Module 14

Main Progression - Viruses, Monera, Protista, Fungi, Plants optional for MCAT, Animals taxonomy optional for MCAT, and Animal Development and Embryology

Review & Preview - Finish studying for your second practice test.

Knowledge Mapping - Comprehensive knowledge mapping.

Testing - Take your second simulated MCAT.

Main Progression

Assignments


Work through the Viruses chapter in the MCAT Primer with your question slider. Take your time to look carefully at the figures in the margins. Make sure you can answer all Level 2 questions. Study the more difficult terms as well, which can appear in MCAT passages.
Check your mastery of the vocabulary of Viruses with a drill up to Level 3 at the Question Server, and then try to perform the Fundamental Terms Crossword Puzzle without pausing. Click here for the Solution to the crossword.
Read pp. 53-56 in ExamKrackers Biology. Perform the questions on p. 57.
Review the Viruses external resources for each of the subtopics within the Learning Center. The main article in Kimball's Biology Pages is perfect for MCAT review.

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Goals


Be able to describe the components of a virion.
Understand the viral life cycle in general terms.
Be prepared to distinguish the various types of viral genomes.
Know the stages of the infective cycle of DNA bacteriophages.
Be able to distinguish the infective cycles of negative from positive strand RNA viruses.
Understand the infective cycle of retroviruses.
Understand the difference between lytic and latent infections.
Be able to describe how viruses may be used as vectors in recombinant DNA experiments.

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Monera

You have covered Monera already in the section on the Prokaryotic Cell in Module 11. The tasks and goals below are a repeat from that module as a refresher now that we are re-encountering Monera in the context of biological diversity.

Videos

Assignments


Read the Prokaryotic Cell chapter in your MCAT Primer with your question slider. Take your time to look carefully at the figures in the margins. Make sure you can answer all Level 2 questions. Study the more difficult terms as well, which can appear in MCAT passages.
Check your mastery of the vocabulary of the Prokaryotic Cell with a drill of Levels 1,2, and 3 at the Question Server, and then try to perform the Fundamental Terms Crossword Puzzle without pausing. Click here for the Solution to the crossword.
Work carefully through the materials in the Learning Center on the Prokaryotic Cell starting HERE.
Read pp. 58-68 in Examkrackers Biology (some overlap with Biological Membranes) and perform the questions on p. 69.

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Goals


Understand in both simple and complex terms how prokaryotic cells differ from eukaryotic cells.
Be prepared to describe the structure of the prokaryotic nucleoid as well as plasmids.
Comprehend the basic structure of the bacterial flagellum.
Be able to distinguish the structural differences in the cell walls of gram negative and gram positive bacteria.
Understand the basic narrative of bacterial reproduction.
Be capable of describing the function of bacterial pili.

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Protista

Although Protista might serve within an MCAT passage as an opportunity for discussion of general principles regarding eukaryotic cell biology or genetics, a detailed understanding of the taxonomy of Protista is not required for the MCAT. WikiPremed Protista resources are for pleasure reading in MCAT Preparation.

Assignments


Browse the terminology and images within the Protista Chapter of the MCAT Primer. Do not get too involved in the taxonomy if time is a concern. Complete the basic terms Crossword Puzzle (Solution) and perform an online drill at the Question Server.
Read through selected materials in the Learning Center on the Protista starting HERE.

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Goals


Be familiar with the characteristics of the major groups of protista, i.e. the plant-like autotrophs, slime molds, and animal-like heterotrophs.
Although Protista taxonomy is not an MCAT focus, it is a good idea to pay special attention to pathagenic protozoa.

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Assignments


Fungi is an area in which you need a good familiarity for the MCAT but not every detail. Work through the Fungi chapter in the MCAT Primer with your question slider. Take your time to look carefully at the figures in the margins. Make sure you can answer all Level 2 questions. Study the more difficult terms as well. Fungi are favorites for MCAT passages where the questions will be about molecular biology. You want a good comfort level with the terminology.
Check your mastery of the vocabulary of Fungi with a drill up to Level 3 at the Question Server, and then try to perform the Fundamental Terms Crossword Puzzle without pausing. Click here for the Solution to the crossword.
Read p. 70 in ExamKrackers Biology. Perform the questions on p. 71.
Finish your Main Progression work on Fungi with a review tour of the Fungi external resources in the Learning Center.

