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!" ...read more
Tests & Scores
January 14, 2014

MCAT Fast Facts 15: Effective Nuclear Charge

  In today’s Kaplan MCAT Fast Facts video from the Kaplan MCAT course, Dr. Jeff Koetje discusses Effective Nuclear Charge as tested on the MCAT. Note that the MCAT tests critical thinking, not just science recall, mastery of certain science concepts is a prerequisite for the test. For more great videos concerning Fast Facts, Current Events, and more, head over to our MCAT YouTube Channel…   ...read more
May 23, 2013

Equations and Units and Relationships, oh my!

For the past few days in the MCAT SIP program, we have been focusing on the first few chapters of the Physics review notes book. We have been tackling topics like Kinematics, Force, Motion, Gravitation, Work and Energy. There is a lot of high yield material in the first few chapters and it can often be extremely overwhelming, especially for students who haven't taken physics in a few years.
When it comes to the physical sciences, there are three things that can help increase your physics speed and accuracy. 1. Equations- It is absolutely essential to know the equations by heart and to be able to recall them quickly. To practice equations, memorize them in chunks. What are all of the equations that deal with energy? Know them as a group and you can pick up any of them individually when you need to solve a question. Use flashcards, friends, games and mnemonics, however it works best for you, but you 100% need to know your equations on test day.
2. Units- You have to know how to break down a Joule, a Newton a Watt or an Ohm into its separate components. Frequently, answer choices will feature different units and you can eliminate based on knowing that a Newton is kg*m/s^2 so that has to be in the correct answer choice. Units are your friends.
3. Relationships- You have no calculator on the MCAT so the plug-and-chug method that most of us used in our physics classes, is often not the correct way to most quickly answer a physics question. What are the relationships between the variables. If mass increases, what happens to momentum? Is that relationship direct or inverse? Again, this can help eliminate wrong answer choices with no calculations required increasing both speed and accuracy.
So, for those of you who are struggling with physics, remember to focus on your equations, units, and relationships. If you're having trouble, don't hesitate to sign up for Kaplan's MCAT prep courses. The guaranteed path to higher test scores. Happy studying! ...read more

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