The pigeonhole principle: a counting concept with countless applications

Posted by Jack M. on 3/5/21 12:00 PM

Consider the following questions:

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Tags: math

Four tricks to becoming a better academic reader

Posted by Joseph F. on 3/3/21 12:15 PM

College professors often assign their students hundreds of pages of difficult academic reading per week. These reading-intensive assignments reflect a faulty assumption on the part of those professors: that college students arrive on campus already knowing how to make sense of dense texts and process information in huge quantities. Freshman writing classes at universities across the US demonstrate a tacit acknowledgement that when students first come to college they still need to meaningfully develop advanced writing skills. Why is this not also the case for reading? Why are “critical” or “analytical” reading practices so rarely taught in college classrooms? Given this glaring absence, here are four tricks that can help students tackle high-level reading assignments. 

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Tags: study skills, homework help, English

Hormones of the female reproductive system

Posted by Tania F. on 3/1/21 12:00 PM

The female reproductive system can at times feel like a difficult jumble of hormones that all seem to be related, but fluctuate in unpredictable ways. To make sense of the particularities of the female reproductive system, especially for exams like the MCAT, it is important to not only know what hormones are involved, but also to understand what their purpose is and how that purpose is connected to their seemingly random (but actually quite predictable!) cyclic fluctuations. Once you know all that, the reproductive system transforms from a confusing jumble of terms to a beautiful concert of hormones working together to drive and maintain the complex processes of ovulation, menstruation, and pregnancy.

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Tags: biology, MCAT

Gametogenesis and spermatogenesis and oogenesis, oh my!

Posted by Tania F. on 2/26/21 12:00 PM

Meiosis is one of those processes that we all learned about in high school biology as a deceptively simple concept. You take the diploid cell, divide it twice, and it becomes four haploid gametes that are each capable of participating in fertilization. Easy, right?

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Tags: biology, MCAT

How to tackle multiple mini interviews

Posted by Dhruv P. on 2/24/21 12:00 PM

Multiple mini interviews, commonly referred to as MMIs, are a major interview component in the MD admissions process. According to the AAMC, “the MMI is designed to measure competencies like oral communication, social and non-verbal skills, and teamwork that are important indicators of how an applicant will interact with patients and colleagues as a physician.” The format of MMIs ensures that no single interviewer’s opinions about an applicant are over-emphasized. Additionally, these interviews are usually closed file, meaning that the interviewers have not read applicant primary or secondary applications prior to the interview. The interview itself consists of a variety of stations, each with its own prompt and evaluator. Schools test everything from critical thinking, to knowledge about the current healthcare system, to having applicants role-play complex situations with professional actors. Regardless of the specific topic, it’s best to prepare for a variety of stations. 

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Tags: medical school admissions, MD/PhD admissions

Implications of the Electoral College for democratic equality

Posted by Gabrielle M. on 2/22/21 12:00 PM

In my previous posts, I’ve described the rules of the Electoral College, the origins of these rules, and some limitations that EC rules present for universal democratic rights. I talked briefly about the worry that the EC disadvantages non-swing state voters and voters in urban areas. Critics also charge, more broadly, that the EC rules disadvantage Democrats relative to Republicans because Democrats are concentrated in urban areas. The two most recent instances where the popular vote winner lost the election – 2000 when Bush narrowly defeated Gore, and 2016 when Hillary Clinton lost the election despite winning the popular vote by 3 million votes – supports this assertion. 

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Tags: history, AP exams, political science

The origins of the Electoral College

Posted by Gabrielle M. on 2/19/21 12:00 PM

Today, we’re taking a step back to examine the history of the Electoral College. Why do we have it, what is the logic behind its design, and what does this mean for our understanding of political representation in the US? 

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Tags: history, AP exams, political science

The limitations of the Electoral College

Posted by Gabrielle M. on 2/17/21 12:00 PM

In my previous post I provided a quick explainer of the Electoral College (EC from here onward). In the wake of the 2020 election, the system was once again in the spotlight and, as is the case nearly every election cycle, subject of ample criticism. In this post, I will highlight the primary critiques of the EC and the implications of these limitations for democratic rights.

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Tags: history, AP exams, political science

Learn Spanish with podcasts!

Posted by Kristina J. on 2/15/21 12:00 PM

Podcasts are a great way to learn a language. Listening to them requires aural comprehension, but they can also help you study grammar and vocabulary. 

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Tags: Spanish, language learning

How to simplify pronouns in Spanish

Posted by Kristina J. on 2/12/21 12:00 PM

Direct and indirect object pronouns often trip up students of Spanish. But identifying objects and using pronouns can be simple, if you know how to break down a sentence. Let’s look at this through an example!

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Tags: Spanish, language learning