Can the MCAT Really Be Studied For?

I know the subject of this post may seem a bit ignorant but what I want to know is if you have always been a poor standardized test-taker, or average standardized test-taker, will it be extremely difficult for you to do above average on the MCAT no matter how much you know/study?
For instance, I studied for the LSAT for several months to apply to law school and I got around the 65th pecentile -my usual range for all standardized tests I have ever taken. Is the MCAT really a test that one can do well at if they have a mastery of the subject matter or does it come down to how complicated the questions are arranged/worded? Any inspirational stories that would prove my presumptions false?
Thanks, people!

I really do believe that it can be studied for. I have not taken it for real (only practice exam)but the test taking techniques that Kaplan is providing really do seem to be making a difference. You definitely have to have a base of knowledge but mostly it seems to be about reading the question correctly and anticipating the correct answer while not getting sucked in by the very tempting three other possible selections. Just my 2 cents.

I agree with dmaes. I have always considered myself a poor standardized test taker and loved the lack of multiple choice I had through college, which is why I so readily shelled out the money to Kaplan. Not only did I get a great review of the high yield topics (not every detail you learn in a college course is on the MCAT) but I learned how to take the test. Learning how to approach the exam (endurance for an all day exam, how to approach test questions, how not to feel defeated when you get stuck on a question, etc) was THE key to my success. I feel much more comfortable with my test taking abilities now.
Hope this helps,

maybe it’s semantics, but I would prefer to say that the MCAT is a test that requires not just studying for, but also preparing for.
Studying: things like reviewing your chemistry, your physics formulas, your o-chem mechanisms. Honing your reading comprehension by picking up the New York Times. All that is what I would classify as studying.
But then there’s also preparing. This involves getting used to the MCAT style of passages followed by questions. This is not a style unique to the MCAT by any means, but I dare say it is the damnedest application of that style you’ll ever see. You need to have some clue about what the passage might be about, even though it may be quite dense and incomprehensible. You’ll then need to answer questions that will require you to not only have gleaned a little from the passage, but also pull up scientific understanding from your mental database that you’ve built up during your study. AND you’ll need to learn to crunch through these passages, and their accompanying complicated questions, at a pretty rapid pace. Finally, you’ll need to get accustomed to doing this for a LONG time - it’s a grueling day. For me, perhaps the very hardest thing was avoiding the temptation to throw up my hands halfway through the last section and saying, “WTF I just do not care any more.” You have to prepare until you are able to be a test-taking machine for the whole. damn. day.
This is why the test prep people have review sessions to cover the science information, and also practice sessions to talk about test-taking tips and strategies, and full-length mock exams so you can get used to the flow of the exam.
In other words: It is very important to be comfortable with the science knowledge (studying) but equally important to be comfortable with the format and timing.

Thanks, helped a bunch!

VERY well said Mary!!

Yes… It’s like a long marathon…
Doing well on the MCAT without much preparation is like a non-professional athelete who has been doing regular aerobic and anaerobic exercise for all their life and then attempting for a dangerous stunt or trying to become a kick boxer…etc.

On the other hand, I think I am more like someone who’s been just building up huge muscles here and there and then running a marathon the next day…

I just want to relay the annoying story of the freak of a friend that I have who claims to have studied for the content of the exam but did not take a single practice exam and scored a 32. 10 on physical sciences 11’s and other 2 sections. This was without having taken physics. Must be nice as to me it’s back to Kaplan and audioosmosis.

there are always going to be stories like this, but they are NOT the norm, of course. I do think that some people are exceptionally good test-takers who will enter the MCAT with the same knowledge base as someone else, but perform better because they just are oriented that way. Most folks have to work pretty hard, though.
And the other thing - I would just want to know what to expect, you know? Even if I am a good test taker (which I am, actually) I would want to know how the day is going to go, what it’s going to feel like in terms of timing, etc. I am generally a good and a fast test-taker and I know it was kinda shocking to see how much more challenging the MCAT was compared with other tests I’d done previously.