Studying for the MCAT over summer.

Kaplan SIP instructors (Andrew Quick, Tom Flesher, and Becca Felde) at the 2014 SIP welcome dinner next to the Flatirons in Boulder, CO.

Hello my SIP-ready readers! So far we’ve covered what students love about Kaplan’s MCAT 2015Summer Intensive Program (SIP), what faculty love about it and our favorite MCAT student success stories. Today we’re going to cover one of my favorite topics: the fun things you can do at SIP when you’re not studying for the MCAT.


We asked a group of Kaplan teachers to tell us about their favorite SIP activity outside of the classroom. Take a look at their responses below.


Kerranna Williamson: Exploring a New City

Free time in general is awesome – whether spent exploring the surrounding city on bike, tossing the Frisbee around on the field, or getting sushi downtown. It’s nice to have breaks and to get off campus every once in awhile. It helps balance out the intensiveness of the program and makes for a great summer.

Meet Kerranna: Kerranna has worked for Kaplan for over nine years in roles including teacher, Med School Mentor, Content Developer, and SIP Program Manager. She has worked at five SIP programs in the past four years between San Diego and Boulder. She would argue that working at SIP has been the most intense and rewarding of her time with Kaplan.


Tyler Fara: Enjoying the Outdoors

At the San Diego SIP, my favorite out-of-class activity is definitely going to the beach! The UC San Diego campus itself is perched on a cliff, about 150 feet above the beach itself, so the view from the study hall lounge is already beautiful. But to get down the beach, there’s a small stream that has actually carved a path right through the sandstone cliffs, and over the years surfers have hiked a path next to the stream. Climbing down to the beach through the cliffs is almost as satisfying as laying on the beach itself. In an intensive, six-week program, it’s important to take a break for the scenery!

Meet Tyler: Tyler started teaching for Kaplan in 2010 while also working as a molecular genetics researcher. He quickly fell in love with the dynamic nature of teaching and transitioned to teaching the MCAT full time. During his tenure with Kaplan, Tyler has received awards for both his excellent teaching ratings and his contributions that helped develop Kaplan’s new MCAT 2015 curriculum.


John Linick: Having Fun With Your New Pre-Med Friends

My favorite activity at the San Diego SIP is long boarding or surfing with students. At the Boulder SIP, it’s skiing at a Basin in June!

Meet John: After graduating from the University of Illinois in 2006 with a degree in Psychology and Chemistry, John moved to Colorado to teach as a Kaplan MCAT instructor, volunteer as a Wilderness EMT, and for a short while, teach as a lecturer at the University of Colorado. He joined the San Diego Summer Intensive Program faculty in 2008, and returned to San Diego as Academic Director from 2009 to 2013. He directed the Boulder Summer Intensive Program for it’s first year in 2013 and returned to direct the program in 2014.


Sonali Bishnoi: Team-Building Outside of the Classroom

At the Boulder SIP, my favorite activity was the high ropes course! It was awesome seeing everyone work together for a non-MCAT-related goal. Plus some of the students conquered their fear of heights!

Meet Sonali: Sonali Bishnoi graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2013 with a degree in Physiology and Neurobiology. She took a gap year to gain clinical experience and also joined Kaplan as an MCAT instructor in Connecticut. Her favorite part of teaching is the “aha!” moment, when a student’s confusion transforms to excitement and understanding. Sonali was a faculty member at the 2014 Boulder Summer Intensive Program, before embarking on her Master of Science of Biomedical Sciences at Tufts University School of Medicine.


Kricket Davis: Finding Fun Ways to Decompress When You’re Not Studying for the MCAT

At the Atlanta SIP, there was a really cool game store close by, and that really encouraged some friendly non-MCAT competition between faculty and students!

The weather is always amazing in San Diego, so hanging out in a hammock and reading a good book was a relaxing way to decompress from the intensive part of SIP!

Meet Kricket: Kricket graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a bachelor’s in biochemistry.  He has been teaching MCAT for Kaplan since 2008.  He has taught or managed SIP seven times at three locations: San Diego, Boulder, and Atlanta.  Most recently, he has been creating questions and content videos for Kaplan’s new MCAT 2015 curriculum.


The new MCAT represents the most significant change for pre-meds in decades! With the introduction of Biochemistry, Psychology, and Sociology, as well as a new length of 7.5 hours, the new MCAT 2015 demands innovative and intensive preparation. Our answer is Kaplan’s Summer Intensive Program. This elite program has been carefully redesigned for 2015 to accurately cover all areas of the new MCAT and maximize student success.

Though the test content is new, you can expect the same immersive experience led by expert MCAT Faculty Members from across the nation that students have valued so highly in the past. If you’re ready to make your summer count with the ultimate MCAT prep experience, reserve your seat at your preferred location today! Our Summer Intensive Program Enrollment Counselors are available for guidance by at 1-800-KAP-TEST.

