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MCAT Public Office Hours- CARS Strategy Review

The CARS section is often the most difficult section for MCAT students. Unlike the science sections of this exam, there are no facts to memorize; CARS is all about strategy. Developing a solid strategy that works for you is key to success on this section of the MCAT. Next Step’s Clara Gillan goes over the best strategies for CARS in this Public Office Hours session. This public office hours session is a sampling of what our course students have access to on a regular basis. Unlike the lesson videos, this session is not just a lecture. These sessions are intended to be interactive. Clara shows students how to focus on finding the strategy that works best for them. She also shows students how to identify the components of the passage that are likely to appear in questions, making it easier to focus on what’s important. She will take you through a live read of  CARS passages to put what’s been taught into practice. Our course students have access to at least five Office Hours sessions per week. They will be conducted by one of our senior MCAT experts and will focus on specific MCAT content, but students will have the ability to ask and answer questions on mic. If you have a question, you can simply type your question into the chat box or click the “raise your hand” button and ask. Our goal at Next Step is to make sure that you have the resources needed to prepare for the MCAT and your future career. If you’re interested in our online MCAT course, click here. We also have...

Correct By Choice, Not By Chance: Logical Reasoning in CARS

The Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills (CARS) section of the MCAT is often the most intimidating section for students. Unlike the sciences, there is no shelter of content to feel safe with, no set of content you can simply master in order to improve. However, there is a set of predictable, learnable skills which will enable you to score highly on the CARS section. Practice with these skills will ensure you can answer even tough skill 2 and skill 3 questions which require you to read between the lines of the passage. These skills are two types of logical reasoning – Deductive and Inductive reasoning. Deductive Reasoning Deductive reasoning is where one begins with an accepted principle and seeks to prove another statement based on previously “known” information. For example, if a physician walks into the exam room with the premise that there has been a recent spread of MRSA, the new patient is likely another infection so she gathers information — blood tests, cultures, a physical exam — and narrows the scope of that available information until MRSA (her principle) is the only logical conclusion remaining. This is the kind of logic that, many physicians may use: they have a diagnosis in mind based on previously available information that is not necessarily related to the new patient, and then they seek out evidence to prove that diagnosis. The MCAT will ask you to do this in questions that require you to find evidence that supports or weakens a passage argument, or when they ask you to identify assumptions in passage arguments. Inductive Reasoning Inductive reasoning, conversely, allows physicians...

5 Ways To Make Med Schools Love You Webinar

Linda Abraham, Accepted CEO & Founder, discusses the 5 things you can do to make the admissions committees fall in love with you. If you want to convince the admissions committee that you are a student they want in their next med school class, you’ll want to watch this webinar. Students who watch this webinar will have an understanding of what is important to admissions committees. You’ll learn how to show them that you are an ideal candidate. Are you being realistic? Do you have a plan? Are you driven? Or are you just telling them what they want to hear? It’s all important. If you follow these 5 tips from Accepted, you will be able to submit applications that show what you can bring to the table. and make these schools want you in their program. If you are interested in applying to a Postbacc program, take a look at some Accepted.com resources: A-Z of Applying to Postbacc Programs and Postbacc Admissions 101. Accepted.com has many great articles for pre-med students. Check out The Unbelievable Story of an Orthopedic Surgeon and Is Retaking the MCAT a Good Idea?, If you’re interested in the services that Accepted.com offers, you can take a look at Accepted: Explore our Med Services, Navigate the Med School Maze, and 7 Med School Acceptances: The Early Bird’s Story. You can also check out Accepted’s Admissions Straight Talk Podcast. Next Step has partnered with many different professionals and experts to bring you information that is not only relevant but accurate. Our goal at Next Step is to make sure that you have the resources needed...

Advisor Office Hours: The Revised MCAT – Two Years In

Bryan Schnedeker, Next Step’s Vice President for MCAT Content, discusses what we’ve learned about the revised MCAT over its first two years. The revised MCAT is a huge challenge for pre-meds and a powerful tool for admissions committees, but has it lived up to the AAMC’s goals? During this short webinar, Bryan shares the insights learned by the Next Step MCAT team after working with thousands of pre-meds for the new format MCAT. Bryan also discusses the results from the Beta program of our online MCAT course during the webinar. Topics covered include: How the revised MCAT changes the way pre-meds should prepare for the exam Changes made to the MCAT test dates and locations The Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior section of the exam Changes in the difficulty of passages on the exam and how this affects testing How the revised MCAT has affected admissions decisions and test prep Watch a recording of the webinar below to learn about these topics and more. Next Step’s goal is to make sure that pre-meds have the resources to help them prepare for and succeed on test day. We offer a free MCAT practice bundle for students just getting started with their preparations as well as one-on-one MCAT tutoring and an online MCAT course for students at any point in their prep. We also have resources available specifically for pre-health advisors. These include exclusive discounts for your students and free MCAT resources for your library. You can sign up here. You can download the slides and presentation notes...

