15+ Year Member
Jul 13, 2005
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  1. Fellow [Any Field]
So I've heard that the real MCAT doesn't have nearly as much calculations as the TPR physics passages, is that true? Because some of these equations can get pretty long.

I'm not the fastest at mental calculations and I'm noticing I'm getting a lot of questions wrong simply because I made a miscalculation because I ran out of time.


7+ Year Member
Aug 28, 2009
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  1. Medical Student
Kaplan has a similar feel. It seems like they are drilling down the equations at you and its actual a pain to have to do these 5-6 step calculations. How common are these on the real deal?
Jan 27, 2010
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  1. Medical Student
i was used to the number of calculations on the amcas tests.

i was really shocked (and horrified) when i took my actual mcat physics section.
there were so many problems that i really understood how to do but simply ran out of time on due to the sheer number of calculations.
i feel like if i had 10 more minutes (or a calculator) i could have scored 4 points higher on my physics section.
maybe my test was an anomaly but that was my experience.


5+ Year Member
Jun 30, 2009
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  1. Pre-Medical
i agree with the previous poster. i had the exact same experience on my test.

perhaps there are a bit fewer calculations on the real thing. but the physical sciences section tends to be the most time challenging one for lots of people (arguably verbal is too). but anyway, the key to speeding yourself up significantly is being able to do those calculations really quickly, it gives you time to think about the more challenging problems. those calculation questions can turn into easy points and you can allow yourself the fair time to ponder over other questions that may also be attainable but time consuming.

anyways, perhaps tbr is a little calculation heavy (although, this is also an arguable point), but the bottom line is that even if it is, it is worth learning because it will make questions on the mcat a breeze, and you certainly need the extra time that could be spent figuring those calculations out on other things. its worth your time to learn :)
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