MCAT Berkeley Review MCAT Course Information

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Berkeley Review MCAT Course Information

“Berkeley Review helps turn 26s into 32s, 30s into 35s, and 36s into 40s”​


Berkeley Review operates live courses at only three locations, Berkeley (CA), West Los Angeles (CA), and Irvine (CA). We limit our locations so that we can put forth an all-star teaching team at every location. A few students every session travel thousands of miles to take our course, although the majority of our students are local.

Quick Course Facts:
  • 1) Berkeley Review offers MCAT-only study centers. The power of being in an environment where everyone is studying for just one exam and everyone on the staff is an expert in just one exam cannot be overestimated. It’s both motivating and extremely helpful for getting targeted assistance. No other company can offer this unique environment.
  • 2) Todd and/or Dale (the founders) still teach classes at all centers. Having the authors of the world’s best test prep books as your instructors and your office hour tutors is available to each Berkeley Review student.
  • 3) The MCAT teaching staff includes two all-stars with college-level distinguished teaching awards while professors. The honest truth about teaching is that very few people are naturally great at it and when you’re lucky enough to have one of these amazing teachers, it changes your life. At Berkeley Review, when we are fortunate enough to land one of these life-changing teachers, we do all we can to keep them for years. That’s why we have so many teachers on staff with over ten years of MCAT teaching experience. No other company can offer as much teaching experience as Berkeley Review.

Key Features of the Course
Student-to-Teacher Ratio of 4 : 1 to 8 : 1, depending on the season.
Class Size: 21.7 students on average (Maximums range from 24 to 31 and depend on season and location)
We’re MCAT only, so we know MCAT strategies and techniques better than anyone

Berkeley Location: 64 Shattuck Square Suite 200, Berkeley, CA 94704
Our Center includes a dedicated study room where students may stay for hours, a spacious classroom that comfortably seats 30 students, an office hour room, four whiteboards per room, a supportive atmosphere with instructors around for help, and we are situated next to the cleanest BART station entrance in downtown Berkeley. The last point might seem odd, but we chose our location very carefully, so that our students could come and go from class in the most hassle-free manner (which is important in Berkeley, especially in the evening). Coming from campus, the campus shuttle stop, or BART, you’ll find a clean, vagrant-free path to our class.

Irvine Location: 4255 Campus Drive Suite A255, Irvine, CA 92612
We have a spacious classroom that comfortably seats 36 students, open study hall during non-teaching hours, a snack table, state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment, three whiteboards, a premed-only environment, and free parking. The location is quiet and students can concentrate when studying.

Westwood Location: 1074 Gayley Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90025
Our Center includes a waiting area where students may study, a spacious classroom that comfortably seats 34 students, has two additional study tables, a snack table, four whiteboards, and state of the art audio-visual equipment, and a laptop computer area for computer prep work. There is no other center in California designed 100% for premedical students preparing for the MCAT, except of course our other centers. :D

(Outstanding) Instructors/Tutors
Our instructor team at each location consists of six to eight experienced teachers delivering high-quality lectures. Our lectures are painstakingly developed and redeveloped several times per year, year in and year out. Following feedback after every session, we make adjustments to the course to always stay current. Being an MCAT-only program, we have a HUGE advantage in this aspect, because it is easier for us to update instantly than companies offering assistance for several exams at hundreds of locations.

Our teaching philosophy is simple. Help students learn to do better on multiple-choice questions on the MCAT. This entails building a science vocabulary, understanding many concepts, thinking logically, becoming fast at integrating multiple concepts, avoiding careless errors, and mastering test-taking skills. Our teachers are selected for their ability to teach these skills. Some teachers are hired to teach just two to three of our lecture topics (we have forty-four total topic lectures as well as five skills lectures), to ensure that every class has excellent instruction at those specific subjects. Our teachers are experts at what they teach.

