September 2, 2014

Triaging as a Tool for MCAT Success!

Hello my hard-working MCAT Test Takers! Today I want to discuss an important tool for MCAT success: prioritization. In fact, one of the most important lessons in your entire healthcare career will be learning how to prioritize effectively, whether you're working with patients, studying, or taking a test. It not only helps you reduce your anxiety since you have a plan for every occasion, but it also helps you maximize your effectiveness. It is a concept officially known as Triaging (or as I think of it, MCAT Pokemon: gotta catch all the points!) The first question I always get when I discuss Triaging in class is- “but doesn't that take too much time?” The answer is emphatically, no! If done right, triaging can help you move through your MCAT quickly while making sure you get as many points as possible. Let's break down the strategy at different test levels. Section level- Physical Sciences and Biological Sciences The first thing you should do in the science section is go through the passages, looking to complete the discrete questions. By completing the discrete questions first, you're maximizing your potential points from discrete questions and gaining a great MCAT content warm-up. While you're flipping by the passages, take ten seconds or so to size them up and assign them a priority level. Passages that include your favorite content or you feel confident doing, have a high priority level. Passages that look less-friendly or time-consuming, have a low priority level. By the time you've completed all of the discrete questions, you have a map of the entire section! Go ahead and complete the high priority passages first and get those points where you feel confident. Section level- Verbal Reasoning The same strategy can be applied to the Verbal Reasoning section, just without the discrete questions. I know that time can be tight, especially in Verbal, but it's worth it to take a minute and map out the entire section. What if your absolute favorite passage type is last? By taking the time to triage through the section, you are making sure to maximize your ability to do your favorite passages and thus score as many points as possible on the MCAT. Trust me, it's worth the time. Passage/Question level Once you've committed to a passage, you still want to use your time effectively by triaging the questions. The MCAT loves to put heavy calculation questions and scattered detail questions as the first or second question with a passage. They're designed to suck up your time, so you're rushing on the quick, more friendly questions at the end. By rushing, you're more likely to make a mistake. Make sure you do your friendly questions first! Get as many points as possible! But Emily, how can I accurately identify my strengths and weaknesses? One exclusive Kaplan resource that is very handy for triaging is our adaptive learning technology, which we call Smart Reports.  Smart Reports tell you how you are doing and what you should do next.  You can review your most recent scores, review your performance over time, and see your strengths and weaknesses broken down by topic area. You'll see how much time you spent on each question and whether you changed your answer from right to wrong or vice versa. Using the information from your Score Reports to guide your triaging is a genius way to improve your speed and increase your score.  Check out our upcoming MCAT class schedules to unlock your Smart Reports. So, there you have it. Try triaging today and let me know how it goes! What other great MCAT strategies do you use to ensure MCAT success? Happy studying! more
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 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
Tests & Scores
December 4, 2013

Thinking About MCAT Science With Adam: E05 Circuits & Heat Transfer

Welcome to Episode 5 of the "Thinking About the MCAT" series! There's an awful lot of circuits and heat transfer in the world of the MCAT science, and that means Physics and the Physical Sciences section. For more information about the MCAT and how to prepare yourself, find the Kaplan homepage, and start your journey to a better MCAT score. [cf]skyword_tracking_tag[/cf] more
Tests & Scores
November 6, 2013

Thinking About MCAT Science With Adam: E04 Blood Types

This episode takes us to donating blood, where there's a lot more MCAT science than it first may seem. No matter where Adam is he can find a way to see MCAT science! For more great lessons from Adam, and a whole lot more, jump over to our MCAT YouTube Channel. There's hours of footage from events, lessons, and more that can help you prepare for the MCAT and medical school. Enjoy!   [cf]skyword_tracking_tag[/cf] more
Tests & Scores
October 24, 2013

Kaplan MCAT Fast Facts 12: Bernoulli’s Equation

In today's Kaplan MCAT Fast Facts video from the Kaplan MCAT course, Dr. Jeff Koetje discusses Bernoulli's Equation 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...   [cf]skyword_tracking_tag[/cf] more
Tests & Scores
October 16, 2013

Kaplan MCAT Fast Facts 11: Predicting Reactivity

In today's Kaplan MCAT Fast Facts video from the Kaplan MCAT course, Dr. Jeff Koetje discusses how to predict reactivity 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...

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Tests & Scores
September 17, 2013

Kaplan MCAT Fast Facts 9: Electrophilic Aromatic Substitution

In today's Kaplan MCAT Fast Facts video from the Kaplan MCAT course, Dr. Jeff Koetje discusses electrophilic aromatic substitution 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.... more
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