note cards to the exam- it's pointless unless you understand it intimately, but if you need to memorize the formulas you clearly have no grasp of the material intimately).
-Ability to read fast, and to synthesize info (as with the LSAT, the MCAT contains a distinct reading passages section. There is also a writing section, but most schools don't care, unless you really score low).
-Ability to see the "bigger picture"- sometimes even, literally, the graph/table in one shot. The MCAT people love graphs/charts/tables. Those who can read them fast get quick and easy points in the bag. I guess this has a practical significance, since doctors must read charts quickly.
-Ability to calculate problems, use exponents and scientific notation. The truth is that the MCAT has very few "math" type probems, but the ones that are there usually require you to understand scientific notation and division and multiplication by values of higher orders.

Does any of the above look like the LSAT? Well, some does- reading, ability to synthesize info fast, and at a more general level, logical reasoning. But it's clearly a different exam and it should not be compared side-by-side. Even if one is well prepared for both, he or she might score differently on the two in terms of score percentiles.

I honestly think that the exams are equally difficult, but in their own, different ways.

kritiosboy
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Re: MCAT harder than the LSAT?

Postby kritiosboy » Mon Feb 25, 2008 12:36 am

fa40...great response.

Is anyone aware of a pre-med community similar to tls? i've googled it and haven't found one.

nellie06
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Re: MCAT harder than the LSAT?

Postby nellie06 » Mon Feb 25, 2008 12:43 am

my gf goes to studentdoctor.com i think...it's the med school tls...

MCAT is much harder. I've taken both (the MCAT twice.. LSAT once). Scored in the 80% range then the 90% range on the MCAT; 98% on the LSAT. I worked much harder on the MCAT.

I also didn't get into medical school and have easily gotten into a number of T14 law schools. Easily.


I find this comment interesting and thats what I was trying to explain to her. She would have no shot at columbia, nyu, etc for med school but with a 3.6 gpa and urm status and the fact her dad went to cls she would have a decent shot at the law school with a solid lsat, or at least a t-14. I told her to see how things shake out with her june mcat.




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