April 15, 2015

Fun In The Sun (With MCAT Prep!)

Hello my springtime readers! The days are getting longer, the sun is shining brighter, all of which means it’s the perfect time to start thinking about your summer MCAT prep plans! The summer is a great time to prep for and take the MCAT, because most students either do not take classes or have a lighter course-load. Fewer responsibilities will allow you to fully dedicate your time to prepping for the MCAT and getting your highest score possible! Let’s talk about the steps to get your summer set up for MCAT test day success:



Step 1- Register … more
January 23, 2015

A Fond Farewell to the Current Version of the MCAT

We are here to bid a fond farewell to an old friend—the current version of the MCAT, the primary architecture of which has been with us since the early 1990s.

Today, for the last time, pre-med students around the country will take the MCAT exam as we have known it for almost a quarter century. In a sense, this is like saying goodbye to the Boeing 707 or the Space Shuttle or the original Macintosh computer—all unparalleled inventions that dutifully served their terms well beyond expectation.

The now-retired version of the MCAT has not only performed admirably in its prescribed … more
January 23, 2015

Why Pre-Meds Love Kaplan’s 2015 MCAT Summer Intensive Program

Hello my intense readers! Today I’d like to talk to you about the Kaplan 2015 MCAT Summer Intensive Program (SIP). This program is a unique summer opportunity in which I’ve participated and highly recommend.

What is the 2015 MCAT Summer Intensive Program (SIP)?

It’s a six-week program where you work with top-rated Kaplan instructors (like me!) to improve your MCAT content knowledge, testing strategies and learn all about the medical school application process.

I love the summer intensive program because it emphasizes learning through tons of different methods:

  • large group lectures
  • small group sessions for digesting material and more
December 24, 2014

Pre-Med Expectations: Applying to Medical School

So, it’s December and all you’d like for the holidays is a medical school acceptance letter. Regardless of whether you’re just starting your pre-med journey or you’ve already applied, I think we can all relate to the intense desire to get into medical school and become an amazing physician. Last week, December 12th, marked my two-year anniversary of receiving my first medical school acceptance letter and it’s got me thinking. What can you, as premeds, expect as you start applying to medical school?

People who say you can’t/won’t/shouldn’t be a doctor

I encountered this phenomenon early in my application process. … more
December 17, 2014

Pre-Med Gift Giving Guide for the 2015 Holidays

Happy holidays my celebratory readers! It’s the time of year where we’re all on the lookout for the perfect gift for our favorite pre-med friends and family members. You’re in luck today as I’ve put together a great pre-med gift-giving guide for the holidays!

Molecule Jewelry

Nothing says you’re going to be a doctor like a necklace that features the chemical structure of a molecule of dopamine! As far as nerdy jewelry options go, these are classy enough to wear to clinic, but interesting enough to be a good conversation piece. Several of my medical school classmates actually own these … more
March 20, 2015

Medical School Prerequisites: Choosing Your Classes

In my numerous conversations with pre-med students, I hear many questions. Most, as you would expect, revolve around the MCAT; how do I prepare, what score do I need, and what should I do if I don’t feel ready for the exam? But many questions also focus on a subject that’s just as important – your pre-medical coursework, and how to schedule all of your medical school prerequisites.

In many ways your pre-med classes are the first step and most effective step in your prep for the MCAT; do well in them and you’ll find yourself in … more
October 27, 2014

MCAT Success Tips from Owen Farcy, Host of The Pulse

By Megan Weyrauch on October 10, 2013

This is brought to you by Uloop & Kaplan. Search Uloop for student housing, roommates, college jobs, internships, scholarships, and college news.


Basic MCAT information

Before we share Owen’s MCAT success tips, let’s cover the basics. The MCAT, or Medical College Admissions Test, is a “computer-based, multiple-choice examination used by medical school admissions officials to predict future success.”

The current MCAT has three parts: physical sciences, verbal reasoning and biological sciences. The physical sciences portion tests knowledge of general chemistry, basic physics, analytical reasoning and data interpretation. The verbal reasoning more
December 17, 2014

5 Tips for MCAT Verbal Reasoning Success

Verbal reasoning on the MCAT

It’s the bane of many an MCAT test-taker: the dreaded verbal reasoning section of the med school entrance exam. Most see the verbal reasoning section as a wordy jumble of dense information followed by questions that make you think, “Wait, did I just read the right passage? Are these questions to a different section? Did I lose consciousness there for a little while?”

Fear not! While the verbal section of the MCAT can be the most challenging to tackle—especially considering the time constraints—the following five tips will have you slicing your way through verbal reasoning … more

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