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Tips For PS section on MCAT????

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by jofrbr76, Mar 28, 2002.

  1. jofrbr76

    jofrbr76 Senior Member
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    Am i just Physical science stupid?

    i can't seem to crack 10 on any physical science sections. I've gotten a 9 several times. Are there any tips you can give for grinding out a few more right answers?

    I don't mean to sound anal, but i just scored a 32 on the Kaplan FL #3 11V-9PS-12BS and i've been trying to focus on PS. It's not helping, i've scored 8 and 9's since the first diagnostic.

    I thought memorizing more formula's would help, but then it seems the passage gives them to me anyways?? Geez. I'm at a loss of how to improve, i got A's in physics and B's in Gen chm, yet i can't scrape out a 10? What's my deal?

    Sorry to vent so much, i'm just MCAT frustrated.

    Thanks for your help,

    Joe
     
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  3. Suz177

    Suz177 Senior Member
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    First of all, Kaplan and real test scores do not always correlate very well. AAMC IV-VI are all much better predictors of how you will actually do. Secondly, on the MCAT, they usually do give you a lot of the equations you need for PS, so it would be more to your advantage to practice using them correctly by doing practice passages and going over the answers to q's you got wrong.
     
  4. Diogenes

    Diogenes Succat
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    My MCAT advice is to just relax. If you got As in physics and Bs in genchem then you should be fine. Too much worrying will only preoccupy you and distract you. Confidence is key.
     
  5. SeeGulz

    SeeGulz Senior Member
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    Are you finishing on time? My actual MCAT score went up 1 or 2 points over my best practice score because I got to all the questions for the first time on the actual test.

    If time is not the issue, I found flashcards helpful. I bought some (I don't recall the company but if you search for MCAT flashcards on the net you will find several options), but I also made my own all I went through my review materials.

    I think the cards made a big difference because it kept everything fresh in my mind. The MCAT covers so much material that you can master an area, but grow rusty in that same area several weeks later because you have had to deal with other material.

    I also found the practice questions from AMCAS to be very helpful.

    Whatever you do, you have time, and it seems like you are off to a very good start anyhow. Good luck to you.
     
  6. figure five

    figure five Member
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    it's not about memorizing formulas...just do 5 million practice problems / passages! that way, you'll be prepared for pretty much anything they might throw at you on the real test. in the process, you'll get used to the formulas, realize the trends, and go into the test super confident.
     
  7. Street Philosopher

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    the physical sciences section tests primarily two things:

    concepts
    formula manipulation

    To excel in PS, you must have the concepts down cold. To do this, you should read whatever physics material you are studying with, and then right afterwards do practice problems on that topic.

    Then there is formula manipulation. They give you some formula, and ask you what happens to X when you change Y. This is very simple, and you should just write it all out to not be confused.

    There is very little you need to memorize for this section. Of course, you should know basic things like potential & kinetic energy, F=ma, things like that. But you will never have to know things like Bernoulli's equation offhand. (You'll have to know the concept behind Bernoulli's though).

    I guess what I'm trying to say is: concepts concepts concepts. And then practice practice practice. heh that was lame.
     
  8. sorrento

    sorrento Senior Member
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    I could never crack a 10 on PS either, so take my advice with a grain of salt.

    You will be supplied with many formulas, but you need to really know how to use them. That is, don't just know the formulas, but be able to state *in words* what happens with various systems, without the aid of equations. And be able to recall them immediately, for example, quiz yourself: what happens when you add another resistor to a circuit? what happens to the current when you take one away? what about if you add a capacitor? etc. Be able to answer these in (semi) complete sentences, focussing on those that tend to confound you the most. Write them down if necessary, and get a drill sargeant friend to test you.

    My next piece of advice is to kick butt on verbal and bio to make up for any shortcomings. :)
     
  9. K271

    K271 Member
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    In addition to what is being said above, a good old fashioned mathematics review never hurt anybody. A bunch of the passages I had on my mcat revolved around formulas that I had never seen, and they looked extremely ugly. Not a single one of them, however, required any REAL knowledge of what was going on, as long as you understood what the question was asking in principle (be able to manipulate one variable and see how it affects another variable while ignoring the 10 others in the formula).

    As for the questions about general stuff (the things you have seen before) make sure to read the question and rule out rediculous answers before you begin to push numbers around... I remember a lot of the questions having answers that were simply rediculous. You have by this point done so many practice problems that you should have a "feel" for the type of answer you will get for a particular type of question.

    Lastly, never forget about dimensional analysis... it can save your butt when the numbers are too odd to work with (in fact, if the numbers DO look weird, don't even bother with them - go straight to dimensional analysis).

    OK and one more last thing. Don't overlook the really easy stuff. The passage that took me the longest on the PS section was one about periodic trends (very straightforward and easy questions!!)- I never thought they'd ask it, but sure enough there were 5 questions that followed a passage... I couldn't believe they actually included it, and I began to doubt myself <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" />
     
  10. jofrbr76

    jofrbr76 Senior Member
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    Wow,

    Thanks guys, those are all good ideas. I definitly could use some concept reviewing i guess.

    Anyone else?

    Joe
     
  11. BigRedStress

    BigRedStress AMEX Black
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    I have this problem with the Bio section. Any suggestions for that? I'm tkaing FL #3 this Saturday. I got 9-10-10 on FL2. Most of the questions I got wrong in physical was just STUPID careless mistakes. As for the bio, I got a lot wrong because I didnt eliminate and/or read all the choices - esp. the passage based questions. is it me or do the bio -related passages sometimes resemble verbal? argh.
     

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