Saturday, September 17, 2011

These are the times that try Mom's soul..........

I feel like I went from one stressor to another and I'm once again wondering how in the hell do Moms with teenagers make it through med school, with the kids turning out Okay? URGH!!!!

One month into school, my future Engineer/PhD geologist is now flunking her honors classes in Bio, Algebra 2, and Government. But has a perfect 100% average in Chinese and 97% in English? WTH????

Now if she suddenly decided to be a Chinese language interpreter for the UN one day, I'd FULLY support that as long as it was also either as a Scientist, Engineer, or Health professional. In words, I ain't paying for no "soft" degrees like dance, english, or psychology!! And with the way the world's shaping up professionally, folks majoring in soft areas are gonna find themselves competing for fewer and fewer jobs as time goes by. At least, that's what I think. Having said all that, I have a degree in a "soft" subject too, but I combined it with a hard core science because I wanted to eat regularly when I finished college, LOL!!!!

But my kids academic dilemma (which will soon be resolved after I put the "hammer" down), reminds me of where Black kids are today when it comes to academics and college majors. There are fewer American born Blacks majoring in science, engineering, medicine, and technical areas than there's been since the 80's, and the numbers are decreasing a LOT every year. OTOH, Blacks from Africa are happily applying to college programs in these areas in record numbers every year. So what I want to know is, how in the hell did American Blacks get to this place academically?

Moving on, I promised one of my loyal readers I would discuss what I finally ended up doing to prepare for the MCAT. And I changed my "strategy" so many times even I get lost trying to think of what I think finally worked for me. SO here's a list of a few things I found helpful:

1) I finally accepted that I was being tested on being able to identify the best answer not necessarily the right answer, and as a future Doc this makes a LOT of sense. When treating a patient, there may be several approaches one can take, but being able to identify the best one for that particular patient requires being able to see the broader view of things.

2) I timed EVERY SINGLE PASSAGE I DID which is why on the real thing, I finished with time to spare for the very first time on EVERY section.

3) I ended up eliminating the EK 1001 series questions for all the subjects except Bio and the reason I reviewed the Bio was because it was set up passge style. The MCAT hasn't tested significantly in discrete question style in over 20 years, so I realized early that practicing those type questions was a bit of a waste of time for me.

4) I repeated my difficult subjects over and over and over again until I had them down pat. Luckily for me, this wasn't required for the majority of the subject areas of the test. And when I saw those difficult area questions on the MCAT, I didn't have a moments worth of hesitation about answering them.

5) I spent twice as much time understanding wrong answers than right answers and I believe this is going to pay off on the real thing.

I guess time will tell if this worked or not, but as my sister/cousin would say, I'm going to speak a 30+ score into existance!


  1. Thanks Path for the helpful tips! Timing has been a big problem for me during practice MCAT FL exams. It takes me twice the time to complete almost all the sections. I guess I should practice, practice, practice... I may have to purchase TBR books. How many practice passages does TBR have for VR, PS and BS?

    I really like your cousin's saying. I will try to use it.

  2. I think the reason why TBR helped me so much with my timing is because the questions are extra hard, and when you do their passages under timed conditions you're forced to learn to process the info in the passages quickly to come up with the right answer (and hopefully that makes sense, LOL!!). Most importantly, reviewing the answer explanations helped me learn what to look for in a "best/right" answer as well. I did this for both right and especially wrong answers.

    TBR has about 10 passages for each science section and there are about 5 section per book, 2 books per subject. That's ends up being ~100 science passages per subject area (example Physics) so now it's probably understandable why I was so worn out from doing passages toward the end of my study prep. As for VR and BS, I only used the EK series, the 101 VR passages and the BS prep book which I mentioned before is set passage style.

    All that said, I need to correct something I said about the Science prep from EK on a previous post. If you've taken the science under courses recently and are very good at identifying the best/correct answers on exams, then TBR is probably overkill and EK is probably Okay. OTOH, if you need a start from scratch kinda review, TBR for PS is the only way to go!

    Hope this helps!

  3. Thanks Path! That really helps.

  4. Mi, I forgot to add that TBR was great for Organic too!

  5. I just lost my entire comment. Trying again. Boohoo.

    I was saying that I have wondered the same thing that you have. I really don't think it is possible to meet your child's needs as a medical student or resident. Sorry to everyone who thinks differently. That's my opinion as a dawkter's wife.

    I have THREE ... 3 ... teens right now. Holy shit and pass the rum! Who knew that they would require so much more attention, help, and nurturing than my little ones?

    My oldest is a junior in high school this year. He has always made straight A's. This year, he stumbled coming out of the gate and started off with C-'s and D+'s. I nearly had to be committed. LOL. No ... I didn't ... I just had to help him get organized, work with him, talk to him, and keep supporting him. It's gotten better.

    Good luck on your MCAT score. I'm banking on your 30! ;)


  6. Thanks Kris! And I think you're doing a GREAT job with your kids!

  7. Path, I feel your pain with those teenagers. I only have one 16 yr old daughter; thank GOD. She has worked my nerves more than my 5 and 6 yr old boys. The entire time I had been studying for the MCAT she was more stress than the MCAT itself. I gave her a choice this year. I told her if she did not get her grades and her attitude together than she will be put in the Navy where she can become a nurse. She wants to do nursing. I love my daughter,but she cannot get her social life and her attitude together.

    I agree with you on the fact that more Black students need to be focusing on subjects like science, engineering, medicine, and technical areas. We are trying to steer our boys towards those areas. They both love science and my youngest says he wants to be a doctor like mommy. If it is GOD's WILL, it will happen.
    Yes, put the HAMMER down and I will do the same.
    I Took the MCAT 9/2/2011 and trying to have a open mind. I did not get as much studying in as I would have liked; however, I will be ok if I have to re-take it in April 2012. I am already get prepared.

    Take Care


  8. Hey Tonja!

    I'm soooo glad to hear you stayed on the path toward becoming an MD!!! So VERY happy for you!!!

    As for the teenage daughter, thing I later found out something that may be at the heart of her recent troubles which I'm going to blog about in my next post! And thanks for sharing your story, it's good to hear I'm not alone. I'm also thrilled to hear your kids are interested in fields that have PLENTY of jobs, LOL!!

    Please stay in touch!!