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Hello,    The question was asked last night, "where do I find the MCAT 2015 practice exams?"   Answer, with my suggestions. Your goal is to have those practice exams.  Here are the steps with obstacles to get those exams:   1. Sign up for an account. (You have to have an account in order to access the material) After you have an account, 2. Go here: and click on (I have gone directly to it didn't work; there is a glitch unless they have it fixed.) 3. You will have to put specific items in your cart and order them. Here are the specific items that I bought and it opened up a lot of free online material as well as 20 full-length online MCAT 2015 practice exams: MCAT – The Official Guide to the MCAT® Exam, Fourth Edition 1 MCAT - Online Practice Questions from The Official Guide... read more

Here is the thing about watching Zig Ziglar in video: "He makes me feel like a kid in the 70's." But, his principles for success ring true:   Identify the Goal (Clear, identify the target, nothing nebulous and be specific) List the Benefits  (For you, what you want, vitally important) List the Obstacles to Overcome (Anticipate in advance, things that could prevent you, find accountability) List the Skills and Knowledge Required (Knowledge = power , skills = tools , knowing + doing = powerful combination) Identify the People and Groups to Work with ( Who can help you? , knowledge + skill = value needed for success) Develop a Plan of Action (Critical, step-by-step details to achieve your goal) Set a Deadline (For accountability sake to yourself and who you are working with , unaccountable = unsuccessful)   To conclude with a simple math formula:   Knowledge + tools + doing + accountability...

Hello to everyone who is just getting back into the groove for the first day of class!  I am excited for you guys and gals.   Josh Kaufman wrote The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business.  Great book to read if you are contemplating an MBA, are interested in starting your own business or have already started a business and are looking for some help.   The note I want to highlight is about education and learning. Continuing your Education and Learning are essential in order to succeed.  However you define success, and Josh goes into some detail about this as well, you will need to constantly learn.  Josh does a great job of explaining what education and learning is, so I will let him tell you why they are important:   Your brain forms mental models automatically by noticing patterns in what you experience each day.  Very often, however, the mental models you form on your own aren't completely accurate - you're only... read more

Happy Post-Holidays! Now that we're getting back into the swing of things, I hope to update this blog more often, so keep tuned. I've gotten some inquiries from medical school applicants seeking assistance on the application process and how to stand out from the crowd. Here are some suggestions that I can give based upon my experience as both a successful applicant and applicant interviewer. I'm going to start out with the experiences that I personally feel will help you stand out. A lot of applicants shadow physicians to gain clinical exposure. At one level, this is great; you need to have an idea of what medicine is like before you commit to 4 years of medical school and years of residency. But like I said, almost every applicant has done this, so it just seemed sort of run of the mill and nothing new. So while shadowing is improtant Consider the experiences section of your application as the chance to show your passion and compassion. Experiences that... read more

Today's focus is on being an active test taker, instead of a passive test taker.     Almost everyone during MCAT prep says that "I don't know how they got this from the passage!"  Then you can point out the section the question addresses and the answer is now obvious.  How do you keep track of everything you've read in the passage?   Many of us are passive; we read the passage then approach the questions.  This is not usually the best approach, because the passage information is absorbed en-masse with relatively little degrees of specific information, leaving us to try to search through the passage for specifics to back-up our answers.     I advocate a more active approach.  When you read the article, think to yourself "what kind of question could be made from this paragraph?" as you go along.  I think that you will surprise yourself at how often the test writers were thinking the exact... read more

I am excited for the semester break, but I am more excited for next semester.  Are you ready for next semester chemistry?  How well did you do last semester?     I am pleased to say -and I was very hesitant being that one of the students approached me with 5 days until their exam- that both of my students passed with flying colors last semester.   I am looking for students who are excited for the material; they want to learn the material, and they want more than a good start.  I am very engaged with my students.  I spend hours behind the scenes to get them to where they need to be, want to be and have to be.

