batista_123

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i am not a science major and i have had one course in molecular biology, and one genetics course, from which i remember almost nothing.

dont get me wrong, i am not stupid, and i dont have a learning problem...i actually did well in those classes and i enjoy the logic part of genetics...its all logic and you know what i do when i need a break from mcat? i do lsat logic games...i like logic...

i have done BR biology, EK biology 1001. but recent mcat test takers are claiming the molecular bio and genetics they saw were very experimental and that is my major weakness. i hate those. so anybody know which books i need to study to improve? i searched and another thread says TBR bio passages are good, but i personally didnt like them because the answer explanations are very vague and difficult to understand, maybe its too advanced for me, i dont know. so any ideas?
 
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I was a Cell Bio Major and I suggest the following. What makes those experimental passages easy for me is that I had to read many complicated scientific journals and articles in my undergrad. At first they were hard to decipher but after reading many, I could easily follow and understand them. For you I suggest getting a copy of any heavily science based journal (i.e. CELL BIOLOGY) and go through a few of their articles. Other famous experiments can also be found on line. I found the ones of the MCAT tend to be the more famous experiments.

Read the articles and try to summarize the following;

1. What is the main thing that is being hypothesized? In other words what is the point of this experiment?

2. What are the conclusions? How did the researcher come to these conclusions? Which conclusions can be drawn and which can not?

3. Focus on diagrams and graphs. See if you can interpret them. Can you find trends and correlations? Is the data plausible?

4. Why was this certain experimental setup done? Do you see any biases in the procedures? What is particular about this type of experiment design (i.e. gel electro, blots, ELISA, etc) is useful for this experiment?

I think if you can successfully answer these questions then the MCAT passages should be a breeze.

I hope this help, don't be lazy and give it a go!!!:thumbup:
 
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batista_123

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IFor you I suggest getting a copy of any heavily science based journal (i.e. CELL BIOLOGY) and go through a few of their articles. Other famous experiments can also be found on line.
you mean the name of the journal is "cell biology" ?
where can i find this journal?

"other famous experiments" : where can i find these? what do i google?
 

engineeredout

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Pick up a copy of "Primer of Genetic Analysis" for practicing MCAT genetics. You can get the 2nd edition on amazon for about 10$ (You won't need anything newer). Its full of problems to practice on and figure out how to solve. Some of it is wayyy beyond the MCAt, so keep that in mind, but a decent amount is fair game.
 

215353

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Get your hands on as many practice MCAT passages that deal with such topics. Princeton Review's Science workbook has the biological section divided up into different topics. There are several genetics/molecular bio passages in that book.

ALSO, Berkeley Review's 2nd Biology book (sections VI-X) has some excellent practice passages in Gene expression, genetic information, molecular genetics, and cell structure and function. I am currently going through these problems in final preparation for the Bio section for my 8/6 MCAT. Needless to say these practice passages not only test your knowledge in genetics/molecular bio but they follow the similar format that is currently being tested in the current MCAT Bio section. Meaning a lot of answers come directly from the passage itself. I am finding them challenging and very rewarding.
 
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If you are near a university or on campus you can visit your library. There is always a journal shelf with multiple publications relating to sciences. These are the way to go. There are journals called "Cell Biology, Immunology, Science, etc.". They are filled with experiments, new findings, things that you would probably see an excerpt from on the test. They sound boring but will strengthen your mental fitness for reading boring biology passages. Other journals like Ecology, Horticulture, Evolution, may also help! they also contain hard experiments but just in different fields.

If you don't live near campus, go to your local library. You probably won't get to check it out but you can stay there and study.

Famous experiments are like

1. Cold insulin vs. hot insulin in determining a patient's level of insulin (IRA experiment).

2. Actin tread milling and or Micro tubule dynamics experiments in its effects of cytokinesis and amoeboid movement.

3. Genetic experiments with famous proteins like ras, ran, p53 (apoptosis and cancer). They love to ask about cancer, oncogens, etc. Apoptosis is one of the main caner research topics so it often appears I find.

other proteins/genes like rotound (makes mice fat), herceptin G-protein linked receptors and breast cancer, etc...

I find most of these tend to show up on the MCATs. May seem really confusing but if you know a little before hand and read the articles then not so bad. You go oh...rotound, that one that makes fat mice, with a son of rotound gene..blah, blah. You don't need to know hardcore details but you know basically what is going on. You are able to map the passage a lot quicker and better.

Another idea is to google "famous bio-medical break through". You find sites with publication on treating diabetes for example. Read these articles, not like website articles but the actual published article with charts and everything.

Try to find an article with different experimental techniques aka ELIZA, DNA Sequencing, PCR, gel elect., IRA, DNA fingerprinting, etc. I don't know if you take a review course but if you took TPR there is a section of bio lab. Most people don't bother to read it but that is stupid. If you understand the basics of every experiment, its purpose, what it can find and what it can't find, when its used, etc...the experiments will make sense to you.

For instances, toxin introduced to the water system. How can you detect which antibodies can be used to defeat toxin?

ELIZA = coat plates with sample from water, using genetic cloning to make monoclonal antibodies. Apply antibodies....etc.

So now you ided which antibodies are good to use. What next? How can we sequence this antibody? --> DNA sequencing, ddNTPS, DNA Poly..etc.

What about if you id the antigen/toxin to inhibit a common receptor? How can we sequence this receptor to find its composition?
--> Recombinant DNA, use plasmids, transformation, create a cDNA library...etc....

Hope this helps!
 
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batista_123

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you say "Berkeley Review's 2nd Biology book (sections VI-X) "
i am sorry, i dont understand what you mean?? you mean passages VI-X ? i dont think there is sections in the BR bio book.
 

215353

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No it should say Biology Part II Sections VI-X on the cover...this is the 2nd Bio book offered by the Berkeley Review.

The sections in this book are:

VI - Structure and Function
VII - Metabolic Components
VIII - Metabolic Pathways
IX - Genetic Information
X - Expression of Genes

These sections cover topics in Biochem, Molecular Genetics, Mendelian Genetics, and Microbiology pretty extensively
 

sv3

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just to note i've read on here some people get exams with hardly any genetics......so as long as you've given everything a decent amount of attention focusing time on one topic won't hurt. But I'd make sure not to skip over anything in order to go extra hard on one topic. just my thoughts -i've deliberated the same thing myself

also just know that the TPR workbook i thought was weak on genetics. We're talking 6 passages and 10 discretes. The content books did a bang up job covering them though and have some in chapter questions and I guess that in combo with the workbooks makes it enough......
 

215353

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i agree with your comments...the only thing that could only slow my up in the biological section would be molecular genetics or anything else in that realm. I personally feel that molecular bio, biochem, and micro are probably the hardest topics to grasp under a timed situation because they can get extremely technical.

Anything that has to do with physiology would be a gift from God on the MCAT...current MCAT bio sections usually have only one passage dealing with physio though