MCAT harder than the LSAT?

MLBrandow
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Re: MCAT harder than the LSAT?

Postby MLBrandow » Mon Feb 25, 2008 1:20 am

1. Instructor: I teach classes for both the MCAT and LSAT. Students who take the MCAT generally spend four or less weeks studying for the test. Students who take the LSAT generally spend eight or more weeks studying for the test. Therefore, the MCAT is a much easier test.

All of the following, if true, call into question the instructor's conclusion EXCEPT

(A) There is much less preparation material available for the MCAT than for the LSAT.
(B) The instructor is obviously lying about teaching classes for both the MCAT and LSAT.
(C) Students who study for the MCAT generally have spent the last three years of their lives taking science courses whose concepts are tested on the MCAT, while most students who take the LSAT generally have never taken a course whose concepts are tested on the LSAT.
(D) Many students who hope to take the MCAT never take it because they fail classical mechanics and organic chemistry, then change their majors from Pre-Med to Political Science.
(E) The content of the MCAT cannot be studied for to the degree that the LSAT can because the material is so much more complex in nature.

fa40
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Re: MCAT harder than the LSAT?

Postby fa40 » Mon Feb 25, 2008 3:49 am

MLBrandow wrote:1. Instructor: I teach classes for both the MCAT and LSAT. Students who take the MCAT generally spend four or less weeks studying for the test. Students who take the LSAT generally spend eight or more weeks studying for the test. Therefore, the MCAT is a much easier test.

All of the following, if true, call into question the instructor's conclusion EXCEPT

(A) There is much less preparation material available for the MCAT than for the LSAT.
(B) The instructor is obviously lying about teaching classes for both the MCAT and LSAT.
(C) Students who study for the MCAT generally have spent the last three years of their lives taking science courses whose concepts are tested on the MCAT, while most students who take the LSAT generally have never taken a course whose concepts are tested on the LSAT.
(D) Many students who hope to take the MCAT never take it because they fail classical mechanics and organic chemistry, then change their majors from Pre-Med to Political Science.
(E) The content of the MCAT cannot be studied for to the degree that the LSAT can because the material is so much more complex in nature.


Haha, ok (C). But seriously..(the "if true" is the operative phrase above, as C may not be applicable in the real world)

Getting back to reality for a moment, that first statement is totally nonsense. The MCAT, on average, requires 2-3 months of rigorous study (for some, less, but most average 2-3). It's not so much the material is that hard to pin down, per se. Yes, as you say (or better said, imply), students do have a few years of sciences courses in the bank before attempting to grapple with the MCAT. And yes, in many colleges students are simply ill-prepared for the types of questions offered on the LSAT, which requires a good deal of preparation in topics such as logic and pure philosophy- not Kant or Derrida bs- but the real "meaty" philosophy with syllogisms and stuff. Pre-law? It's a joke in most colleges, and poli sci is a lame substitute. Poli sci is only useful for law insofar as it teaches one to read and write, which is great for reading comp type questions and the pointless essay.

Now, what I said in my post is that the MCAT and LSAT have some similarities, but they differ as well. It's like asking some random person, "Which is harder, playing the violin or spaking German?" For most people, the answer is "Both are equally difficult".

But some people who have a background in Germanic studies will say "violin" while those who have a background in musical instrument playing- but no German- will say that German is harder. It depends on where you come from- what your skill sets are. You say, "Well, MCAT is specialized, LSAT is not" but then turn around and say "Students get prepped more." Well, to be honest,there are a few flaws in your argument.