Factors                        SN1                                SN2                         E1                             E2 nucleophile:               any(often weak)     ;    good, strong base:                        any (often weak)    ;   must have strong substrate                    3>2                      ;    methyl > 1 > 2          ;    3 > 2                ;  ... read more

The Official Guide to the MCAT Exam (MCAT2015) wrote the phrase "Practice Effectively and Vigorously," under the tab "What Are the Best Ways to Practice for the MCAT Exam?   I couldn't agree more.     Do you remember when Allen Iverson said "not a game, we're in here talking about practice?"  Well, unless you "practice effectively and vigorously," you will never get to the game.  You will not be able to play in the game.   Please think about spending a lot of time practicing the MCAT exam under stressful circumstances sooner rather than later, and I would say you will be ready for the game.

One of the most difficult aspects of MCAT prep is the sheer amount of information you need to know. You have to start off knowing about chemistry, physics, psychology, and (of course) biology. Then they toss in the CARS passages, where they give you something to read and expect you to answer some pretty difficult questions.  It can be pretty intimidating, and even more so without a clear indication of where to start your prep work.   One of my top suggestions is to start with a topic of personal interest; a passion if you will.  This has several advantages.  First, You're likely already comfortable with knowing where to find articles, and might even get stuff from your friends and family (sorry Aunt Violet, that doesn't mean I want more chain mails that you haven't checked out on Snopes....)  Also, you're more likely to read about what you already find interesting.     From this initial springboard, follow the connections.  They... read more

Hello all!   I am super excited to sign-up for The New MCAT.  I can't tutor on the new exam without taking it, so I will be on a journey to make sure that the exam is everything the committee says it is.   I will be posting different material, study questions and strategies that I find useful for preparing for this exam.  I hope this will help you to, and I will give feedback on the different subject problem areas that I see in my current students.   I have exactly 4 months until the exam.  This is a good amount of time - planning is crucial for the exam - because there are 4 sections on the new MCAT.  Here they are:   Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills   There is a small video to describe The New MCAT, and... read more

6 Steps to Creating a Successful MCAT Study Plan In this document we will go over the steps for how to create a successful MCAT study plan. All of the advice comes from many years of experience, working for several of the large test prep companies including Kaplan, Next Step and others, and working with hundreds of different students. 1. Start with the Official Materials, familiarize yourself with the exam. Know how the exam will be administered, how many sections, the number of questions, the time etc… To do this start with the AAMC Official Guide to the MCAT which can be found at: 2. Mastering the Science Content with the three pass approach The MCAT exam is very different from so many of our traditional science exams and the study process should reflect this. The amount of material covered on the exam can be staggering as it incorporates material from at least 10 different... read more

A very common question I hear from my MCAT students is that "How much math do I need to know ?" On Test Day,  no calculators allowed.  The following tips will help you all identify what math skills you’ll need.   MCAT Math: The ability to perform arithmetic calculations, including proportion, ratio, percentage, and estimation of square root. An understanding of fundamental topics in the following areas (at the level of second-year high school algebra coursework): exponentials and logarithms (natural and base ten); scientific notation; quadratic and simultaneous equations; graphic representations of data and functions including terminology (abscissa, ordinate), slope or rate of change, reciprocals, and various scales (arithmetic, semi-log, and log-log). The knowledge of the definitions of the basic trigonometric functions (sine, cosine, tangent); sin and cos values of of 0º, 90º, and 180º; the relationships between the lengths of... read more

Hey folks,  I am sure many of you have plans of going to college or finishing up that last hectic year of school.  Well with these endeavors comes not only tests and quizzes created by books and your professors/teachers, but you also have to take nation and statewide test in order to pass and/or qualify for a position in a higher learning institute.  Such tests include the SAT, ACT, MCAT, etc.  What you want to remember about taking these tests is that these tests are testing you ability to locate small mistakes and easy to miss information.  They also want you to understand this material.  You have to be prepared for these easy to miss situations.  For example, I am sure you all have done a math question, felt like you did it perfectly correct only to find out that you actually got it incorrect.  Furthermore, the answer you got appeared as one of the answer choices!  Or you were on the right track to answering correctly, but made a simple... read more

A big hurdle in preparing for the MCAT is planning a strategy to deal with the stress of the exam, particularly the Verbal portion. The creators of the MCAT exam do not anticipate that the student will complete all the questions on the Verbal portion, so having a strategy to deal with the time-limited exam is vital. I show students how to plan for this stress and how to be able to overcome it on the day of the exam, and have mastery of the Verbal portion. It is vital to show the admissions committees that you can function well under stress, and a good score on the Verbal portion is a good indicator of that.

