Testing, Admissions, & Review 

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“Hi!   This message is for John -

Hopefully he remembers me!! He helped me get a  30  on  the  MCAT  last May and then he helped me tremendously iron out my personal statement and looked over other parts of my app such as my EC (extracurricular and work) descriptions... I just wanted to let him know that I got into two U.S. MD schools this week!! So excited! Thank you again for all of your help, John! 

Even though my GPA was lower than 3.3, I managed to get  7  MD  interviews  (including 1 UC school) and so far I am waitlisted at 1 school, with 2 acceptances... waiting to hear back from the rest!

I'm so happy and just wanted to share that it's not always about the "numbers" as schools definitely look for other things like ECs, passion, and  communication skills -- like John always said in class! Personality and confidence really go a long way in this process and I think John definitely helped boost my confidence while I was preparing for the MCAT as he helped me raise my verbal score alone by THREE points. John really is the BEST for verbal and helped me "get it." I am super glad that I spent extra time receiving private tutoring for the verbal portion of the exam as well as extra time reviewing my application with him... Otherwise I might not be where I am today!

I will highly recommend Swartwood to anyone I know that needs MCAT prep or application advice! Also for anyone who thinks a 30 on the MCAT isn't good enough...be sure to tell them that it definitely is! Thank you again John!!!

Best Wishes, -Cindy"  

Cindy P.  
SWARTWOOD MCAT Student (USC Post-bacc.)

"I scored over 30 on the MCAT with less than 2 months of studying, thanks to SWARTWOOD! 
Having graduated from college years ago, I didn't remember anything from the basic sciences.
When I took the MCAT then, I studied for a stressful number of months and scored a 23. 

This year I went through SWARTWOOD and improved several points in each section. At SWARTWOOD, I learned priceless strategies while adopting John's "No stress" attitude. 

SWARTWOOD gave me the confidence to conquer the MCAT and best of all the luxury to "send it away" for good.
To anyone who is in doubt of themselves, relax. There's more to life than the MCAT. You've made it this far for a reason. 

Thank you again!"

Bonnie L.

"I'm Chelsea the student from USC who was in your summer 2013 August cycle.  When it all boiled down to me sitting in front of the computer, it was YOUR methods and mnemonics that I really used. Within 5 minutes of sitting down, I knew I was in trouble. This test was NOTHING like any of the practice tests I had ever done. It was like the MCAT test of doom.  It's like it didn't even test me on my knowledge of science! I stuck with what I knew. What were the fundamentals I knew like the back of my hand that I had to recall, and what information did I need to take from the passage? 

I could literally hear your voice during the test. I tried not to let the panic get to me. I told myself, "think through it," "trust it," and "be MELLOW". My final breakdown was 13/9/11 =33! It's about 3 points higher than my diags. Definitely surpassed what I expected. 
Without your teaching style, I'm pretty sure I would have had a hysterical mental breakdown and void the test again. Thank you SO MUCH for teaching me!!!!! The SWARTWOOD way is definitely the way to go. The SWARTWOOD difference exists. There's no doubting it.


Chelsea  USC Pre-Med 

Before I took the SWARTWOOD Only class I had tried several different MCAT preparation courses, but did not achieve the results I wanted. Other MCAT courses focused primarily on memorizing a lot of information, and thus I felt overwhelmed by details that might show up on the exam. My SWARTWOOD experience was different in that the focus was on critical thinking, such as how to think your way through MCAT problems using only basic science. John taught only the material which could appear on the exam in a very concise, memorable, and even entertaining manner. He was also very approachable and explained answers to questions in a way that was easy to understand. The course atmosphere was upbeat and motivational, and during class breaks John would share advice and inspirational stories of students’ journeys to achieve acceptance into medical school. The workshops were insightful, because I was able to practice how to attack problems through different critical thinking strategies. The Verbal Reasoning course was also very helpful, since John taught us how to dissect the passage in order to answer questions faster. I also really appreciated a Verbal Reasoning workbook full of practice tests so that I could practice a test taking strategy which would work for me.

