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MCAT vs. LSAT Comparison

The MCAT and LSAT are both graduate admissions exams for professional schools. The MCAT is for medical schools and the LSAT is for law schools. Both are difficult exams, but have different content and approaches in the material that they test. This post will cover a brief MCAT vs. LSAT comparison and some things to consider when deciding between law school and medical school.


MCAT vs. LSAT Comparison

First, we will cover the similarities. Both are difficult exams and both require diligent study from most students. Both require proficiency, if not mastery, of reading comprehension and understanding dense reading materials.

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The biggest difference between the two tests is that the LSAT is more of a “thinking” test and the MCAT is more of a “content” test. What does this mean? The LSAT has sections on reading comprehension, logical reasoning, and logic games. The reading comprehension tests how well you can understand passages. The logical reasoning section evaluates how well you can dissect and analyze arguments. The logic games section tests your ability to find structure and use deductive reasoning from organized data. None of these sections require any previous knowledge per se. One could theoretically be an excellent reader and very quick with logic games and do well on the LSAT without any knowledge about history, math, science, chemistry, etc.

The MCAT, while it tests reading comprehension and ability to dissect passages and data, is a content-based exam. No matter how smart or quick you might be, you will need to understand the Ideal Gas Law, Newton’s laws of physics, and how backside attacks work in organic chemistry. The content of the MCAT requires background knowledge in the physical, biological, and social sciences.

Medical School vs. Law School

If you are reading this post, you may be deciding between a career in law and medicine. There are paths to rewarding and fulfilling careers in both of these professions. The best way to decide between these fields is not wealth or prestige but should be based on who you are as a person and what your passions are. Neither law school nor medical school are easy and require a serious and long commitment of both time and money. Making the right choice should be based on what you want in your life and a career.

You might also be interested in looking at the MCAT vs other types of graduate schooling. Check out Harsh’s post on the MCAT vs. GRE.

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2 Responses to MCAT vs. LSAT Comparison

  1. Janine December 31, 2018 at 2:31 am #

    Having no real background in either field, but having a lay interest in both fields, I took online sample tests for both the LSAT and the MCAT today. On the LSAT I performed wonderfully, in the 96th percentile, because it was all logic and reasoning. On the other hand, I bombed the MCAT, even being a WebMD junkie. I got a measly 56% of the questions right, and many of those correct answers were barely-educated guesses. The MCAT requires actual acquired medical knowledge that your big brains alone won’t get you. Most of the test consisted of chemical and biological terms and formulas I’d never even heard of, and which would have been impossible to deduce through good test-taking skills.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert January 1, 2019 at 12:04 pm #

      Hi Janine! Thanks for sharing your experience 🙂 It’s true that general academic skills will help you more for the LSAT than for the MCAT because the MCAT requires so much specialized knowledge. Kudos for taking the plunge and taking both tests! 🙂

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