The title of this post could easily be “how reading can help” period, but we will focus on how reading can help your MCAT score. Though the MCAT tests science content, it is a reading-based test. The questions often come with a passage that needs some interpretation to distill the science concept.
How Reading Can Help Your MCAT Score
As mentioned above, answering questions require reading a passage. Reading can help your MCAT score by improving your reading speed and improving your reading comprehension. In terms of reading speed, reading anything that you like–newspapers, novels, research articles, blogs–will improve your reading speed. The more you read of anything, the more comfortable you will be with reading large amounts of text and the faster you will inevitably be at reading. The section that this will help the most on will be the CARS section, but you will likely see an effect on the other sections as well.
When it comes to comprehension, reading more “rigorous” or “academic” material will be helpful. If you’re interested in the sciences and medicine, you can choose some journals to read that can provide you with material that is more akin to what you might see on the MCAT. The New England Journal of Medicine is a highly regarded medical journal that is usually well-written and has a broad range of topics that range from basic sciences to clinical practice review articles to opinion pieces.
Reading Comprehension for Test Taking
When it comes to the MCAT, reading will certainly help, but there is no substitute for doing the actual questions. Reading for leisure or even reading research articles to boost your MCAT skills is no substitute for being tested on your comprehension. As mentioned in a previous post, to get further practice outside of the traditional MCAT questions, you can also try using LSAT reading comprehension questions to bolster those reading comprehension test-taking skills.
Reading will undoubtedly help with your reading ability and speed. However, when focusing on the MCAT, it’s important to keep doing practice questions that will simulate what you see on test day.