Tag Archive: M Prep

Summary of the Event: eCourse Info Session and Sample

Last night we hosted a great info session and sample for the eCourse.  We were happy to have an overwhelming response so we ended up running two sessions to fit everyone in!  We discussed details of our MCAT course options, how they work, past students performance, and we answered students’ questions.  We then ran a sample session of the eCourse with real content and practice questions to give a glimpse of what the course looks like.

Students asked some great questions that we’ve summarized for you.  You’re also welcome to check out the session for yourself and see what the eCourse is like – we’ve made it available for download!

Update: Session available for download is from February 27, 2014!
Link to the download.  You will also need the WebEx recording viewer for (Windows | Mac).

Student Questions

Why should we take your course over Kaplan or Princeton Review?

This is the question, isn’t it?  There are a couple important reasons why the eCourse can be more valuable to you than the other courses out there:

  1. Instructors: At big companies you can’t be guaranteed a great instructor.  These companies often hire grad students who may not have even taken the MCAT before.  Instructors are often paid a relatively low wage and have no vested interest in the company or in the students.  With our course, you’re guaranteed a top-rated, and top-performing instructor with hundreds of hours of teaching experience.  Our instructors are also owners in the company and have a significant interest in making sure you get the best educational experience possible.
  2. Consistent Student Performance: The success of our students demonstrates that our prep program is designed for high-performance.  Our students average in the 80th percentile, with ⅔ of students scoring between a 26 and a 34.  Our course is focused differently from others in that we focus very heavily on application of MCAT strategies and teaching content in a sequence that maximizes comprehension.
  3. Company: It’s easy to become anonymous when you’re the customer of a big company. We’re a small company and we get to know all of our students. If any one of our students isn’t satisfied, it’s a big deal to us. You won’t be an anonymous customer when you register for our course; we pride ourselves on delivering amazing service and preparation to our students.
  4. Price: There is no prep company that delivers our caliber of prep at our pricing.  Even other small companies usually charge well over $1500 for their courses which have to be done in person and lack the freedom and flexibility of the eCourse.  Other prep companies may offer video series and other content on the cheap, but with the eCourse you’re guaranteed valuable prep of the highest caliber.  For that, nobody beats our value.
  5. Free Trial: We’re willing to put our money where our mouth is and let you try the eCourse to see if you like it. Our money-back guarantee gives you every dollar back within the first week if you aren’t satisfied with the course. You’ve got nothing to lose by trying it out!

I need extra support for the Verbal section. Will you be able to provide more specific Verbal prep?

Absolutely! Our primary commitment is that you perform your best on test-day.  Some students can take the existing prep materials and perform very well with them.  Other students need extra or personalized support.  We have no intention of leaving you with our materials and hoping for the best.  If you need more support, we’re more than happy to advise you personally wherever you need support for the exam.

Can we still communicate with you on the Anytime Package?

Yes! The Anytime Package is designed to give you all the same resources as the Comprehensive Package but without the need for live lectures.  Your eCourse account has a portal that allows you to ask us questions directly.  We pride ourselves on being able to respond to all student questions within 24 hours.

How much time should we leave between the end of the course and the exam?

In general, you should leave 2-8 weeks between finishing the eCourse and taking the MCAT.  This may vary depending on how long ago you did your prerequisites and your comfort level with the content of the course, but 2-8 weeks is good ballpark for you to review the course material and get enough practice for test day.  If you have concerns about whether you’ll be ready for the exam, you can get in touch with us and we can talk about your options and level of preparation.

Are the live lectures recorded too?

Yep, we record all of the sessions we host, which means if you were there in lecture with us and you didn’t catch something we said, you can download that very lecture and hear it all again.

How much content is in the course?

There are a few components of the course content:

  • Lecture Content: Each lecture has on average 60-70 slides of material.  With two lectures per week and 8 weeks of material, that amounts to approximately 1000 slides of content.
  • Homework: Each week has homework associated with it, all of it passage-based (to prepare for the passages on the MCAT).  Depending on the week, there are approximately 6 passages of homework on that week’s materials.  That amounts to 40-50 passages of practice.
  • Practice Exams: We provide access to all 8 of the official AAMC practice MCAT exams.  Each exam contains 21 passages plus discrete questions, making for well over 150 passages of practice.

The course has more practice content and material than most students are able to complete in 8 weeks.  However, if you crave more, let us know and we’ll work something out!

Are slides and homework downloadable for printing?

Yes, all of the course content is downloadable in PDF format and can be printed.

How much does the eCourse cost?

Depending on the course features you’re looking for, the eCourse starts at $987 for the full 8-weeks’ worth of material.  Flexible payment plans are available for all packages.  More details and pricing options are available here.

How do I register?

You can register directly from the eCourse page.  Simply select your package and click Sign Up, then follow the registration flow!

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What’s NOT on the MCAT?

Everyone talks about what you can expect to see on the MCAT, but it’s hard to figure out what information won’t be on the exam. For some topics (like quantum physics or astronomy), it’s commonly understood that they’re not tested. However, there are topics covered in intro-level science courses that are often confused for being tested on the MCAT. So, we’ve compiled a list of topics that will not be on the exam!

