Emily Leven

Recent Posts

Enzyme Inhibition and Lineweaver-Burk Plots - MCAT Test Prep

Posted by Emily Leven on 2/3/16 9:30 AM


image source

We’ve already covered a little bit about the basics of enzyme kinetics,  so now let’s move on to discuss an important application of enzyme kinetics in the body (and in medicine): enzyme inhibition. Enzymes are not always “on” and working; occasionally they are working on overdrive. Like all things in life, the key to healthy functioning is balance. Many drugs work to either block or enhance enzymatic function. In 1934, Hans Lineweaver and Dean Burk took a look at the Michaelis-Menten equation and rearranged it into a nice graphical form that’s easy and intuitive to interpret.

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Tags: MCAT

MCAT Statistics Crash Course: What Do I Need to Know? (Part II)

Posted by Emily Leven on 1/18/16 9:30 AM


source: xkcd

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Tags: MCAT

Enzyme Kinetics for the MCAT

Posted by Emily Leven on 1/13/16 9:00 AM

photo source

Enzymes are hugely important in the human body both for normal function and for drug therapies. Their kinetics (or function with respect to time) are also easily graphable, making them a very testable MCAT topic. Even more importantly, once you’ve aced the big, bad MCAT, you will need to revisit enzyme kinetics in every medical school curriculum, so building a good foundation now will serve you well later!

Below is a “cheat-sheet” to accompany a more in-depth review of enzyme kinetics using review books and/or online videos. It summarizes the important concepts you need to understand BEFORE you get to Michaelis-Menten kinetics, Lineweaver-Burke plots, and understanding various types of inhibition.

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Tags: MCAT

How to Prepare for a Medical School Interview

Posted by Emily Leven on 12/28/15 1:51 PM

Ready to step into a whole new world? 

You can (and should) do research about specific schools before you visit them, but preparing for the personal interview is less concrete, and sometimes more difficult. Your goal is show your interviewer that you deserve a spot at their school. Here are a few points to think about before an interview, and to keep in mind during the interview, itself.

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Tags: MCAT

MCAT Statistics Crash Course: What Do I Need to Know? (Part I)

Posted by Emily Leven on 12/8/15 4:57 PM

As most of you know, the AAMC has published an extensive outline of topics and skills assessed by the new MCAT (the complete guide can be found HERE). It is important to look at this list before you start studying a subject, and going back to it periodically to make sure you are on the right track. This list is not exhaustive, and only covers reasonably broad topics, but it is still quite useful in keeping your study plan focused.  

Today, we’re going to be thinking about how to approach questions that ask you to understand and work with the data- these questions fall under the umbrella of  “reasoning about the design and execution of research” (more to come on “data-based and statistical reasoning!”). Graphs, figures, and tables have always been on the MCAT, but with the sociology and psychology content on the new MCAT there is a greater emphasis on understanding statistics per se, and being able to “work” with the data.

Below is the exact list from AAMC of what they want you to know (taken from the AAMC website: Design and Execution), and a crash course review to help you learn it!  Use this to guide your learning using statistics review books for what to really hone in on.

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Tags: MCAT

Gametogenesis on the MCAT

Posted by Emily Leven on 12/3/15 10:49 AM

Imagine programming your food to play!

Spermatogenesis is a pretty complicated process, and can easily seem intimidating. However, it’s important to remember that the MCAT is a test that asks you to know a little bit about a lot of topics. Therefore, let’s focus on the most testable part of gametogenesis for the purposes of the MCAT: the differences between males and females. (Before you start to study gametogenesis, make sure you have a handle on the processes of mitosis and meiosis!)

First, an overview of gametogenesis:

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Tags: MCAT

Passage Mapping Made Easy: Tips for the MCAT CARS Section

Posted by Emily Leven on 11/2/15 9:00 AM

One of the most dreaded sections of the MCAT is the Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills (CARS) section. This is an especially tough section because it’s not based in facts, which makes it much harder to “study” for in a traditional fashion. It is also typically the section where students feel the most pressed for time, and relative to the science sections, it’s much harder to get away with answering questions without reading the passage.

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Tags: MCAT

How to Answer the “Tell us about yourself” Question on a Medical School Secondary application

Posted by Emily Leven on 10/14/15 10:00 AM

This is your chance to shine!

Even though this seems like it should be a “gimme” question (after all, what do you know more about than yourself?), many applicants consider this to be one of the toughest questions on a medical school secondary. Aside from being very broad, many people just find it uncomfortable to sell themselves, recognizing that there’s a fine line between self-awareness and bragging. And yet, since this is one of the most common questions on both secondaries and interviews (not just in medicine), it’s important to offer a strong answer.

As a science-minded person who appreciates structure, I often find that tasks seem less daunting if I have a general framework within which to think about them. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you start to answer this common question.

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Tags: medical school admissions

What to do when you don’t understand a science passage on the MCAT Exam

Posted by Emily Leven on 10/2/15 10:00 AM

 If you relate to Michael Scott, you've come to the right place!

One overarching theme of the MCAT exam is its unusual application of basic knowledge (well, “basic” once you’ve completed four years of pre-med classes and studied for a few months). Passages will often present familiar phenomena in the context of complex systems, or expect test-takers to predict the outcomes of perturbations to the novel scenario they’ve just described.

For this reason, it’s actually quite likely that you will see things on test day that you’ve never read about before, and that’s not only manageable, it’s to be expected. Here’s how to deal with it:

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Tags: MCAT

How to Write and Edit a College Paper: A Roadmap

Posted by Emily Leven on 6/17/15 11:47 AM

Step 1: Write your paper. Step 2: Graduate. Step 3: Roadtrip across Australia. [image source]

Why is college-level writing so hard?

Making the switch to college-level writing is tough, and doesn’t happen overnight. Papers in college are often long (although the short ones with strict word limits can be tricky, too!). The subject matter is complicated and requires a good deal of analysis.

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Tags: expository writing