Hidden requirement classes for MCAT

Spiderman [RNA Ladder 2003]

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    I took MCAT yesterday, and it became clear that it is simply not enough to take Intro Bio and Gen Chem, Physics, math classes. They cover about 3/4 of all the concepts in PS and BS. For the rest of the questions you really need to take more classes. I decided to compile a list of additional classes that people sugest to take before MCAT. So here is goes:

    1) Biochemistry (Conceptual and applied)
    2) Genetics
    3) Analytical chemistry

    I have taken all of these classes. But still, some of the Genetics questions on the MCAT were killing me. If you have any other classes that you think would be useful, please add them into the list.
     

    Doctora Foxy

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      I believe that most of the stuff on the mcat that was not covered in the prereq classes can be found in the passages. Maybe the mcat will be easier once you go through med school? :p

      Then again, my excuse for not doing so well on the mcats was always that I hadn't taken any upper-level science courses. I think the real reason was that I didn't learn my stuff sufficiently in the pre-req.s
       

      Doctora Foxy

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        I thik I had to know that at my school. We did a lab on electrophoresis and I rememebr having to memorize the stuructures of amino acids and some other proteins. Maybe it depends on the textbook you used or how demanding the professor was. But I'll agree with you that some upper level courses are useful, although not necessary. Some stuff in my Kaplan review books was never covered in my Bio classes.

        On that note, I'll add to the list:

        Human Physiology is probably very helpful. :)

        p.s. I just noticed Genetics was on your list. I guess the Bio pre-reqs depend on the school. At my school, the intro Bio classes are cell bio and then genetics.
         
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        Papa Smurf

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          Dude, I've taken the MCAT twice now. I have 2 semesters of bio, 2 semesters of physics, 2 semesters of gen chem, and 1 semester of orgo/biochem. I haven't had a single science class in a year and a half now, (I'm a non-science major). I'll admit, I was lost on the immunology passage. It wouldn't process, but it was really a reading comp passage more than anything else. I studied so much freakin bio, and hardly any of it was on there. I'm not about to advocate somebody put themselves thru the hell of an immunology class just coz it may come up on an MCAT passage that prolly won't even test what they learned anyway. At least not directly. The problem is that you're under such time constraints that you have a tendency to rush thru the passages. I know I rushed thru yesterday on the BS section, and I'll prolly pay for it when the results come in. The cysteine question was not THAT hard even if you haven't had biochem. Think of the tertiary structure of a protein. What's one of the forces that holds it to together? DiSULFIDE bonds b/t cysteine amino acids. DiSULFIDE means sulfur is one of the components of the amino acid. And of course we all know that all amino acids also contain N,H,C, and O, so there's your answer. Pointless test of your ability to recall a useless detail and apply it, but that's what the MCAT tests. I hate this stupid exam, but I know that I would've probably done the same even if I had taken genetics, immuno, and analytical. Trust me, there's nothing on the PS section that required analytical chemistry.
           

          Spiderman [RNA Ladder 2003]

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            I agree with Physiology because there is a lot of hormone stuff on the MCAT, too. You do not really need to know the names for aminoacids and be able to run electrophoresis in Intro Bio class because there are much more stuff to talk about in that class anyway. I thought that my Intro Bio labs were wierd...
            I would also add Immunology.
            Research helped me a lot, too. I was working in a lab since last summer now and learned how to do run electrophoresis, Western blots, imminohistochemistry stuff and so on. I also went to quite a few journal club meetings and still was paid for that. that allowed me to read a lot of Molecular biology kind of articles.
             

            nap

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              I definately agree with Papa Smurf. Also, physiology is the one class that I say could be useful, but I hadnt taken it before the MCAT so I just learned all the physiology on my own, and that wasnt so hard.
              I wouldnt recommend putting off the MCAT til after taking more upper level courses. I doubt that it would make that much of a difference.
               

              Atlas

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                Take a physiology course. It takes your bio, gen chem and organic chem and makes sense of it all. It's a tremendous help because alot of the passages in the BS section are related to physiology in some way, shape, or form. I can speak from experience. Before I took my animal physiology course, I was pulling 6's on my practice tests. After taking animal physiology, my bio score was up in the 9's and 10's. I didn't study for the MCAT all that much either. I just took practice biology sections once in a while when I had some free time. Look into it.