Overall, I greatly benefited from my SWARTWOOD MCAT course, as it helped me achieve success on the MCAT in a smart way, by using critical thinking to attack the problems without stressing out too much about the content of the exam.

Vanessa Meneses- SWARTWOOD Only MCAT student
University of Illinois College of Medicine- Class of 2016

I consider myself very lucky to have had world-class teaching from John for the MCAT.  Swartwood prep is special because of its founder and main instructor, John, who is an extremely hard worker, excellent teacher, and caring mentor.  He describes relatively complicated concepts in verbal reasoning, physics, chemistry, and biology using easy-to-understand vocabulary, metaphors, mnemonics, and examples.   John truly cares about giving individual attention to his students and he is dedicated to our success.  After a three-hour long lecture on organic chemistry, John e-mailed his students offering to re-teach the entire session in addition to the regularly scheduled lesson because his first lecture was not up to his standards.  John’s commitment to excellence shines through in all aspects of Swartwood prep – there is no better place to learn how to approach the MCAT.

The first time I took a AAMC practice MCAT I scored a 28.
After 3 months working with John, I scored a 37 on the real MCAT.

Mike P- SWARTWOOD Only MCAT student 
USC Mecial School Student (Keck) 

Deciding on the right MCAT class can be a very challenging process. But, I can assure you that Swartwood Prep is the right choice. What sets John's class apart from the others is the small class size and individualized attention he offers his students. Verbal was always keeping me from reaching my desired score. I started out with a 7 in verbal, but after practicing with John I improved my score to a 10. John doesn't waste your time with material, which you can study on your own. Rather, every class is geared toward analyzing passages and learning the techniques that will help you succeed on the test. He also tailors the class to your needs: if you want more practice with kinetics or kidney function, then thats what you will get. Thus, it is with confidence and sincerity that I recommend Swartwood Prep.

Tasha Fernando- SWARTWOOD MCAT Student 

UCLA Medical School Student (David Geffen)

MD Harbor - UCLA Medical Center Resident Physician  

" Hey John,

I hope that all is going well. It seems like it was only yesterday that I met you as my TA for Math 3C. Either way, application season is finally over and I wanted to thank you for all your help over these past years. Both as a mentor and as a friend. I thought that you would be interested to know what I have decided to go to Johns Hopkins for my MD PhD training. [James later decided to go to Stanford Med instead.] I know I'm going to miss California but I'm pretty sure I'll be back.

Anyways, take care and let me know if there is anything I can help with.

Best Wishes,


James Chen- MCAT Master Course (39)

Stanford Medical School MD PhD Student



"Without a doubt, Swartwood Testing, Admissions, & Review is one of the most helpful resources I've encountered in my preparation for the MCAT. ((In my first attempt at the MCAT, I enrolled with the Princeton Review Prep Course and received an 8 on the verbal section.)) Swartwood Testing, Admissions, & Review was a crucial part in my improvement because they showed me how to approach Verbal Reasoning as a learned skill and help identify my problem question types. Having focused class lectures and specific homework problems, Swartwood Testing, Admissions, & Review showed me how to improve my score. I received a 12 on VR! If you are looking for a course offering personalized attention, small class size, and a unique approach to VR, I recommend Swartwood Testing, Admissions, & Review without reservation."

 Best of Luck with Your Studies,

Justin Miamoto (Bruin of the Year 2006 - 2007) - MCAT Verbal Intensive

Preparing for the MCAT can be a daunting task. Studying on my own, I realized that memorizing pages of information was not an effective method for succeeding on the exam. As with other standardized tests, the MCAT does not measure your intelligence or your understanding of science. Rather, it is a test to see how well you can take the test. The MCAT challenges your ability to apply basic science knowledge and your critical thinking skills. While I was comfortable with the material behind the MCAT, Swartwood Prep stepped in to help me learn how to take the test itself and how to apply background information to the passage-based question format of the exam. Hours of practicing honed my test-taking skills and put me in the proper mindset to take the MCAT. Thank you, Swartwood Prep, for playing an instrumental role in my MCAT success!