1. MCAT IS a more specialized exam, but even the very best students in bio and pre-med can get their butts whopped by this monster. In fact,the MCAT- as I stated above- is not so much about concrete- crystallized- intelligence as it is about the fluid intelligence which, no surprise here, is similar to what is required on the LSAT. Basically, it's a reasoning exam masquerading as a health sciences exam. Think "Columbo Goes to Med School" (For those who have no idea who Columbo is, well, substitute Sherlock Holmes). It's not the same typ of thinking, but it is a thinking exam more than most people imagine it to be.
2. Many students take years of undergrad sciences courses and still fail to grasp important concepts. Again, they know the what but not the why.
3. I don't know how the hypothetical scenario where students, who have had no prior exposure to either pre-med, or pre-law, would play out if they tried to grapple with both exams. See, when one asks "Which exam is harder" it matters that you ask "for whom?". For a pre-med student, the LSAT is likely harder. For pre-law, the MCAT. For some guy who has been in a cave and doesn't know premed or prelaw from Bo Didley, both exams are very hard. Even you imply that the LSAT requires preparation, which some pre-law programs don't provide.
4. Even if we assume (C) is true (and I cannot assume that out of hand), a pre-law student with fairly poor LSAT prep can get up to a competitive level in a matter of 1-2 months. The rest, well, after all, is genetics and innate ability. But the MCAT is also partly innate, because, I can tell you, many many 4.0 GPAs have messed up on the MCAT after several do-overs. They don't understand that sometimes the score is what it is.

So in a sense the answer cuts both ways. Yes, pre-med students have maybe 3 years to get ready for the types of information that they face on the MCAT, while many pre-law students do not. But the pre-law students can no doubt catch up with 1-2 months of study as well. Furthermore, the MCAT can't be cracked just by having a great GPA in sciences courses and lots of undergrad classes in bio, chem, etc.

There was a time, I believe, when the MCAT and LSAT were both considered as acceptable entrance exams to MENSA. I am not sure if the MCAT qualifies anymore, but the fact that at least it once did qualify (it may well still qualify, but people here are free to post their own answers on this matter), indicates that to simply view the MCAT as a "memorization" based exam and little else, is wrong.

I dislike turf wars myself, like "Law is better than the medical field" or "The medical field is better than law" blah blah blah. Which is what these posts ultimately amount to, or regress towards.

Do what you like AND what you are best at.

fa40
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Re: MCAT harder than the LSAT?

Postby fa40 » Mon Feb 25, 2008 4:01 am

nellie06 wrote: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.


As a URM, with a 3.6 GPA (although it depends: is her sciences GPA good?), and a solid MCAT (say 34 or so), she has a good shot at the top med schools. As a URM, she is probably in a better position. But I have to tell you: Med schools aren't so caught up in numbers as are law schools. It's a simple fact that while good MCATs/GPA get you past the initial screen, what you do AFTER is much more important- like your secondaries, your interview, extra curriculars. Sure, the top schools are into numbers, they want to have a reputation as competitive, but thre have been students with even lower GPAs and mediocre MCATs who have gotten into top medical schools.

And sometimes it matters more that you find a place you like as opposed to the best school. In the field of law, where one goes to law school matters for things like clerkships and top notch law firms. But every doctor is given just about the same opportunity for residency- even Caribbean schools. And when was the last time a hospital asked a doctor "Where did you go to medical school" as a way to weed out applicants? Going to any top school helps, but it is much more important for law in my opinion.

MLBrandow
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Re: MCAT harder than the LSAT?

Postby MLBrandow » Mon Feb 25, 2008 11:48 pm

fa40 wrote:Haha, ok (C). But seriously..(the "if true" is the operative phrase above, as C may not be applicable in the real world)


B is the correct answer. It attacks the speaker's ethos rather than his argument.

joonix
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Re: MCAT harder than the LSAT?

Postby joonix » Fri Mar 21, 2008 12:46 am

I took the DAT (similar to MCAt except no physics and not as hard, but does have mindf*ck section called Perceptual Ability) and just started studying for the LSAT.

I can tell you that it is completely different. DAT/MCAT studying is all about reading texts and memorizing knowledge. LSAT is none of that, its just practice and strategies. You don't have to worry about your mind going blank. You also don't know exactly what to expect on MCAT/DAT because the sciences are broad. Organic Chem is hard! Physics is hard!

That doesn't mean someone who gets a 40 on the MCAT can take the LSAT and get a high score. LSAT requires preperation, but a lot of you brainy people can sit for an LSAT and score 160+ cold. But MCAT requires years of science classes then months of hard studying. I rewrote by hand the entire Kaplan science book (over 1000 pgs), and I didn't do well.

Completely different tests but the MCAT is a beast!

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brokendowncar
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Re: MCAT harder than the LSAT?

