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MCAT: PS Strategies


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Hey guys,


Ok so im rewriting the MCAT. After completing most of the PS homework in the Princeton Review Sceince workbook I can not manage to get above a 7 in the TPR physical sciences and I don't get above a 9 in the physical sciences section of the AAMC past tests ( I did TPR 4 and 5).


I have been studying pretty hardcore for PS, since this section was my problem last time I wrote the MCAT (I got a 7 last time, but I know thats cuz i didnt do my homeowrk and barely even knew some of the formulas when i wrote last year, defineitely wasnt prepared and got what i deserved - lol fully guessed on like 2-2.5 passages).


I think my strategies are not working, and would appreciate your feedback.

Below is what I have been doing, and some problems I encounter:

1) I feel rushed, and so I tend to get easy Qs wrong sometimes! Grr


2) To feel more relaxed, I made it a goal to finish half the Qs by 35 minutes. Although this has made me feel more relaxed, it hasnt really increased my score.


3) I havent been ranking passages so far, been doing them in order - Is this the problem?


4) I tried the "do al,the Gchem passages first" strategy b/c i never took physics in university and it seems to be my weaker spot BUT I dont think that strategy made a big difference, instead I would end up rushing easy physics passages.


5) Please share your time management skills( I have noticed I read the passage for way too long sometimes and am going to read it more faster on my next practice test).


6) I got the Berkely PS review book from a friend, it has a lot more Physics practice passages - I was thinking I will just go through the high yield passage topics during the days in between practice tests. Should I?? Or should I focuz more on practice tests/strategies??



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One thing I do to manage time is to skim the passage. I'd read the first few sentences and then go right ahead to the questions. If I needed more information, I'd naturally refer back to the passage as I work myself through the questions. I score above 13 on all my practice exams and got a 14 on the real one.


I'll give you an example, say if you get a Gchem or Physics passage that describes an experiment. Usually the first few questions will ask you some small detail like what's the pH of the solution used in step X or what's the spring constant of the spring used . You do not have to interpret the whole experiment,which would require you to read the whole passage, to answer these questions. So I'd do those questions first. This way saves a lot of time because often, I'd work down to the last question and find myself not needing to read the whole passage at all. I think if you've done enough practice questions and can easily tell what concept the question is testing, you can pull that off pretty easily.


I think the best way to prep for the science section for the MCAT would be to work on questions that are harder than what's on the MCAT. Those who've taken university physics or second year physical chem probably have done way harder questions, which is why these people will tend to score above 11 pretty easily. If you haven't taken them, a lot of prep books, such as the Berkely Review or Nova, are known to have really challenging questions. Learn to answer those quesitons comfortbly, MCAT physics should become a cakewalk. Now if you only got a few weeks left, I'd work on other strategies but if you have 2-3 months, why not try start digging deeper on the topics.


Oh and another tip you might appreciate: those charts on solubilities or acidities of different chemical species, make sure you memorize them:D!

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alot of the physics questions on the mcat, dont require memorizing all the formulas,try understanding the physical laws from which the equations were derived, if you have a claculus/physics back ground you can easily derive the formulas yourself. my only advice for physics is to understand the physics involved in the questions , then memorise the equations if needs be

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