Jun 17, 2009
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Hi everyone, I just started studying for the MCAT and had a question concerning studying methods.

I was wondering if it was important that I be able to do complex physics problems based on the equations. I was looking through some of the MCAT practice tests, and found that a lot of it was straight up problems.
I was going to buy a physics text book and work through a lot of the problems in it to refresh my memory (a monumental task), but friends of mine tell me that this is an inefficient waste of time...

Why is it? I'm slightly confused, considering a large portion of the physics section was straight up problems, why would it be wasteful to practice solving these problems?



Also, I was wondering if the MCAT prep courses and book were designed to only target a body of problems that are likely to appear on the test, and not designed to allow you to solve most all of the problems that will appear. Or is the MCAT prep materials usually sufficient to allow you to solve most of the problems??
 

Compass

Squishy
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Basic physics equations will not be provided. Get a list of those. Capacitance, motion, etc., are nowhere to be found. You will NEED to remember those. Things like calculating Alternating Current will probably receive equations.
 

rocuronium

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May 11, 2008
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For the purposes of the MCAT, focus on understanding the equations, not memorizing them.

Many MCAT questions are deceiving in that they appear to require complex formulas to solve when only a thorough understanding of the concept is required. Anyone can plug numbers into a formula and come up with the solution. The hard part is understanding what every variable represents and how the variables are related.

For example, many questions on the MCAT relate to the equation F=ma, but you will never be asked to simply solve for F. Instead, you be asked about the relationship between variables like force and acceleration.

Please understand that I am not saying that doing many practice problems is unwise. In fact, doing practice problems after a thorough content review is the best way to ensure understanding. Just don't make the mistake of thinking that simply doing lots of physics problems is the best way of studying.

All the best!
 

Mattabet

Doctor Thunder
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Jun 8, 2008
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For the purposes of the MCAT, focus on understanding the equations, not memorizing them.

Many MCAT questions are deceiving in that they appear to require complex formulas to solve when only a thorough understanding of the concept is required. Anyone can plug numbers into a formula and come up with the solution. The hard part is understanding what every variable represents and how the variables are related.

For example, many questions on the MCAT relate to the equation F=ma, but you will never be asked to simply solve for F. Instead, you be asked about the relationship between variables like force and acceleration.

Please understand that I am not saying that doing many practice problems is unwise. In fact, doing practice problems after a thorough content review is the best way to ensure understanding. Just don't make the mistake of thinking that simply doing lots of physics problems is the best way of studying.

All the best!
:thumbup: Couldn't have said it better myself. The MCAT is largely conceptual - it's going to be rare that you just need to plug numbers (though you may get one or two in a PS). That said, if solving problems helps you understand the equations and relationships better then that will help you.