Malayna

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After it's all over, you should write a review of the UCLA course. I think that would help a number of people.
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So now that my exam is finally behind me, I figured I might be able to give a good assessment of my experience. I can't speak for how the course is at other locations, but at UCLA it's great. It has it's problems (like any course), but those can be worked around.

Gen Chem Teaching: Todd Bennett (the owner and heart and soul of the program) taught most of the classes with Cliff teaching about three I think. Todd's lectures are amazing. He works from his handouts, which give great shortcuts and strategies. What I think I liked best was that he'd show us how to think our way through problems. I learned titration curves, photoelectric effect, electrochemistry, and nuclear chemistry WAAAYYYY better than I ever learned it before. He has unique ways to solve these questions that make things easy. Cliff was a good lecturer, but it's hard to follow in Todd's shadow. He did more of the math oriented material. He knew his stuff and had some good tricks. The only problem is that his mood was based on the material. When he loved it, the lecture was energetic and dynamic. If he didn't like it (can you say equilibrium?), then his enthusiasm was a bit low. Overall I'd give this section a 9 out of 10.

Physics Teaching: Todd teaches all of the physics lectures. They are GREAT! I learned so many great ways to solve MCAT questions. What I liked the best was that he would always show us how to make hard questions easier. I love the way he taught optics with his flowchart method. I do great on buoyancy questions using his sinker-or-floater method. I never understood electromagnetism before and his perspective made it so simple. I don't think there could ever be a better MCAT physics teacher. Overall I'd give this section a 10+ out of 10.

Biology Teaching: We had three different teachers for this subject. Dale (another owner) was a great teacher whose knowledge is encyclopedic. He taught mostly physiology. He gave us some really hard practice questions each lecture, but then went over the logic afterwards. I didn't like this at first, but by the third lecture I loved it. And those questions more than anything else helped me on the real MCAT. Sarath taught the genetics and molecular biology material. He is just a really cool guy who had a very simple and logical way to analyze everything. I really liked that he calmed us down. He's also brilliant, but super modest about it. The one thing I didn't like was the attitude of Chelsea. She only taught one lecture (neuro physiology) and she definitely knew her stuff, but she was just a little too negative for my liking. There were people who liked her and she gave a good lecture, but she set a bad tone. Overall I'd give this section a 9 out of 10.

Organic Chemistry Teaching: For this section, Maha taught three of the lectures, Todd taught two, and Cecile taught two (the lab techniques and spectroscopy). Cecile is a professor from Pepperdine who came out to teach and she was absolutely amazing. I wish she would have taught more, because she had a great way of looking at things and emphasized problem solving. She's also incredibly sweet and really cared that we learned. Maha was also really sweet and was great in office hours. Maha is a UCLA TA who sometimes went off on tangents. She taught some really useful tricks for getting R and S and integrating organic material with biology. I liked her lectures for the most part, but she covered the easy things and sometimes rushed through them. Todd's organic chemistry lectures were really good and full of a bunch a great tricks and applications to biology. Because organic chemistry is so lightly tested, he always made it a point to give us related biology examples. His trick for looking at any pathway is really good. Overall I'd give this section an 8 out of 10.

Verbal Teaching: Samantha is AWESOME! I wasn't expecting much from this part of the course, because I don't think you can teach verbal reasoning. But she had exercises and drills that we did in class that really helped. It was more of skills practice than a lecture. She also had a way of soothing our stress by putting the exam in realistic perspective. I think the handouts we got in class were absolutely the best things I did (because they focused on exercises and not the usual droning on of a verbose verbal expert). Overall I'd give this section a 9 out of 10.

Class Handouts: This is where the course really stands out. The handouts summarize the material and give many of the short cuts. They provide additional passages that are better than the ones in the books (in my opinion at least). The review exams and summary sheets that Todd passed out at the end were great. They really match the feel of the actual MCAT, which is why they pass them out near the end of the class (or so Todd says). Overall I'd give this section a 10 out of 10.

Full-Length CBTs: A few of the exams were excellent and really felt like the actual MCAT. A few of the exams were a waste of my time. Exam 7 was so hard it pushed me backwards. But exams 4 and 8 were really good and set me up quite well for the real thing. I didn't like that they had to email me the curve and my scores. But I liked that the tests had no glitches. One piece of advice for anyone who does their CBTs: do the verbal section on Internet Explorer and the science sections on Mozilla. Overall I'd give this section a 7 out of 10.

