Reflection is not what spectators see during a basketball game; spending hours watching game tapes and discussing strategic nuances with a coach does not make the high light reel on Sports Center, but it is essential to continued improvement and success. After every game, athletes and coaches discuss what happened: what went well, what went badly, what could have gone better but didn’t, and generate actionable feedback that the athlete can use to improve their performance.Read More
Image sourced from the New York Times
Picking MCAT test prep resources can feel a little bit like trying to pick one ice cream flavor at Coldstone (although perhaps significantly less fun…) – there are so many options, all of them seem to work, and you don’t want to miss out by picking the wrong ones. Unfortunately, MCAT students too often try to use too many resources and end up not being able to fully commit to any of them. This post can’t do justice to all of the well-developed test prep material out there (though some of our tutors can!), but hopefully it can point you in the right direction as you begin (or continue) your MCAT test prep journey. Here are a few things to consider as you decide how to study for the MCAT:
One of the most daunting things about the MCAT is the sheer amount of material that is on the exam. At minimum, it covers the first year of intro classes for all of the sciences (Physics, Biology, Chemistry), some advanced level coursework (Organic Chemistry - and many students now say they would like to take Biochemistry and Genetics as well), and then additional courses like Psychology. There is no way of getting around the fact that it is a LOT of material.
In my opening email to students, where I introduce myself as their tutor, I will frequently ask about their reading comprehension ability. My exact words are “Think back to your SAT, ACT days and how you did on the verbal sections”. The reason I do this is because verbal (or CARS, as the MCAT calls it, which stands for critical analysis and reasoning skills) is a good gauge for how uphill the battle will be against the exam.Read More
As all pre-med students know, the MCAT is one of the biggest (and sometimes scariest!) hurdles on the way to medical school. It is also steeped in uncertainty -- how do you study? What score should I be aiming towards? When will I be ready to take it?
This week we're spotlighting Max, a member of our MCAT tutor team. Max graduated from Yale Phi Beta Kappa with both a B.S. and M.S. in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry. He is an author on multiple scientific papers and is currently pursuing a M.D. and a Ph.D. through the combined Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology (HST) program. Max's core strengths include biology, chemistry, mathematics, and MCAT preparation.Read More
Why take practice tests?
The MCAT is a daunting test. I think I have said this to every one of my students. These students then ask me what is the best way to study and my answer to that really varies student by student. Some students need more structure, a day-to-day agenda. Some students like more flexibility. But what has not varied from student to student is taking practice tests.Read More
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.Read More
Roy Lichtenstein, "Drowning Girl" (1963)
The MCAT is a brutal test. Having taken it and tutored numerous MCAT students (as well GMAT and GRE students), I can say with absolute certainty that I seen more students break down over the MCAT than they have with any other test. Every one of my MCAT students has, at some point, teared up over this test and cursed it to hell.
Why is the MCAT so hard?
Because whereas other graduate exams rely heavily on common sense and logic (two things that we humans have gotten very good at developing over time), the MCAT relies on knowing content and knowing content and then APPLYING content. The MCAT relies on you having paid attention in science class from first grade through college and then thinking creatively about science. You cannot go in and ‘wing’ the MCAT like some people profess to doing with the LSAT or the GRE or even the GMAT. The MCAT is one of the few tests where extensive studying does help and is absolutely necessary!
However, the cause of all the mental stress surrounding the MCAT stems from the thing I hear so frequently from students:
I studied so hard (and they do, all of my students have been tremendously hard working) why still can’t I get this?Read More
This week we're spotlighting Boston-based MCAT tutor, Dan, who is currently a research analyst at the Broad Institute of Harvard & MIT. He’s taught the MCAT, Biology, Chemistry, and the ACT. He scored on the 99th percentile of the new 2015 MCAT! Interested in working with Dan either in-person in Boston, or online? Check out Dan's tutor page here.