MCAT Tutor: Two Shockingly Easy Organic Chemistry MCAT tips

Posted by Jack the MCAT Slayer on 12/18/13 8:50 AM

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Whenever I first start working with a student in MCAT preparation, I like to start with the words: "quick wins." The best MCAT test tips are those that can be applied immediately to improve your performance without much work. This is the low-hanging fruit and it makes sense to pick it off the tree before reaching for the high stuff.

So, for the organic chemistry section of the MCAT, what is the lowest hanging fruit? In my experience as an organic chemistry tutor, there are two strategies that can be used immediately for effective MCAT preparation. The first is sequencing, which I’ll get into in a minute, and the second is using the pictures and skipping the passage.

On sequencing, I think I can explain it best with an example. Suppose you are using Cambridge Coaching’s expert network of online tutors for MCATs to prep for the big test. How would you arrange your online MCAT tutoring? Would you spend 10 minutes on bio, then switch to 10 minutes on organic chemistry, then maybe throw in 10 minutes of verbal, and then go back to organic chemistry again? Probably not! Besides being logistically challenging, it’s distracting to go back and forth between subjects. Just like when you were in high school, you finish all your math homework before moving on to history.

That’s how you should take the test! Do all the biology sections together, and do all the organic chemistry sections together. Sequencing matters.

The next juicy piece of low-hanging fruit is using the pictures in the passage without reading it. Organic chemistry questions on the MCAT can almost always be answered with only the reaction diagrams. Whoever first said that a picture was worth a thousand words knew what they were talking about. Next time you do a practice section, try jumping into the questions without reading the passage. You might be surprised to find you still answer the questions accurately, while saving a bunch of time!

Here at Cambridge Coaching, we’re about working hard, but also working smart. Using these techniques to make the most of your MCAT preparation will give you more time for activities that might help get you into medical school, like engaging in extracurriculars, shadowing doctors, or taking advantage of MD admissions consulting.


Happy studying!

Tags: chemistry, MCAT