To reflect changes in medical education, the MCAT will have a new format.  The current format was introduced in 1991, and starting in 2015 the test will have the following 4 sections:   1) Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems, 2) Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems, 3) Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior, and 4) Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills   See more at

The article below is on changing oceans.   Scientists are struggling to find the trigger for a disease that appears to be ravaging starfish in record numbers, causing the sea creatures to lose their limbs and turn to slime in a matter of days. SAN FRANCISCO - Scientists are struggling to find the trigger for a disease that appears to be ravaging starfish in record numbers along the U.S. West Coast, causing the sea creatures to lose their limbs and turn to slime in a matter of days. Marine biologists and ecologists will launch an extensive survey this week along the coasts of California, Washington state and Oregon to determine the reach and source of the deadly syndrome, known as "star wasting disease." "It's pretty spooky because we don't have any obvious culprit for the root cause even though we know it's likely caused by a pathogen," said Pete Raimondi, chair of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California... read more

"How is this clinically relevant?" is a question that I've heard on a daily basis now that I'm a medical student. People are concerned that what we're taught in lectures have little to NO RELEVANCE to the kinds of situations we will encounter in the clinic. Going into clinics, I've encountered the same attitude, from residents, to senior attending physicians.    Premedical students have the same concerns - What's the point of the verbal reasoning section of the MCAT? I've studied all this science because medicine is all about the numbers right?    I'm going to be extremely presumptive by going against the attitudes of the pre-med, and the guys who already have MDs, so bear with me. I call it Delayed Gratification and my friends call it, being a nerd.   Lets deal with the sciences first because I think we'll have a common starting place for where I'm coming from. When were you most confident going into a test? When... read more

Would you believe that lung cancer was a somewhat of a rare occurrence until the early to mid twentieth century? This fact is due to cigarettes gaining popularity in the 19th and 20th centuries. In the UK, among all cancer deaths lung cancer related deaths rose from 1.5% in 1920 to 19.7% in 1947. Cigarettes aren’t the only cause of lung cancer, there are many causes not associated with smoking, but one fact is true: Anything you light on fire and inhale isn’t going to be good for you! Smoking causes the lungs to age at a greater rate than they would in the non-smoker. Among many of the ill effects smoking causes, lung cancer is one of the most well known. Most people don’t think of heart disease when you mention the long-term health effects of cigarettes, even though it is a leading cause of this as well. One of the reasons it results in cancer is due to the long-term inflammation that is caused in the airways, which over time recurrent smoking tends to lead to increased cell turnover,... read more

As you may know, I am a big fan of the well-known author and brain specialist, Dr. Daniel Amen. He mentions in several of his books that Physical Exercise is good for the brain. I have read of research studies that showed a clear correlation between IMPROVEMENT in students' test scores in math and science, and their level of physical activity (for example, when math class followed PE class, the students had significantly higher scores). Maybe we should schedule PE before all math classes in our schools. What do you think about that idea? This morning I read an online article on the myhealthnewsdaily site, entitled "6 Foods That Are Good for Your Brain," and another article about how Physical Exercise helps maintain healthy brain in older adults too. The second article, "For a Healthy Brain, Physical Exercise Trumps Mental Workout" was found under Yahoo News. The remainder of this note is quoted from that article: Regular physical exercise appears to... read more

I was asked this question recently by several mothers about which book (singular, not plural) they should get for their sons for their upcoming tests. To both of them I replied: "Get the Princeton Review edition of the book." And while I believe this to be the CORRECT answer, this answer unfortunately is misleading because what I actually want to say is, "Get ALL editions of the book." For example if there is a Barron's version, a Kaplan version, a Princeton Review version, etc. etc. of AP Chemistry, then I would advise the moms to get ALL of these books for their sons (assuming of course that they'll read them). The reason is because one book doesn't have enough practice problems. From experience, after reading the first test preparation book or textbook, the student will have a rather hazy outline of the subject material. Books 2-5 make the outline clearer. Most students don't begin to really understand the subject until around Book 7. And that's the reason... read more

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