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Aug 16, 2003
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I just talked to a friend who wanted a few tips on how she could speed through some of the more time consuming parts of the MCAT. These were the things that helped me the most when i was doing my prep, I hope they help y'all out too.

On plug n chug questions:
(these are the ones where you have to know an equation and crank out an answer given data)

- look at the answers and estimate the order of magnitude of the answer. often the answers will differ by powers of ten or more, so more in-depth computation is not necessary

- use units first; often times the answers will require a lot of multiplication but all have different units- cancelling them can be much faster and safer than multiplying out

-super fun trick: look at the odd or even-ness of the final digit of the answer. assuming you're not rounding at all, remember that odd times odd is odd and even times even is even and odd times even is even. sometimes that's all you need.

On the dreaded verbal:

- in the last questions of a passage, often times there will be three dicey, kinda-sorta answers and then for "D" or "C" there will be a wimpy, say-nothing answer that's not wrong but doesnt "feel" right. it almost always is at the three other statements can be refuted, so it is technically the "best"

- circle answers you're "kinda" sure of and then, if you have time at the end, go back and scan for evidence directly contradicting that answer in the passage, often times there will be little tagging phrases in the passage that messes you up, for example:
on a passage about smoking and its risks, you choose
"secondhand smoking is linked to cancer"
then read back and see this sentence:
"while secondhand smoking has not been statistically linked to cancer, it is still seen as a health risk by most major health organizations"
bam, you just dodged a bullet

hope i helped a bit in these last weeks before the big dance- i know these were my least favorite days of studying, so be happy because it will all be over soon

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