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------ reply 8/2/00

You can purchase top quality MCAT practice tests at, see
Other material is available (in bookstores) from Kaplan, Princeton Review,
etc. Kaplan's material deviates from the style of the MCAT but is largely
free of mistakes. Princeton's questions more faithfully represent the style
of the MCAT but contain sporadic mistakes. Material I have seen from all
other sources is of poor, and/or inconsistent quality. The best current MCAT
prep book, in my opinion, is Kaplan's Comprehensive MCAT Review-->

Sorry, I do not have any special discount prices for the MCAT classes.


PS 11/8/03 I believe EXAMKRACKERS are NOW the best MCAT prep books.
> Mr. Hochstim-
> Hello, I am writing to you from Jeffersonville, Indiana and I really found
> your website helpful. I am going to be a freshman at DePauw University in
> Greencastle, IN. I have always wanted to go into medicine as a career, so I
> thought it would be to my benefit to start preparing myself now. Basically, I
> need advice on what classes to take, and when to take them. I never have been
> a good standardized test-taker, so that's why I want to start early. Any
> advice you could give me would be wonderful. I would also love to come to
> your summer seminar, but it's a little too far away from home, just for a
> course. Do you know of any other programs of your type that would be around
> Indiana?
> Thank you!

------ reply 8/6/00


I'm glad you found my site helpful. As far as deciding which classes to take
your best bet is to consult a good premedical adviser at DePauw. If you are
unable to, here's what I would recommend:

1. Since you have to take 1 year of Bio and Physics and 2 years of Chem as a
bare minima, and then a year of Calculus and English just to qualify for
acceptance to most med. schools, you should do some checking to find out
which teachers to take and which to avoid. All instructors are not made

2. Taking general chem along with Bio or before, makes lots of sense because
Bio without Chem makes a lot less sense.

3. Avoid taking Physics with Orgo -- its just too brutal.

4. To do well on the Biological sciences on the MCAT it helps a whole bunch
to have taken a Cell Biology course, a Molecular Bio course, or a
Micobiology course.

Sorry, I know of no MCAT programs like mine in Indiana.

Best of luck,
Rich Hochstim

> Rich,
> Do you know where I could get a list of topics that have been on
> previous MCAT's? I went and got some info from Kaplen and they had the
> topics from Aprils test and now I am looking for previous years. Any
> ideas where I may be able to find them?
> Lionel


Hi Lionel,

Beyond the three recent test analysis posted by Kaplan I do not know where
you can get additional useful information about other MCATs. Due to the
high variability of coverage on the MCAT from form to form and from one
administration to the next, I do not see any great advantage in obtaining
any more information of this kind, since it is unlikely to correlate with
what you will confront when taking the test.

All the areas listed in the (somewhat outdated) Student Manual may appear on
the MCAT in a form that requires you to be knowledgeable of material not
included in the passage or in the independent question. What would be useful
to know, is the relative frequency* with which a subject tends to appear
over a span of many years. I've been interviewing students after each MCAT
since 1991 and there is a clear pattern of relative importance that can be
broken down into three tiers**. When studying for the MCAT it is best to
cycle through/review ALL topics many (10-20) times, but initially to devote
more of your resources to understanding first tier topics. If you have the
time, you can then focus more on 2nd tier topics and so on. (PLEASE NOTE: I
am not recommending working on 1st tier topics first!)

For example in Physics, Newton's Laws and the kinematic equations would be
first tier, rotational motion and optics would be second tier and thermal
expansion and the concept of resistivity (not resistance) would be third
tier. While all of these topics have appeared on the MCAT. The first tier
subjects have had a greater number of questions devoted to them over the
years. Here's more...

Organic example:
1st tier = Oxidation/Reduction; Acid/Base/pKa's
2nd tier = Reactions of ROH & RCOOH; Grignard synthesis
3rd tier = Reactions of PCl3, PCl5, and SOCl2; Addition to alkynes

Good Luck on the MCAT!