We have been fortunate enough to once again keep the core of our teaching team intact this year including a Pepperdine professor and a Friedmann honoree. We have added a few new tutors to the team at each location this year. Listed below are members of our teaching and tutoring team at our three sites.

Chemistry Staff
Todd Bennett, FIVE-time OUTSTANDING TEACHING ASSISTANT Award Winner (at UCSD, UCB, and UCI), Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award (IVC), Primary Developer of Hyperlearning MCAT Course, co-Founder of Berkeley Review, 25 years of MCAT teaching experience, Author of Berkeley Review Chemistry Books, 6.89 Student Evaluation Rating in chemistry (1-7 scale)
Teaches fifteen to twenty of the science lectures at southern California locations and four to eight of the general chemistry lectures at the Berkeley location.

Cecile Santos, Pepperdine Chemistry Professor, Award-Winning Teaching Assistant as a Graduate Student at UCLA, Student-Choice Outstanding Lecturer Recognition, 12 years of MCAT teaching experience, 6.78 Student Evaluation Rating
Teaches two to four of the seven organic chemistry lectures in southern California

Steven T, Three Sessions of MCAT teaching experience, Outstanding Tutor Award winner, Experienced Undergraduate Academic Mentor and Tutor, 6.67 Student Evaluation Rating, an MCAT score in the top 0.1%.
Teaches three of the ten general chemistry lectures and all ten biology lectures in Irvine

Elizabeth S, Three Sessions of MCAT teaching experience, Three years experience as a Private Science Tutor, Undergraduate Teaching Assistant, 6.40 Student Evaluation Rating
Teaches eight lectures in chemistry in Westwood and Irvine

Will H, Outstanding UCB Teaching Assistant, Four Sessions of MCAT experience, Outstanding Teaching Award-winner, 6+ Student Evaluation Rating consistently
Teaches the organic chemistry lectures in Berkeley

Physics Staff
Todd Bennett, Winner of a coveted Faculty Teaching Award (Hartnell College), co-Author of Berkeley Review Physics Books, 16 years of MCAT physics teaching experience, 6.87 Student Evaluation Rating in physics
Teaches the six to eight of the physics lectures in Westwood and Irvine

Khoi N, Outstanding UCB Teaching Assistant (former), Thirteen Years of MCAT experience, Outstanding Tutoring Award-winner, 6+ Student Evaluation Rating consistently
Teaches all of the physics lectures in Berkeley

Spencer M, Seven Sessions of MCAT teaching experience, Current MD-PhD Student, Undergraduate Teaching Assistant, 6+ Student Evaluation Rating
Teaches two to four lectures in physics in Westwood and Irvine

Biology Staff
Dale Schmidt, co-Founder Berkeley Review, Author of Berkeley Review Biology Books, 19 years of MCAT teaching experience, 6.59 Student Evaluation Rating
Teaches the biology lectures in Berkeley

Kevin C, Entering Medical Student, Sixteen Sessions of MCAT experience, 6.25 Student Evaluation Rating
Teaches the molecular biology lectures in Westwood.

Sissi S, Department-Select Tutor as undergraduate, Five Sessions of MCAT experience, Outstdanding Tutor Award winner
Teaches the physiology lectures in Westwood.

Naomi S, Amazing Biology Tutor at UCLA, Seven Sessions of MCAT experience, 6.20 Student Evaluation Rating
Teaches genetics, biochemistry, and molecular biology in Westwood.

Verbal Reasoning Staff
Patricio A, Over Ten years of experience teaching verbal reasoning, Specializes in Improving Question Analyzing Skills, Consistently has 6+ Student Evaluation Rating
Teaches the verbal reasoning lectures in Berkeley

Lori J, Exam Skills Specialist, Verbal Reasoning Expert, Four Sessions of MCAT experience, 6.00 Student Evaluation Rating in her first session
Teaches the verbal reasoning lectures in southern California

Dr. Chris Lindshield, The world’s greatest verbal instructor, Author of verbal improvement books, Fourteen years of MCAT teaching experience, Developer of Verbal Analysis System, Never below 6.5 on evaluations in his teaching tenure.
Teaches seasonal verbal reasoning seminars in southern California

*Student Evaluation Score based Student Evaluations of teaching on scale of 1 - 7 (7 being Excellent), where best year is listed.

