How do enzymes work? Catalytic strategies and models of substrate fit

Posted by Eden on 7/19/17 4:05 PM

In this post, we are going to do a brief Q and A to review what enzymes do and how they work. This post will be slightly beyond a basic introduction so it is probably most appropriate for a student who already has a sense of what enzymes are.

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Tags: biology

Where Else Could you Go to College? Your Top Four Choices Beyond the Ivies

Posted by Danielle D. on 7/17/17 4:36 PM

When high school juniors and seniors are putting their lists of schools together for college applications, they sometimes run into a paradox: on the one hand, there are so many colleges and universities they could apply to. On the other hand, everyone seems to be talking about just eight of them—the Ivy League (or maybe a few more if they’re counting the Ivy Plus).This mindset can feel so limiting! It’s probably not a good idea to base a school list on a set of colleges that are actually only grouped together because they were made an NCAA athletic conference in the 1950s, but it can also be overwhelming to try to sort through a massive guidebook to all the US colleges. Instead, this post will highlight some other types of colleges and universities that are very worth considering—if one or two jump out as appealing to you, I’ve included tips for how you can search for more schools of this type.

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Tags: college admissions, college

Statistics; for people #toobusysavinglives to deal with nonsense

Posted by Jeewoong on 7/14/17 6:00 PM

For the vast majority of humans I’ve met during my time on Earth, statistics is a scary topic, relegated to the brains of nerds. But avoiding this subject altogether may leave you vulnerable to exploitation by the spin doctors who understand how to manipulate a fact into an opinion! Let’s explore simple concepts that can help foster an awareness of what’s real, and what’s conjecture. 

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Top 6 GRE Verbal Pro-Tips to Study Smarter, Not Harder

Posted by Andy on 7/12/17 5:55 PM

I get it, endlessly drilling vocabulary, parsing paragraphs, and reading about complex astrophysics is not the most fun way to spend sunny Saturday afternoons. After all, Saturdays are for the Boys or perusing Thought Catalog on what kind of Saturday is the best Saturday. With a little strategy, you can study in a way that is efficient for your time to focus on the things you need to know for the test.

Here are the top 6 pro-tips I wish someone told me about understanding GRE Verbal, from a 99th percentile scorer:

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Tags: GRE

Orgo 1 Strategies: The Power of Bromine in Synthesis

Posted by Andrew on 7/10/17 5:49 PM

Whether you’re trying to accomplish a substitution or elimination in your synthetic scheme, there’s no getting around that a good leaving group must be involved. You’ll have a host of ways to introduce leaving groups by your final exam. Some reagents will invert chiral centers (e.g. SOCl2/pyridine, PBr3) in the process, and others won’t. 

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Tags: chemistry

Orgo 1 Strategies: Two Red Flags to Guide Your Synthesis

Posted by Andrew S. on 7/7/17 5:39 PM

So your professor says your Orgo 1 final will have a few synthesis problems. The good news: you’ve only learned a handful of reactions. Namely, you’ve learned how to manipulate alkenes and alkynes, and you know a little about radicals, substitution versus elimination, and the chemistry of alcohols, thiols, ethers, and epoxides. The bad news: well–there’s none to give. Managing synthesis problems in Orgo 1 is easy when you learn to look for red flags! 

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Tags: chemistry

Orgo 1 Strategies: Protocol for Acid-Base Problems

Posted by Andrew S. on 7/5/17 5:53 PM

Determining which of two molecules is more acidic is tricky if you haven’t yet organized those factors that influence acidity. The protocol is a method I learned from my mastermind Orgo 2 professor to keep these ideas in order when they come into conflict. Namely:

Size is more important than

Electronegativity, which is more important than

Resonance, which trumps the

Inductive Effect.

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Tags: chemistry

What is CRISPR-Cas9?

Posted by Eden on 7/3/17 2:08 PM

In this blog post, we will be covering one of the most important developments in the field of biology in my lifetime, CRISPR-Cas9. You may or may not cover CRISPR in an intro biology course, but you likely will cover it in upper level courses. Regardless, this topic is important enough that any new biologist should understand the very basics even if it is not “on the test”. This post will certainly not tell you everything you need to know about CRISPR, but hopefully it will give you enough information to have a sense of what it is and why it is widely considered to be such a significant addition to the field of biology.

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Tags: biology

Planning Ahead: How to Prepare for your MD Interviews

Posted by Nikita on 6/28/17 5:35 PM


After all of the essays, tests, and letter requests, one of the most exciting parts of the medical school application journey is the interview. This is your chance to show who you are as a person, as well as get the measure of each particular school. I’ve written before about how to prepare yourself for the interview, but I think it’s equally important to realize how to use the interview day effectively to set yourself up best to make medical school decisions down the line.

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Tags: MD

ACT Testing Tip: How to Identify Main and Subordinate Clauses

Posted by Colleen on 6/26/17 7:07 PM

It is essential for the ACT English exam that you can identify and, if necessary, fix problems with main and subordinate clauses. Why? Because many grammar and punctuation rules require you to know what your main subject and main verb are.

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