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Math Magic

Discussion in 'PCAT Discussions' started by MacyRenee, Jul 27, 2011.

  1. MacyRenee

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    I did horrible on my math section ( 8% ) and of course I thought I would be ok in this section and didn't focus on it at all and well here's where it has landed me, back to the drawing boards.

    So I need any advice you can shove at me! And by advice I mean don't been tell me all the books I need to buy and the practice tests I need to do.

    I need simple advice that helps you work problems in about 30 seconds and trick and tips! Please help me. I don't want one section to cause me not to achieve something I've worked so hard for because the other scores were great! :/
     
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  3. Precisely

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    Honestly, being able to do the quantitative section fast (while answering them correctly) depends on your knowledge of the subject. There are no shortcuts, or tips/tricks that can make them any easier or help you solve them faster.

    Your best bet is to turn to your textbooks, sit in on math lectures, etc.

    MIT OpenCourseWare offers several calculus lectures, if you're not completely comfortable with certain topics.

    Math is no biology - you can't simply memorize facts and expect to breeze through the 48 questions in the allotted 40 minutes if you don't fully understand the concepts. Fortunately, there are patterns with numbers, types of problems, etc, that are easy to spot if you're good at math.
     
  4. total foodie

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    I know how feel, I did so well in all sciences but RC killed me and I knew my math would be terrible. I can do the math, but NOT in 40 minutes, I need to find a way to speed up my calculating somehow.
     
  5. Timbo

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    The math itself is extremely easy. Lots of simple algebra, solve for x type of questions, sometimes put in word problem form. Lots of simple calc, mostly having to find first derivative or integral of an equation. I have 3 semesters of calc, linear algebra, and differential equations under my belt. I got As effortlessly in all of them as math is my strongest subject. But still struggled on the pcat.

    What makes the PCAT math section hard is not the math itself, but the fact that you have to solve every problem in under a minute. Pretty much you need to be able look at something like (234.53 / 54) + 897 and instantly know that it equals 901.34. I would say practice long divisions in your head, memorize the multiplication table from 1 to 20, practice additions of multiple numbers at once in your head would be the best thing to do.
     
  6. MacyRenee

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    Yeah I always have been really great at math but the no caculator rule and the time kills me! I honestly didn't study at all and it showed :/

    So i guess reps and looking through my old textbooks will help out a lot

    I still dunno how someone looks at those problems and figures it out in 30 seconds...i will never be able to do that!
     
  7. total foodie

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    Hey Macy, have you ever bought one or more of the pearson practice pcats?
     
  8. MacyRenee

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    No I don't feel like I want to spend 30 dollars on a test when I just took one, I need ways to study, because I know the test will tell me I need to work on math but I do plan on buying on later on!
     
  9. total foodie

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    Ok Macy, I was just going to mention that I noticed the same "genre" of algebra problems, the same genre of basic math and statistics, on all 3 practice PCATs and the one that jacked me up today. My point? I kept all my math books from college, and I will use those practice tests to focus on those types of problems. It will take a lot of work to get quick, as I have been spoiled by a calculator these past years, but I'll get there. Basically I dont need to know everything I learned in the past, just what PCAT usually tests on. (eg. no quadractic, complete the sq., ANOVA, parametric eqns, so on...). Just training the brain recognize problems, and move faster.

    Good luck to you!
     
  10. MacyRenee

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    Thanks everyone! I have already started brushing up on math! I'm really focused and committed to have a score that reflects that I actually do know the subjects! so if you think of any more tips keep them coming! :)


    so do you guys think I need to study algebra more than say cal?

    can anyone just start listing areas I should really focus on?
     
  11. chemguy79

    chemguy79 New Member
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    I'm sorry, but that's a poor mindset/attitude.

    I scored 99th percentile in the quantitative section because I purchased the exams from Pearson and used Dr. Collins. They were helpful because I learned how they solved the problems because of their answer key and their practice.

    Frankly, no one WANTS to spend money, but if you want to improve your score, there are certain things that you really need to do ... especially when the advice coming from people who have achieved massive success pursuing those routes.
     
  12. gotgame740

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    If you already know the stuff and the main problem is the time, then I would say to just practice, practice, and practice some more. Buy the Pearson practice tests and Dr. Collins if you haven't already done so. Make sure you time yourself on each test you take.

    And when it comes to the real test, SKIP THE QUESTION IF IT TAKES TOO LONG/YOU DON'T KNOW THE ANSWER. I skipped about 12 questions on the QA section, and I didn't even have time to figure them out, so I just guessed on them. I did the ones I knew and skipped the ones I didn't. And guess what my QA score was?? It was a 93. So don't think you have to do all the problems in order, because I wouldn't have even got half way through if I tried to do that.
     
