Author Archives: Patrick Boyle

Patrick Boyle

About Patrick Boyle

I am a former Kaplan MCAT student that excelled on my exam through the Kaplan methods and began teaching for Kaplan at the University of Illinois – Urbana – Champaign center. Upon graduation I moved back to the Chicagoland area and became a full time teacher in our Chicago centers. I really strive to bring enthusiasm and energy to the classroom believing a positive attitude sets the tone for success! When I am not teaching the MCAT, you can find me training for triathlons or picking which bow tie to wear next!

March 21, 2014

REKAP – Key Takeaways from MCAT Gen Chem 1!

MCAT Rockstars! MCAT Gen Chem 1 is in the books! We had a unique opportunity to review some Chemistry that we probably haven't seen in quite a while! Some of the big takeaways from Gen Chem 1!
  • Preview Work is absolutely essential! I constantly remind my students as we are moving through Unit 1 how important the preview work and going back to some of the basics can be.
  • Content is King. When was the last time you reviewed Quantum Numbers, Electron Configuration, and the Periodic Table? Those all seem like simple straight forward Gen Chem topics but many people when beginning their MCAT studies forget they haven't looked at material like that in 2+ years! Make sure you go back and review the basics.
  • Set Priorities. Finding the time to study for your MCAT is tough! And now it is becoming even tougher. Whether you are in school or you are working, you need to set priorities and find time in the day to make studying work. I encourage students to make a schedule and really work to hit those study goals along the way.
  • Build Confidence. The time you begin studying is a scary time when considering how much information the MCAT covers. Now that we have begun we can start to build confidence in the fact that we are making progress and we are working towards a goal. Sometimes the hardest thing is getting started. We have begun and are now seeing improvements that will only continue!
Next up is Verbal 1! Many students can be frightened of Verbal, but we are going to lay some solid ground work on the best places to see improvement for verbal and how we can score more points! Stay tuned! More MCAT wisdom to come! more
March 11, 2014

ReKAP – Key Takeaways from MCAT Physics 1

MCAT Rockstars! We had a FANTASTIC time in MCAT Physics 1 last night! MCAT Physics is a topic that can initially  cause many concerns. Often times Physics can be intimidating and seem overwhelming with the amount of subtopics and equations to memorize.  During class we not only went over the key equations and concepts we had to know, but we also covered strategies and best practice methods of how to properly breakdown and analyze passages in order to apply that background knowledge to the format of the MCAT! Some KEY takeaways from our first Physics lesson!
  • Almost HALF of the Physics content on the MCAT is based on Newtonian mechanics! This is a concept from your Physics 1 class that we want to make sure we have down. It is very HIGH-Yield and will reward the students who know how to apply it.
  • Much of Newtonian Mechanics, Kinematics, Work, Energy, and Momentum requires the memorization of formulas. The MCAT does NOT provide an equation sheet like you might have had in your Physics courses. You need to have these equations memorized.
  • Practice makes perfect. Many students say it is understandable that they need to memorize the equations but sometimes it is hard to understand where and when to use the equations. The best thing to do for this is PRACTICE! Doing as many practice problems as possible is key to being comfortable with physics questions. I always guide my students post Physics 1 to our Kaplan Topical and Subject Tests for more targeted practice!
  • No calculator. We have been talking about plenty of equations and calculations but remember the MCAT does not allow the use of calculators. Look for short cuts and utilize the process of elimination!
  • Our Physics Review Notes and our High-Yield Problem Solving Guide are excellent resources to go back to if you are still feeling rusty on Physics material. Utilize your resources!
Our class started out with a ton of momentum (no pun intended!) and everyone is excited for their MCAT preparation! Next up we have General Chemistry 1 on Wednesday evening. We will be back later this week to ReKAP the periodic table, VSEPR theory, and Electron Configuration. Great work so far! "Success is when preparation meets opportunity!" more
March 10, 2014

Setting Expectations for Preparing for the MCAT!

