August 27, 2014
You're ready to take the MCAT if:
1. Your score on MCAT practice tests is within a few points of your goal score.
Realistically, you shouldn't expect your MCAT score to vary by more than 2-3 points on Test Day. On the safe side, you should be averaging your desired test score. If you're not within the range of your desired score, you may want to consider moving your test date.
2. You've moved from pure content review to practicing MCAT-style questions.
At this point you want to be focused on utilizing strategies and fine-tuning your test-taking skills. You should have the majority of the content memorized and be ready to spit out equations and concepts like a master MCAT machine.
3. You have taken at least 8-10 practice full-length exams.
You want to make sure that you've taken both Kaplan and AAMC MCAT practice tests. By taking both types of exams, you'll be well-prepared for anything the MCAT throws at you. After 8-10 exams, you should feel confident in the test structure, your timing and the general flow of the MCAT. The more practice tests you have completed, the more well-prepared you'll be for Test Day.
4. You've put in at least 300 hours of MCAT study time.
The AAMC recommends 300+ hours of study and practice time to be fully prepared for the MCAT. The number will vary based on how recently you've taken your pre-requisite classes, but you want to be within the 300 hour ballpark. Building a successful MCAT study schedule is key to achieving success on test day.We'd love to hear from you in the comments! What other signs or diagnostic tools can we use to tell whether or not you're ready to take the MCAT? People who have taken the MCAT, how did you know you were ready? For those of you who have not yet started your MCAT prep, sign up for a free MCAT practice test with Kaplan and view upcoming MCAT class schedules. Happy studying! ...read more
August 25, 2014
Why is the MCAT changing?Science and medicine have advanced at an exponential rate in the past 23 years, and so has medical education, but the MCAT has not kept pace since its last update in 1992. The new MCAT is designed to resolve this discrepancy and help address and improve the preparedness of future medical students. While the new subject areas will add a significant amount of prerequisite content knowledge, the new MCAT structure will also more accurately evaluate a student’s ability to apply this content.
Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills (CARS)This section, much like the current MCAT's Verbal Reasoning section, will test no prior knowledge. In fact, none of the passages will contain any hard science. The topics will be limited to the humanities and social sciences. They will explicitly test a student's ability to reason.
Application of the sciences on the new MCATThe other three sections on the MCAT—Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems; Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems; and Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior—will test students in the content of biological and living systems. Gone are the questions requiring you to calculate how far a ball is going to travel when thrown at a certain initial velocity and angle; here to stay are the questions that ask how much force must be generated by the muscle doing the throwing.
Is organic chemistry really gone?While organic chemistry is the bane of many a pre-med’s existence, it is the backbone of biochemistry (literally and figuratively), and it is still going to be a content area students must know in order to do well on the MCAT. The buzz about organic chemistry has to do with the direct amount of explicit questions on the new MCAT. While there will be fewer of these, the test will still emphasize the biological application of organic chemistry.
The human element of medicine and medical schoolOur current pre-medical curriculum places almost zero importance on the human element of medicine. Sure doctors know a lot about science and the human body, but they also interact with patients, who are humans with emotions and backstories. For this reason, psychology and sociology will be introduced on the new MCAT to help students better understand and heal their future patients. No transition comes without its challenges, but the new MCAT 2015 is an overall win for the future of medicine. With students entering medical school with a stronger biology, biochemistry, psychology, and sociology background, schools can place greater emphasis on teaching the art of medicine. Tell us which MCAT 2015 topics you’d like to see covered on Kaplan’s Med School Pulse by commenting below. For more insider news on the future of medicine, getting into medical school, and the MCAT, register for our monthly, online pre-med series: The Pulse. ...read more
July 25, 2013
April 29, 2013
Medical School Insiderhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydIZYCYugog&list=UUwZ7x4y5NY7tz-yEyz9gr4g&index=4 ...read more
April 22, 2013
Do medical schools have a cutoff for GPA and MCAT scores?http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOSyjxSDwGA ...read more
February 22, 2013
- Learning and memory: Sleep helps the brain commit new information to memory through a process called memory consolidation. In studies, people who’d slept after learning a task did better on tests later.
- Metabolism and weight: Chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain by affecting the way our bodies process and store carbohydrates, and by altering levels of hormones that affect our appetite.
- Safety: Sleep debt contributes to a greater tendency to fall asleep during the daytime. These lapses may cause falls and mistakes such as medical errors, air traffic mishaps, and road accidents.
- Mood: Sleep loss may result in irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate, and moodiness. Too little sleep can also leave you too tired to do the things you like to do.
- Cardiovascular health: Serious sleep disorders have been linked to hypertension, increased stress hormone levels, and irregular heartbeat.
- Disease: Sleep deprivation alters immune function, including the activity of the body’s killer cells. Keeping up with sleep may also help fight cancer.
February 21, 2013
February 18, 2013
- 2 Topical Tests
- 1 Verbal Section Test
- 1 Science Section Test
- 1 Full Length Test
We find the better a student fills out the chart the more they get out of the exercise. For example:TEST – For this column just fill in which topical/ section/ or full length test you are working on Q# - Just the question number of that specific test so you can look it up later Passage/ Discrete – Was this a discrete question or was it associated with a passage? Subject – Some people like to fill this in different ways. I have found the best way to do this is to make your subjects just Physics/ General Chemistry/ Verbal/ Organic Chemistry/ Biology Topic – The reason I have students fill in topic is so you can look at what specific topics of a subject you don’t know. I find the best way to do this is to take out the Review Notes and organize your topics by the chapters in the books. This is how to figure out what you need to review so you can go directly back to that specific chapter in the book. Why I missed it? – This is the KEY to making the whole chart. You need to honestly ask yourself why you are missing a specific question. Are you missing it because you don’t know the concept? Did you misread the question? Did you simply make a calculation error? Did you not understand what you read in the passage? Now remember when you are taking FL exams you are going to study longer than 2 hours. That is the only time you are really extending your studying much beyond that time frame. The key here is understanding and recognizing patterns along the way! Remember we want to turn those weakness into STRENGTHS! Stay focused! The hard work pays off! ...read more
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- Med School Admissions Statistics, Part I: How Many People Get into Medical School?
- Holy cow! I got into Medical School!
- Creating Diversity in Your Medical School Application
- Pre-Med Priorities: Tips for Building a Strong Academic Foundation
- Med School Admissions Statistics, Part III: What’s the Average GPA? (And What Can I Do About It?)
- Med School Admissions Statistics, Part II: What’s the Average MCAT?
- Finding the Right Medical School For You: Your Questions Answered
- Pros and Cons of Taking the New MCAT 2015 in April
- The Pre-Medical Experience: A Critical Review
- Medical School Secondary Applications – “Describe an obstacle you have overcome.”
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