Deep Dive Into More Random Discrete MCAT Questions

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Session 48

This is our third week in a row where we’re covering various discrete MCAT questions. We’re basically doing a grab bag today to mix it up and keep you on your toes as Bryan and I break down these different MCAT questions so you can crush the MCAT.

[01:20] Sociology Question

Question #47: Which of the following statements, if true, least accords with social construction theory?

Bryan says this can get a little twisty. The “if true” phrase tells you not to argue with the choices and it’s kind of a standard “test maker” talk like, “Don’t fight with me about A. Just accept it’s true and then tell me whether or not that sounds like social constructionism.”

  • (A) The inclusion of many social networking features in the typical smartphone is a result of the value systems of those who designed it.
  • (B) An art film containing several scenes depicting explicit sexual activity is marginalized because no “good” member of a society is willing to view it.
  • (C) World War II is seen by most Americans over the age of 50 as “the last good war” in which the U.S. was unequivocally on the side of justice.
  • (D) The high value of the automobile in enabling personal autonomy is universal across widely disparate societies.

[03:12] Bryan’s Insights

In this question, they’re looking for “not” social construction. Social construction theory is the idea that society is built by the people in it which is made up of multiple people interacting through systems, primarily language. Then each society is just built by the people that make up the society.

Answer choice (D) presents a fact as if it were some absolute law because of the word universal. So if you see words such as universal or the synonyms of it, they’re certainly not social construction theory. Hence, answer choice D is the right answer here.

The other answer choices are about the opinions or the behavior of people in a society constructing the society out of those interactions.

This is a standard Sociology question. They’re going to want you to be able to rattle off the definitions of various views of societies such as social construction theory, conflict theory, feminist theory, social interactionism, or functionalism as it’s sometimes called. They won’t literally ask for the definition but it can be presented as scenarios and they’d adk oyu to pick something that best fits or least fits the definition.

[Tweet “They’re going to want you to be able to rattle off the definitions of various views of societies.”]

[05:07] Know Your Fatty Acid

Question: A fatty acid is composed of a carboxylic acid head and a tail-end comprised primarily of:

  • (A) Hydrocarbon groups
  • (B) Phosphate groups
  • (C) Amino groups
  • (D) Sulfate groups.

Bryan’s Insights:

A fatty acid is made up of a fat as the word suggests, with a head and fat tail and then you just have to remember what a fat molecule is which is just a whole bunch of CH2. So the answer would be (A) Hydrocarbon groups.

[06:05] Presence and Absence of Oxygen

Question #58: Several Salmonella species are facultative anaerobes. Assuming that other external conditions are controlled for, would the expected growth rate of a Salmonella colony be slower in the presence or absence of oxygen (O2)?

  • (A) In the presence of O2 because aerobic respiration produces CO2, a byproduct that is lethal to facultative anaerobes.
  • (B) In the presence of O2 because the final product of aerobic respiration contains more energy than the final product of fermentation.
  • (C) In the absence of O2 because the bacteria will need to produce pyruvate decarboxylase, an enzyme required for entrance to the Krebs Cycle.
  • (D) In the absence of O2 because these conditions result in lower production of ATP which can fuel binary fission.

[07:20] Bryan’s Insights

Remember the difference between metabolism when you have oxygen versus metabolism when you don’t have oxygen and how you get more energy if you’re just going to say, take a single glucose molecule and you want to just squeeze all the possible energy out of it and produce whatever the products were going to be.

Aerobic is more productive. The reason a human being would die after no oxygen for four or five minutes is because in the absence of oxygen, anaerobic respiration does’t produce enough ATP and of course the brain is this total energy hog. It has to have that energy constantly.

It’s the same for bacteria. The question says “where will the growth be slower” and so you’re going to be slower in the absence of O2 because you’re not getting nearly enough energy out of it. Hence, the correct answer is choice (D).

Answer choice (C) is not the right answer because in the absence of O2, you’re not going to do the Krebs Cycle so this choice is self-contradictory where it says the absence of O2 but you will do the Krebs Cycle so it doesn’t make sense.

[09:30] Blueprint MCAT (formerly Next Step Test Prep)

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[Tweet “The MCAT is completely different from undergrad tests. Study. Understand the content. But beyond that, you need to take practice tests.”]


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