Greetings MCAT Rockstars! Tonight I am teaching my Physics 1 class. This is the first content class Kaplan teaches when preparing for the MCAT. Before I begin my first content lesson I always begin class by setting expectations!  It is important to begin your MCAT preparations by thinking about your own study habits and things you could change to make your MCAT preperation as optimal as possible! Class Are you doing the preview work before class? Are you mentally alert and engaged in class? Homework  When are you going to do the homework? Have you scheduled into your weekly plans? Support Are you reaching out to your teacher during/ after class? Are you following the syllabus in the right order? These are questions I ask my students, not only for my own knowledge in order to better help and communicate with them, but more importantly for their self reflection, so they might be studying SMARTER! Are there things you can be doing better in your own study methods? "Success is when preparation meets opportunity!" Stay tuned for more articles that will help you when preparing for the MCAT. more
March 6, 2014

MCAT Question of the Day: Empirical Formula

Great work on today's question! The empirical formula of a compound is the simplest whole number ratio of the atoms in it, whereas the molecular formula represents the actual whole number ratio of the atoms. The molecular formula is usually a whole number multiple of the empirical formula, although sometimes the empirical and molecular formulas are the same. Remember going through this question that it is asking for which of the statements are FALSE. Statement I is true. For example, water, H2O, has the same empirical and molecular formula. Statement II is false because it is the molecular formula which is usually whole number multiple of the empirical formula, not the other way around.  Finally, statement III is false. H2O2, hydrogen peroxide, has an empirical formula of HO, so the empirical formula is different from the molecular formula given.  Since statements II and III are incorrect, choice C is the answer we're looking for! Stay tuned next week for another question! more
February 25, 2014

Choosing an MCAT Test Date: ReKAPed

Great! Now we are getting started on our MCAT prep journey and we are looking at the MCAT as an opportunity NOT an obstacle! The next thing that we need to start thinking about is choosing an MCAT Test Date.  Here on Med School Pulse we have written quite extensively on Choosing an MCAT Test Date and I am going to link back to some of my favorite posts that we have written. The first one is Choosing an MCAT Test Date: Part 1. Things to take away from this article...
  • Time of Year
  • Morning and Afternoon Testing
  • Weekday or Weekend Test
  • Personal Obligations
  • Testing Center Locations
The follow up to that article is Choosing an MCAT Test Date Part 2: MCAT 2014 or MCAT 2015 The things to ask yourself...
  • Is there enough time to prepare and take the old MCAT?
  • What if I don’t have the proper course background to take the new MCAT?
  • Which exam will be easiest for me to get a top MCAT score?
Lastly Emily Hause wrote a reminder post on the additional MCAT Test Dates for the current version of the MCAT! Let me know what questions you guys have! Friday I am going to be talking about building a proper MCAT Study Schedule! more
February 24, 2014

MCAT Success Starts Here!

The first topic that I address with a new class is always the same. You are going to take the MCAT. Repeat it with me guys! “I am going to be taking the MCAT.” Sounds kind of strange when you say it out loud, right? Not if you want MCAT success! One of the first things we acknowledge when we start a class is the MCAT can be a scary thing. In general, most pre-med students go through the pre-med track looking at the MCAT as an obstacle. The MCAT can NOT be seen as an obstacle – rather an opportunity. It is an opportunity to show medical school admissions committees how well prepared you are!

“Success is when preparation meets an opportunity!”

The admissions game revolves around 2 numbers: The MCAT score and your GPA. The great part about the MCAT is you can improve that number by taking the exam! This means with great preparation and looking to the MCAT as a great opportunity you can increase that number! Some of you may be reading this thinking “OK Pat, I get that, BUT I still have my self-doubts.” Well guess what?! We all do! Everyone has self-doubt. EVERYONE. Remember this, all doctors have to take the MCAT and apply to medical school. All of you already envision yourself as a doctor. This is just part of the process. Will there be some late nights and some times where it may get hard? Absolutely! But we are here to help! So are you ready? Let’s get started! Join me tomorrow when we talk about picking an MCAT Test Date! more
February 21, 2014

What is a Kaplan MCAT class like?

Greetings everyone! As some of you may know I help with our Social Media engagement, I am active on Student Doctor Network, and I have been teaching the MCAT at Kaplan for 5 years now. One of the most common questions that I get throughout the year is “Patrick, Can you give me an idea of what a Kaplan MCAT class is like?” Well you guys are in luck! Over the next 8 weeks I am going to give you an inside look into one of the classes I am teaching.  This is a unique insider preview to what a Kaplan Live Online MCAT class is all about! Some things we are going to cover:
  • What makes a Kaplan MCAT class successful?
  • A preview of the strategies that make the Kaplan Methods proven!
  • Why is it so important to combine both strategy and content in your studies?
  • What is the best study schedule moving into your own MCAT test date?
All of this and much, much more! What makes Kaplan different?
  • Higher score guaranteed or your money back
  • Smart Reports™: Identify your weaknesses to improve on them
  • Live Flex Sessions: Prepare for key science topics that appear frequently on the MCATs
  • Study Materials: Use our extensive collection of supplemental guides, including notes developed with Scientific American magazine, to stay sharp
My class is starting soon! Next week, be on the lookout for study schedule advice, picking a test date, and more! Be sure to stay tuned with our Facebook, and Twitter channels too! Happy Studies! more
February 4, 2014