Seasonal Classes
Berkeley Session 1, Session 2, and Session 3 (aiming for April/May exams)
Classes start the second week of January and go until the last week of April (four to six classes per week, meeting Monday through Thursday weekly plus an occasional Friday and/or Saturday).

Berkeley Session 4, Session 5, and Session 6 (aiming for August/September exams)
Classes start the last week of May and go until the second week of August (four to six classes per week, meeting Monday through Thursday weekly plus an occasional Friday and/or Saturday).

Irvine Session 1 (aiming for January exams)
Classes start in early October and go until the first week of January (four to five classes per week). The class meets Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays (with some days having two classes back-to-back).

Irvine Session 2 and Session 3 (aiming for March/April/May exams)
Classes start the first week of January and go until the first week of April (four to five classes per week, meeting Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays weekly plus an occasional Wednesday). By doubling up lectures on certain days in January and February, students can finish lectures as early as the middle of March.

Irvine Session 4 and Session 5 (aiming for August/September exams)
Classes start the second week of June (after UCI finals finish) and go until the third week of August (four to five classes per week, meeting three weekdays and on Saturdays and Sundays with an occasional extra weekday).

Westwood Session 1 (aiming for January exams)
Classes start in early October and go until the first week of January (four to five classes per week). The class meets two weeknights and twice on Saturdays each week with occasional Sunday lectures.

Westwood Session 2 and Session 3 (aiming for March/April exams)
Classes start the first week of January and go until the first week of April (six classes per week for the first three weeks then four classes per week for the remainder, meeting two weeknights and twice on Saturdays).

Westwood Session 4 (aiming for April/May exams)
Classes start the last week of January and go until the third week of April (four to five classes per week, meeting two weeknights and twice on Sundays with an occasional extra weekday)

Westwood Session 1s (aiming for August exams)
Classes start the second week of May and go until the last week of July (five to six classes per week, meeting two weeknights and twice on Saturdays, and twice on Sundays for the first half and then four days a week for the second half)

Westwood Session 2s and Session 3s (aiming for August/September exams)
Classes start at the end of the second week of June and go through the second week of August (four to five classes per week, meeting four weekdays and once on either Saturday or Sundays with occasional extra weekend day).

Westwood Session 4s and Session 5s (aiming for late August/September exams)
Classes start at the end of the third week of June and go through the third week of August (four to five classes per week, meeting four weekdays and once on either Saturday or Sundays with occasional extra weekend day).

Lecture Topics
(Lecture sequence and lecture outlines may vary slightly from location to location due to the varying curriculum from university to university)
Biology 1 Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Cells, Cellular Function, Viruses, and Biological Molecules
Biology 2 Metabolism, Enzymes, Kinetics, Glycolysis, Kreb's Cycle, and Electron Transport-Oxidative Phosphoryllation
Biology 3 Beta Oxidation, Gluconeogenesis, Urea Cycle, and Calvin Cycle
Biology 4 Introduction to Nucleic Acids, DNA, RNA, Replication, Transcription, and Translation
Biology 5 Genetic Information, More Translation, Genetic Engineering, and Recombination
Biology 6 Cumulative Review of Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, Genetics, and Biochemistry

