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Magnetism and Thermodynamics Weaknesses

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by ymartino, Sep 18, 2014.

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  1. ymartino


    Jul 29, 2013
    Magnetism and Thermodynamics are my two roughest areas. I have reread the sections multiple times in my Kaplan review book until I "think" I have understood them, only to become confused by future MCAT questions and get them wrong.

    So, what is the most effective way for you personally to overcome a big weakness? Index cards doesn't work well for me and passively rereading apparently doesn't either. Any tips?

    Much thanks.
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  3. Janus_Kinase

    Janus_Kinase 2+ Year Member

    Feb 23, 2014
    Have you tried video explanations? Such as Coursesaver or Khan Academy? The former costs money but they are usually pretty good when the book isn't providing everything you need. I usually watch videos for my weak areas. And pretty much for everything else lol.
    bambam92 likes this.
  4. Aerus

    Aerus Elemental Alchemist 5+ Year Member

    Apr 20, 2012
    hSDN Member
    hSDN Alumni
    Passive reading is terrible for learning anything. Watch videos and then do practice problems.
  5. DoctorInASaree


    Jun 5, 2014
    The answer is in your avatar - watch a few of Feynman's lectures. I learned introductory Physics from him and haven't forgotten a single piece of information.

    Edit: If retention is your goal then I would recommend Anki. If understanding content is the goal then there's only one solution: TBR.

    Also, what exactly are you finding difficult with respect to Magnetism & Thermodynamics? Perhaps there are some simple explanations that may clear your mind :).
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2014
    ymartino likes this.
  6. mehc012

    mehc012 Big Damn Hero 5+ Year Member

    Jul 9, 2012
    The Black
    Personally, I was a huge fan of EK1001 for taking a concept and then systematically going through all possible permutations of the questions and approaches. For me, if I were stuck on one concept and found myself not understanding it quite well enough to shift gears and come at it from a different direction, I'd start there.

    I would go through at least every ⅓ EK1001 for those subjects, not worrying about timing or when you check your answers, etc. At the end, however, you MUST sit down and work out, in as great detail as possible, exactly how they got their answers. The beauty of EK1001 is that all of their questions can be answered simply and easily...if you can see how they approach it. The answer explanations aren't great, but if you're willing to put in the handiwork, you can see the leaps they took to get the answers quickly. I would also recommend starring questions that take a long time or seem overly difficult as you go...even if you get them right, odds are there's a quicker way that could teach you something.

    After you do that, go back and do the two surrounding questions for any that you got wrong. With the way EK1001 is set up, those two surrounding Qs will be similar to the one you missed, but with one or two tweaks. If you're still getting them wrong, you haven't solidified that approach/concept. Make flashcards for these (q on one side, no multiple choice options, answer on the other, with brief explanation if needed). I don't care how - Anki, quizlet, good old-fashioned cardstock - but do it. Go over them. Learn them until you can see that setup and just know how to approach it.

    Maybe this won't work for you. After all, you're not me, so what worked for me may have no bearing on you. But this is at least one example of how to take a fully active-learning approach to mastering a topic you struggle with.
    ymartino and texan2414 like this.
  7. santeprof

    santeprof If you need a bump, I may be your chump

    Sep 12, 2014
    I just checked, Khan Academy MCAT Physical Processes doesn't have a magnetism section. As of late they have been adding topics to the PP section which may reflect AAMC contribution in their coproduction. Some topics are joint with the Khan Academy Physics section. Magnetism may be a topic that in the near future is picked up into the PP section. I suggest you review the magnetism topic in the physics section.

    Magnetism is not a frequent topic on the AAMC practice tests. I recall one NMR passage. Feynman gave memorable lectures but I expect his lectures aren't the most expedient route to magnetism information needed for the MCAT.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2014
    ymartino likes this.
  8. ymartino


    Jul 29, 2013
    I will try that, thanks!
  9. ymartino


    Jul 29, 2013
    Thank you. I'll try the 1001 subject books. I was previously doing every single consecutive question in the books, but then got bored of it. Although I'll try the every 3rd question approach. Did the flashcard method really help you? Also, how often would you review the flashcards before you ingrained the material?
  10. mehc012

    mehc012 Big Damn Hero 5+ Year Member

    Jul 9, 2012
    The Black
    I did nothing but flashcards to study. My Anki deck is available in my sig, but I recommend you make your own, as it's much more active and effective.

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