My Opinion on EK Bio and more

xylem29

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    I only have the bio book - but I assume that all the other subject books are the same. Here is my problem with them - they are way too superficial. This is not a problem for people who need a review of basic concepts however - but for people who need to re-learn things, this is a problem. I did do the practice tests - and from those I realize that most of the info is in the passage. However, if I am reading about something that I am not familiar with, it will take more time to digest it - and this takes away from my time - and time is quite important.

    For people who have to compensate for other aspects of their application - a really good MCAT score is desired. For me, I'm left feeling uncomfortable and not confident about the material after reading the EK book and I feel better and I acutally understand the concepts that EK was trying to explain after reading my text book. I just can't understand things without a good explanation. Ironically, it seems to me that the EK book is giving me facts while my text provides me with the bigger picture - the concepts, the significance of things. Supplementing EK books is a definite must for me. And I'm growing weary of other prep materials - all of them. Even though I haven't looked at any other materials, EK was a sure hit and what happened?

    I think everyone learns in their own way - I am taking the TPR course this spring and I was considering Berkeley books and EK books but I don't have the $$$ and the TPR course is going to put me $1840 CDN (tax included) in the hole. That is absolutely ridiculous but I can't motivate myself to study without class structure. I think that my text books will be supplement enough - no need for Berkeley materials. I also got the NOVA physics book and I am assuming that will be not as good as ppl claim either. All in all, I'm expecting to do every single AAMC test (actually just 3-9) and whatever TPR requires of me, coupled with my own notes/texts from 3-4 years ago and I'm good. Hopefully.

    Any insights my fellow MCAT-ers?

    For the ppl who come on the forums asking about a prep book, or company, etc. - you should consider my post.
     

    xylem29

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      BrettBatchelor said:
      Could you give a specific example of a subject you think is poorly covered?

      Yes - enzyme kinetics and respiration - notably Krebs cycle and e transport. The book simply tells you that electrons are transfered from one protein to the next and oxygen is the final acceptor. As e passed down from one to the next protons are pumped out to creat a p motive force.

      Krebs - two carbons are lost to make CO2 and oxaloacetate is regenerated.

      Those are facts for me to remember.

      The electrons are transfered from one acceptor to the next (redox reactions over and over) and e go to lower E states, the E released is used to pump protons across inner memebrane to establish a p motive force - which is an electrochemical gradient - due to an electrical gradient and a concentration gradient - the E from these gradients are stored in the ATP as protons move back in through ATPsynthase. These concepts help me understand what happens in the ETC so I don't have to memorize things.

      For the krebs cycle - it would've been nice to mention that 2 carbons are added to oxaloacetate to give a 6C compound - and throughout the process, 2 carbons are removed from the 6C compounds to give 2 CO2 and a 4C compound (ie. restoring oxaloacetate) - this is generalized of course but this helps me remember the general events that take place.

      Also sometimes they'll mention things like how nucleotides are attached to give nucleaic acids but they don't show any diagrams - my texts have a lot of diagrams and that is a huge factor when it comes to learning - i have to picture things occuring in my head.
       
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      DrBowtie

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        While I agree that they should have mentioned the energy cascade associated with the ETC, page 20 sixth edition gives a very good graphic IMO summarizing the whole thing.

        Also note, according to the AAMC topics listing for the topics you mentioned they want you to know:
        Krebs cycle-substrates and products (input/output) and general features of the pathway.
        Electron transport chain and oxidative phosporylation - substrates and product, general features.

        The nitty gritty provided in your book may be too much info.
         

        xylem29

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          yes - well i just finished a 30 minute exam and I see how the detail won't really help - i can see that now...it felt more like being able to read the passages and understand them and then reason ur way through the questions...i have a lot of work to do. i think i'll have to adjust my studying strategy.

          hey brett - i noticed u have the entire ek set - with some kap stuff...is that all ur using? and what happened with ur blog?
           

          Orthodoc40

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            xylem29 said:
            yes - well i just finished a 30 minute exam and I see how the detail won't really help - i can see that now...it felt more like being able to read the passages and understand them and then reason ur way through the questions...i have a lot of work to do. i think i'll have to adjust my studying strategy.

            hey brett - i noticed u have the entire ek set - with some kap stuff...is that all ur using? and what happened with ur blog?

            I think you're right though, about having the context in your mind. It can help in some cases to follow the passage, even though you don't need to KNOW it.
             

            HunterGatherer

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              The EK bio is the best of the series. It is truly all you need for the BIO portion of the MCAT. I did use a website that broke down glycolysis and the kreb cycle. I also printed out the complete glycolytic pathway. I added 2-3 more hormones on the EK list but you honestly don't need that level of detail.

              I did not truly feel comfortable with MCAT bio until going through the EK bio book 3 times and from there I was golden. I did review the dense chapters more than 3 times especially DNA and Microbiology.
               

              HunterGatherer

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                If you reviewed all of bio at least once already try to keep that in the back of your mind now. Have confidence that you saw this material before.Even if it seems like a biochem question it is actually a biology question in disguise. Keep building your confidence with each review of biology and each practice session.



                xylem29 said:
                yes - well i just finished a 30 minute exam and I see how the detail won't really help - i can see that now...it felt more like being able to read the passages and understand them and then reason ur way through the questions...i have a lot of work to do. i think i'll have to adjust my studying strategy.

                hey brett - i noticed u have the entire ek set - with some kap stuff...is that all ur using? and what happened with ur blog?
                 

                MeowMix

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                  EK has plenty enough detail for the MCAT, trust me.

                  I know it's hard to believe, because Kaplan and TPR have these giant books that look like they have so much more important stuff in them, and the EK books are these little skinny things. Size is not all-important here!

                  Having worked my way through every single page of all the Kaplan books AND all the EK books (and having done very well on the MCAT), I can tell you that the EK books are written assuming that you have learned the stuff and just need a review (they are quite up-front about that). If you want an in-depth review of the basic material, or are learning for the first time, then you may want something more detailed or with a more complete explanation; but for the MCAT itself, don't get bogged down in detail and memorizing esoteric formulas and reaction cycles.

                  This technique will come in handy for your first board exam in med school, when you have to review 2 years of material in 3 weeks.
                   

                  DrBowtie

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                    xylem29 said:
                    yes - well i just finished a 30 minute exam and I see how the detail won't really help - i can see that now...it felt more like being able to read the passages and understand them and then reason ur way through the questions...i have a lot of work to do. i think i'll have to adjust my studying strategy.

                    hey brett - i noticed u have the entire ek set - with some kap stuff...is that all ur using? and what happened with ur blog?
                    The blog will return!!!! I have just been busy and neglected it. I think I am going to do much more commentary with the EK stuff since there is feedback for every chapter.
                     
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