Mar 22, 2012
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Hi all,
I have been reading a few threads about the growing emphasis on experimental passages and analytical questions on the MCAT Biology section. I was wondering if anyone who has taken the MCAT can suggest some of the research articles (not asking for the ones that appeared on the actual exam) that they think anyone taking this exam should be able to read. I just want to get a feel for these passages since AAMC CBT 11 only has one passage that reflects this current trend. Again just to reiterate, I am not asking for scientific articles that might have appeared on the actual exam. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 

OCDOCDOCD

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May 26, 2012
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I'm just planning to read whatever happens to be in Science (my PI keeps getting sent 1-2 extra copies for some bizarre reason so I get treated to a free copy every couple of weeks), with an emphasis on reading stuff that's outside of my area. If you don't have access to a college's various journal subscriptions, PLoS ONE is free to the public.

My only hesitation with this is that the idea of reading random articles to prepare for BS sounds a lot like the oft mentioned suggestion of reading The Economist for VR, which I think most people agree isn't a great way to go about preparing for the VR section. That said, I can't think of anything better seeing as how there are supposedly no prep materials out there that match the new BS section. From what people have been saying though, I'd focus less on reading these articles for the sake of reading them and more of reading them to try to see how well and how quickly you can grasp the purpose and understand the findings of the research. So focus on the intro section and graphs.
 
Dec 27, 2010
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Medical Student
I'm just planning to read whatever happens to be in Science (my PI keeps getting sent 1-2 extra copies for some bizarre reason so I get treated to a free copy every couple of weeks), with an emphasis on reading stuff that's outside of my area. If you don't have access to a college's various journal subscriptions, PLoS ONE is free to the public.

My only hesitation with this is that the idea of reading random articles to prepare for BS sounds a lot like the oft mentioned suggestion of reading The Economist for VR, which I think most people agree isn't a great way to go about preparing for the VR section. That said, I can't think of anything better seeing as how there are supposedly no prep materials out there that match the new BS section. From what people have been saying though, I'd focus less on reading these articles for the sake of reading them and more of reading them to try to see how well and how quickly you can grasp the purpose and understand the findings of the research. So focus on the intro section and graphs.
I would strongly agree with the bolded above. I took the MCAT last spring, but had a very "analysis style" BS section as it seems the current test dates are getting. If I were taking it again I would practice reading journal articles (genetics, molecular biology, biochem, etc.) and read the intro to get a grasp on the experiment, then study the graphs and the text that accompanied them in the results. I found that the BS passages were basically journal style articles minus the graph "text", depending on you to quickly analyze the trends, patterns, and results based purely off graphs or numbers. We did these types of assignments and papers in a molecular genetics class this past semester and multiple times I thought "man, this would have been crucial for the MCAT last year". Just my two cents based off my test, though. Hope it helps.