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MCAT Physical Science

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by ugagirl4, Jul 20, 2002.

  1. Hi,

    I am posting for a friend of mine, and have a question about MCAT PS. What suggestions do you have for finishing on time? Do you guys read the passages thoroughly before beginning the questions, skim the passages, or what? Any help would be appreciated....I couldnt ever finish on time either so I dont know what to say!!!

    :mad: :mad: :mad:
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  3. nero

    nero Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Oct 15, 2000
    read the passages....a lot of people say dont', but i do and i still finish............i think it depends on who you are using......i had trouble finishing kaplan's PS because they had so many calcuations........so i practiced.......one important thing i foudn was not to getted stuck on a problem and waste 3 or more minutes on it.........you have to learn to guess and move on so you can get the easy answers........tell your friedn to practice, guess on the very difficult ones and practice some more......make sure she has the science down cold, so it doens't take a long time to recognize the concept....best of luck

  4. vyc

    vyc Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jan 20, 2002
    mark up the passages so you can find ideas/formulas/etc more easily.
    this requires practice as you want to mark up enough to have a skeleton of the passage but not so much that you can't wade through it.
  5. Thanks guys for your help....

    Does anyone else have any suggestions??? I know practice helps, but if your not finishing 2 passages consistently, then practice might not necessarily help....She is getting a consistent 10 on the Kaplan tests, so the potential to do well is there if she finishes.

    Does anyone else seem to be having this problem of not finishing the PS section?
  6. Doctor Octopus

    Doctor Octopus Hospitalist 10+ Year Member

    May 23, 2002
    I didn't finish alot of the Kaplan PS sections, and would still get 10s and 11s. I finished all of the aamc PS sections and got 11s and 12s.

    Too bad I choked on test day and got a 9.
  7. saman

    saman Junior Member

    Jul 17, 2002
    Houston, TX
    Don't worry not being able to finish the Kaplan PS........they are impossible. Just go over what you missed and always read the explanations to the questions. Review any section of your Review notes and practice. Definitely read the passages, but read them fast. Don't mark or underline: it takes too much time. JUST READ FAST. Usually the AAMC MCAT science passages are easier to follow/understand than the Kaplan ones. Remember to guess and move on. There are a good amount of gimmie's on the MCAT and you never want to get bogged down on a difficult question. The most important factor is confidence. IMHO MCAT is much more a psychological test than it is knowledge or application. Build up your confidence by telling yourself you'll do alright and review your weak points. Remember: chill out the day before the MCAT by watching a movie :) .
  8. analu

    analu Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Mar 6, 2002
    Had the same problem with the Kaplan PS sections...what I learned to do was to SKIM THE QUESTIONS FIRST before tackling the passage. Then I'd circle or underline key words in the passage that I remembered from looking at the questions. For me, I found that many of the passages in PS (and BS, for that matter) are content dense, usually involving something you've never seen before. The trick is to sift through the details to identify the basic science the passage is referring to.

    Hope this helps!
  9. Mr. Z

    Mr. Z Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Apr 19, 2002
    Don't get bogged down doing involved calculations, use rounding whenever possible. You can waste lots of time doing math on the mcat. For us anal premeds, getting the correct value out to a minimum of 3 decimal places has been a way of life, but, you need to forget that for the mcat. If you are doing a lot of calculations on the mcat, then you are doing something wrong, you've missed the "trick" to the question.
  10. DW

    DW Fix me some sandwiches Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    great point. A lot of answers on the MCAT can just be eliminated by just lookinh at them and saying "TOO HIGH" or "TOO LOW", etc.

    Also, I add you should definitely read the QUESTIONS before the passage, then understand the GRAPHS and TABLES, and then if need be, read the passage. If you get a passage entirely on the Haber process and its all "If you expand the chamber with volume and temperature held constant, which way will the rxn go?" type questions, you should be able to handle that without reading the passage at all. If it is some theorhetical passage on blackbody radiation and you need more info, then go back and read the passage. I wouldn't go as far as say "never read the passages" or "always read them", but once you look at the questions you'll have a better idea of what you need to look for and what you already know, and that saves a lot of time.
  11. jofrbr76

    jofrbr76 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    Sometimes you can tell whether or not you need to read into the details. Some passages you just need a few pieces of info, others you really need to read carefully. Practice will help no matter what, and remember kaplan PS sections are tough. I scored 9's on mine consistently and got a 12P on the real thing.

    Good luck =joe
  12. mws99

    mws99 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jun 6, 2002
    I did all of the free standing questions first so that I would be sure to have those finished. I felt like it ensured I would be able to answer the greatest number questions because I had to focus so much more and spend a lot more time answering passage based questions.
  13. poloace

    poloace Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Apr 3, 2001
    mws brings up a clever strategy. i actually had no problem finishing my portion of the physical science section. i found it fairly easy and was done with 20 minutes to spare... i started freaking out because i was done so early. i should have taken more time on it... but some of the passage based questions were a joke. i had one passage that dealt with gravity and which objects would fall before others... it was pointless to read the passage. the thing with a lot of the questions is that the passages are useless. example:

    mary and mike each have a dog. one dog weighs 20 lbs. while the other is 10 lbs. mary has the 20 pound beast while mike has the 10 pound scrawny puppy.. nicknamed "lil' thug"

    if mary's dog and mike's dog fall out of a tree, which will hit the ground first???

    for all intensive purposes sake... that was the difficulty of 10 of my questions. granted- this made the curve more difficult as i'm sure everyone got these. but, i guess the point of the story is that you should read a passage and have solid knowledge of what will be asked of you.

    my best advice is to do verbal passages as those seem to be the ones people are most pressed for time on. if you can train yourself to extract crucial info- you'll be fine on the physical section. the other thing i would reccomend would be to get a hold of hyperlearning/princeton reviews science workbook. from my experience, the questions in this book are more accurate of the mcat exam (in terms of difficulty and content) than other test prep material. i'm not trying to downplay kaplan's instruction.. i just feel that their material is not a fair representation of actual mcat tests... the general consensus is that the review material is too simplified, while the questions are too in depth. good luck-

  14. Diogenes

    Diogenes Succat 7+ Year Member

    Jan 30, 2002

    but if the passage includes the sentence "Mary's dog is wearing a large parachute that slows it's acceleration due to gravity to 1/2 g" then it would be important to read the passage, no? You couldn't just read the question.

    I read all the passages and still finished 10 minutes early. Just read FAST. (I know that isn't helpful advice, sorry)
  15. poloace

    poloace Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Apr 3, 2001
    however, i find that if you can complete the verbal section- then, its not a problem with how fast you're reading, rather a problem with some calculations (in the physical sciences). that was my point.
  16. lola

    lola Bovine Member 7+ Year Member

    Mar 22, 2002
    SO... you think it's possible to finish the AAMC Physical Sciences section even though I never finish the Kaplan practice ones? I'm going to take AAMC #4 this weekend, and hopefully I will be able to finish that one. I still had 2 or 3 passsages left on Kaplan #3 and didn't feel like I was going all that slowly! If I went any quicker I think I'd make more careless errors. On Kaplan #1 & #2 I think I had 1 passage left.

    Also, does anyone think passage based questions are easier/harder than free standing questions? I, too, was thinking of doing the free standing first but found in my last Kaplan test (in the Bio section) that the free standing questions were WAY harder than the passage based questions. What's it like on the real thing? Or is it not consistent?
  17. Diogenes

    Diogenes Succat 7+ Year Member

    Jan 30, 2002
    ok, true that
  18. Lavndrrose

    Lavndrrose Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Feb 9, 2002
    Anymore tips on how to finish this darn section?

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