Sunday, November 29, 2015

A-Levels to MCAT - Introduction

  • A-Levels to MCAT - Introduction

This self-study guide is for those who will be attempting the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) exams after their A-levels.

It is important to note that the topics are not exactly the same as in A-levels. More details are now required.

First, be sure to have your MCAT syllabus with you – we will be considering the 2015 syllabus in this guide (in terms of page number), but it should be basically the same for other years.
The weightage of each subject is different, depending on the length of each syllabus. 
As you can see, Physics (44 questions), Chemistry (58 questions), English (30 questions) and Biology (88 questions).

Total = 220 questions in the MCAT (to be solved in 2 hours & 30 minutes)

For details on the subjects, follow the links below:

Physics Guide: part 1 | part 2
Chemistry Guide: part 1 | part 2
Biology Guide: part 1 | part 2
English Guide: complete

Note that these information have been taken, with permission, from the original author, to whom the credits go. Links to the original posts are available below.

I hope the guides were helpful. As you can see, it is NOT hard or impossible. Just needs a little focus and time. So give it your all for 3 months and hopefully Insha Allah, make a bright medical career ahead of you.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

A-Levels to MCAT - English Guide

  • A-Levels to MCAT - English Guide

The English guide has only 1 part.

Expected duration: 3 Months

Yup, you read it right. 3 months. That is because you have to study a bit of English EVERYDAY for 3 months to actually be able to solve the MCQs.

If your English is a little rusty, read the rules and practice questions. You can get a lot of MCAT English books from the market to help you.

As for the vocabulary... Now that is something I did everyday. First of all, buy a book for the MCAT vocabulary. If you can get your hands on the KIPs English vocab book, that will be perfect. But KIPS does not sell their book in the market. Only students in the academies can get it. But if you do get it somehow, that is the best vocabulary book there is.

I didn't have the KIPS book so I used MCAT by Dogar Books for the vocabulary.

Now there are some 600 words you have to learn with their meanings and synonyms. The best plan of action is to learn 10 words per day. So if you keep up with this schedule, your English vocabulary should be done in around 2 and a half months.

For credits, go to the introduction page.

Monday, November 23, 2015

A-Levels to MCAT - Biology Guide (part 2)

  • A-Levels to MCAT - Biology Guide (part 2)

Here is the second part of the Biology guide. Part II Biology isn't very long and it is pretty easy. You should be done with it quickly. A few chapters are just entirely new.

Expected duration: 10 days


(c) Excretion And Osmoregulation

Chapter # 5
Questions: 05

The chapter of osmoregulation we studied in A-levels was A LOT more detailed, so it would do you good to revise it.

• The first point is covered on page 10 - 14
• The second point is covered on pages 15-16
• The third point is covered on pages 1-2, 6-8. Yes, the urea cycle is important too.

(d) Nervous System
Chapter # 15
Questions: 04

• The first point is covered on page 67
• The second point is covered on pages 68-69.
• The third point is covered on pages 70-71
• The fourth point is covered on pages 60-61
• The fifth point is covered on page 71
• The sixth point is covered on page 55

(e) Reproduction
Chapter # 18
Questions: 05

This chapter is a lot smaller than the detailed one we studied in our A-levels.

(f) Support and Movement
Chapter # 16
Questions: 05

This is a relatively new chapter and it might take you a little time to get the concepts. For better understanding of the sarcomere, you can always refer to the diagrams in A-levels book. And you can watch animations online for the Sliding filament theory.

All the points are covered from pages 31-35, and then pages 38-43

(g) Hormonal Control
Chapter # 17
Questions: 04

For this chapter, learn all the text from page 72-78

Chapter # 23
Questions: 05

This chapter is nothing compared to the one we studied in A-levels. You should find it very easy. Learn everything from pages 202-207 and then from pages 212-216

Chapter # 25, # 27
Questions: 05

This is a pretty general knowledge, fun topic. The whole of Chapter 25 is included except the Nitrogen cycle. From chapter 27, pages 269-276 is included.