Tutoring: I don't want to be mean, but I think this is where I felt a bit let down at times. The office hours were scattered across different spots on campus and weren't consistent in terms of times and days. Todd's OHs were usually full, but he'd schedule private OHs if we couldn't stay the whole time and didn't get our questions answered. During finals, a couple of the tutors disappeared completely. But, they did extra office hours during break week. Maha was great in office hours. I only went to see Sarath once and he was also wonderful, answering some of my questions for other subjects as well. Todd was the best, but that's because he wrote most of the material he taught. I did appreciate that they were there for us right up until our MCAT, including the evening before my exam. That was really calming and getting my last questions answered probably helped me sleep better. Overall I'd give this section a 7 out of 10.

Application Workshops: These are great! I can't tell you how much I learned about the process and the timeline that I didn't know before. They have various people from UCLA and UCI come in to speak about the process and make suggestions. Their statistics and tricks for maximizing your application were great. I really like that even after the course is done, they're still there for you. They really care about everyone and want them to do well. Overall I'd give this section a 9 out of 10.

Overall: I am so glad I took their course. I was really close to taking another class and am happy I checked them all out before signing up. Classes aren't perfect for everyone, but I needed someone to guide me, encourage me, and give me insights on how to get ready. They did all of that. I seriously owe them for my PS and VR scores. I think BS can be studied on your own, but they still helped. I think the best part is that they truly cared about me and my classmates. Overall I'd give this their course a 9 out of 10.
 
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BerkReviewTeach

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Great summary! I want to add that the staff in the summer doesn't necessarily match the staff in the spring. Anyone looking into the class should check on who is teaching as it may not match the group listed above.
 

OrangeOrangutan

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how easy was it to get help in OH? I imagine with alot of pre-meds, it would be nearly impossible to get your question answered.
 

BerkReviewTeach

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Tutoring: I don't want to be mean, but I think this is where I felt a bit let down at times. The office hours were scattered across different spots on campus and weren't consistent in terms of times and days. Todd's OHs were usually full, but he'd schedule private OHs if we couldn't stay the whole time and didn't get our questions answered. During finals, a couple of the tutors disappeared completely. But, they did extra office hours during break week. Maha was great in office hours. I only went to see Sarath once and he was also wonderful, answering some of my questions for other subjects as well. Todd was the best, but that's because he wrote most of the material he taught. I did appreciate that they were there for us right up until our MCAT, including the evening before my exam. That was really calming and getting my last questions answered probably helped me sleep better. Overall I'd give this section a 7 out of 10.
I always thought that varying the location was good for students. I usually would hold half of mine in the Bradley classroom and the other half on south campus or at Kerckoff. We were told to have them at different spots so that it made it easier on students who had to come from the other side of campus for office hours. If you don't like the multiple locations, then you should let them know, because it's on purpose that they have them all over.

how easy was it to get help in OH? I imagine with alot of pre-meds, it would be nearly impossible to get your question answered.
When I taught, we were required to have our office hours such that everyone could make at least one hour each week. I usually had two weekday afternoon hours and two weekend hours (at least four per week). On average, about five to eight people would show for my office hours, but not all at the same time. I think because it was a small class, it was usually easy to get questions answered.
 
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Malayna

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I always thought that varying the location was good for students. I usually would hold half of mine in the Bradley classroom and the other half on south campus or at Kerckoff. We were told to have them at different spots so that it made it easier on students who had to come from the other side of campus for office hours. If you don't like the multiple locations, then you should let them know, because it's on purpose that they have them all over.

When I taught, we were required to have our office hours such that everyone could make at least one hour each week. I usually had two weekday afternoon hours and two weekend hours (at least four per week). On average, about five to eight people would show for my office hours, but not all at the same time. I think because it was a small class, it was usually easy to get questions answered.
I didn't like that they had office hours at four different places. I wish they could have all of them in Bradley. I live on Landfair, so south campus and the medical school are a bit of a walk. I guess it wasn't that bad, there were just times I was in Bradley studying that I didn't want to have to pack up my bags and walk across campus. On the positive side, there were lots of office hours, so even if I didn't want to walk one day I could get my question answered soon after that.

One other positive of office hours is that they were great for hearing other people's questions, because Todd, Maha, and Sarath made it a point to answer one person's questions to everyone who was there. I really liked that.
 

