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Anyone that had trouble with Physics/Gen Chem in school end up excelling at PS?

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by Zona Pellucida, Dec 12, 2008.

  1. Zona Pellucida

    7+ Year Member

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    Out of all my undergraduate classes, General Chemistry and Physics have been the most challenging. I think it partly has to do with "disinterest" as math has always been a turn off for me as I never found it exciting to use numbers to simply get more numbers.

    I'm curious if anyone coming from a similar perspective (excelling in Biology, Organic Chemistry, and English courses) found a good way to approach materials in Physics/Gen Chem. I received a C and then a B in General Chem I and II and I just finished first semester of Physics (probably a B+).

    PS scares the crap out of me as this has been a weakness for me in the past.

    Thanks
     
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  3. BerkReviewTeach

    BerkReviewTeach Company Rep & Bad Singer
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    Two words:

    mulitple choice :)

    It's the great equalizer when it comes to the physical sciences section. The MCAT is a thinking test in a timed, multiple-choice format, so doing well on it has very little to do with how well you did in school, where grades come from showing your work and boxing your answers.

    Just learn the concepts well and be able to visualize things in your mind quickly, and you'll be amazed at how easy the physical sciences section becomes.
     
  4. Tsukishiro

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    Physics was also my weakest subject in college, but concerted effort made it one of my best. Just put in the time to plug the holes in your knowledge and you'll do fine.
     
  5. olemissbabydoc

    olemissbabydoc Baby Doctor
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    It's also possible that you'll "hit the motherload" with passages you're confident at. This happened to me my last test :)
     
  6. minhaj

    minhaj Awesomeness Incarnate
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    I felt EXACTLY the same way you do before I started studying for the Mcat. I had a really easy physics professor so I never really went to class or learned the material and still ended up with an A! thats how easy the class was. But when it came time for the mcat I wished I had payed more attention cuz I didnt know anything!

    I dreaded even the thought of figuring out electric/magnetic field crap. All you can do is get a good review book (I used princeton review Physical sciences. I loved it) and buckle down and STUDY your ass off. I took one month just for physics out of the three months that I had. I would read a chapter from princeton review page to page, look up stuff on the net that i didnt understand (videos, images etc) and then follow that up with reading the same chapter from EK series. Princeton review is good for gaining a solid understanding, while EK is great for all the little tricks you can use on the mcat. Doing this alone I improved my PS score from a 6-7 to a 13. So it can be done.

    Good luck!
     
  7. Malayna

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    I'm in your exact same situation. I didn't do that well in general chemistry or physics (memorized old exams as best I could and struggled to pull Bs).

    I feared PS when I started studying a month ago. What's really funny is that I'm pulling 12s and higher on the PS material now. It's just easier the way the MCAT questions are phrased. Also, I'm taking a class that gives a bunch of great tricks for the math questions. I can get any MC translational motion question right in about 20 seconds now using their tricks. I think I get acids for the first time ever. I've been working mostly from my BR books and class handouts, but I've tried some questions from the PR and EK books too.

    Just like minhaj said, you have to work your butt off. I think it's easier when you find it fun to do, which for some reason is true for me right now. I'm sure it's mostly the MCAT course and the attitude they promote, but it's been fun studying so far. I look forward to going to class and getting things I never got before. I seriously wish I would have taken this class back when I was in general chemistry and physics, because I think I could have pulled an A in those courses.
     
  8. lastcall

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    OP, I agree with the others. Also, don't be afraid of the math calculations on the PS section of the MCAT---calculation is minimal (and if it is taking too long then you should be utilizing shortcuts like rounding numbers and using scientific notation, etc.) Good luck:luck:
     
  9. Zona Pellucida

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    Thanks for the help! Was surprising to see this topic pop back up.

    I ended up with an A- in Physics I also, so I was pretty happy with that !
     
  10. 229141

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    I can relate to this. I made an A in physics, high grade actually, only because my class was stupid. So now I have to go over it all again : |
     
  11. OnlyFearGOD

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    IS there any tricks to get to the ans without using so much math or any math at all ? Is there a way to get to the ans but using pure logic or great understanding of the topic ?
     
  12. rocuronium

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    I did poorly in physics in university but very well on the PS section.

    The turnaround for me came when I put a greater emphasis on understanding the CONCEPTS rather than just using formulas. Plugging numbers into a formula is easy, but if you don't know what those numbers mean, it's pointless.

    Try to turn your weaknesses into strengths by thoroughly understanding the concepts and by doing lots of practice problems. You should find that the PS section is not too bad. :)
     
  13. minhaj

    minhaj Awesomeness Incarnate
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    Common sense goes a long way on the mcat. For instance, I remember there was this one question on the kaplan practice test that had to do with buoyant force. The question basically was: if a 5kg iron ball is dropped from a height of 5cm above the ocean floor. how long would it take for the ball to hit the ocean floor? The numbers might be off.... but they gave you density, weight and a ton of other info. the answer choices were 0.03sec, 0.3sec, 30sec, 300 sec. My friend took 5 mins to answer the question incorrectly. I, on the other hand, used common sense and took less than 30 secs to answer the question correctly. We know from real life experience that it wouldn't take 30sec or 300 sec for the ball to travel and distance of 5cm... so those were out. 0.03sec is rather too quick... so the only likely answer was 0.3 sec.

    What I am trying to say with the previous example is that when you read a physics question... dont try to think of the formula you would use... instead, picture the situation in your mind and use common sense... it will make it a lot easier to answer the question. of course, you will need practice to really incorporate this idea in your arsenal of mcat strategies ... but its well worth it.
     
  14. OnlyFearGOD

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    Minhaj, your the best!!! Does anyone else have any more adivce or tricks correlated to what Minhaj stated ?


    ^^^
     
  15. Zona Pellucida

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    Great advice! Thanks
     
  16. luxaeterna

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    C's in physics I & II, 13 on PS
     

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