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Discussion in 'PCAT Discussions' started by Bonbon2007, Mar 26, 2007.

  1. Bonbon2007

    Bonbon2007 2+ Year Member

    Feb 23, 2007
    I need some help. I'm studying for the pcat june 2007 and have been having alot of trouble finishing the pcat practice exams sections on chemistry. There are those questions which require no thought at all, and those big stoichiometry problems that eat up too much of my time. I've done all the preparation necessary to take the chemistry section. I've studied. I wouldn't say I had great profs in undergrad but I did okay. I even feel they might have been too easy now. For 48 questions in 30 minutes, I see a wide range of easy and hard questions mixed in. What I am aiming for on the real one is at least to complete 80% of the chem section. If any dr. phils can give it to me straight, i would appreciate it. :oops:
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  3. omnione

    omnione SDN Pharmoderator Moderator Emeritus 5+ Year Member

    It seems like speed is your problem if your main goal is to try to finish 80% of the test.

    If you have a good chemistry textbook, you could practice problems that are PCAT-like under timed conditions. I also recommend the Examkrackers 1001 Questions in Chemistry and Organic Chemistry (an older version would be ideal because the questions are more PCAT-like). Though those books are for the MCAT, the questions are just about as close to the real PCAT questions as the official PCAT test-prep books. You need repetitions.

    If you find that you finish before you're time is up, decrease your time limit so that you can simulate stress and challenge yourself to work faster without losing accuracy. When you're all done, take the Harcourt official practice exams and see if you have improved.:)
  4. suntzu

    suntzu 7+ Year Member

    Dec 1, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    The chemistry section was my strongest, so I'll tell you how I prepared for it. It had been nearly a decade since I'd taken a chemistry class. I used the Kaplan guide to review the concepts. I don't recall anything in the chemistry section that that guide didn't cover. The MCAT guides are good to review as well, but I'd highly recommend making sure that you are at least very comfortable with every concept covered in the Kaplan guide. [this is for chemistry. . .I wouldn't make the exact same recommendation with the math section!]. Additionally, I bought two small all-purpose in/organic prep books that I reviewed only minimally.

    So assuming that you have the material itself covered, here's a strategy similar to the one I used:
    As stated above -- repetition. Get a hold of the '5 practice PCATs' by ?Cliffs? [or the Harcourt practice test or other chemistry-specific standardized test on a comparable level]. Work through chemistry test #1 with no time limit. Identify your weak points/knowledge gaps. Review and study those weak points. Work through chemistry test #2 under time pressure. If you only complete 70%, fine. Continue until the test is done. Do this for all 5 tests, each time identifying any obvious areas you can study in between. The Cliffs tests have answer explanations in the back that are VERY worthwhile reviewing. Establish why you missed something, or why it took you a long time to answer. NOW, go back to that test #1. Even though you've already taken it, there have been at least 4 tests since so you'll still have to think about the problems [obviously, when doing this you want to avoid writing on the questions pages!]. Going through these tests again [and again!] accomplishes two things: 1) It cements in your mind some of the concepts you were initially struggling with or slow in answering. 2) It makes you faster at all of the problems. 3) It gives you the under-appreciated feeling of *confidence*.

    I'm drawing from memories of a test 4 months ago, but I don't remember using much scratch paper in the chemistry section. There were some problems that stumped me, taking time, but that was because I was wavering between answers. Another quick test tip: Take advantage of the fact that it is a pencil test and not computer-adaptive. Go through the section that you are allowed to work in, skipping any question that you don't think you can quickly pound out an answer to. There is no worse feeling than running out of time, being told to put down your pencil, just as you're looking at an unanswered question you know you could have answered in 2 seconds.
  5. TheKoz

    TheKoz 2+ Year Member

    Mar 21, 2007
    Another thing is, some questions are designed to take time, so what you need to do is to skip on those and do the easier one first untill u completed the section, and go back to work on it. Dont waste alot of time on those question because time is very precious here. If worse come to worse, guess and move on.
  6. Bonbon2007

    Bonbon2007 2+ Year Member

    Feb 23, 2007
    TY to all those who submitted feedback. I will seriously take all your suggestions. :thumbup:
  7. cp5lb

    cp5lb Go Browns!!! 2+ Year Member

    Nov 3, 2006
    Ocean City, MD
    I used Kaplan to study for the pcat. If you are using the practice problems and test from that book, they are way way harder then what I remember seeing on the real test. The concepts are the same, but I think they use numbers that are easier to divide in your head on the real exam. This is in no way a post that is meant to tell you to stop studying, but I had a hard time finishing the practice tests also. I had no problem finishing the real thing. Like the above poster said, if you don't know it, skip it. It's like the advice I always give for the math section: there are always a few long ones that are there to keep you from getting to ten easy ones. Skip them and come back.
  8. MR. C

    MR. C 2+ Year Member

    Dec 2, 2006
    I really think a large part of the test is being able to see what problems are going to take forever and skipping them to get ALL the easy questions, then go BACK and work as many time consuming questions you can. You want to make sure you get every easy answer first.

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