pagingdrjohns

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Okay,

so we all know that there's a month and counting 'til the MCAT. My problem is that my scores are pretty consistently stinky. I'm not one of those people aiming for a 33 or anything, actually most of the school's I want to go to have an average MCAT of a 24. MY practice scores have ranged from 24's to 18's, with my best section always being VR at 11 or 9. Which means I have a lot of learning to do in the other sections.

My question is how to do it? My problem with the PS is just knowing the formulas, in my physics courses all of our tests and quizes are open books so I've never had to memorize any formulas, thus, now I'm trying to catch up for a year of learning that didn't happen. I understand the concepts, and could explain them, but I just can't remember the stupid formulas (ex. formula for an electric field, formula for focal length, formula for torque, etc.).

In the biological sciences, I sort of get lost in the passages. I'm not a bio major or even a bio minor, so there are often parts of passages that I really don't understand, its brand new information. or I don't know it well enough to apply it in new ways.

So my question is what do I study to improve? Do I keep refreshing my memory on the physics stuff, or do I re-read my biology stuff? someone help me! I just feel stuck!
 

gildas

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Contrary to you, my strongest area is PS (where I average about 10) while my weakest area is verbal (I average about 6 - maybe because english is my first language). I think in order to do well in PS, you will to understand concepts not just memorizing formulas. I will suggest for you to do alot of passages. This may sound weird, but I usually try to apply my knowledge to figure out why some stuff happen in real life or even some technologies. What is the concept behind it or Forces that may cause such think to happen.
So what are your strategies for verbal? BTW which schools' average MCAT is 24?
 

huseyin

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gildas said:
Contrary to you, my strongest area is PS (where I average about 10) while my weakest area is verbal (I average about 6 - maybe because english is my first language). I think in order to do well in PS, you will to understand concepts not just memorizing formulas. I will suggest for you to do alot of passages. This may sound weird, but I usually try to apply my knowledge to figure out why some stuff happen in real life or even some technologies. What is the concept behind it or Forces that may cause such think to happen.
So what are your strategies for verbal? BTW which schools' average MCAT is 24?
hello fellow foreigner. We are in the same boat. Good luck to you. :thumbup:
 

Terpskins99

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pagingdrjohns said:
...My problem with the PS is just knowing the formulas, in my physics courses all of our tests and quizes are open books so I've never had to memorize any formulas, thus, now I'm trying to catch up for a year of learning that didn't happen. I understand the concepts, and could explain them, but I just can't remember the stupid formulas (ex. formula for an electric field, formula for focal length, formula for torque, etc.).

In the biological sciences, I sort of get lost in the passages. I'm not a bio major or even a bio minor, so there are often parts of passages that I really don't understand, its brand new information. or I don't know it well enough to apply it in new ways.

So my question is what do I study to improve? Do I keep refreshing my memory on the physics stuff, or do I re-read my biology stuff? someone help me! I just feel stuck!
Just a couple of recommendations for you...

For the PS... write out a crib sheet with all of the important formulas on it. Then COMMIT THESE FORUMLAS TO MEMORY. While most of the passages already have the necessary forumula available to you, it is still important to immediately know which formula to use in what situation. It wastes time reading a section in the passage describing formulas that you should already know how to use.

As for the BS... hopefully you have an adequate MCAT preparatory book (eg TPR Science Review) that has a solid overview of biology/genetics/organic chemistry. That is all that you need. When you mention that there are often subjects within the passage that appear to be beyond the scope of what you learned in your introductory science courses.... its because they are. Thats the point. Most people haven't extensively studied endocrinology or renal physiology or hemodynamics... whatever. It shouldn't matter. While the passage may discuss these topics, the ACTUAL QUESTIONS will only require a background in basic sciences. Either that, or the answer will have been explained in the passage and becomes a matter of reading comprehension.

Above all else... drill drill drill!! Keep taking those practice exams and keep brushing up on any subjects that consistently give you trouble. :thumbup:
 

Fusion

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pagingdrjohns said:
Okay,

so we all know that there's a month and counting 'til the MCAT. My problem is that my scores are pretty consistently stinky. I'm not one of those people aiming for a 33 or anything, actually most of the school's I want to go to have an average MCAT of a 24. MY practice scores have ranged from 24's to 18's, with my best section always being VR at 11 or 9. Which means I have a lot of learning to do in the other sections.

My question is how to do it? My problem with the PS is just knowing the formulas, in my physics courses all of our tests and quizes are open books so I've never had to memorize any formulas, thus, now I'm trying to catch up for a year of learning that didn't happen. I understand the concepts, and could explain them, but I just can't remember the stupid formulas (ex. formula for an electric field, formula for focal length, formula for torque, etc.).

