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Studying for MCAT biology

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by up40loves, Jun 21, 2008.

  1. up40loves

    up40loves 7+ Year Member

    Apr 13, 2007
    There are so many details to remember for biology. How are you all studying for it? Is taking notes on the details a good idea?

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  3. LUCPM

    LUCPM 10+ Year Member

    Jan 27, 2007
    I would pick a good review book and stick to it. Some people prefer EK, others prefer TPR or Kaplan. I personally felt that Kaplan was easy to read and follow. Good luck!
  4. MossPoh

    MossPoh Textures intrigue me 7+ Year Member

    Apr 24, 2006
    Tally/Willkillya County
    I have several different bio books. I really don't think the important part is the book as much as answering lots of questions. Don't get me wrong, I reviewed over all the material using mostly EK with a splash of kaplan, but even after devoutly reviewing and taking notes, the passages still would confuse me. This time round I will do a EK lecture and then I will try to do at least 40 to 50 questions from that chapter in my 1001 books, in addition to the questions in the EK books and the 30 minute exam at the end. I like to answer around 100 questions a day. The bio book takes a little longer, so that can end up being a 2 or 3 hour process once one checks out why they got an answer wrong.

    The MCAT is rarely ever a detail oriented test. The questions that ARE detail oriented tend to be easier. The tough questions are the ones that require an understand of the passage in front of you and applying that general review knowledge. Obviously if you don't know the basics then you're screwed, but most people will encounter nearly everything on that test in some capacity before even studying for the MCAT
  5. up40loves

    up40loves 7+ Year Member

    Apr 13, 2007
    Thanks for your response. I will follow your advice. I was just wondering, however, do you think it is worthwhile to take notes on the details? EX) Should I take notes on details like the specific hormones secreted by the pancreas/intestines etc
  6. up40loves

    up40loves 7+ Year Member

    Apr 13, 2007
    BUMP. Anyone? So is it worthwhile to take notes on the chapters from EK or not?

  7. Snowy

    Snowy Will I ever be a doctor? 2+ Year Member

    May 6, 2008
    It gets a lot easier the second, third and fourth time you review the material. My best advice is KNOW ALL OF IT. Once you've gone over it once, you'll be able to focus on the areas which you aren't great at. Also, focus more on stuff that's tested most often (i.e. genetics, nephron, circulation).
  8. Yes Sir

    Yes Sir 2+ Year Member

    May 3, 2007
    Not sure how much time you have until your MCAT. But I'm dominating the Biology section and not studying much becuase of the undergrad classes I took:

    -Cell Bio
    -Molecular Physiology

    Take them before the MCAT in my opinion. Good luck.
  9. engineeredout

    engineeredout 7+ Year Member

    May 11, 2008
    I take extensive notes for the EK bio which does take me about two days per lecture. EVen if you don't go over the details memorizing again and again, taking notes helps get it into your mind and makes you focus even more on what you're reading. I'd recommend it.

    As a side note, I've never taken bio, but found a practice exam for the cell biology class I'm taking next semester and got a 70/100 solely based on study from the first half of the EK bio book, so so far I'd recommend it.
  10. thatscorrect7

    thatscorrect7 2+ Year Member

    Aug 8, 2007
    ive been studying bio also
    and ive felt like no matter how much i know the basic stuff
    the passages present something that seems like it is out of the scope of my knowledge
    how aer you guys dealing with this?
  11. J ROD

    J ROD Watch my TAN walk!! Rocket Scientist Physician Pharmacist Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Aug 1, 2005
    working on my tan......

    I am working on just reasoning and thinking ability. I know the material. I just need to show it.

    Practice make perfect!
  12. b333b

    b333b Banned

    Mar 2, 2008
    this is how i studied: i used EK as my review book. I would read the entire chapter. Then i would write out notes in a regular paper notebook to summarize the chapter(i might look back at the chapter if i forgot something). Also on some chapters i used textbooks to supplement the info. For example for ch1 i reviewed old biochem notes (but in the end decided that there was very little to add to the EK notes that wasnt too advanced and too hard to memorize). for kidney, heart, and lungs i used costanzo physiology texts(but again i added very little to EK).
    my notes ranged from 1-2 handwritten pages per EK chapter.

    I did ek exercises after reading several chapters. I started doing bio 40days before the exam and after finishing i started doing practice aamc tests. then i planned to do the EK lecture exams but i ran out of time and didnt do those. But i think if you do a good job of memorizing the review book/notes, then you'll gain a lot from just taking the practice mcats and going over them.
  13. mustymullet

    mustymullet 2+ Year Member

    Apr 26, 2007
    examkrackers bio if you read all the details will give you a high score no doubt. orgo is being less and less tested on bio so make sure you study your genetics, physiology, hormones, nervous system, cell structure, etc.
  14. futuredoctor10

    futuredoctor10 10+ Year Member

    Jan 25, 2007
    That is good news. The Kaplan materials are pretty detail-heavy in my opinion, for example in development talking about fetal circulation for an entire page. For those who've taken Kaplan (and those who did Kaplan in conjunction with EK), what do you think? Kaplan has a chapter on development/embryology and EK has 1-2 pages, quite a disparity in my opinion?

    If those details in Kaplan are important to do well on the test, I'll learn them. Just wondering why this discrepancy existed.
  15. mustymullet

    mustymullet 2+ Year Member

    Apr 26, 2007
    there is no need for kaplan to spend a page about fetal circulation, ek didnt even go over that. ek spent some time going over male and female reproduc. systems but in a way to integrate the major hormones (testosterone, estrogen, etc.) into it. ek does a great job tying things together to create a bigger picture.
  16. JA Prufrock

    JA Prufrock Serenity Now! 2+ Year Member

    Mar 31, 2008
    TPR's Hyperlearning book tends to do the same thing. It covers things in more detail than you will likely need to know. In the foreward the author mentions he does this intentionally, since oftentimes you'll see such details in test passages, and it might help to have already been exposed to it beforehand. That said, however, based on comments from recent test-takers, the MCAT (especially the bio section) seems to be turning into more of a reasoning and passage-based exam, meaning, details shouldn't necessarily be a huge point of concern.
  17. mterp45

    mterp45 Banned Banned

    Jun 2, 2007

    The #1 mistake you can make for bio is to not do enough practice passages, especially now that the bio section is heavy on reading comp. The info seems like it's a lot now, but it won't be after a month of reviewing. Your best bet is to do all the practice passages you can possibly get your hands on. Don't disregard the details, the more practice passages you do the more details you will learn, if you want to get around 11-13 consistently, you will have to know as much as possible.
  18. Spikedsoymilk

    Spikedsoymilk 10+ Year Member

    May 18, 2005
    I am in the same boat as thatscorrect7. The concepts are pretty easy to understand and retain, but the problem comes from comprehending some of the passages, especially the experiment heavy ones. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to study these effectively? In addition to practice...practice...practice, of course. :)
  19. Jay2910

    Jay2910 5+ Year Member

    Dec 13, 2011
    I was just wondering, does anyone have like solid advice on how to review bio during the last week of the exam? I have been looking into FL but bio seems so focused on the passages and data as opposed to outside knowledge.
    I also have been thinking about doing TPR Science Wkbk . . . but aren't those problems a little too easy?
    Love to hear about how MCAT veterans tackled this and/or how people are coping with this!

  20. ariyon

    ariyon 5+ Year Member

    Jan 1, 2012
    I gots da same question

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