Fact from Fiction on This Month’s The Pulse

Are you excited as we are for February's edition of The Pulse? This month our theme is "Fact from Fiction." Out great panel of experts will dissect the MCAT and separate the truth from those horrifying myths. This month's panel includes Amit Raghavan, a full-time MCAT instructor who has heard every fear and myth there is in the MCAT book. Adam Grey, who you may remember from his spectacular, educational MCAT videos, will help dissect the toughest problems and how many students can misconstrue their meanings. And, of course, your awesome moderator Owen Farcy who will help lead the conversation to the answers you want to hear. Don't forget, you can ask your own questions via Twitter or Facebook to our expert team and we'll try to answer every one we can. So reserve your spot for Kaplan's The Pulse on  Monday, February 10th at 8 pm EST / 5 pm PST, and get the answers you need to succeed! more
January 27, 2014

Inside Kaplan MCAT with Patrick: MCAT Study Schedule!

In part one of “MCAT Re-booted”  I want to cover what is going to make the ideal MCAT study schedule. The AAMC recommends on average 300 total hours to study for the MCAT.  They also have a “Creating a Study Plan” listed on their web-page. With all of this information out there and the rumors that run rampant in the pre-med community on “secrets” of MCAT studying, where does a student go to get the real answer? Well right here of course!

Now how long is 300 hours in reality? You could easily break that into 10 weeks or approximately 2 ½ months of 30 hours of studying a week.  I know what you must being thinking… 30 hours a week?! I already have class, research, clubs, activities, and that long lost social life! How can I possibly fit 30 hours into a week? Well simply put, you can’t and you aren’t expected to.  The majority of students start studying well beyond the 2 ½ month mark.  On average students need to think about breaking that time up into somewhere between 3-6 months, depending on their schedule, how many of the pre-med required courses they have already taken, and their confidence in the material.

After getting a rough idea on when to get started, where do we start? Many students have come to me after getting their Kaplan MCAT materials and feel overwhelmed. Don’t fret! You now have the best material for the MCAT and over 11,000 questions to aid in testing your comprehension of all things MCAT. What you need to do first is establish how much time you have during the week and create “study blocks”.

  • First you need to account for the things that take up time in your week. For example:
    • Personal obligations
    • Professional obligations (school, work, Kaplan class, research etc.)
    • Extracurricular (volunteering, clubs, shadowing)
    • Social time with friends and family
    • 1 day/ evening off/ week
Now after you have successfully jotted this down in a notebook or added to your online calendar you will get a better idea of how much time you truly have to study during the week. With the time left (ideally around 10 -15 hours) we are going to create 2-3 hour “study blocks”. This is going to be the time you are going to use to start tackling all those great Kaplan resources. Many people ask, “Only 2-3 hours?! I can study longer than that!” You are right you probably can, however, your assignment this week is to write down your weekly calendar, and in my next post I will answer why only 2-3 hours and what goes into a successful “study block.” Stay tuned! More #MCATdomination coming at you! more
January 23, 2014

Thank You for Attending January’s #KaplanPulse!

We would like to thank everyone who attended last night’s edition of the #KaplanPulse! It was a great event and special thank you to Dr. Shital Vora and Tanya Svidler for lending their insight on clinical experience and Global Brigades! Global Brigades is the world’s largest student-led global health and sustainable development organization. Since 2004, Global Brigades has mobilized thousands of university students and professionals through nine skill-based programs that work in partnership with community members to improve quality of life in under resourced regions while respecting local culture. According to the organization, 6,100 volunteers from over 70 university clubs have traveled to provide health and economic development solutions to more than 350,000 beneficiaries. The organization has concentrated its efforts largely within Honduras, Panama, and Ghana. We are looking forward to the next edition of #KaplanPulse which will be on February 10th, 2014 with the focus on the top questions and concerns related to the MCAT. Remember, between now and then if you are looking for short ReKAPs of our pulse events be sure to check out our youtube channel. more

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