Summer Sweet

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I'm currently studying some biochem material, and am having way too much trouble cramming 6 different sets of pathways, regulators, chemical structures, etc., into my head over the weekend. Anyone have tips regarding acronyms and stuff to memorize things like glycolysis, PDH complex, TCA, glyoxylate, pentose phosphate, electron transport, oxidative phosphorylation, etc?

Before anyone saids anything, I know we don't have to memorize all this stuff for the MCAT. But I'm thinking a couple people in this forum might have suffered through biochem in school, and might have some helpful tips? Thanks!
 

akinf

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Honestly...Biochem is one of those painful courses that just needs to be hacked through. For me, the best way I got through it was going through a little bit every day and trying to write out pathways as much as possible. At this stage in the game (if your midterm is close) just start doing old exams.
 

Pansit

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I'm currently studying some biochem material, and am having way too much trouble cramming 6 different sets of pathways, regulators, chemical structures, etc., into my head over the weekend. Anyone have tips regarding acronyms and stuff to memorize things like glycolysis, PDH complex, TCA, glyoxylate, pentose phosphate, electron transport, oxidative phosphorylation, etc?

Before anyone saids anything, I know we don't have to memorize all this stuff for the MCAT. But I'm thinking a couple people in this forum might have suffered through biochem in school, and might have some helpful tips? Thanks!

Biochem is all about memorizing all that stuff...study hardcore for the two days and then review you should be fine...I usually come up with my own acronym for things while studying but I often forget them as soon as the test is completely so I cant help you...just make up your own stuff...it's easy if it's organized
 

AlternateSome1

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What helped me most was drawing out the pathways. If you sit down, draw out a pathway 2-3 times a day, including names of each compound, cofactor, and inhibitor, it should help out a lot in the long run. Not only do you learn the names, you also start to build pictures of the process in your head. This is also very helpful for when you start to get mixed up on a test. You can reproduce the entire pathway and look at it rather than trying to think it out.

If you are in a time crunch, the main things to memorize about every pathway are, the first and last compound, the names of the compounds at the rate limiting steps, what you put into the reaction and what you get out (NAD, NADPH, etc...), the cofactors/enzymes involved, and the purpose of the pathway itself. Repetition and understanding are key.
 
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Jvillegator

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it's probably cliched, but don't memorize anything...if you understand what's going on in each step then it'll be a lot easier to work with. The first thing I do is make sure I know the different classes of enzymes and want they do (kinases, decarboxylases, etc.), this helps you to intuitively understand what is happening in each step or even in some kind of pathway you've never seen before. Try to understand the relationships between each of the different cycles and the main points behind each cycle (such as glycolysis produces much less ATP per mole glucose but is much faster while the TCA cycle produces a lot more ATP but also requires more time). It may also help to turn the different substrates into abbreviations instead of trying to spend time memorizing long names (Glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate can be G3P, phosphofructokinase is PFK)...I always thought this took a huge amount of stress away from having to learn those things. Hope this helps!
 

dochoov

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I'm currently studying some biochem material, and am having way too much trouble cramming 6 different sets of pathways, regulators, chemical structures, etc., into my head over the weekend. Anyone have tips regarding acronyms and stuff to memorize things like glycolysis, PDH complex, TCA, glyoxylate, pentose phosphate, electron transport, oxidative phosphorylation, etc?

Before anyone saids anything, I know we don't have to memorize all this stuff for the MCAT. But I'm thinking a couple people in this forum might have suffered through biochem in school, and might have some helpful tips? Thanks!

Biochemistry was one of the most rewarding and interesting classes I've ever taken. It's an opportunity to really get at many of nature's little secrets.

The two responses above mine contain very good advice. Don't look at the class as a memory test. Do your best to really understand a pathway in its entirety, its whole function/purpose, and how that comes in to other pathways. This is your opportunity to develop a concrete framework before you even enter med school.

I found that drawing out all intermediate structures, enzyme names, cofactors, etc really helped me. Also, verbally rehersing them also helps, outloud or just in your head.

A solid mental framework of the main pathways will greatly facilitate in understanding where/why all the allosteric activators/deactivators take place. It's possible to learn these along the way (and often very helpful for really understanding a pathway), but if you're feeling overwhelmed, leave them out for now.
 

meds2008

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If you were preparing for an exam at your univ, I would give you advice on memorizing. But for the MCAT, take Jvillegator's advice. If you don't know if it's true, practice with an AAMC test or two and carefully note how many times they ask for an intermediate of the Kreb's Cycle or some obscure cofactor in the Electron Transport Chain. What's in play for the MCAT? Understanding the big picture and knowing the big players: pyruvate, acetyl CoA, kinases, decarboxylases, the waste products, what can feed into glycolysis, etc.
 

Morpholino

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The only way I ever learned biochemistry was to draw out the arrow-pushing mechanisms for each step in a given pathway. If you can understand the organic chemistry behind each step, memorizing the intermediates and the enzymes becomes all the easier.
 

midn

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I'm a biochem major and I don't have the pathways memorized myself (although I did have TCA and glycolysis memorized one point in time). The best thing to do is to be familiar with these pathways since the MCAT will more than likely (from my experiences thus far) give you the entire pathway on the test. If you've never seen it before then you may feel intimidated, but if you have, you'll glance at it once and go on to the questions.

Like the previous posters said, recognize common themes and understand what is going on. MCAT will almost never ask you a question like "what is the intermediate of so and so" UNLESS it can be reached intuitively by the information they have given you.

Good luck.
 
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