Chapter # 22 & # 24
Questions: 05

I did not like this chapter very much.

• Point (a) is covered on page 225 - 226
• Point (b) is covered on page 227-228
• Point (c) is covered on page 186, 192-196
• Point (d) is covered on pages 173-177

This ends the Biology guide for the A-Levels to MCAT transition.

For credits, go to the introduction page.

Friday, November 20, 2015

A-Levels to MCAT - Biology Guide (part 1)

  • A-Levels to MCAT - Biology Guide (part 1)

Again, the guide consists of 2 parts, the first part is what follows.

Expected duration: 13 days
For biology, unlike Physics and Chemistry, the entire chapters are included. The book covers the whole syllabus so you don't really need to refer to another book or your A-levels unless you want to revise your previous knowledge. So instead of writing the pages for the individual learning outcomes, I will tell you what isn't included. Remember, Biology is the most major subject and carries the most number of MCQs so it should be your prime focus. Biology MCQs are really quick and easy to solve one you have learned the topics well.

Chapter # 1
Questions: 04

The whole chapter is included from the first letter to the last.

Chapter # 4 
Questions: 10

The whole chapter is included except lysosome, perioxisomes, glycoxysome on pages 56 - 57. I still read them just in case though. Plastids on page 60 - 61 are also not included. For cell meiosis and mitosis, you have to do the WHOLE of chapter 21 from BIOLOGY PART II.

Chapter # 2 & # 3
Questions: 09

The whole of chapter 2 and 3 are included. Nothing must be left out.

Chapter # 5, #6, #7
Questions: 04

Now this is a long chapter and has only 4 questions but like I said every question counts so you have to do everything, down to the t. In these chapters a lot of things have been excluded from the syllabus.

For Viruses, learn from pages 72 - 80. Hepatitis isn't in the syllabus but no harm in reading about it.

For Bacteria, refer to pages 84 - 91. Leave out the importance of bacteria. Then learn the text from page 94, under the heading of 'use and misuse of bacteria'. Nothing else is included.

For Fungi, move to chapter 8 and study from pages 113 - 120. And the then the Importance of Fungi on pages 125 - 128. 

Chapter # 9 & # 10
Questions: 05

... The most horrible chapter in the entire MCAT syllabus. You have been warned. It was a NIGHTMARE. There are hard pronouncing words and terms in it that you have to learn and you have no choice. So even if it takes you a while, you HAVE to learn them. There is no way out.

But the good news is, not the whole of the chapters are included!

Kingdom Plantae - pages 155 - 163. Leave out the 'Familiar plants' and 'Vegetative & Floral characteristics'. Fabaceae on page 158 & Mimosaceae on page 160 is not included. Now here's the shocking news: in the 2015 syllabus, they haven't mentioned individual subtopics for Kingdom Plantae. I'm guessing that was a misprint but you can't take chances. You'll have to do the whole chapter unfortunately. And it's a pretty pointless chapter.

For Kingdom Anamalia, refer to pages 167 - 180, 183 - 184, 186 - 187.

Chapter # 12, #13, #14
Questions: 13

The chapters in Human Physiology in Part I  are only (a) Digestive system (b) Gaseous Exchange and Transport (h) Immunity. The rest are in the next book that will be discussed later.

For (a) learn everything from pages 245 - 256.
For (b) learn from pages 267 - 275, 306 - 315
For (h) learn from pages 323 - 327

Chapter # 11
Questions: 05

I recommend revising the A-levels chapters of Respiration and Photosynthesis first. The entire chapter is included. Pay close attention to the cycles and schemes given because the examiners like to pick out information out of them and make an MCQ.

The part I syllabus ends here. It might seem long but Biology is VERY easy. And it is a major subject. So if you have learned your Bio well, that's a guaranteed 88 MCQs correct for you.

For credits, go to the introduction page.
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