Amino Acids: 3 Question Types You’ll See on the MCAT

If you’ve studied or plan to study for the current MCAT, you’ve quite possibly heard about the huge role amino acids now play in this exam. Possibly the most notable addition to the revamped 2015 MCAT was the requirement of knowledge of amino acid properties, behavior, and abbreviations. Luckily, this topic can be broken down into just a few principles that can make your Test Day experience much easier! Let’s review these principles by covering the categories that nearly all amino acid questions fit into. Questions about polarity If you’ve reviewed your amino acid categories, you’ll know that these structures are generally separated into nonpolar, polar uncharged, acidic, and basic amino acids. However, here is your first tip: acidic and basic amino acids are polar, since they typically carry charges at physiological pH. A great number of MCAT questions can be answered simply by choosing the “odd man out” when it comes to polarity. Take a look at this example: A region rich in which of the following amino acid residues is most likely to be found buried in the interior of a globular protein? Aspartic acid (polar) Lysine (polar) Threonine (polar) D. Isoleucine (nonpolar) Of course, you’ll have to figure out the polar vs. nonpolar designations on your own, but once you do so, it is clear that the answer must be D – nonpolar residues cluster near the interior of proteins, far from the water-based, polar fluid surroundings. Questions about charge If an MCAT amino acid question doesn’t involve polarity, it very likely asks about the net charge of a residue or protein, whether directly or indirectly....

Next Step Public Office Hours – Diagnostic Review

A diagnostic exam is the best way to begin your MCAT prep. Next Step understands the importance of this analysis of your skills, which is why we offer a free half-length diagnostic with our free practice bundle. Bryan Schendeker, Next Step’s National MCAT Director, discusses the importance of reviewing your diagnostic once it’s been completed. He goes over what can be determined from the results of your diagnostic exam. Do you have any weak sections or topics? Do you need to work on your timing? Can you handle sitting for a long exam without growing tired? How can you optimize your prep based on these results? You will learn how to get to your diagnostic exam within the Next Step testing platform. Then, Bryan will show you how to review the diagnostic passages. He will go over how to approach each passage, why you should be highlighting or taking notes, and briefly explain how to look at tables, graphs, and data within passages. Students were able to ask questions throughout, so watch the recording below to see if your questions were answered. Unlike the lesson videos, this is not just a lecture. The office hour sessions are intended to be interactive. They will be conducted by one of our senior MCAT experts and will focus on specific MCAT content, but students will have the ability to ask and answer questions on mic. If you have a question, you can simply type your question into the chat box or click the “raise your hand” button and ask. Our goal at Next Step is to make sure that you have the...

The Second Scored AAMC MCAT is Out! Now What!?

The AAMC has just doubled the number of official scored practice exams by releasing “Official MCAT Practice Exam 2”. The best way to prep for the MCAT is by working on official AAMC practice materials, so how can you best use this new resource? Check out the guide below for how to structure your prep: Content Review: Any good MCAT prep requires a review of the basic science content. You can get this review by using a good set of books like Next Step’s Content Review Books, watching the videos from Khan Academy’s MCAT page, or signing up for an online course. Passage and Question Practice: There are two great sources of practice that will help you succeed on Test Day. The first, of course, is the AAMC themselves. They offer a product called the Question Packs and another called the Section Bank. The Question Packs are re-purposed old passages from the old version of the MCAT (pre-2015) so they should generally be used as a last resort. Instead, pick up the Section Bank, which is official material from the 2015 MCAT. Then, you can supplement this with prep materials including Next Step’s QBook and Strategy and Practice series. Full Length Practice Exams: Aim to take one exam a week leading up to Test Day. Be sure to simulate the full test experience – take the exam under timed conditions, starting at 8:30 AM just like the real thing. Every student should take the AAMC Scored Exam 1, AAMC Scored Exam 2, and unscored AAMC Sample Test. Well-prepared students don’t stop there – they typically take as many as...

New AAMC Exam! Now What?

New AAMC Exam! Now what? The AAMC just released a new official scored exam for the MCAT. The question facing pre-med students is now: how should I use all of the AAMC’s official resources? Let’s start with a quick run-down on what the AAMC now offers: AAMC MCAT Official Guide The official guide (OG) gives a rundown on all the background you could possibly need on the MCAT. Overall, there’s no need to spend $30 to buy a hard copy of this book. Instead, save yourself some money and spend $10 for the online access to the 20 practice passages in the OG. You can also download a free outline of all of the science content on the exam here. Between the practice passages and the outline, there’s no need to buy the book itself. MCAT Question Packs The question packs are just re-purposed old practice material from the old exam. The biology, chemistry, and physics question packs are likely a waste of time and money, since they reflect the old, easier version of the MCAT. While they’re certainly okay practice if you’re desperate for something to work on, you’re better off sticking with other resources such as Next Step’s Content Review series or the Khan Academy passages. The one exception is the verbal packs – the Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills pack 1 and 2. The verbal has changed so little that they’re definitely a good investment for the new exam. MCAT Section Bank These are three packs of 100 questions in each of the science sections – so 100 questions of Biological Foundations (bio/biochem), 100 questions of...