Why the MCAT has bits you hate

Posted in: MCAT

by Luke

There’s probably something on the MCAT you hate. There’s so much material on this exam there’s something for everyone to hate. Often physics, sometimes chemistry, in unfortunate cases the entire thing, but like all the best martial arts movies doing the MCAT isn’t just about conquering your enemy: it’s about conquering your own hate as well.

Doctors deal with situations nobody wants to!

You’re going to be a doctor or a veterinarian. You’re going to deal with situations you don’t want to. You’re going to deal with situations nobody wants to! But if a Great Dane has an emergency call at 4 AM because tropical parasites are giving it diarrhea, you don’t get to say “Oh, sorry, I don’t like parasites so I didn’t study that class.” You’ve got to deal with it. You’ve got to deal with it professionally, confidently, even happily, so that the patient and their owner don’t suffer from your negative reactions.

This is one of the least-spoken but most important aspects of being a medical professional: aura. Attitude. Sheer and simple presentation of your emotions to the world. A worried doctor can reduce their own chances of success simply by stressing their patients, and pets are even more vulnerable to human emotion. It’s not enough to grit your teeth and power through it. Gritting your teeth could turn a scared patient into a panicked one.

That’s one reason why the MCAT includes physics questions. You’re not going to deal with people exposed to perfect spheres moving at 43.7 m/s, because you’re not a doctor on Star Trek, but they’re a great way to test people on a subject they might not enjoy as much as medicine. Physics is pure problem-solving. Physics is a way of testing someone’s ability to think in an abstract way without the distractions of memorizing an entire anatomical diagram. So if you, like many students, simply don’t like physics, you simply need to get on with getting over it.

You’ll enjoy much more success if you face your problems with a smile. Or at least not a sigh. It’s the simplest and most logical strategy. If you have to do something anyway there’s simply no benefit to getting upset, but there are plenty of negative consequences, especially to your own mood. Which can affect your performance much more than many people think. The MCAT lets you practice solving this problem in a safe, academic, and entirely non-life-or-death situation.