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MCAT Physical and Biological Sciences Cognitive Skills

MCAT Physical and Biological Sciences Cognitive Skills

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Published by clicktolearn
MCAT Physical and Biological Sciences Cognitive Skills
MCAT Physical and Biological Sciences Cognitive Skills

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Published by: clicktolearn on Jan 27, 2013
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 ©2012 AAMC. May not be reproduced without permission.
Physical and BiologicalSciences Cognitive Skills
Identification of Main Ideas
Questions in this category refer to the main idea of a passage or other major points thatare explicitly or implicitly made in the passage. These questions ask for the simpleidentification or interpretation of material rather than in-depth analysis or evaluation.Questions often require you to demonstrate understanding of the material by identifyingany of the following:
 The general purpose of a research studyKey differences among viewpointsMajor points or argumentsA major problem not specifically mentioned in the passageAlternate ways of representing material from the passage
Identification of Components in a Situation and Relationships AmongThem
Questions in this category refer to specific pieces of information that are important forunderstanding the passage. The questions test your ability to identify these componentsor variables and to determine basic relationships among them and may require you toincorporate pertinent background knowledge. The components and variables typical ofthis category include the following:
 HypothesesAssumptionsRelevant issuesConclusionsSupporting evidenceRationalesExperimental variables
 ©2012 AAMC. May not be reproduced without permission.
 Seeking Clarification
Questions in this category ask for a closer definition of material in the passage or forbackground information that clarifies a particular scientific concept. You may be askedto provide additional information that is relevant to concepts presented in the passageor to concepts presented within the question itself. Questions typical of this categoryinclude those that require you to do the following:
 Identify relevant background informationTranslate presented information into a more understandable or useful formIdentify appropriate clarifying information
Hypothesis Testing
Questions in this category test, relate, or extend the hypotheses or assumptionspresented in the passage or require the development of new hypotheses. Thesequestions tend to focus on assumptions from the passage, rather than pre-drawnconclusions, and may ask you to do the following:
 Predict a result on the basis of background knowledge and specific factsabout a situationForm a hypothesis to explain a particular scientific phenomenonIdentify plausible alternative hypotheses or solutionsDesign an experiment to test a hypothesis according to appropriate criteria(e.g., data collection procedures, control of variables, relevance to thehypothesis)Determine the likely cause of a particular event or resultCombine steps in a research design in an appropriate sequence to test ahypothesis
 ©2012 AAMC. May not be reproduced without permission.
 Evaluation Processes
Questions in this category evaluate scientific data, procedures, conclusions, evidence,or perspectives. You are often required to make some sort of judgment based ongenerally accepted scientific criteria. These questions may or may not require the use ofbackground knowledge. Questions in this category include those that ask you to do thefollowing:
 Judge whether a conclusion follows necessarily from a given set of premisesAppraise the rationale for a procedure or generalizationJudge whether a conclusion is justified by the evidenceJudge the credibility of given information or evidenceDetermine whether a product, argument, or perspective is acceptable on thebasis of specific given criteria (e.g., whether it fulfills task requirements, fullyresolves all relevant aspects of a problem, fits available data)
Flexibility and Adaptability in Scientific Reasoning
Questions in this category require the extension of concepts presented or implied in thepassage and often ask you to apply the given information or your backgroundknowledge to unfamiliar situations. Typical questions in this category ask you to do thefollowing:
 Use given information to solve a problemArrive at a conclusion based on the evidenceDetermine the implications of results for real-world situationsDevelop a general theory or model based on the given informationDetermine how a conclusion can be modified to be consistent with additionalinformationRecognize methods, results, or evidence that would challenge or invalidate ahypothesis, model, or theory

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