Scientific Inquiry & Reasoning Skills: Scientific Reasoning and Problem-Solving

In specific sections of the MCAT, you will be asked to use your scientific reasoning and problem-solving skills to answer questions. These questions will differ from those that will require you to use your knowledge of scientific principles. You can expect to use these skills when answering questions in the Social, Psychological and Biological sections of the new MCAT exam.

Scientific Reasoning and Problem Solving Skills

In certain portions of the MCAT, you will need to prove your ability to use scientific principles to solve problems by doing the following:

  • Reasoning About Scientific Principles
  • Reasoning About Scientific Theories
  • Reasoning About Scientific Models
  • Analyzing and Evaluating Through Scientific Explanations and Principles
  • Examining Arguments About Consequences and Causes
  • Tying Together Theories, Observations and Evidence in Order to Draw Conclusions
  • Identifying Scientific Findings that May Challenge or Invalidate Scientific Theories or Models
  • Finding and Utilizing Scientific Formulas to Solve Problems

Through illustration, questions found in the Social, Psychological and Biological Foundations of Behavior sections may ask you to do the following:

  • Predict How One Would React to Cognitive Dissonance
  • Use Premises of Symbolic Interactionism to Reason about Observational Study of Physician-Patient Interactions
  • Reason About Whether a Casual Explanation is Possible if Given an Example of How Gender or Personality Can Predict Behavior
  • Using Piaget’s Theory, Conclude Which Stage of Cognitive Development a Child Is In When Asked About How a Child Responds to a Conversation Problem
  • Determine if Examples are Compatible Within the Premises of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
  • Draw Conclusions About Which Sociological Theories Would Be Consistent with Conceptual Diagrams that Explain the way Social and Environmental Factors Influence Health
  • Identify the Relationship Between Social Institutions Using Illustrations in Public Health Campaigns

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