                PEace

                Atlas
                 

                Legend

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                  •••quote:•••Originally posted by RNA Ladder 2003:
                  •Is there a class "logic?" What do you guys do in this class?•••••It basically teaches you things like statement logic, predicate logic, induction, blah blah...
                  That course is good for LSAT, but I think it is good for MCAT as well.
                  I am saying this because I had one verbal passage about inductive logic. duh...
                   

                  Jameson

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                    Yea there actually is a class in logic. I had to go to a CC to take it though, why they wouldn't offer it at a university is beyond any rational reason I could come up with. It was actually a great class. If you ever have the chance to take one do so. I think the title was "Ethics 102: Logic".
                    Jameson
                     

                    Legend

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                      •••quote:•••Originally posted by Papa Smurf:
                      •Dude, I've taken the MCAT twice now. I have 2 semesters of bio, 2 semesters of physics, 2 semesters of gen chem, and 1 semester of orgo/biochem. I haven't had a single science class in a year and a half now, (I'm a non-science major). I'll admit, I was lost on the immunology passage. It wouldn't process, but it was really a reading comp passage more than anything else. I studied so much freakin bio, and hardly any of it was on there. I'm not about to advocate somebody put themselves thru the hell of an immunology class just coz it may come up on an MCAT passage that prolly won't even test what they learned anyway. At least not directly. The problem is that you're under such time constraints that you have a tendency to rush thru the passages. I know I rushed thru yesterday on the BS section, and I'll prolly pay for it when the results come in. The cysteine question was not THAT hard even if you haven't had biochem. Think of the tertiary structure of a protein. What's one of the forces that holds it to together? DiSULFIDE bonds b/t cysteine amino acids. DiSULFIDE means sulfur is one of the components of the amino acid. And of course we all know that all amino acids also contain N,H,C, and O, so there's your answer. Pointless test of your ability to recall a useless detail and apply it, but that's what the MCAT tests. I hate this stupid exam, but I know that I would've probably done the same even if I had taken genetics, immuno, and analytical. Trust me, there's nothing on the PS section that required analytical chemistry.•••••I agree with papasmurf.
                      I am a Bio major and I took MCAT twice already. BS is more of reading comprehension than anything else. If you have like 10 PhDs in different fields like biochem, micro, evolutionary, blah blah, BS should be easy, but no MCAT taker is an expert in every field. That tells us that we don't have to be experts in any field as long as we can read the passages.
                      I had a frigging passage on Bombay phenotype (this is popular for soap operas) yesterday, and it was all advanced biochemistry. However, all the answers were in the passage. Basially all you had to know was if A inhibits B and B synthesizes C, then A inhibits C.
                       

                      Forensic Chick

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                        About the logic class -- I had to take one for a GE requirement -- it was a philosophy course called "Intro to Logic." What a joke. We had to use Venn diagrams and these weird equations to determine if the statement was a fallacy or not. I prefer to use the famous teachings of Samuel L. Jackson from The Negotiator: When you look up and to the left, you're accessing the visual cortex and you're telling the truth. When you look up and to the right, you're accessing the creative centers of the brain, and we know you're full of sh!t. That theory works every time. :rolleyes:
                         
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                        TommyGunn04

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                          What do you mean by "analytical chemistry?"

                          Anyway, I must admit that I found having taken a really tough genetics course made the MCAT genetics a breeze, and taking physiology might have helped too, but I took it after taking the MCAT. The thing is, I actually learned a lot of physio through the Kaplan materials, which was great, because I didn't have to learn all the extra stuff that you don't NEED to know on the MCAT. And when I actually took physiology last semester, I already knew the important concepts, because I had to learn a lot of it through taking Kaplan to prepare for the MCAT. But then again, I also learned these concepts in my intro biology class...having them a 2nd and 3rd time just helped me grasp them better.

