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Write down formulas during 10 min. tutorial?

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by wahoo2010, May 27, 2008.

  1. wahoo2010

    wahoo2010 10+ Year Member

    Jun 6, 2007
    Before MCAT starts and during the tutorial, can I write down formulas on scrap paper (will it be provided?) from my memory?
    themathbook likes this.
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  3. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Jun 27, 2007
    Yes to both being able to write down stuff and to having scrap paper available.
  4. prettyispink

    prettyispink 5+ Year Member

    Apr 5, 2008
    It's a good idea. If you're already used to the features (almost identical to AAMC practice tests), then you really don't need to read through tutorial. Paper and pencils are given to you once you enter the testing room. So, go for it!
  5. DrMattOglesby

    DrMattOglesby Grand Master Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Aug 15, 2007
    it really isn't THAT helpful.
    the fact that i am able to write things down is more of an impressive trick i managed to develop by doing it so many times during my practice tests.
    So the moral of the story is that if you can write down all those formulas by memory...then you probably dont need to write them down at all!
  6. jamesrick80

    jamesrick80 7+ Year Member

    Jan 27, 2008
    Its good to write formulas down during the tutorial. It will speed things up especially when it comes to proportionality problems.
  7. LikeClockWork

    LikeClockWork Guest

    Jul 23, 2007
    I never thought to do that. Doesn't seem like it would be very high yield though.

    There are so many formulas you could write down, but so, so, few that you would actually need. Yes, writing formulas down does help with proportionality problems, but how long does it take to write down just the one you need when the problem asks for it?

    It just seems like an easy way to confuse yourself, make a mess of your scratch paper, and potentially freak yourself out before the tests even starts if you can't remember a formula which isn't even guaranteed to be on the test.
  8. Never Give Up

    Never Give Up 5+ Year Member

    May 28, 2008

    Ok, I may be TOTALLY off... so someone please shine some light on this subject:

    I was told from someone that this is actually against the test rules and that if you get caught writing anything on your scrap paper while the test was not going on (ie. NO writing on the scratch paper during the tutorial) you would be reported for going against the test rules.

    Is this true?

    I would LOVE to be able to write down a few formulas during the tutorial (since that is a waste of time since you already know what they are saying to you). This would just help me have them in front of me, and not accidentally write down the wrong one in the rush of the test.

    Are you allowed to write down formula's during that time? This is a very serious question I have! I don't want to get kicked out for "cheating" but it would also be something to ease my mind if I just wrote down a few of the main formulas during that time!

    Thanks for asking the question!
  9. WarriorsFan

    WarriorsFan 7+ Year Member

    May 28, 2008
    No, I don't see rules anywhere about that. At my testing center during check-in, one person explicitly asked prometric staff about this and their response was no.
  10. Never Give Up

    Never Give Up 5+ Year Member

    May 28, 2008
    Just to clarify (sorry!), when you say their response was "no" you mean that there are no rules against writing on the scrap paper during the tutorial. Not that "No, you can not do that."

    Thanks for your reply!
  11. WarriorsFan

    WarriorsFan 7+ Year Member

    May 28, 2008
    "no rules against writing on the scrap paper during the tutorial"... So go crazy
  12. Never Give Up

    Never Give Up 5+ Year Member

    May 28, 2008
    THANKS! :)
  13. atomi

    atomi Member 10+ Year Member

    Feb 6, 2005
    I will probably derive the henderson-hasselbach equation since it is easier to derive than to memorize. I don't know what else to remember.

    Basically, I would write down any formulas that you had to derive to save time. Probably all the wavelength/frequency/optics stuff if that isn't second nature to you.
  14. studiddy

    studiddy 10+ Year Member

    Feb 23, 2007
    I think it's a good idea. Once you get all that crap down you don't have to think about it anymore, and looking at them written down might help you to make a connection between a question and an answer choice you might not otherwise.
  15. WinterLights


    Sep 15, 2007
    If you have to write the equations down then you will probably have a hard time actually using them when under pressure. I honestly think it will do more harm than help.
  16. Ryan71

    Ryan71 5+ Year Member

    May 14, 2010
    I was totally planning on doing this when I took my exam on 5/22/10. I took it in Ann Arbor MI at prometrics. They told me that I was absolutely not allowed to write anything on the paper during the 10 min tutorial. I was seriously bummed because I had planned on it...and not being able to flustered me a bit.

    People considering this may want to contact their testing facility prior to taking the exam.
  17. g8orlife

    g8orlife chomp 7+ Year Member

    Sep 15, 2009
    A quagmire
    There's actually 20 minutes before starting the PS section.
    ~ 10-minute tutorial + 10-minute Examination Agreement.

    I spent 16 minutes writing down as many Gen Chem + Physics rules, mnemonics, formulas, etc. that I could think of during that time.
  18. Fridko

    Fridko 2+ Year Member

    Feb 4, 2009
    Like the poster above, I was explicitly told that I wasn't allowed to touch the scrap paper or pencil, or write anything down during the breaks... Without thinking I started to doodle after WS, and the invigilator came by and reminded me about the rule.

    Maybe different centres are more lenient about it but, from what I was told, this is a no go.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2010
  19. watchntv

    watchntv 2+ Year Member

    Dec 3, 2009
    what do the rules say? print them out and bring them in.
  20. PinknGreenMD

    PinknGreenMD Applying to Med School 2+ Year Member

    Mar 23, 2011
    Yes, I would say write down all your formulas on the scratch paper during the tutorials or your break.