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Goals


Be able to describe fungal tissue structure in general terms using vocabulary such as hyphae, mycelium, and sporangia.
Understand how to distinguish zygomycetes, ascomycetes, and basidiomycetes.
Gain familiarity with fungal life cycles including asexual and sexual modes of reproduction and alternation of generations.

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Plants

Plants are a major topic in Biology but very minor for the MCAT. Plants often can appear on the MCAT but always in contexts where the passage and questions are really about other subject matter, such as cell biology or genetics. Although Plants comprise an extensive chapter in WikiPremed, this is more for the love of the knowledge than for the MCAT, so if you are pressured for time, do not expend a great deal of effort with this topic. More than any other topic, the assignments below are in the 'if you feel like it' category.

Assignments


Browse the terminology and images within the Plants Chapter of the MCAT Primer. Complete the basic terms Crossword Puzzle (Solution) and perform an online drill at the Question Server.
Read through selected materials in the Learning Center on the Plants starting HERE.

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Goals


For the MCAT it is helpful to understand plant biology within the broader biological contexts such as biochemistry, cell biology, evolution or ecology, but there are no specific learning goals for the MCAT.

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Animals

The MCAT does expect students to be familiar with the basic evolutionary history of the Animal kindgom and to recognize chordate features in the context of natural history as well as embryology. However, the MCAT does not seem to expect much knowledge of taxonomy, especially invertebrate taxonomy.

Assignments


You need to have the basic vocabulary with this topic, but do not spend much time learning the classes and subclasses of Porifera, which will not be on the MCAT. Perform the Crossword Puzzle. Here is the Solution.
Browse through the Learning Center on the Animals starting HERE. What you want is a good, fundamental basis as part of your overall scientific fluency. There is a way of looking at detailed information where you get a good sense of the topic without worrying about memorizing everything.

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Goals


Be able to demonstrate an understanding of what makes animals different from the other kingdoms of life.
Possess a fairly good sense of the relationship between evolutionary history and cladistics in the animal kingdom.

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Assignments


Develop a reasonable mastery of the vocabulary of Animal Development and Embryology with a drill of Levels 1,2, and 3 Question Server. Then see if you can perform the Fundamental Terms Crossword Puzzle without pausing. Click here for the Solution to the crossword.
Read pp 115-116 in ExamKrackers Biology.
Take a review tour of the Animal Development and Embryology resources in the Learning Center.

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Goals


You must be able to describe in moderate detail the pathway of human embryonic development through the phases of cleavage, patterning, and differentiation.
Have a clear picture of the process of gastrulation in human embryonic development.
Be able to describe the germ layer origin of various body tissues.
Understand some of the regulatory mechanisms which allow differentiated cells to express the appropriate subsets of genes specific to their developmental fate.
Be familiar with the experimental history and understand the significance of the Spemann organizer.
Be able to narrate the development of the notochord in gastrulation, the neural folds stage, and the formation of the neural tube.
Be able to name the extraembryonic membranes which are common to the embryos of reptiles, birds and mammals and understand what happens with these in placental mammals.

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Review & Preview

Assignments


In this phase of the course, when you prepare for practice tests, try to do your best to imagine that you are preparing for a real MCAT. This way you will begin to take full responsibility for your knowledge base as a kind of performance in which you know you can establish the frame of reference for whatever passage the MCAT throws at you. Try to make the best of it. At this point you should know the Examkrackers conceptual discussions from beginning to end in Physics, General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry and Biology. You have read these discussions from start to finish several times now. Try to get as many overview cycles through the material as you can. Read the headings. Browse the text. Look at the figures.
Browse all the chapter outlines from the beginning to end in the Learning Center beginning with Kinematics. (Deep Modern Physics, Photosynthesis, Plant Biology, and Animal Taxonomy are optional). You don't need to know everything, but you should have a pretty good sense of what the main ideas are in within every topic. Each time you click 'Next Chapter' try to recite the outline, imagine the field of reference and recount the five or six main ideas within each chapter.
Go from the beginning to the end in the MCAT Primer and take the time to look over the figures in each section. Work especially hard on the conceptual vocabulary of the areas of Biology where there is a great deal of factual information. A big reason to do this at this stage in the course is to get a handle on the memory challenge for Biology early enough in the course.

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Goals


Be prepared for your second practice MCAT by ensuring that you have a solid foundation in the entire body of basic factual and conceptual knowledge required for the exam.
Be able to picture the four disciplines at the topic level from the bird's eye view.
Possess comfortable cover to cover recognition of your study materials.
Be able to place phenomena within the proper field reference within the scientific disciplines.

