grindtime1

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For you 30+ scorers (applies to biology only tbh), when you were going through EK or TPR Hyperlearning AND assuming you were following the AAMC topic list, did you ever skip concepts in the book that didn't show up on the AAMC topic list?

Did you ever find a topic on the practice or real exams that was covered in the prep books but NOT in the AAMC topic list?
 
Oct 30, 2010
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I got a 14 on the biology portion, and I know TPR includes some information in their books that isn't on the topic list. Most exam materials will do this; they make their materials cover extra material in all directions to ensure you're walking into the exam fully prepared.

I suggest learning the topics that are in the TPR / EK books (NOT kaplan, I couldn't believe some of the crap they wanted me to memorize) because while you might not be directly quizzed on information not on the AAMC list, it's very possible the information could come up in a passage. If you have knowledge of the material ahead of time, it saves you some critical thinking and analysis come game time.

To answer the second part of your question, I didn't see a single question on the MCAT that wasn't covered by TPR. Just know your hormones! I think that's the question I missed.
 

BerkReviewTeach

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...did you ever skip concepts in the book that didn't show up on the AAMC topic list?
Skip a concept? probably not if it's part of a subject listed on the AAMC list.

Skip a subject that is not listed on the AAMC list such as alkene chemistry and benzene chemistry?

YES!!!

By all means, skip subjects that are not tested. Reviewing them is a complete waste of time. This goes for any and all MCAT materials (not just the ones you mentioned), older and newer! If you are using an older book with a section on benzene reaction chemistry, DO NOT go through it. To verify this, look through all of the official MCAT threads here at SDN and see if you find anyone ever mentioning they had a benzene chemistry passage. You won't find it, because AAMC officially announced they were not going to test that material any longer. They wouldn't issue multiple public statements that the material was being removed, just to trick people and test it anyway. Test writers no doubt get that same list of topics, so it's fruitless to study material that won't be tested.

However, just because benzene reactions aren't tested doesn't mean you shouldn't know the concept of aromaticity and how it impacts acidity and nucleophilicity. But if you come across Freidel Kraft reactions, skip them!
 

Isoprop

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I agree with above except with a small caveat. The MCAT may not directly test your knowledge on alkene chemistry. But it is totally within the scope of the MCAT to throw a oxymercuration reaction (an alkene addition), explain the reaction and mechanism fully in the passage, and start asking you questions like stereochemistry (is this R or S, what would be the optical rotation) or lab techniques (how do you separate the product out).

What this means is that you SHOULD NOT be breaking out with flash cards of all alkene rxns or start memorizing their mechanisms. What it does mean is to skip the alkene chapter because it is very low yield, and if you are scoring in the 13-15 range in the BS section, and you have the time, it might not be a bad idea to glance at alkenes so you will be FAMILIAR with them should a passage like above show up.
 

BerkReviewTeach

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I agree with above except with a small caveat. The MCAT may not directly test your knowledge on alkene chemistry. But it is totally within the scope of the MCAT to throw a oxymercuration reaction (an alkene addition), explain the reaction and mechanism fully in the passage, and start asking you questions like stereochemistry (is this R or S, what would be the optical rotation) or lab techniques (how do you separate the product out).

What this means is that you SHOULD NOT be breaking out with flash cards of all alkene rxns or start memorizing their mechanisms. What it does mean is to skip the alkene chapter because it is very low yield, and if you are scoring in the 13-15 range in the BS section, and you have the time, it might not be a bad idea to glance at alkenes so you will be FAMILIAR with them should a passage like above show up.
Great point as always Isoprop. This is something that seems viable. Let's say they give a passage with two reactions. The first a reaction of a peroxyacid and carbonyl (Baeyer-Villiger formation of an ester) and the second reaction of a peroxyacid and an alkene (epoxide formation). The passage may emphasize the redox aspects of using a peroxy acid, but it can also be viewed as a carbonyl reaction and an alkene reaction. Knowing the reactions from either perspective will be useful, and both even better.

They could ask questions about (1) stereochemistry of the products, (2) oxidation state changes of carbons, (3) water sensitivity of products, etc...
While I believe if you didn't study alkenes you should still be able to answer the questions, recalling stereoselectivity issues of alkene addition will help with the stereochem question.

So in the end, I think knowing the logic of reactions is essential, but the details are pointless.
 

Mithril

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I only skipped material pertaining to my major, which is microbiology and immunology. You have to be careful not to use advanced "outsider" information, though.