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> Date: Fri, 16 Aug 2002 12:19:47 -0400
> Well sir, your work on your website is quite impressive, alot of hours must
> have been sent replying to emails, you're a good man. My question is simple
> and it's aimed directly at you... say, hypothetically speaking, you are
> accepted to Jefferson, Dartmouth, University of Mich, and Georgetown... where
> do you go and why??? chris

Well Chris,

I'd do a lot of research about each of the schools. I'd check out on-line
med school ranks, residency acceptance rates, clinical opportunities, the
curriculum, school costs, living expenses, places to live and to play. I'd
even find a way to talk with some of the medical students at the schools
when I went up on an interview--not the ones they want me to talk to, the
ones having lunch at one of the hangouts near the school--the ones with the
medical student IDs.

Then I'd go to Georgetown, cause I really like D.C.


> Date: Wed, 21 Aug 2002 11:03:21 EDT
> Subject: When should I start preparing for the MCAT?
> Hi my name is Annie. I am a sophmore in college and I recently bought the
> Kplan prebook and thought it would be a good idea to start studing it no even
> though I havn't taken some of the courses that the book covers yet, but I
> thought that I could maybe create an out line of the subjects in the book and
> then use it during my course work at school. Do you think this is a good idea
> or should I wait. Also do you have any other ideas about how I can prepare?
> Thank you for your time,
> Annie

Hi Annie,

I have an idea, learn as much about the MCAT as you can--now. Unfortunately,
the tests in the Kaplan book do not resemble the MCAT, but Kaplan does do a
good job covering the subject matter on the MCAT. What you may want to do is
to order practice test IV or V or VI from the AAMC website. Look it over a
bit and then find an intelligent and articulate person who has already taken
the MCAT. Don't be concerned with the subject matter on the test, instead
ask them about how the information on the test is presented, and how the
questions are asked.

What you should discover is that the MCAT is unlike any other test you are
likely to have seen, in that the test is like a game of hide and seek, and
that 50% of the information presented is never needed to answer a question.
The MCAT is a "find the needle in the haystack" test. The majority of the
questions do not ask you to solve a problem as you are use to doing on
"normal" tests, instead the MCAT tests your ability to think conceptually.
Instead of asking "how much?" the MCAT asks "why?" In order to answer why,
you must find one or two needles in the passage and combine them with a
needle in your memory to conceptually arrive at an answer, and frequently a
reason for that answer.

Now all this can't make perfect sense yet, but the sooner it does the
better. Once you start to understand what the MCAT is like you can begin to
prepare for it. When you study a subject that's on the MCAT don't just study
for the "A", study to understand why things work the way they do. Instead of
thinking in the linear manner in which the course is taught, think globally.
Make connections that span multiple chapters. Look for needles in haystacks,
and when you find them, think about what they mean and why they are there.

Summary: Find out as much as you can about the MCAT now.


Date: Fri, 23 Aug 2002 20:44:14 +0000

I do realize that I have a speed reading problem. It is hard for me to
finish reading section on a standardized test in the given amount of time.
Any advice on that. I still got three yrs to go before I take MCAT.


While there are a lot of "stupid verbal reasoning tricks" floating around,
the truth is that reading comprehension is not "reading" at all, instead it
is very quick skimming, followed by reading the question, and then
re-skimming the passage, and then using the process of elimination on the
answer key, and then looking at your timer to decide how long you should
spend on this particular question before moving on.

The best way to get good at verbal is to take as many high quality timed
verbal reasoning sub-tests as possible. Specific "tricks" work best for
specific individuals, if some don't work for you, don't waste time on them.
Most importantly, never consider verbal reasoning to be a reading test, it
is instead an extreme game of hide and seek with the game clock set to five
minutes past completely unreasonable.

Good luck!

AAMC 2003 UPDATE: Are timers allowed for the MCAT?

Due to advancing technology and the wide spread availability of digital image capturing equipment, no timers are allowed for the MCAT, except wristwatches (and we prefer analog watches).

Rich: Bring a simple watch with a count down timer, not a chronometer--count up timer.

To avoid beep - O - interruptus, set your watch for one hour more than the allotted time.


Take all your practice MCAT tests using an analog watch as a timer. As each section of the MCAT begins adjust the watch so that it will read 12:00 when time expires for that section. Use the same approach on the actual test.


[IV] From a local student in Miami, FL
> Date: Mon, 4 Nov 2002 20:57:59 -0500
> Hey Rich -
> I was planning on taking the MCAT in April, but I will be taking Orgo 2 during
> the summer.
> Some people have been telling me that since the format for the MCAT is
> changing, that it would be ok to take it in April still.
> What do you suggest?
> Where can I get info regarding what will be covered on the new MCAT?
> Please let me know ASAP, cause I would like to sign up for a class!
> Thanks - M

Hey M,

If you are taking Orgo 2 in summer you should NOT take the MCAT till summer.

There is limited info posted about the new MCAT format at; see also STUDENT MANUAL for
topics on the old MCAT. Most other sources of information about the new MCAT
are speculative and cannot be trusted. The bottom line is that the changes
to the test are expected to be minor and should not greatly effect the way
one prepares for this exam. Also, the AAMC should have reformatted practice
tests soon that reflect the changes to the MCAT.










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