Nikhil72

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Hey everyone, I'm new here. I'm entering my junior year at a liberal arts school. I'm a Bio major in a school that teaches exclusively at the molecular/micro level (basically not much bigger than a cell). I finished Gen Chem (thank god that's over) my freshman year and took Orgo/Bio this year. Orgo was fine and I loved it, something not many people can claim, so I feel rather secure. Our intro bio course was structured in quarters...Cell/Cell Structure first quarter (i.e. organelles, microtubules/IFs/etc, proteins, and such) followed by genetics and then biochemistry and finally a quarter of model organisms (including some comparitive embryology). This upcoming year I'm taking immunology and cell signaling, which will be helpful for the MCAT.

Now, my disadvantage is that I've barely ever learned the human biology systems that are tested on the MCATs. I'm fairly good at teaching concepts to myself and between an AP Bio textbook (borrowed from someone else) and the ExamKrackers books I have collecting dust on my shelf, I feel rather secure in being able to teach myself the material...It certainly feels more straightforward than the Bio I've been doing this past year (mostly lab and contemporary research-based).

I'm aiming for the April 2007 exam (problem number 1, motivating myself for a test so far away). I'm taking physics this year so that's not really factoring in, and Orgo is not really worrying me much. I have about 7 weeks of summer vacation and want to cover the Bio material once so that I'm familiar with it; memorizing at this point is certainly not going to benefit me much since I can't exactly remember things from two months ago. I figure that instead of flat-out memorizing things, that if they make sense in my head through reading and reviewing, then memorizing should be a breeze. I plan on reading textbook chapters and then rereading them as I write out notes and make index cards.

My question is, am I under or overestimating myself? I've only seen a few sample MCAT questions but never gave them much thought. The ExamKrackers books seem well-rated...between the Bio book and a solid-looking AP Bio text, should all the material I will need to know be covered?

I'm not particularly worried about verbal reasoning because I'm an avid reader and, at a liberal arts school, take at least one or two reading/writing intensive courses per semester for my own enjoyment (to get away from sciences once in a while).

Whew, long post, and I'm sure if I'm being overly-anal. Knowing me, that'd be highly possible. Thanks!
 

TMP-SMX

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There's no physiology course offered at your school? You've obviously got the background required to put the cells into their proper place in the whole system, but you need an understanding of the tissue interactions and organ systems in order to do well on the MCAT. If physiology isn't offered I recommend you take it at a CC. If you do that route it's cheap and it will force you to immerse yourself in the material.

Otherwise you could try to teach yourself some physiology from a textbook that you buy/borrow. But you need to be motivated to really read in between the lines and understand it conceptually.
 
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Nikhil72

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Unfortunately my school doesn't offer physiology and I believe it's too late in the summer to find a course in the area...I'm considering searching for a one-on-one tutor.

I've been skimming the textbook and EK book and overall it doesn't look overly complicated to me. Certainly not simple by any means but it seems doable. Granted I haven't started yet.

The other misfortune I had was that my high school was rather poor in the sciences.
 
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Just ask a friend at a different university for there notes. I could give you mine, but they are all diagrams and not a lot of text so not big help. Plus there is a little more covered on the MCAT than we did in class. Physiology is a lot of memorization, and not very hard to understand. Just read the MCAT texts, supplement that with a hardcore physiology book where you are having trouble, and supplement that with audio osmosis. They have good memonics for remembering stuff.
 
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Nikhil72

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I figured that physiology seemed like a great deal of memorization. Between EK, a Bio textbook (Raven/Johnson), and an AP Bio review book, I figured that I should be able to figure out everything for the most part.

To be specific, the only physiology-related material I have ever learned is nervous system material covered in AP Psychology. This also included the mechanisms for vision, hearing, and smelling, as well as the Nervous System itself. Other than that, however, everything is again at the micro level (i.e. metabolism, membrane transport, etc.).

Someone suggested a tutor but I wonder if it's worth the $$.
 

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If you're confident in teaching the material to yourself, go for it. I had absolutely *zero* human phys before the MCAT (well, unless you count the week *of* the MCAT when my class finally got around to it) and taught myself out of the TPR course book and a human phys text and got a 15 in the BS...the physiology is really just a lot of memorization, and it seems like you've already taken/will take the topics that require any critical thinking. Just take as many practice exams as you can before the real thing to make sure you're on track. You can do it! :)
 
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