Gen Chem 1 Stoichiometry, Limiting Reagents, Concentration Units, Dilution, and Solubility
Gen Chem 2 Atomic Theory, Electronic Configurations, Periodic Trends, Excitation/Relaxation, and VSEPR Theory
Gen Chem 3 Equilibrium Constant, Equilibrium, Le Châtelier's Principle, Reaction Rate, and Reaction Order
Gen Chem 4 Weak Acids & Bases, Strong Acids & Bases, pH Scale, Neutralization, and Buffers
Gen Chem 5 pH Calculations, Polyprotic Acids, Titration Curves, Multiple Equivalent Points, and Indicators
Gen Chem 6 Gas Definitions, Kinetic Theory of Gases, Gas Laws, Partial Pressure, and Effusion
Gen Chem 7 Phases Changes, Heat Exchange, Phase Diagrams, Vapor Pressure, and Raoult's Law
Gen Chem 8 Enthalpy, Entropy, Free Energy, Calorimetry, Bond Energies, Reaction Rate, and Order
Gen Chem 9 Classical Experiments in Atomic Structure, Isotopes, Nuclear Chemistry, and Half-Lives
Gen Chem 10 Balancing Redox Reactions, Electromotive Force, Electrochemical Cells, and Nernst Equation
Gen Chem 11 Overview of Chemistry Topics, Review of Heavily Tested Topics, and Test Strategy

Org Chem 1 Organic Structure, Resonance, Hybridization, Aromaticity, and Steric Hindrance
Org Chem 2 IR Spectroscopy, UV-Visible Spectroscopy, NMR Spectroscopy, and Structure Elucidation
Org Chem 3 Stereochemistry, Enantiomers, Diastereomers, Meso, and Nucleophilic Substitution
Org Chem 4 Carbohydrates, Hofmann Elimination, Terpenes, and Free Radicals
Org Chem 5 Carbonyl Reactions, Protecting Groups, Acetals, Hemiacetals, and Redox Chemistry
Org Chem 6 Titration, Isoelectric pH, Electrophoresis, Sequencing, Affinity Chromatography, and Protein Structure
Org Chem 7 Chromatography, Distillation, Extraction, Recrystallization, and Basic Lab Ideology
Org Chem 8 Overview of Chemistry Topics, Review of Heavily Tested Topics, and Test Strategy

Physics 1 Translational Motion, Kinematics, Acceleration, Velocity, and Projectile Motion
Physics 2 Forces, Force Diagrams, Circular Motion, and Newton's Laws
Physics 3 Potential Energy, Kinetic Energy, Work, Heat, and Momentum
Physics 4 Transfer of Momentum, Transfer of Energy, Friction, and Gravity
Physics 5 Periodic Motion, Beats, Period, Frequency, Cyclic Processes, Springs, Pendulums, and Waves
Physics 6 Sound, Doppler Effect, Beat Frequency, Decibel Scale, and Longitudinal Waves
Physics 7 Fluid Dynamics, Bernoulli's Law, Archimedes' Principle, Hydraulics, and Solids
Physics 8 Electrostatics, Electric Fields, Magnetic Fields, and Motion of Charged Particles
Physics 9 Simple Circuits, Current, Resistance, Voltage, Circuit Rules, and Circuit Features
Physics 10 Light Spectrum, Electromagnetic Radiation, Refraction, Reflection, Mirrors, and Lenses

Physiology 1 Central Nervous System, Peripheral Nervous System, and Skeletal/Muscular System
Physiology 2 Cardiovascular Physiology, Hemoglobin, Myoglobin, and Circulatory System
Physiology 3 Gastrointestinal System, Renal Physiology, Nephron Dynamics, and Regulation of GI
Physiology 4 Reproductive Systems (M/F), Female Hormone Cycle, Gastrulation, and Development
Physiology 5 Immune System, B-Cells, T-Cells, Antigens, Antibodies, Defense Mechanisms, and Hormones
Physiology 6 Physiological Pathways, Integration of Pathways, Physiological Feedback Mechanisms

Verbal 1 Introduction to the Verbal Reasoning Test, Eclectic Topic Overview, and Establishing a Game Plan
Verbal 2 Mapping (“Useful?”), Typical Questions ("the List"), Active Reading, and Letting Go of Science Reading Habits
Verbal 3 Introduction to Speed Reading, Effective Skimming, Test Timing, and Building Your Testing Strategy
Verbal 4 Critical Reading for Ideas and Concepts, Pre-reading Questions, and Recognizing the 'Best' Answer
Verbal 5 Recognizing Topics, Concentration Skills, and Time Allotment During Exam

