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Studying for Orgo - what to look up?

Discussion in 'MCAT: Medical College Admissions Test' started by dedicate, Dec 9, 2008.

  1. dedicate

    dedicate took mcat, now applying
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    I am studying for organic right now, and I'm using only EK's book. I have Wade's textbook but its not readily at my disposal right now.

    First of all, I never did great in organic. I got C's both semesters just to give you an idea and this was 1.5 years ago. My question is, what should I bother looking up? The EK book covers what I need to know per se, but details of mechanisms are left out for the most part.

    Should I bother? What level of detail should I know compared to learning mainly concepts?
     
  2. SN2ed

    Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

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    If you need more help in organic chemistry, pick up Berkeley Review's Organic book. It's considered the best by far. You don't need too much depth per se, but it can help on the test. Definitely do not use your textbook for organic chemistry or any other section. Stick to the MCAT prep books. They should have everything you need to know.


    Originally Posted by TheBoondocks [​IMG]
    This question gets asked like every three days. In short, EK series are stripped down with the basics you need to know. Get EK bio, it is by far the best for bio, all the responses on SDN say this. Know this book cold. If you don't believe me, type in EK bio in the search function. Personally, you learn the best from passages, If you have time and the cash I highly suggest purchasing Berkeley Review Gen Chem and Ochem. There physics is good too, but with PR it may be redundant. You will thank me later. You'll probably want EK biology review and EK 101 biology passages and EK verbal 101. PR is good, however, if you want to kill the MCAT you have to be able to integrate material. That's what BR does better than anyone else. Like, be able to answer questions if you see the circulatory system wired in parallel series.

    bio - 1. EK bio and 101 bio passages 2. Kaplan 3. PR/BR however, these don't suck, they're just detailed which turns off many people.

    Physics 1. BR/Nova 2. PR 3. Kaplan I really think BR but they're are a lot of people who swear by Nova on this site

    Verbal 1. Ek verbal and 101 passages 2. PR 3. BR 4. Kaplan (read stay from)

    Gen Chem 1. BR by far 2. PR 3. Kaplan/EK

    O Chem 1. BR by far 2. toss up between Kaplan/PR/Ek

    That is a general list of what i have read on SDN for the past 4 years, i came here and lurked throughout highschool. Good luck and hopefully this will help. EK is for people who KNOW the material and want review. If you are weak in something BR is the best since it's the most detailed and PR is detailed too, Kaplan is in the Middle, and EK is the least detailed but that doesn't mean it's bad. Just depends on the person. If you can I would buy the BR Chemistry books and Physics book. If you complete the PR science workbook along with BR passages and EK bio, you will kill the sciences. Ek Verbal should help you out with verbal.
     
  3. BerkReviewTeach

    BerkReviewTeach Company Rep & Bad Singer
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    Organic chemistry is such a difficult thing to get a bearing on, because it's so lightly tested. No matter what you do, there will tons of things that you review that won't be tested.

    The best advice is to know your basics really well. Know structure, structure elucidation, carbonyl reactivity, stereochemistry, and most importantly lab techniques such as distillation, chromatography, extraction, and crystallization.

    Download the AAMC checklist of topics for the different areas and make sure you have a good idea about everything on that list. The MCAT is a thinking exam, not a memorization exam, so make sure you spend time determining why a reaction does what it does more so than memorizing what the reaction does.

    There is no need to break out the Wade book. A lower level book with more biologically-related examples will serve you better if you want reference. Look for the book by Oulette (spelling) as a great MCAT-level book.

    Do not stress out over organic chemistry!
     
  4. dedicate

    dedicate took mcat, now applying
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    thanks for that great advice.

    i wonder now though, is EK enough for orgo lab techniques? they literally have 1 paragraph for distillation, crystallization, and the entire chapter is like 10 pages I think...
     
  5. BerkReviewTeach

    BerkReviewTeach Company Rep & Bad Singer
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    IMHO, and I'm sure I'll get blasted for having a bias and political incorrectness (etc...), that 10 pages is not even close to enough.

    On an exam where half of the BS passages have to do with some experiment or study, you need to have a good idea about basic logic when it comes to lab techniques in biology and organic chemistry.

    The reality is that you need to do passages on experiments more than you need to read about them, so not having that much text can be offset by doing tons of passages on lab experiments.
     
  6. dedicate

    dedicate took mcat, now applying
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    I see, thanks. I just took my first practice, and it seemed like it was enough from the EK book GIVEN the fact that the passages seemed to explain extra stuff. Still though, I wasn't prepared to read NMR (I just forgot the stuff, but it was in EK).
     
  7. futuredoctor10

    Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    I want to pull up my BS score and I was planning to use a combo of Kaplan + EK for my MCAT retake if those books are sufficient. Or should I definitely supplement with TPR or TBR?

    I have used Kaplan and liked them but heard that the revised BS on the MCAT excludes alot of material covered in the Kaplan book (is this true?)
     
  8. gunspire

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    #8 gunspire, Feb 26, 2009
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2013
  9. uddin002

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    Something that helped me was going back to my Wade textbook and studying the 15 or so key mechanisms they highlight. The reason why it helped is not because I had to regurgitate mechanisms on the MCAT, but rather because knowing the fundamental mechanisms really well helped develop the set of ochem logic and reasoning skills that the MCAT tests. I took the Jan 31st MCAT, they had one fairly hard ochem passage on it, and I found myself thinking through mechanism logic to answer some of the questions.

    This wasn't the only thing I did for ochem prep, but this was something I did that helped me greatly that not a lot of other people do.
     

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