Does anyone know of an MCAT tutor in the Cambridge, Mass. area? (Besides Kaplan and Princeton Review.)
Any luck yet? I would think being the Harvard region, you’d have little trouble as long as you advertise in the right place - i.e: at Harvard, BU or one of the other school in the Boston area.
Oh, one little thing - you mentioned Kaplan & TPR, please don’t make the erroneous assumption that they are tutors in the sense of topical preparation. They are excellent resources in the area of test preparation & familiarization; however, they do not assume the responsiblity of subject tutoring…although they frequently have lines on persons who can do a superb job in subject tutoring too. Test prep is an entirely different animal in that it focuses on how best to attact the specific style of exam that the MCAT is & repeatedly exposes you to those formats through mock exams & volumes of MCAT-styled study questions.
Success on the MCAT depends on much much more than your ability to regurgitate factoids. In fact, in my humble opinion, the biggest mistake people make in preparing for the MCAT is to do so as if it were a factual recall exam, just as the preponderance of all of our other exams are. The MCAT does require a significant element of factual recall; however, the emphasis is on your capacity to read & extract information couple it with your fund of knowledge & apply this in such a way that directs you to the correct answer. Typically, the passages provide an excess of detail that were you to attempt to slog through it all, you would never complete the exam.
So, the challenge of the MCAT goes far beyond retention of a ludicrous volume of factoids. I used to think, all the way through med school, that this exam was as useless as it could be & had little to do with being a doctor. In fact, the actual material you are being tested upon has minimal to do with the day-to-day goings on of a physician. However, the way the exam makes you take the knowledge you possess, gathered data & requires you to draw logic-driven conclusions from this information is what a physician does all day long (and all night if you are on call). The data gathering, data filtering & application of logic filtered through experience is a critical element of success as a physician.
Dave - good post. You’ve explained very concisely my thoughts on the test as well. One thing I’d like to mention. TPR (and I’m sure Kaplan) do offer one on one ‘tutoring’ with a subject matter expert in lieu of (or in addition to) the course. The people they pick are usually proven teachers who know not only the MCAT, but are also very knowledgeable about whichever subject you are talking about.
That said - I would recommend NOT using this resource. I think the OP may have figure that out himself. It is massively overpriced. I think the rates start at something ridiculous like 125 dollars an hour. As you mentioned, there should be many options in that area to find a good tutor. Or, find a tutor through TPR then ask them to tutor you on the side. Trust me, they only see a small fraction of that 125 bucks.