    When you go to take the test, they take your picture and go over all the rules. If you listen to the rules they are saying, there is nothing about writing down your formulas.

    Therefore, write down anything you want to write down. If they think it is a problem they will let you know, if not, don't volunteer yourself to ask them "is this okay?" just do it.

    You never know when you might get a "Blank" or "Dumb" moment during your test and cant think of a formula you absolutely KNEW backwards and forwards before sitting for the test. You can just refer to your reference formula sheet and locate it really quick and BAM ! ya got it. No more wasting time and kicking yourself for missing a question you thought you knew before hand. :luck:
  21. watchntv

    watchntv 2+ Year Member

    Dec 3, 2009
    how do you find out what questions you missed?
    I just get scores and I wasnt too pleased before,
    all negative numbers
    I did something very wrong....:bang:
  22. 411309

    411309 zzzz

    Jul 17, 2011
    Ive always wondered what the point of the tutorial is really. I mean if you can't figure out how to click the right answer, then should you be taking the mcat to begin with?
  23. TXKnight

    TXKnight Better Known as TXK 7+ Year Member

    Oct 21, 2010
    Aeternal Vernis
    I'm going to try writing all my formulas or tricks this January, I hope my center here in TX wont mind....NOW...really of all those things you guys wrote down..how many did you actually use during the test??...
  24. Abi123

    Abi123 5+ Year Member

    May 31, 2010
    I wrote down some formulas during that time, but they were pretty useless. I think I ended up using one or two that were actually on there and that too I just recalled from memory rather than looking up where it was written.

    It did, however, put me at ease that I had this resource available to me in case I just have a mental block which reading the question.
  25. LingoLaine

    LingoLaine 7+ Year Member

    Jun 24, 2008
    I took the time to write down the "Big Five" Kinematics equations. Did I end up using them? Nope.
  26. watchntv

    watchntv 2+ Year Member

    Dec 3, 2009
    I like this post
    by the same token, people who have guns at home, how many times have they use their guns to protect their homes?

    I love asking guys talking about what gun to buy to protect themselves how many times they've protected themselves with their guns? none? oh, so you can't really say whats best?
    which would be like me buying/enrolling in every MCAT book/program and never taking the MCAT, then you ask me what is best and I give you my opinion.

    writing the cheat sheet down before the test, puts your brain a different mode:
    -from HIGH BETA(fear, etc) into GAMMA(thinking)
    -stimulus/response: you have done this cheat sheet prep before every aamc practice test, so you are putting your body into a mode it knows
    -like having a gun, you feel more confident because you think the cheat sheet crutch will "save" you..placebo affect..
    -you have done doppler questions with ease, you get a wierd doppler question( or some variation of a equation question) that doesnt directly use an equation, you dont even think to write out the absure equation, you can't think of how to approach the answer correctly, you see the equation to it, you manipulate the equation and arrive at the answer.
    I see no downside to the cheat sheet.....aside from wanting to do it, and on test day not doing it case your scared and then that lack of confidence, the taste of failure means you bomb the mcat, you never get into med school, you become a failure, dont marry your sweetheart, dont sire Thomas A. Anderson and we are forever in the matrix....:confused:
    opps, make the dang sheet
  27. TXKnight

    TXKnight Better Known as TXK 7+ Year Member

    Oct 21, 2010
    Aeternal Vernis
    Yeah I agree the most important benefits of the cheat sheet are: psychological and the switch to thinking mode just before the test. As a matter of fact I have thought of actually doing one verbal passage and one PS passage right before my MCAT, on the parking lot or coffee shop that morning (not grading it though). I'm more alert and think better when I jump start like that. Some people say do not study anything the day before or whatever and that's maybe fine for some but for me just working on a passage or two is good.
  28. NickNaylor

    NickNaylor Thank You for Smoking Physician Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 7+ Year Member

    May 22, 2008
    Deep in the heart of Texas
    It's just my opinion, but if you're cramming formulas on to a piece of paper during the tutorial, you're doing it wrong (with respect to preparing for and taking this test).
  29. DNM

    DNM 7+ Year Member

    Oct 20, 2008
    I wrote down every physics equation I could remember before the exam. During the test, I didn't use a single one. It was really helpful for putting me at ease, knowing I'd have some equations already down should they come up, but the equations didn't help me actually answer any of the questions on the exam.
  30. watchntv

    watchntv 2+ Year Member

    Dec 3, 2009
    no one is cramming
    cramming implies you are stuffing stuff into your brain at the last second

    that's a fact, not my opinion; I dont have opinions
    rocky road is the best icecream---true story
  31. deep122

    deep122 5+ Year Member

    Jun 7, 2010
    I wrote down a few physics equations that I sometimes got confused (just kinematic and fluids). I remember using a few during the practice exams, though I'm not sure I used them on the real thing. I don't think it's useful to write down all the equations, but if you confuse a few, go ahead.
  32. Victory4Zim

    Victory4Zim contemplating...

    Apr 25, 2011
    Neither Here Nor There
    I think that writing down all the formulas I remembered would have made me more nervous. I'd rather just START THE EXAM. Using up the tutorial and agreement minutes will give my mind more time to worry about what possible questions I'll get asked, realize "oh God, this is actually IT" and letting that sink in, and just generally make me more nervous overall :scared:

    You really never know what the MCAT will ask you, some PS sections are mainly conceptual and hardly use any formulas at all. If you can write down all the equations you remember, then that means that you don't need to do that at all, because when the actual tests starts and you come across that question you can recall it instantly, instead of flipping back through 5 pages of scratch paper to look for what that equation was again :p

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