Postby brokendowncar » Sun Mar 23, 2008 5:12 pm

joonix wrote:That doesn't mean someone who gets a 40 on the MCAT can take the LSAT and get a high score.

A 40 on the MCAT is crazy high. If you do that, you're smart enough to score well on any standardized test with a little practice.

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OperaAttorney
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Re: MCAT harder than the LSAT?

Postby OperaAttorney » Thu Mar 27, 2008 5:23 am

This thread is ridiculous. Why on earth are you guys even debating a moot point???

Here's what I think...

You MCAT-to-LSAT converts didn't fare well on the journey to med school, because you $$$ whores are better suited to the soulless trenches of BIGLAW. Thank God the med schools figured things out--you all would have SUCKED as physicians! :lol:

Hitachi
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Re: MCAT harder than the LSAT?

Postby Hitachi » Thu Mar 27, 2008 6:57 am

A 40 on the MCAT is 99.9 %ile, equivalent to a 178.

Comparing difficulty of curved tests can mean three things.

One, the % of questions the average person will get right. I have no idea which is harder by this measure, but it hardly matters, that's what a curve is for.

Secondly, the average amount of effective study of the people who make up the curve (presumably indicating how much you will need to study in order to take your rightful place). Assuming that you count the science classes required to gain knowledge, the MCAT is definitely ahead on this one.

The last possibility is the intelligence/potential of the people making up the curve. Here, again, I'd say the MCAT is tougher - the weakest students are weeded out before they take the MCAT, while anyone can and does take the LSAT.

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cub1014
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Re: MCAT harder than the LSAT?

Postby cub1014 » Wed Oct 07, 2015 11:31 am

The MCAT is a harder test... period. It is an application and intuition test. LSAT is solely an intuition test.

GreatBraffsby
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Re: MCAT harder than the LSAT?

Postby GreatBraffsby » Wed Oct 07, 2015 11:39 am

MLBrandow wrote:1. Instructor: I teach classes for both the MCAT and LSAT. Students who take the MCAT generally spend four or less weeks studying for the test. Students who take the LSAT generally spend eight or more weeks studying for the test. Therefore, the MCAT is a much easier test.

All of the following, if true, call into question the instructor's conclusion EXCEPT

(A) There is much less preparation material available for the MCAT than for the LSAT.
(B) The instructor is obviously lying about teaching classes for both the MCAT and LSAT.
(C) Students who study for the MCAT generally have spent the last three years of their lives taking science courses whose concepts are tested on the MCAT, while most students who take the LSAT generally have never taken a course whose concepts are tested on the LSAT.
(D) Many students who hope to take the MCAT never take it because they fail classical mechanics and organic chemistry, then change their majors from Pre-Med to Political Science.
(E) The content of the MCAT cannot be studied for to the degree that the LSAT can because the material is so much more complex in nature.



A. Obviously hurts the argument. If you can only study a small pool of materials, then it makes sense that you would spend less time studying.
B. If he's lying, that kills the argument. Weird that it's ad hominem, but a known lie would weaken in my opinion. I know that's what the OP was going for, but, if true, lying would for sure undermine the speaker's authority and hence his conclusion.
C. Works because the MCAT people already have knowledge so they don't need to study as much.
E. Same logic as A, so it does weaken.

D. Does not at all speak to the nature of the test, or even people who are studying for it. The only thing we learn is about the people who aren't studying, and they have nothing to do with the argument. Even more so, there's no comparison between the MCAT and the LSAT, unlike the other wrong answers. I guess it makes sense that weeding out weaker test takers could lead to less studying, but that's a big jump I would feel uncomfortable making. Also it doesn't show that the MCAT is a more difficult test, but only that a good number of students fail college courses that cover the material. Who's to say many students don't drop out of philosophy because they are bad at abstract reasoning and then do not take the LSAT because they know they lack the requisite skill set?

D is correct.
Last edited by GreatBraffsby on Wed Oct 07, 2015 2:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Big Dog
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Re: MCAT harder than the LSAT?

Postby Big Dog » Wed Oct 07, 2015 11:56 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?


The mcat is "harder" bcos it requires curricular knowledge. You either have to take the classes tested, or self-study the material, most of which is a LOT more complex than anything tested on the LSAT.

