Introduction to the MCAT Writing Section
Are you getting ready to take the MCAT? If so, you should pay close attention to the Writing MCAT requirements. While it’s easy to overlook the Writing MCAT because it is so different from the other sections of the MCAT test, it is one of the most critical parts of the examination for any student. The MCAT has been adopted nearly universally as the gold standard for pre-med students who hope to go on to medical school. While all sections of the MCAT are valuable, the Writing MCAT is unique because it helps you showcase skills that no other section of the test can evaluate.
MCAT Writing Section Format
The Writing Section MCAT is presented as a set of two essays, each one from a different prompt. You have 30 minutes to complete each one and a total of 60 minutes for the entire section. Each prompt will consist of a single, central idea that you will be called upon to respond to and evaluate in a specific way. The prompts are not intended for you to discuss your personal opinions in detail or make use of persuasive rhetoric per se; instead, the purpose of the Writing Section MCAT is to show your ability to develop and analyze a topic from a prompt that can be understood in many different ways.
MCAT Writing Section Tips: Preparing for the MCAT Writing Section
In order to be successful in the Writing Section MCAT, you must be able to synthesize ideas and develop a coherent response to a topic within a very limited amount of time. You will not have time to draft your essay more than once, but you may spend a few minutes at the beginning identifying possible approaches and main ideas on the scratch paper or whiteboard that may be provided. One of the most vital MCAT Writing section tips is to understand what you will be expected to do with the prompts themselves.
What a Writing MCAT Essay Should Do to Achieve a Higher Score
Each of your essays will derive from a prompt that states a general idea, principle, or axiom, such as this one: “Students are their own best teachers.” In the content of your essay, you will have to achieve at least three major goals, usually providing a fully developed paragraph for each. First, you should discuss what you interpret the statement to mean in a general sense. Then, introduce a point of view contrary to the one expressed in the prompt by describing a specific counter-example. Finally, explain how these two opposing viewpoints can be reconciled; in other words, what rule can you apply to decide when the statement in the prompt applies and when it does not? Following this approach allows you to focus your essay response on the analytical skills that are being tested.
Conclusion: Finding the Best MCAT Writing Section tips
Content knowledge cannot help you to perform better on the Writing MCAT. The prompts are intended to be general enough that anyone taking the MCAT can also respond to them. For this reason, your ability to coherently organize your ideas and provide conventional grammar, spelling, and syntax will be the most important issues in MCAT Writing success. Many students feel that writing is not their forte or that they want to focus on the Biological and Physical Sciences tests in their studies. To strengthen your essay writing abilities in time for the test, consider looking for a formal test preparation course that will offer you concrete examples of how to improve quickly. This will provide you with the MCAT Writing section tips you need! A strong Writing test score can help you get into top medical schools, so it is worth the effort!
- UCF University Writing Center: Verbal Reasoning & Writing
- MCAT Writing Sample Advice and Strategies
- Example MCAT Writing Responses and Their Scores Explained
- PowerPoint on How the MCAT Writing Sample is Evaluated
- Strategies for MCAT Writing Success from the University of Arkansas
- MCAT Essay Prompts and Other Tips from Middle Tennessee State University