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Testing

Assignments


It is time for your second practice test. Although the best MCATs are located at the AAMC site at www.e-mcat.com, there are other quality free MCATs available online. For example, the first rate out-fit Gold Standard offers a free test HERE. Kaplan also often offers free practice tests, sometimes online and sometimes at special events on college campuses, although their practice tests are known for being extremely difficult. Set aside six or seven hours when you can guarantee you will be undisturbed. Secure pencils, scratch paper, and a clean desk with only your computer. If you have a WikiPremed study group, try to arrange for everyone to take the same practice tests in the same order so that you can discuss them together. Good luck!
Remember: the harder the passage the easier the questions.

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Goals


When you go through the solutions and score report, try to gain as much insight into your strengths and weaknesses. However, take this with a grain of salt. There aren't enough question instances on an MCAT for fine-grained diagnostics. Not necessarilly by topic, but which kind of questions give you trouble?
Understand the MCAT pace and the nature of MCAT passages and questions. The MCAT is a good test. The more you understand the point of view of its authors the better you will do.

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MECHANICS & WAVES
MCAT course 
syllabus module 1
Kinematics
Newton's Laws
Work, Energy, & Power
Momentum & Impulse
MCAT course syllabus module 2
Rotation  
Harmonic Motion
Elastic Properties of Solids
Fluid Mechanics
Waves
FUNDAMENTAL FORCES
MCAT course syllabus module 3
Gravitation
Electricity
THE STRUCTURE OF MATTER
MCAT course 
syllabus module 4
Atomic Theory
Periodic Properties
The Chemical Bond
Intermolecular Forces
MCAT course syllabus module 5
Functional Groups
Stereochemistry
THERMODYNAMICS & KINETICS
MCAT course syllabus module 6
Temperature & Heat Flow
Ideal Gas & Kinetic Theory
1st Law of Thermodynamics
Stoichiometry
Thermochemistry
MCAT course syllabus module 7
2nd Law & Heat Engines
Chemical Thermodynamics
The States of Matter
Orgo Physical Properties
Chemical Kinetics
AQUEOUS SYSTEMS
MCAT course syllabus module 8
Water
Solutions
Acids & Bases
Organic Acids & Bases
ORGANIC REACTION CHEMISTRY
MCAT course syllabus module 9
Nucleophiles & Electrophiles
Rearrangements
Radical Intermediates
Conjugation & Aromaticity
Alkanes
Alkenes  optional
Alkynes  optional
Alkyl Halides
Allylic Conjugation
Aromatic Compounds  optional
Alcohols & Ethers
Aldehydes & Ketones
Carboxylic Acids
Amines
Phosphorus Compounds
Sulfur Compounds
MCAT course 
syllabus module 10Overall Review
BIOMOLECULES
MCAT course syllabus module 11
Proteins
Carbohydrates
Nucleic Acids
Lipids
THE CELL
Biological Membranes
The Prokaryotic Cell
The Eukaryotic Cell
BIOENERGETICS & BIOSYNTHESIS
MCAT course syllabus module 12
Coordination Chemistry
Oxidation/Reduction
Redox in Organic Chemistry
Electrochemistry
Cellular Respiration
Photosynthesis  optional
Integration of Metabolism
GENETICS & REPRODUCTION
MCAT course syllabus module 13
Gene Expression
Cellular Reproduction
Mendelian Genetics
Recombination & Mutation
Molecular Biology Lab
Human Genetics
DIVERSITY OF LIFE
MCAT course syllabus module 14
Viruses
Bacteria & Archaea
Protista  taxonomy optional
Fungi
Plants  optional
Animals  taxonomy optional
Embryology
MCAT course 
syllabus module 15
Tissues & Histology
HUMAN PHYSIOLOGY
Nervous System
Sensory Systems
Endocrine System
Musculoskeletal System
Cardiovascular System
Blood
Respiratory System
Lymphatic System & Immunity
Urinary System
Digestive System
Reproductive System
POPULATION BIOLOGY
MCAT course syllabus module 16
Evolution
Ecology
ELECTROMAGNETISM, LIGHT, & MODERN PHYSICS
MCAT course syllabus module 17
Electricity
DC Current
Magnetism
Electomagnetic Induction
AC Current
MCAT course syllabus module 18
Properties of Light
Geometric Optics
Wave Optics
MCAT course syllabus module 19
Modern Physics  relativity optional
Molecular Spectroscopy
Nuclear Physics
MCAT course 
syllabus module 20Overall Review
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