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MCAT Biology - topic jumping


maybenow

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Hello present and former MCAT-ers,

 

I was wondering about the topics within biology. Can one jump around a little? For example, if I find kinetics or glycolysis very dry, and find myself wasting time on reading and re-reading these sections, can I "start" by doing microbiology instead? Rather than doing molecular biology near the beginning, can I do the skeletal system first?

 

Just wondering why a multitude of study programs or books tend to have a very similar structure or order to them, and if it'd be OK to jump around the topics a little bit, if that'll bring the yay factor back to studying.

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I don't think it would be that big of a deal if you were to jump around subjects. I've been through the TPR biology book many times and I'm part way through the TBR biology book. The subjects are categorized differently, and in a different order. The first section in TBR biology books is the nervous system, whereas in TPR it was biochem and cellular respiration.

 

I really did like how TPR arranged their chapters. It flowed really well. There may be some subjects you'd like to not jump from, i.e, learning about the endocrine system before learning about reproduction.

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Hi Jfourn! Ooh thank you.

 

So I guess TPR differs markedly from TBR in terms of the order of the sub-topics. Having dealt with both series, you prefer the way TPR does it? From what I can remember, TPR starts with kinetics/thermodynamis (quasi-chemistry), then goes onto cell respiration and DNA replication, and only THEN goes into the human body systems, right?

 

I guess if I follow the TPR system, then I can "find" the corresponding chapter in TBR, even if say, chapter 1 in TPR is way in the middle of TBR. Do you think doing this makes sense, or do you/did you prefer doing TPR all the way through first, before going through TBR for supplementary help? :)

 

Oh ok, so don't do reproduction before the endocrine system. Any other topics that would be better understood after doing another topic?

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Hi Jfourn! Ooh thank you.

 

So I guess TPR differs markedly from TBR in terms of the order of the sub-topics. Having dealt with both series, you prefer the way TPR does it? From what I can remember, TPR starts with kinetics/thermodynamis (quasi-chemistry), then goes onto cell respiration and DNA replication, and only THEN goes into the human body systems, right?

 

I guess if I follow the TPR system, then I can "find" the corresponding chapter in TBR, even if say, chapter 1 in TPR is way in the middle of TBR. Do you think doing this makes sense, or do you/did you prefer doing TPR all the way through first, before going through TBR for supplementary help? :)

 

Oh ok, so don't do reproduction before the endocrine system. Any other topics that would be better understood after doing another topic?

 

Im sure doing that would work (following the tpr chapter outline but using tbr books). I really think TPR helped me succeed in the biology section (scored a 12 last summer, and am pretty confident I scored a 12+ a couple weeks ago). Im using TBR now just to get a different view on the systems, and hopefully pick up a little small facts that were not convered in TPR

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Jump around!!! I didn't want to waste time on concepts I already knew and decided its more crucial to focus on what I wasn't comfortable with (eg. genetics, populations, etc.)

 

Ok! If you say so! Thanks :)

 

edit: except I don't actually have a good grasp on a number of things that I can see myself bypassing or doing very quickly, in favour of doing the other topics that I don't know quite well.

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Im sure doing that would work (following the tpr chapter outline but using tbr books). I really think TPR helped me succeed in the biology section (scored a 12 last summer, and am pretty confident I scored a 12+ a couple weeks ago). Im using TBR now just to get a different view on the systems, and hopefully pick up a little small facts that were not convered in TPR

 

Wow! Congrats jfourn!!

Ok so I will take your advice to do the reproductive system before the endocrine chapter. Is there another case when order might make things a bit easier? :)

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Wow! Congrats jfourn!!

Ok so I will take your advice to do the reproductive system before the endocrine chapter. Is there another case when order might make things a bit easier? :)

 

I believe you have it backwards lol. Endocrine before reproduction (in my opinion). Other than that I dont think there would be any danger in jumping topics.