BerkReviewTeach

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I didn't like that they had office hours at four different places. I wish they could have all of them in Bradley. I live on Landfair, so south campus and the medical school are a bit of a walk. I guess it wasn't that bad, there were just times I was in Bradley studying that I didn't want to have to pack up my bags and walk across campus. On the positive side, there were lots of office hours, so even if I didn't want to walk one day I could get my question answered soon after that.

One other positive of office hours is that they were great for hearing other people's questions, because Todd, Maha, and Sarath made it a point to answer one person's questions to everyone who was there. I really liked that.
So you wanted them in one place because you're lazy! :D That's the reason I had mine at Bomb Shelter and Kirckhoff as often as I could. I hated walking over to Bradley.

I have to completely agree that office hours are a great place to find out about things you didn't realize you needed to review. I love how students who come to office hours start working together naturally.
 
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Malayna

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So you wanted them in one place because you're lazy! :D
I don't know about that, but I like being in the same place to study. I work better that way. Plus, Bradley is really quiet and you can be in there long after Powell closes.
 
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Malayna

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Overall: I am so glad I took their course. I was really close to taking another class and am happy I checked them all out before signing up. Classes aren't perfect for everyone, but I needed someone to guide me, encourage me, and give me insights on how to get ready. They did all of that. I seriously owe them for my PS and VR scores. I think BS can be studied on your own, but they still helped. I think the best part is that they truly cared about me and my classmates. Overall I'd give this their course a 9 out of 10.
I want to change this to 10 out of 10. I just got my MCAT scores back and I am so happy. I'm still getting over the shock.

PS 15 :soexcited:
VR 10 :rolleyes:
Wr R :cool:
BS 13 :clap:

They really helped me and I feel that without their support, their great tips, their lectures, and their books I would have struggled to break 30.
 
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Malayna

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I got a PM asking about my BR experience, so rather than rewrite everything, here is my pre-score write up. One thing I didn't include is their help with the application process (also a part of the MCAT class), so I'll write more about that later, especially if I get in.
 
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Anyone here taking the course for the summer? I was thinking of signing up but the website just says the course is in Westwood. Is it held at UCLA?

thanks
 

BerkReviewTeach

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Anyone here taking the course for the summer? I was thinking of signing up but the website just says the course is in Westwood. Is it held at UCLA?

thanks
During the school year, it's held in Bradley Hall near the dorms (on the UCLA campus). In the summer, it starts in Bradley and moves to Ackerman. This summer I hear they have their own testing and study center off campus, but I think the classes are still on campus. Call them to find out for sure.
 

eebbjr

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I'll be in Los Angeles during the summer. Is there a place on the UCLA campus that I can study at during the weekend? I know that Powell and the Biomedical Libraries are open on saturday, but it doesn't seem like anything is open on sunday... Thanks!
 

BerkReviewTeach

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I'll be in Los Angeles during the summer. Is there a place on the UCLA campus that I can study at during the weekend? I know that Powell and the Biomedical Libraries are open on saturday, but it doesn't seem like anything is open on sunday... Thanks!
Study where the classes or office hours are held. That's what many students usually do. You can study well beyond the limited summer library hours that way.
 
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Malayna

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I got a PM asking about my BR experience, so rather than rewrite everything, here is my pre-score write up. One thing I didn't include is their help with the application process (also a part of the MCAT class), so I'll write more about that later, especially if I get in.
I completely forgot I said I'd modify this thread, but seeing it linked in another thread means it's time.

Application Workshops: During the class they had guests from UCI and UCLA come in to talk about the application process and their experience. Their positive perspective actually made me look forward to applying. After the class they had a workshop on the personal statement and the application process that was great. In the Fall, they had an interview workshop. We went over different ways to answer typical questions. They plugged SDN as being the best place anywhere for interview feedback and tips. I did a mock interview with Todd before my first interview and I'm so glad I did it. It's harder to answer those questions out loud rather than in your head. Overall I'd give this section a 9 out of 10.
 

PRamos

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Are there any discounts for the class? I really want to take it (again), but I just can't afford what they are charging.
 
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Malayna

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Are there any discounts for the class? I really want to take it (again), but I just can't afford what they are charging.
I thought their repeat fee was really cheap. You should call them and ask.
 

PRamos

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I thought their repeat fee was really cheap. You should call them and ask.
I spoke with them and because I took it over four years ago when it was for the paper MCAT and blah blah blah, they said I could repeat for $995. That's still out of my price range, so I think I'm going to have to study on my own. I decided to buy their books.

It's cool though, because Todd said I could come to his office hours, but I'm not sure when they are held. Is it listed on their website anywhere?