Course Materials to be used with lectures (all passages include full explanations)
  • Biology Text 1 (Neuro, Heart, Lung, Kidney, GI, and Reproductive Physiology and Immunology) 84 passages
    Biology Text 2 (Cellular Biology, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Genetics) 84 passages

  • General Chemistry Text 1 (Stoichiometry, Atomic Structure, Equilibrium, Acids & Bases, and Titration Curves) 68 passages
    General Chemistry Text 2 (Gases, Phases, Thermodynamics, Kinetics, and Electrochemistry) 63 passages

  • Organic Chemistry Text 1 (Organic Structure, Spectroscopy, Stereochemistry, and Hydrocarbons) 56 passages
    Organic Chemistry Text 2 (Carbonyls, Carbohydrates, Amino Acids, and Laboratory Techniques) 56 passages

  • Physics Text 1 (Translational Motion, Forces, Work, Momentum, Torque, and Waves) 50 passages
    Physics Text 2 (Sound, Fluids & Solids, Electrostatics, Circuits, Light, and Optics) 50 passages

  • Verbal Reasoning Text includes 105 passages with full answer explanations and test strategy tips
    Essay Composition Text includes sample essays and a strategy formula for writing a strong essay

Practice Exams
(9 Full-Length CBT Exams, all come with 21 Passages and detailed answer explanations)
  • TBR Practice Test I . . . . .Good starter exam (difficult PS, easy VR, medium BS)
  • TBR Practice Test II . . . . Mid-range Exam (medium PS, hard VR, medium BS)
  • TBR Practice Test III . . . .Punishment Exam (difficult PS, difficult VR, difficult BS)
  • TBR Practice Test IV . . . . Mid-range Exam (medium PS, medium VR, hard BS)
  • TBR Practice Test V . . . . .Difficult Exam (hard PS, medium VR, hard BS)
  • TBR Practice Test VI . . . . Mid-range Exam (semi-easy PS, medium VR, medium BS)
  • TBR Practice Test VII . . . .Hard Exam (hard PS, medium VR, hard BS)
  • TBR Practice Test VIII . . . Mid-range Exam (medium PS, semi-easy VR, medium BS)
  • TBR Practice Test IX . . . . Mid-range Exam (semi-hard PS, semi-easy VR, semi-hard BS)
note that the difficulty assessment is based on student feedback, and not everyone agreed on the exact difficulty of each exam or section within an exam


Extra Materials for Continued Review
  • Verbal Reasoning 32 In-Class Passages and 21 Test Passages with complete answer explanations
  • Physical Sciences 14 Passages in Two Topical Tests with complete answer explanations
  • General Chemistry Problem Session Passage Sets 14 Passages with complete answer explanations
  • Cumulative Chemistry Tests 14 Passages with complete answer explanations
  • In-Class Passages 40 Passages with complete answer explanations
  • Organic Chemistry Problem Session Passage Sets 12 Passages with complete answer explanations
  • Cumulative Chemistry Tests 14 Passages with complete answer explanations
  • In-Class Passages 28 Passages with complete answer explanations
  • Biology Integrative Review I 11 Passages with complete answer explanations
  • Integrative Review II 11 Passages with complete answer explanations
  • Physics Problem Session Passage Sets 14 Passages with complete answer explanations
  • Cumulative Chemistry Tests 14 Passages with complete answer explanations
  • In-Class Passages 50 Passages with complete answer explanations
  • Miscellaneous MCAT Grab Bags I and II 20± Passages with complete answer explanations

Supplemental Materials (for application assistance)
  • Application Guideline (A detailed timeline for and statistical look at applying to medical school)
  • Interview Tips (Collected comments from people who have given and received interviews)

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