  13. katePharm

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    :thumbup::thumbup:

    I always knew that's the most basic rule I have to follow. But I was lost in one problem for 5 mins, and I felt really stupid (devastated too because I knew the problem itself was easy, but I never got the answer right, so I did it again and again). After that one, I gave all the following questions one quick shot (but with careful calculations) and if i didnt get the answer, I moved on.

    Oh I also think if your draft is too messy you'd get distracted and lost easily. Mine was wayyyyy too messy, and I couldnt concentrate on the problem i was working on because numbers and calculations from other problems were everywhere LOL !:scared::scared:

    That's i think what you should follow when taking the exam. But if you're asking HOW to prepare for it? Hmm I really suggest do more practice, you'll do calculations quicker. Dr. Collins and Pearson is great :)
     
  14. MacyRenee

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    I am thankful for your advice...but I need to brush up on information before I start paying 30 dollars per test, which is what I'm asking about and that's the whole point of this topic. I haven't had a math class in two years and I don't have any idea what I need to focus my review on.

    and...
    I don't have the money to spend...so I have to explore other options. not everyone is blessed enough to buy dr. collins and every practice test like you with your 99th percentile. I can only buy one test and i'm going to wait until it'll be most helpful after a couple more weeks of review. if you had read my entire post you would have seen that at the end I said I was planning on buying one later on. It's part of my plan. I've gotten where I am today buy hard work and I will get where I want with the same plan.


    Watch how you word things...it can really hurt people.
     
  15. MacyRenee

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    thank you! I'm always scared to skip questions! But I guess it didn't hurt you at all! :)
     
  16. harmonidrum

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    I want to reverberate Chemguy's PCAT ethos, because he's dead on. The PCAT is an exam where it pays to pay! Your maudlin overreaction to your financial morass is mostly due in part to a lack of foresight. It really comes down to how much is a high PCAT score worth to you? To me, I view the money that I put into the exam as an investment. Pennies on the dollar compared with the value of a Pharmacy education.
     
  17. chemguy79

    chemguy79 New Member
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    Yes, they can. Note: I only attempted to give you advice on your extremely poor quantitative section. However, you chose to lash out in an immature manner.

    Furthermore, I didn't buy every practice test to get a 99th percentile; I was prepared, I studied extremely hard, and I didn't attempt to passive-aggressively deride someone's achievements under the woes of money. While studying for the PCAT, I worked full-time at a pharmaceutical company, took 18 credit hours of Biology and out-dated pre-reqs, and I STILL took the time to study 2 hours a day.

    Frankly, you should heed your own advice when it comes to posting on the message board.

    People are losing their civility in these threads and by acting out in the manner that you have shows a lack of class. Furthermore, attempting to blame circumstances for your performance and serendipity and intelligent financial planning on others scores is tacky at best.
     
    #16 chemguy79, Aug 3, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2011
  18. owlegrad

    owlegrad Uncontrollable Sarcasm Machine
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    Please remember to stay civil!

    Here's a pic to help:

    [​IMG]
     
  19. katePharm

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    Omg cute !!! Lol. Calm down guys !!

    Well Macy i understand the money issue, so how about borrowing books from your local library? They have different pcat books there, and you wanna have a look at the notes + practice test for your preparation before buying the pearson test.

    btw REA is amazing and its around 10$ for a brand new one :)
     
  20. MacyRenee

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    what's rea??? :)




    Note to everyone: this thread has gotten so off the subject of what I originally posted it for. please don't post anything unless you have any more advice to give. please and thanks. I don't need people putting down my only low score on the pcat when I came to the boards to get help to reach a score that is equal to my other high sections.
     
  21. harmonidrum

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    Nobody put down your score. In fact, chemguy gave you sound advice, it just wasn't what you wanted to hear.
     
    #20 harmonidrum, Aug 3, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2011
  22. MacyRenee

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    If you don't have any more advice please drop it and leave the conversation. Arguing with strangers is not going to do anyone any good. I'm over it and just looking for ways to help my score, other than buying things.
     
  23. katePharm

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  24. owlegrad

    owlegrad Uncontrollable Sarcasm Machine
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    OP - You have got lots of sound advice here. If you can't/won't buy material, go to the library instead. For what it is worth, I think they are all overrated. You can review your class notes, study with like minded people, use youtube/wiki/etc, and use your practice test(s) to gauge where you need the most work and focus on those areas.

    What advice exactly are you asking for? I did well by reviewing my notes and using a practice test, others did well using guides, others no doubt used other means. We can only give you the advice that worked for us. If you are going to argue with people who stopped by your thread to give you advice, I don't know what kind of advice you hope to get. :shrug:
     
  25. WhiteCrow

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