In the biological sciences, I sort of get lost in the passages. I'm not a bio major or even a bio minor, so there are often parts of passages that I really don't understand, its brand new information. or I don't know it well enough to apply it in new ways.

So my question is what do I study to improve? Do I keep refreshing my memory on the physics stuff, or do I re-read my biology stuff? someone help me! I just feel stuck!
My best piece of advice is to reconsider taking the MCAT next month. I had to take the test several times before I earned a good score, and I can tell you that you had better feel absolutely prepared for it in every way. Unless you are planning to apply only to schools that do not emphasize the importance of a high MCAT score (like osteopathic or Caribbean schools), you should wait until at least August. Use the summer to build your science knowledge and testing skills. It won't do any good to take the MCAT once and not get the score you want, just to have to take it over in August anyway. Do it right the first time, even if you have to delay your application for a few months. On a more positive note, however, I think you have potential to do well on the MCAT, well above a 24. The fact that you score well on verbal indicates that you have decent reasoning/analytical skills to begin with. IMHO, the different sections of the MCAT are more similar than they are different (as far as testing skills required to do well). Don't shoot for a 24. Aim higher than that, because you seem to have potential to do well and a solid MCAT score will open more doors for you regardless of the avg MCAT score of certain schools that you are planning to apply to.
 
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pagingdrjohns

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gildas said:
Contrary to you, my strongest area is PS (where I average about 10) while my weakest area is verbal (I average about 6 - maybe because english is my first language).
So what are your strategies for verbal? BTW which schools' average MCAT is 24?
First of all thanks for all the help guys! You've been very encouraging!

The highschool I attended was very essay heavy. We wrote three to five essays a week for various classes, I even had one teacher that made us do a CIPASS twice a week. what you do during a CIPASS, is to take a section about which you aren't an expert, similar to a section in the VR of the MCAT. Read an essay about a certain person in history, or the development of expressionism, or Piaget's theories of cognitive development. Whatever, just so long as it's not a technical essay. Then you analyze it along the following lines:
C--Characters involved? (this can include inanimate objects, basically what is
subject of the essay)

I---ISSUES? What issues surround this character? What topics are addressed through these issues? How does the Character interact with surroundings?

P--Purpose...What was the purpose of writing this article? What ideas is the author trying to relate to you as a person?

A--Actions....actions are being taken? Who is acting? Who/what is the recipient of the action.

S--Summary....summarize the article, including main characters, ideas, and the purpose of the article.

S--Subjective Opinion....As you read this article what did you think about its different aspects, the organization, the content, the author's voice, etc.


That makes up a CIPASS.....not all of these topics apply to an MCAT VR section, but training yourself to collect this data mentally as you read through the section sort of gives you a jump start on the questions, because a lot of the questions revolve around this sort of material. :) :)
 

Economist

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You need to have the PS formulas memorized, plain and simple. The fact that you understand the concepts means you're well ahead of the game. It shouldn't take you that long to memorize them. Kaplan hands out a formulas card to their students. Find a friend who has it and photocopy it. Use it to make flashcards and use them. Every morning when you wake up, spend 15 minutes and just take out a blank piece of paper and write down all the formulas from memory. Do this periodically during the day. After a week you'll have em down.
 

Chouster

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Gotta practice the **** out of any passages you can find (and there are a lot out there). I took Kaplan and they had some good passages that were difficult, but it prepared me for the aug 2004 mcat well. Same story goes with BS section. Memorizing is like 10% of the game whereas practicing and becoming familiar with when to apply said formulas is 90% of it. Again, study your a$$ off, it will pay off as it did for me (13s both sections).

Verbal is another story... I go cry now. +pity+
 

myodana

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PS was my worst section too.... there are actually only a few forumlas that you really should memorize. those are the ones that kaplan says "MEMORIZE THIS" - i.e. Q=MC/\T. for the rest of the stuff, here's some advice i was given. KNOW YOUR UNITS. and when you set up the equation, make sure your units cancel. it's the best trick you'll ever learn.
 
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pagingdrjohns

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myodana said:
PS was my worst section too.... there are actually only a few forumlas that you really should memorize. those are the ones that kaplan says "MEMORIZE THIS" - i.e. Q=MC/\T. for the rest of the stuff, here's some advice i was given. KNOW YOUR UNITS. and when you set up the equation, make sure your units cancel. it's the best trick you'll ever learn.

I never thought about the units thing, but I do it everyday in my physics lab, thanks for the reminder!