Unlike the LSAT which gets you in, a low score on the MCAT will keep you out. And what I mean, is the MCAT is a priority cutoff for obtaining a med school interview. (And to be admitted, you have to be interviewed.) After making the threshold cut for the interview, the test (and GPA) become much, much less important for the final admission decision. At that point, its EC's, personality, recs, etc.

Instructor: I teach classes for both the MCAT and LSAT. Students who take the MCAT generally spend four or less weeks studying for the test.


I'd love to know what state you are in, bcos the folks I know in California study for the mcat for months.

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Nagster5
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Post removed.

Postby Nagster5 » Wed Oct 07, 2015 12:20 pm

Post removed.
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RZ5646
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Re: MCAT harder than the LSAT?

Postby RZ5646 » Wed Oct 07, 2015 12:41 pm

Half the people ITT missed this:

harder for whom?

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pterodactyls
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Re: MCAT harder than the LSAT?

Postby pterodactyls » Wed Oct 07, 2015 2:18 pm

Flaw: unrepresentative sample.

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gnomgnomuch
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Re:

Postby gnomgnomuch » Wed Oct 07, 2015 2:32 pm

LawSchoolWannaBe wrote: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.


Categorically untrue. I have plenty of friends who got into med school with 3.5's and 35's. Unless you only applied to Harvard/Hopkins/Columbia and had nothing at all except for your perfect grades and wrote awful papers and had bad recommendations a student with a hypothetical 40/3.9 would for sure get into a number of great schools. (One of my close friends just ended up at SUNY downstate. Her GPA was a 3.6 and her MCAT was a 34, she had about 2 years of research in a lab while she was in undergrad.)

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gnomgnomuch
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Re: MCAT harder than the LSAT?

Postby gnomgnomuch » Wed Oct 07, 2015 2:35 pm

I'm not too sure you can compare the two. They test two different things... if the question is it harder to get into med school than law school, than med school is MUCH harder to get into. Solid grades aren't always enough.

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cub1014
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Re: MCAT harder than the LSAT?

Postby cub1014 » Wed Oct 07, 2015 2:55 pm

Nagster5 wrote:Why did you bump this seven year old thread?


My bad. For some reason it showed up for me near the top of page 1.

MrSam
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Re: MCAT harder than the LSAT?

Postby MrSam » Wed Oct 07, 2015 3:00 pm

The way I understand it, for the MCAT, it is highly recommended that you take the med school prerequisites during undergrad, as they are designed to give you the knowledge you need for the MCAT.
Either way, they are two different beasts: One is entirely a skills based test, where prior knowledge in a specific field won't help you much (LSAT), whilst the other is mostly a knowledge based test, where knowledge in a few specific fields is essential to doing well (MCAT).
If anyone has experience with the MCAT, please feel free to correct me.

juzam_djinn
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Re: MCAT harder than the LSAT?

Postby juzam_djinn » Wed Oct 07, 2015 3:58 pm

2008 thread...

For the person who mentioned that the mcat has less "dead weight" taking it than the lsat, just fyi the number of premeds who qualify as "dead weight" would likely shock you. The aamc just does a WAY better job of separating the wheat from the chaff prior to enrollment, at least, relative to the aba

Broncos15
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Re: MCAT harder than the LSAT?

Postby Broncos15 » Wed Oct 07, 2015 5:15 pm

Another hard part about the MCAT is that it cannot compensate for a a lower GPA in nearly the same way the LSAT can.

Think of Med School Admissions like a Cal Berkeley or Chicago Law

https://www.aamc.org/download/321508/da ... able24.pdf

In the 3.20-3.39 range only a quarter of the applicants get any sort of admissions, but for law school you could get into a T14 with a GPA in that range ( albeit likely at sticker)...to further the point a 3.4-3.59 GPA only gives applicants slightly over a 1/3 shot of med school, whereas that is somewhat respectable for law school and could even get you a slight chance at Harvard if you KILL the LSAT as they do take some 3.5X's

The lowest ranked med school has a median GPA of a 3.8 and median sciences of a 3.71 and compare that to a TTT law school's profile. http://medicine.hsc.wvu.edu/students/of ... l-profile/




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