For all you guys who have taken the MCAT, does it test calc or trig based physics... or both? Just wondering, Thanks.

It only tests trig-based physics. Taking calculus-based physics will prepare you equally well since the concepts are the same and the MCAT tests the concepts. However, knowledge of calculus will give absolutely NO advantage on the MCAT. If you take calculus based physics, you will have to make extra efforts to learn a few things not generally covered in the course, such as optics and buoyancy. However, if you can get through the calc-based course, these topics will probably seem trivial. [This message has been edited by rxfudd (edited March 31, 2001).]

Hmmm .... Haven't taken the MCAT yet, but here is an excerpt taken directly from the MCAT student manual published by AAMC. Under Mathematics Concepts needed to solve problems in the Physical Sciences section, it states, # 3. The knowledge of the definitions of the basic trig. functions is REQUIRED. # 9. An understanding of calculus is NOT REQUIRED. I have been practising on sample MCAT's published by AAMC and have not bumped into any calculus based physics yet. Hope that helps ... and G' Luck! UGB

Just hearing about the Physical sciences section of the MCAT makes me sick to my stomach! I'm what you'd call a calculator-dependant student and I live and die by my TI graphic calculator. The MCAT doesn't allow any type of computational device! I've examined a couple of practice MCATs and the numbers are fairly straight forward and simple. Are they going to be like that on the actual test? How do you perform well on that section of the test without a calculator? Any success stories from calculator-dependant folks on the physical science section? Any tips for taking that section for people who could use a little brushing up on that ol' arithmetic? I'm so used to using a calculator..it's sad. Please don't berate me for it. My math classes all REQUIRE special calculators like the TI-93 or 89. Any suggestions for performing well without a calculator? Thanks

As an engineering major, I am well aware of how some classes make you use a graphing calculator. I have a TI 89 with symbolic manipulation that I have gotten quite used to for calculations. On the MCAT, generally the numerical answers deviate enough from each other that you dont need a calculator, even if there are a number of computations associated with one problem. I was able to go faster through the PS section by approximating certain calculations instead of writing out every single digit. Its true that you dont need any calculus knowledge at all for the MCAT. For the computation aspect of it, my advice would be to take the practice tests while doing all computations by hand, noting where you can go faster using shortcuts. After awhile, it wont be so bad anymore. ------------------ "There is nothing more powerful on this Earth as a man who has nothing to lose. It does not take ten such men to change the world--one will do." Elijah Mohammed

As a physics and mathematics major, I have to say that I am completely deficient in my calculator abilities, i.e., I have not touched a calculator since freshman year. With that said, I must also say that I am not very good at cranking out pure numbers, but here's are some tips for getting what you need on this test. First of all, if you notice that the numbers all differ in the first digit, then only compute the first digit of the computation, i.e., do whatever it takes to minimize your computations. Second, use g=10 for gravity, and round all ugly numbers. And third, express everything in scientific notation. For example, write .1 as 1 x 10^-1. That will minimize errors. hope this helps!

I would try to memorize some basic sin and cos values: 30,45,60,90. I have noticed that my practice tests often have these values in the passages, but some don't. Good luck. wooo, In a couple months I hope I can say the same thing.

woo, I second that notion. I did OK (31) the first time and there is no way I'm going to be studying for that again. Good riddance, MCAT!! I just hope I did well enough to get in to my state school at least. ------------------ "There is nothing more powerful on this Earth as a man who has nothing to lose. It does not take ten such men to change the world--one will do." Elijah Mohammed