*Based on the percentage of questions devoted to a topic over the years,
rather then whether that topic appeared on the MCAT during any particular

**Sorry I am not able to post detailed information on in time for
the upcoming MCAT.
Time: Tue, 15-Aug-2000 00:23:49 GMT IP:

:First of all, I wanted to thank you, Rich, for your excellent
resource; this website has been great help to me as I climb the
mountain of medical school application process. I would like an
outside opinion however, about my own personal case, an
evaluation of my chances of getting accepted and maybe some
advice about the best course of action.

I am not a science major, I am graduating this december with my
degree in International Cultural Studies and Mathematics. My
cum. GPA is 3.99, science and humanities both 3.9. I took all
the prerequisit science, plus anatomy, but really didn't take
any more than what is minimal, although I have a great deal of
mathematics classes.

The only problem that I see in my application is my MCAT score.
I took it in April 2000, and, unfortunately, the day of the test
I came down with a roaring kidney infection. I wrote the exam
anyway (fearing deadlines would make taking the august mcat
impossible) and directly after the test, I went to the emergency
room to recieve medical attention. To make a long story short,
I didn't get as good scores as I believe I could have under
different circumstances (I got 7 in physical, 8 in verbal, 9 in
bio). But the very last thing I want to do is take that test
over again. With the timeframe I am looking at and also sheer
desire not to put myself through the MCAT again, I really don't
want to retake.

So, am I wasting my time and money filling out all these
applications? I got my AMCAS application in to 14 schools, and
am now working on secondaries. Please let me know an honest
evaluation of my medical school prospects.

Thank you!

You have a great GPA, but the MCAT scores do hurt. Even with a good
reason for not doing that well, medical school admission committees
expect you to retake the test. I know you really don't want to, but not
retaking the test may be a bigger issue than the scores you make on the
second try. Still you do have a shot if you do not retake, it may be around
5% to 20% depending on other factors which you did not mention above.

Good Luck,

> Time: Thu, 17-Aug-2000 03:07:07 GMT IP:
> Hi Rich,
> Your webpage is awesome. It provides a great source of
> information. I hate to bombard you with my trivial
> question.....but it has been bothering me alot lately, and I
> hope you will be a source of information that I will be able to
> use as a source of guidance, as I am lost in space at this
> moment.
> Currently I am a entering senior at a well reputated
> university. I am doing a double major in Neural Science and
> Psychology. Throughout my college life I have always
> deliberated about whether I was premed or not. I had difficult
> times, throughout the years, which were reflective of domestic
> and financial burdens. Although my grades are not near
> topnotch....we are speaking of Science GPA of 3.0, and overall
> GPA of 3.3....I can not dismiss my strong passion of serving as
> an MD. I have considered dropping out of the premed curriculum
> serveral times, only to find myself going back to has
> become a undesirable quench, something that I yearn
> for,regardless of how difficult the task at hand is, or how bad
> I have done in relevant course. I find myself constantly coming
> back to the requisites to fulfill my dreams of becoming an MD.
> Regardless of my grades, which are not so Hot, we are taking a
> C+ in Bio I and Orgo I, I know I want to continue on this path.
> I haven't taken the MCATS yet, but plan on taking it in August,
> such that I will be able to apply next year. What do you think
> of my situation? Please be candid in your response.
> I thank you in advance, for your time and diligence.
> -Perceptions99


Since you are now firmly committed to the premed track, you can always get
into a good medically related graduate program if your MCAT scores don't do
the trick. You probably need a pair of twelves and an eleven to have a
reasonable chance of being accepted now, but if you rack up a good graduate
record your undergrad performance will become largely irrelevant. You need
to demonstrate to admission committee members that you have made a long
lasting commitment to working toward a career in medicine and that you can
make the grades to prove it. Your not so hot undergraduate record can be
compensated, to a degree, by additional volunteer/work experience, but a
high MCAT score will not be as useful an indicator of your commitment as
your overall undergraduate record, i.e., you could get lucky, but probably
will need to take at least a year of graduate work to be competitive.