And your write up is great. I had different teachers when I took the class, except for Todd and Dale of course (because they're always there), but I concur about what a difference it made. Your scores are fantastic, especially PS. I really, really wish I could afford their course, because I know it would get me a better score than studying on my own.
 

guitarguy23

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How much time do you guys spend studying for each topic (bonding, magnetism, the cell etc)?

Is it roughly an hour or two or longer? Just trying to get an idea.
 

PRamos

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Bump

If anyone is taking BR in Westwood (the one that starts this week), please PM me about studying together. I'm looking for a study partner and I am using mostly BR materials.
 

Dyingduck

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Awesome review!

Does anyone know if I can drop by (in Westwood) to buy just their textbooks (mainly physics/gen chem)? (And, do they have the new 2010 Physics book?) Or their office phone numbers?

I tried looking on their website, but I cannot even find a number to call. :(
 

PRamos

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Awesome review!

Does anyone know if I can drop by (in Westwood) to buy just their textbooks (mainly physics/gen chem)? (And, do they have the new 2010 Physics book?) Or their office phone numbers?

I tried looking on their website, but I cannot even find a number to call. :(
I bought books from Todd just before Christmas, so it can be done if you go in person. I posted a thread on this a couple weeks ago. I'm loving getting back into the study groove. I forgot how much I liked their books.

The office looks open in the afternoons, because I see lights on when I drive by. I plan to stop by next week and see if it's okay if I study there. I can't stand Powell and being on campus is a hassle now. Hopefully they are okay with an ex using the place for quiet studying.
 

Dyingduck

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I bought books from Todd just before Christmas, so it can be done if you go in person. I posted a thread on this a couple weeks ago. I'm loving getting back into the study groove. I forgot how much I liked their books.

The office looks open in the afternoons, because I see lights on when I drive by. I plan to stop by next week and see if it's okay if I study there. I can't stand Powell and being on campus is a hassle now. Hopefully they are okay with an ex using the place for quiet studying.
I would suggest email him and schedule an appointment. Todd is a very nice guy, he even allows me to go to his office hours (and I am not even a BR student). I just bought book from him this week and he spent 10 minutes explaining stuffs.
 

gnomeski

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What (or where can I find it online) is TBR's summer course schedule at UCLA?
 
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Malayna

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What (or where can I find it online) is TBR's summer course schedule at UCLA?
They put it up during Winter quarter last year, so keep checking their website. My friend started in May this past summer, so I imagine they'd probably do that again this year. You can always email Todd (the guy who runs the LA show) to find out.
 
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I also took the Kaplan review course and I completely agree that it was a TOTAL waste of money.
 

apc

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Do you guys think one can follow SN2ed's schedule and take this course? I live half an hour away from UCLA, so it'd be somewhat of a hassle to get there everyday.
And yeah a phone number would be more than helpful
 

PhilIvey

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Do you guys think one can follow SN2ed's schedule and take this course? I live half an hour away from UCLA, so it'd be somewhat of a hassle to get there everyday.
And yeah a phone number would be more than helpful
Hey, I used TBR materials. If it's possible, take the course. TBR stuff is gold. However, there is some stuff where you wish you had an actual instructor. If money is no object then you'd would be doing yourself a huge disservice by not taking the live course especially since you would get Dale and Todd. My 2 cents.
 

apc

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Hey, I used TBR materials. If it's possible, take the course. TBR stuff is gold. However, there is some stuff where you wish you had an actual instructor. If money is no object then you'd would be doing yourself a huge disservice by not taking the live course especially since you would get Dale and Todd. My 2 cents.
Thanks. I'm buying the BR science books, but I just don't know how I'll manage going to class and following that schedule. Based on what I've read in SN2ed's thread, some don't recommend taking a course and doing the schedule...
 
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I want to change this to 10 out of 10. I just got my MCAT scores back and I am so happy. I'm still getting over the shock.

PS 15 :soexcited:
VR 10 :rolleyes:
Wr R :cool:
BS 13 :clap:

They really helped me and I feel that without their support, their great tips, their lectures, and their books I would have struggled to break 30.
Hi Malayna, Congrats on your great scores! I know this was a while ago - but how long had you been studying prior to the BR course and how long did you wait after finishing the course to take the MCAT? I am considering taking the BR course at UCLA in the fall (and taking the MCAT in 1/2015) and wondering whether you have enough time after the course finishes to review before the test! I am also considering using the SDN plan as I have all EK books as well.

Thank you!