by Tiffany Pouldar
“No stress” is not a phrase most people hear when preparing for a test that could ultimately determine their future. Yet Swartwood Testing, Admissions, and Review believes this is the best approach in tackling any admission test whether it be the Medical College Admission test (MCAT), Dental Admission Test (DAT), Optometry Admission Test (OAT), or Pharmacy Colleges Admission Test (PCAT). John Swartwood, the founder and main teacher of Swartwood Testing, Admissions, and Review, started teaching for the MCAT in an unconventional manner. While attending graduate school at UCLA, Swartwood became a TA for a variety of departments, and many of his students asked him to privately tutor them for the MCAT or DAT. Word got out about the TA turned tutor, and by 2008, Swartwood Testing, Admissions, and Review became an official company. “Originally, I started out with a couple of students. But after they had such successful test scores and were getting into medical school, more students were asking me to tutor them,” Swartwood said. Something was definitely working in Swartwood’s approach to the MCAT. He believes that most students are “too smart” for the test. “The test is based on core concepts that anyone is capable of understanding. It’s just a matter of applying the material and understanding what’s important,” Swartwood said. The way Swartwood designed his class is geared towards the test’s critical thinking aspect. He divides the course into first mastering the main concepts and then strategizing each question. Every piece of material is re-taught from scratch. The “Swartwood only” program consists of in-depth teaching of physical sciences, biological sciences, and verbal, all taught by Swartwood himself. “I’ve been lucky to teach so many students. I’ve had such good chemistry with them, and they’ve all become a part of the Swartwood family,” Swartwood said. He’s seen all his students improve their scores through the progression of the course. A lot of students keep in touch and still come to him for guidance. Most still use the concepts learned for the MCAT while studying in medical school. Though the courses are held near UCLA, many Trojans are making the trip to Bruin territory. “I started Swartwood’s MCAT prep class last month and so far, I’ve looked at the test as a thinking test, not a conceptual one. It’s easy to get overwhelmed because there’s so much material but I’m focusing only on the main ideas,” said USC senior Pedram Khorsandi. Swartwood has had such great responses from USC students that he wants to expand to the USC campus and surrounding areas. Though there are no plans set, he hopes to start a prep course at the UV or close by. “The few times I’ve been to the USC campus, I’ve only had positive vibes. There isn’t much competition and it’s really friendly,” Swartwood said. For more information about Swartwood Testing, Admissions, and Review, visit http:// www.swartwoodprep.com/.