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Ok! If you say so! Thanks :)

 

edit: except I don't actually have a good grasp on a number of things that I can see myself bypassing or doing very quickly, in favour of doing the other topics that I don't know quite well.

 

Don't worry, I rarely have a good grasp on things. In class, its quick memorizing or grab the concepts, write exam, empty brain, and repeat. MCAT can't be done that way. That's why I have bad scores :P

 

I'm sure there are some you're comfortable with. If not entirely, at least more so than others right? Just allocate enough time so you cover everything and are equally ready for it all

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MCAT can't be done that way. :P

 

I'm sure there are some you're comfortable with. If not entirely, at least more so than others right? Just allocate enough time so you cover everything and are equally ready for it all

 

Ah yes, OK, devote more time to the ones you're not familiar with. There are a few topics that I have no knowledge of (I know this sounds ridiculous, especially as we are in a community of PRE MEDS, but please take what I say as the truth).

 

Rather than "learning" it from a prep book (that has condensed a whole course into 1 chapter, which presupposes that the pre-med student merely needs to review her content knowledge), would it be wise to learn a bit more than what is covered in a prep book? This can, perhaps, be accomplished by referring to a textbook (or by alternate strategies).

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Rather than "learning" it from a prep book (that has condensed a whole course into 1 chapter, which presupposes that the pre-med student merely needs to review her content knowledge), would it be wise to learn a bit more than what is covered in a prep book? This can, perhaps, be accomplished by referring to a textbook (or by alternate strategies).

 

Unless your prep book doesn't explain a topic in a way that you can understand, or is clearly missing some info based on practice exams, I wouldn't recommend it. Don't get sidetracked by trying to know things to a textbook level; once you get the basic content down, spend more time on test taking skills.

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Unless your prep book doesn't explain a topic in a way that you can understand, or is clearly missing some info based on practice exams, I wouldn't recommend it. Don't get sidetracked by trying to know things to a textbook level; once you get the basic content down, spend more time on test taking skills.

 

If that's the case cindylouwho, then why do most people still recommend to attempt the MCAT after having taken the corresponding topics through courses offered at one's school? I mean if there's no advantage to taking the course/reading the material through a text prior to studying for the MCAT? (Does my question make senese?)

 

Congrats on Western!!! I remember your answering my questions before, and I don't you had that in your signature yet :P:).

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If that's the case cindylouwho, then why do most people still recommend to attempt the MCAT after having taken the corresponding topics through courses offered at one's school? I mean if there's no advantage to taking the course/reading the material through a text prior to studying for the MCAT? (Does my question make senese?)

 

 

IMO, the MCAT review books (eg. TPR, Kaplan etc.) are written at the perfect level for someone who has already taken a 1st year course in that area, as they are developed for just that purpose - review. I had only covered half of the physics material on the MCAT in my 1st year science courses, and I found I needed to supplement my Kaplan books with a textbook to fully conceptualize the new material. For everything else though, the review books were plenty sufficient, and I agree that focusing on test-taking skills is the most effective way to prepare for the MCAT.

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If that's the case cindylouwho, then why do most people still recommend to attempt the MCAT after having taken the corresponding topics through courses offered at one's school? I mean if there's no advantage to taking the course/reading the material through a text prior to studying for the MCAT? (Does my question make senese?)

 

Sorry I didn't see this and respond earlier!

Well I think there is a difference between the two cases you're talking about. I'm not denying that there is a benefit to having taken a course that covers some topics in the MCAT, just because you are familiar with it and have already done problems related to it in quizzes, exams, etc. However, what I was addressing was more the scenario of if you were doing the MCAT this summer and had never taken a corresponding course before, is it worth it to read about these topics in textbooks? In this case, my opinion is that it is not. Or, at least, use the prep books first and then if you really feel like you're not getting it, use some other resources -- but don't start with a textbook.

 

Congrats on Western!!! I remember your answering my questions before, and I don't you had that in your signature yet :P:).

 

Thank you! Can't believe I'm starting in basically a month.

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