Thanks for your comments re website, and best of luck!

If you kick ass on the MCAT you DO have a chance with state schools, but the
mean GPA and Sci-GPA of those excepted to medical school is 3.6. Since this
is the mean there is some room on the lower end. I have know of students
that got accepted with a GPA and Sci-GPA similar to yours, but they all made
a 33 or better on the MCAT. I think with a 32 you have a chance, but you
really need a score above 33 to be competitive.



> Hi
> I am so gald tha I found your website, it is really a great site. I really
> need your help in answering these questions for me please.
> I volunteered at two different hospitals two yaers ago, now I am planning
> to volunteer again at VA hospital in LaJolla in California. My qestion is
> volunteering at emergency room will be considerd as a plus on my
> applications for medical school, or volunteering in a different area will
> be better?
> Second, is a lot of volunteering in hospitals good on my applications?
> Third, what other activities do you suggest for me to do?
> Thank you and I appreciate your response. please if you have time e-mail
> me at


Glad you found the site useful.

The more clinical experience you get, with "hands on" dealings with patients
the better, so volunteering at an emergency room would be a bigger plus if
you get direct clinical experience. On the other hand, if you were to only
do "gofer" work this would be far less beneficial. I'd recommend any
volunteer work that met the above criteria, but while more is better, you
will quickly reach a point of diminishing returns and may want to direct
your energies toward other things, like MCAT preparation.


> Hi


Hello again!

> Time: Sat, 26-Aug-2000 03:13:32 GMT IP:
> Hello, I am a highly unlikely medical school candidate, u-grad
> gpa of about 2.8, (I know) , MCAT practice scores of about 37. I
> know, I was surprised, too. I'm currently in a m.s. program in
> Epidemiology, (thesis), have about a 3.8 or 3.9 there -
> basically, finishing with All A's and one B, about 40 hours
> worth of credit. What the heck can I possibly do to get myself
> in? Is there anything at all, or have I blown it? I'm
> unable/unwilling to go overseas, due to family obligations, so
> is there anything (postbacc? do better on the mcat?) I can do to
> make myself a less awful candidate? I have the volunteer and
> research thing happening, though I probably won't be published.
> That's it. Help, help, help. :)
> Thanks,
> Jane


Hi, Jane, your undergrad scores are not that important. If you do well
on the MCAT you are in great shape! See the Email archivefor more on this.


> Hi,
> I'm 17 and starting my senior year in high school. I'm trying to decide
> between attending Baylor University and the University of Texas at Austin.
> I plan on attempting to get into med school some day. Baylor has an
> established premed program ... UT has no premed. Would I significantly hurt
> my chances of getting into med school by attending UT?
> Thanks,


No, UT is a great school. As long as you educate yourself about the
premedical process, which you should do anyway, there's really no problem.


I have a rather general question and I don't know where to turn to find out
about it so lucky you - you're email address was right there on the 411

I am finishing up my science requirements for medical school. I already
have a four year degree in something completely different. I am wondering
about gathering letters of recommendation. Do you get them and send them in
yourself or do you send them to a temporary 'holding" place or how does this
work? I would like to get a couple letters of recommendation now before my
writers forget about me (I won't be applying to medical school for another
year). But I don't know how kosher it is to send in letters that have been
residing with me for over a year - how does this work?

Your website is wonderful - I'm sorry to unload this question on you but do
you either know the answer or know where I can go to find out? Please, if
you could, email me at home Thanks for any light you can
shed on this!!



Hi Diana,

Thanks for your kind words about my site. Here's how those letters of rec.
work. Some go directly to the premedical committee of your school and others
go directly to AMCAS. In the case of non-AMCAS schools there are forms for
each particular school. So what you need to do is to get the appropriate
forms and provide your prof./employer with the appropriate forms (AMCAS or
otherwise). In the case of letters which go to the premedical committee,
frequently no forms are required. The bottom line is that you never get to
see or touch the letters, unless the author wants to show you what a nice
person they are. [:-)]



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