47: More Discussion of a Mix of Discrete MCAT Questions

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Session 47

This week is a continuation of last week's grab bag of MCAT discrete questions that Bryan and I covered so you can max your score come test day!

[01:10] Anatomy and Mnemonics

Question #44: Each of the following structures are derived from the mesoderm except:

  • (A) Kidneys
  • (B) Spinal cord
  • (C) Triceps
  • (D) Circulatory system

Bryan's Insights:

The standout here is the spinal cord because the brain, spinal cord, and nerves are all derived from ectoderm, along with things like the skin, hair, and the lens of the eye, and so on. So the correct answer here is (B).

You can use this mnemonic of the mesoderm as a "move-o-derm." First, the move-d-derm controls how you move your body around such as bone, muscle, cartilage, and so on. Second, it controls how you move things inside of you (ex. circulatory system). The blood vessels are just muscular tubes but this plugs back into that idea of being a muscle. Third, the move-o-derm is so good that it doesn't just move the body around or moves things around inside your body, but it also gives you the motivation to move. So if your lazy butt is sitting on the couch on any random Sunday and why do you get off the couch to move? Probably because you have to pee. So mesoderm gives you the kidneys, the excretory system, as well as the reproductive system.

Endoderm means inside so if it's an internal organ and you don't know, just guess endoderm like liver or spleen. Ectoderm is stuff on the outside so skin, hair, eyes, oh and by the way, brains.

[04:35] Chemistry and the Bases

Question: Which of the following compounds would not be useful as an antacid?

  • (A) MgOH2
  • (B) AlOH3
  • (C) C2H5OH
  • (D) CaCO3

Bryan's Insights:

The common mistake here would be to pick answer choice (D) Calcium carbonate which is the only that doesn't have an OH and remembering that OH is a base so perhaps choices A, B, and C are all bases and D is not. However, answer choice (C) is ethanol which is an alcohol so it's not a base at all. That OH there is not an OH- so they can break off. In fact, it has a basically neutral and ever so slightly acidic pH.

Whereas (A) Magnesium hydroxide and (B) Aluminum hydroxide are going to release an OH. They could counter an acid so they can be an antacid while (D) Calcium carbonate is literally the actual medical antacid we've all taken at some point. So the correct answer here is (C).

[06:14] Universal Emotions

Question #46: Three individuals, one from a large urban center in Canada, one from a remote world, which is a village in Bulgaria, and one from a tribe in the Brazilian jungle are presented with the following stimuli. Which of them is most likely to be interpreted the same way by all three individuals:

  • (A) Hunched body posture and upright body posture
  • (B) A facial grimace and a smile
  • (C) A long loud sigh
  • (D) A shout of a vulgar word in a romance language

Bryan's Insights:

There are the classic universal emotions that are expressed in our faces the same way everywhere. They're just kind of hardwired into what it means to be a human brain with a face. Happy, sad, surprised, disgusted - these are things that are the same everywhere. So the facial expression here is absolutely the right answer.

[07:45] Key Takeaways

It's always important for the little story I told about the move-o-derm. It moves your body. It moves the stuff inside you. It gives you the motivation to move. So it's always important for those mnemonics to be something that you can connect with personally or tells a little story. Mnemonics are not just random strings of letters. Take the time and effort to build your own meaningful mnemonics and they will serve you well on test day.

[08:35] Next Step Test Prep

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