                          I don't think there are any "hidden requirements" you need to do well on the MCAT. However, as you might expect, the more you study a subject the more you come to grasp the fundamentals, and the more adept you become at correctly solving new problems. In this sense, doing more advanced coursework is likely to help. However, I don't think that NOT taking such courses somehow leaves you unprepared. In other words, you won't be missing crucial knowledge that's necessary to do well on the MCAT if you only take the stated requirements. But as they say, practice makes perfect :wink: Anyway, there's my 2 cents...
                           

                          buglady

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                            Who had test form AG? The bio was kind of crappy, huh? O-chem was fine....didn't find it hard, but I thought knowing the answer to what the structure of cysteine was kind of unfair. Just another thing to remember, I guess.

                            Oh well, who cares? I'm ready to stop talking about it and get on with my life! We should relax and be happy it's all over! Wahoo!
                             

                            Legend

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                              •••quote:•••Originally posted by buglady:
                              •Who had test form AG? The bio was kind of crappy, huh? O-chem was fine....didn't find it hard, but I thought knowing the answer to what the structure of cysteine was kind of unfair. Just another thing to remember, I guess.

                              Oh well, who cares? I'm ready to stop talking about it and get on with my life! We should relax and be happy it's all over! Wahoo!•••••I think knowing the structure of 'cystein' is much more fair than knowing what a 'vole' is.
                               

                              Barton

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                                I agree with the posters who said that the info is in the passage, and no previous knowledge (outside the bio/chem/orgo/physics prereqs) is required to get right answers and score well. I am a history major. I took only these classes and scored 12's on the science sections. I think the test is about taking what you know and what you're given (i.e. in the passage), and combining the two (often in complex or abstract ways) to reach the answer. The MCAT tests how well you can think around problems, not just facts you are supposed to know.
                                 

                                LittleMD

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                                  Taking molecular endocrinologythis semester REALLY was useful. I just took the april MCAT and it helped tremendously.

                                  For example... (1)there was a passage on IGF-1, IGFX, IGFY, insulin,.. and their similar binding specificity.
                                  (2) another passage on the methods of removing endocrine organs at various levels, and its effects
                                  (3) a free standing question on which hormones are most structurally similar
                                  (4) multiple questions on nuclear vs. membrane receptors
                                  (5) a question on 2nd messengers
                                  .... and many more.

                                  Molecular Endocrinology helped me on ATLEAST 15 of the 77 biol. sci questions.
                                   

                                  LittleMD

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                                    one more thing to the post i just wrote....
                                    Usually, the passages on the MCAT give you info on new stuff that you've never even heard of. For the passages I described on endocrinology, it seemed like it was material I had just learned about :) ! Another friend of mine had a different MCAT form than mine, and having also taken endocrinology, she was telling me how there was a passage on different classes of nuclear receptors and the hormone response elements (HRE's), topics you are most likely to never hear about in most physiology classes.
                                     

                                    analu

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                                      Echoing Barton's comments, I also believe that the MCAT is more about one's ability to synthesize new information and use it to solve problems, under pressure. IMHO, no matter how many advanced courses you take, those pesky MCAT test writers will come up with something you've never seen before...but just because its totally foreign does NOT preclude you from doing well on that portion of the test.

                                      I think that developing test-taking strategies and practicing (by doing passage after passage) helps one's scoring more than taking advanced classes.

                                      aloha
                                       

                                      hiyaman

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                                        Spiderman [RNA Ladder 2003];360683 said:
                                        3) Analytical chemistry

                                        You 100% definitely do not need this class as a pre-req. Everything on the gchem section that has to deal with anything remotely like analytical chem is covered in gchem II. I've taken analytical chem because i'm a chem major, and unless you like analytical chem..your gonna hate this class.

                                        I hate this class with a passion. Although I did like pchem... lol
                                         

                                        zachjm2

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                                          What level of physics is recomended? What portion of questions are physics related?

                                          Whoa, this thread is 8 years old.

                                          General physics and general chemistry cover everything I've seen on the MCAT. The rest comes from the passages. Now for the BS section... they pull things from organic and biology that I definitely did NOT learn in the pre-reqs. I've seen some detailed physiology and molecular biology I did not learn in general biology. In BS sections for organic, they like to put obscure reactions that you've never seen before and then ask you what's going on. The only way to figure these out is to really understand the flow of electrons in reactions, but sometimes it's still like "wtf is this and where did it come from?"
                                           
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