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Private In-Home and Online MCAT Tutoring in Fullerton, CA

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Session Summaries by MCAT Tutors

Fullerton, CA MCAT tutoring
We discussed Nuclear Reactions, Atomic Structure, and Periodic Trends. We began with a brief overview of the Rutherford Experiment and its meaning, pausing to discuss the types of nuclear decay particles. We then talked about the types of subatomic particles, their mass and charge, and how the inequality of a neutron to a proton+electron informed Einstein's matter-energy equivalence. We discussed atomic notation, including mass number and charge. We discussed the relationship between mass number and atomic mass. We discussed weighted averages, correlating it at his request to another area (rotational equilibrium). We discussed why the # of protons is the defining characteristic of an element. We covered how to balance a nuclear reaction with mass and charge, using U-235 as an example. We then used that to examine the decay of Carbon-14. We discussed 1st- and zero-order decay processes in general. We then dove into the math, emphasizing the half-life over the decay constant. We had an impromptu and challenging session on understanding logarithms. We then moved on to atomic structure. We discussed the Bohr Model and the Photoelectric Effect in Electrostatic Potential Energy terms. We moved on to the quantum model, pausing to expand on the wave/particle nature of the electron cloud. We discussed all four quantum numbers in detail, including what information each added to the knowledge base. We discussed the Aufbau principle, Hund's rule, the Pauli exclusion principle, and orbital theory in terms of volume. We discussed the layout of the periodic tables, important groups in the table, and the behavior of metals, especially transition metals. We then moved on to periodic trends. We discussed the nature of the Z-effective, the factors determining Atomic Radius, and how they changed across periods and down groups. We closed with ionization and electron acquisition, their trends, and exceptions. We plan on meeting tomorrow to continue with Electronegativity, Bonding, Intermolecular Forces, Ideal Gasses, and maybe the Thermo of Gasses. I have assigned him problems in Nuclear decay to beef up his log knowledge in a relevant context.
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Fullerton, CA MCAT tutoring
We went over questions about the cardiovascular as well as the musculoskeletal system. She has a great attitude, but is a little overwhelmed by the amount of material we have to go over. I am making sure she's organized so she won't feel overwhelmed.
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Fullerton, CA MCAT tutoring
We went over the next set of passages. We focused on a consistent spot in which the student generally struggles. I will be uploading a new set of passages for next week. In terms of progress, she has really concentrated on what used to be her weaknesses -detail and main idea - and has improved them considerably.
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Fullerton, CA MCAT tutoring
The student and I began with a discussion on the different types of stereochemical labelling, comparing and contrasting D, L, +, -, and R and S. This led into a brief discussion on carbohydrate structure and nomenclature. We then walked through a difficult passage on gene therapy from the AAMC biology question pack. This involved some complicated ideas within molecular genetics, so we took our time to clear up the details of RNA, DNA, and the mechanisms of the central dogma. After this, we did some more practice in molecular genetics and molecular biology, working a couple of passages with an immune system slant. We then finished the session with a CARS passage on history, on which the student performed well.
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Fullerton, CA MCAT tutoring
The student and I met for our second session. In these sessions, I first discussed her progress on the test so far and the strategies she is using. I introduced her to the basic strategy for the logic games section, which is the section she said she was struggling the most with ahead of our meeting. I took her through a large number of practice problems, illustrating ways to make deductions and do the questions in a certain order so that she can save time and improve her accuracy. She is able to do the easier games relatively well; we just need to improve the pacing a bit with practice. She struggles with some of the harder games, so we went over those in great detail.
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Fullerton, CA MCAT tutoring
The student is showing rapid improvement in her accuracy. We're going to switch most of our attention to reading comprehension because she seems to be doing quite well with logical reasoning and logic games.
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