Writing

  • Starting January 2013, there won’t be a writing section on the MCAT!  The only sections will be Physical Sciences, Verbal Reasoning, and Biological Sciences. There will also be an optional section at the end of the test that is intended to be a transition into the MCAT in 2015, but will not contribute to your overall score. Save your essay-writing chops for med school apps!

Verbal

  • Poetry or other expressive/nonstandard forms of writing.  While some social sciences passages may discuss poetry, you will not need to read and interpret poetry or other highly abstract/metaphorical texts.
  • Primary research literature.  Although natural sciences passages in the verbal section will discuss science, students often mistakenly think that reading primary research literature will be good practice for the verbal section.  This is simply not true.  The style of writing in research articles is substantially different from science writing intended for a general audience.  If you want more accurate practice, read review articles or science articles written for the public.
  • Specific content.  Although you may see passages about science, history, etc., you will not be tested on any specific content outside of information given in the passages.  Best practices for verbal say to leave your knowledge at the door and use only that information from the passage; do not rely on your background knowledge to answer questions on this section.

Physics

  • Calculus. Calculus is often integrated in physics classes, however, the only physics you are responsible for is non-calc based. That said, you should be familiar with the area under the curve and the equations/relationships where it is useful, as well as understanding the meaning of the slope of a graph.
  • Optical Diagrams. While you should know the Thin Lens Equation and the rules surrounding real/virtual and upright/inverted images for various lenses and mirrors, you will not be asked to interpret optical diagrams with rays of light. If you want to study this topic to get a better general understanding of lenses and mirrors, go for it, but you won’t be tested on such diagrams explicitly.
  • Constants. (It’s generally accepted that you will be given any and all constants you need to solve a problem – however, knowing some common ones may increase your speed on certain questions). The same is not true of equations – there are many of these you must know off-hand, like Snell’s Law, the Thin Lens Equation, Archimedes’ Principle, etc.

General Chemistry

  • Individual values for electronegativity. While you should know periodic table trends, you do not need to know the actual values. Any questions that involve distinguishing electronegativity between two elements will be clearly distinguished and easy to identify based on the general trends.
  • Solubility tables. These are good to know, however, the exam provides the solubility information needed to answer a given question. Therefore, you can get away without necessarily knowing your solubility tables. One caveat is your expectation to know which compounds are unquestionably soluble (e.g. NaCl, HCl, NaOH, etc.).

Organic Chemistry

  • NMR ppm shifts. While you need to know how to interpret peak splitting and peak area, you don’t need to be able to identify the specific functional group at various ppm shifts. Any problems that you see with NMR can be solved without memorizing these shifts.
  • Most IR spectroscopy peaks. The only ones ever really tested are C=O (narrow peak at 1700-1800 cm-1) and -OH (broad peak at 3200-3500 cm-1). Technically, other key functional groups are fair game, but in reality they almost never show up on the exam.
  • 13C NMR. General concepts around symmetry and peak height/splitting are still true for 13C NMR and therefore fair game for the exam. However, you likely won’t see anything about 13C NMR, especially anything that you don’t already know about 1H NMR.
  • Electron Pushing. Intro organic chemistry classes often go into electron pushing for understanding mechanisms. While this may be helpful to understand the steps of a reaction or why a reaction would occur, you will not be tested on electron-pushing diagrams explicitly nor will you be required to draw any electron-pushing diagrams.
  • Aromatics – naming and reactions. These are often confused as being on the exam, and even show up in many MCAT textbooks, but they are not on the MCAT syllabus.  Reactions like Friedel-Crafts or biochemical pathways that incorporate aromatics will not be on the exam without sufficient context for you to answer the question. However, do understand the electronic and basic reactivity properties of benzene, for example (like other alkenes, benzene is considered to be electron-withdrawing).

Biology

  • Non-human anatomy/physiology. While you do not need to know animal anatomy and physiology, certain questions may describe non-human anatomical/physiological structures and ask you to compare them to analogous human structures or systems.
  • Plants. You will not need to know anything about plant anatomy or physiology.  Plants may show up in genetics or population/evolution questions, but they will not require specific knowledge of plants.
  • Fungi. These are on the syllabus and questions regarding fungi have come up before, however, studying this topic in depth is very low-yield. At most you may see a single question testing basic features of fungi (e.g. life cycle). If a passage is provided regarding non-human physiology, there will very likely be adequate context to answer the questions without prior knowledge.
  • Names and structures of amino acids. You should know the four categories of amino acids: polar, non-polar, positively-charged and negatively-charged. However, you do not need to know the names or structures of any amino acid (except perhaps glycine, which has a hydrogen rather than an -R group). Amino acid structures will be given to you or described sufficiently to answer the question.
  • Enzymes and intermediate compound names for the steps of the major biochemical reactions including glycolysis, Krebs cycle, electron transport chain, and fermentation.  You should know the major reactants and products, what kinases do in general, and various big-picture takeaways from these pathways, but you do not need to know the intricacies as studied in many biochem classes.


The complete syllabus for the MCAT can be found here: https://www.aamc.org/students/applying/mcat/about/

Do you have more things to add to the list? Let us know in the comments below, and we’ll add them to the list! All student additions will be marked with *.

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