Samia Malik- SWARTWOOD MCAT Student
University of Cincinnati College of Medicine Student

MD Universithy of Washington Medical Center Resident Physician

So I already feel like the MCAT was a year ago but I still think that it went well and that I was considerably more prepared with John than I would have been without his help or with another program. Given the relatively short period of time that I dedicated to the test I am very satisfied with the results. While I know that I could have done better had I spent more than roughly 3 1/2 solid weeks preparing for the test, the end result was still better than I hoped. John's verbal intensive class presents the framework and content of the verbal section in a much more comprehensible manner than other systems or prep classes. Given the passage dense nature of the MCAT, it follows that your scores in the other sections will benefit from his methods as well. Everyone has different methods of studying and John's style caters to everyone. People see this test in different ways, and in my opinion this is not a knowledge based exam. While a strong foundation is really helpful, I found that studying details was a waste of time. Maybe this was more so because of the restricted time line in which I studied. I had my masters program to start, and there is no way i could do both the test and the program at the same time. John was right to teach that the 'difficult' passages can all be broken down and all the answers can be extracted from the information provided. In very few instances if at all was elaborate detail required to answer any questions.

Know the trends and the basics, everything else will follow. I don't think the MCAT is going to test the exceptions to the rules. It's too tedious. Focus on what John says is important and you'll be fine. John's lectures include everything you need to score well. 

Robbie Harvard- SWARTWOOD MCAT Student

"I chose Swartwood over the other people that teach it for several reasons. One, he really cares about us.  John cares that we will do well.  He just wants us to get most out of his teaching, the most out of the experience...It’s always really high energy in here, fun. Studying isn’t always fun but John somehow makes it fun…I think John is just different.  That’s just a good word for him…he’s the smartest person, smartest human being, I think I’ve ever met in my life, and he knows how to teach.  That’s important.  He’s not just a textbook.  He really teaches the material. So, I always walk away learning something new." 

Lauren Appell- SWARTWOOD MCAT Student

University of Alabama Medical School Student

It was great studying with John. I studied mainly on my own except for the verbal which consisted of attending John's class and practicing at home. His method of focusing on content and looking at each question having the "point" of it in mind, really narrowed down many of the ambiguities I faced while practicing the verbal section. John is a great teacher and just being in the environment of his class was like a support group during studying for the MCAT with enthusiastic pre-meds. I believe he's a genuine teacher who could very effectively find students short-coming in understanding the issues and directly address their problem. I highly recommend his class for those who think verbal section on the MCAT takes a talent you are either born with, or you are doomed to suffer a low score from.

Siavash Khadem- MCAT Student


"Well, I thought MCAT was horrible before I took the class.  So, ...one day I found out about John and I decided to take his class and try it out...a verbal intensive class that he was offering... And, John is amazing. He's the best teacher I've ever met.  Basically, unlike other tutors ... he really teaches you... He explains everything very well.  If you have any questions at all, he'll answer... He's so smart.  Yeah, there's nothing else to say."

Tony Hung


David Geffen School of Medicine (UCLA) Medical Student

TO BE UPDATED: You can see most of their pictures and video testimonials throughout the website.

Sheela L.: UCSF Dental

Arya Shah: Mayo Clinic

Leah Wilensky: UCSF Dental

Otana Jakpor:  Harvard Medical School

Angela C.: UCSF Dental

Sai Dev.: UCLA Med School

Shannon W.:  Johns Hopkins MD/PhD

Arya S.:  Mayo Medical School

Tiffany Ho: Johns Hopkins Medical School

Negeen Shah.: David Geffen School of Medicine (UCLA)

Brittany Lee: Duke University Medical School

Puya A.: Kansas City University of Medicine

Ziyad Khesbak: David Geffen School of Medicine (UCLA)

Ann Nguyen: UCLA Dental School

Kevin Q.: Johns Hopkins Medical School

Michael S.: NYU Dental School

Michael Chang: USC Dental School

Sherif R.: David Geffen School of Medicine (UCLA)

Lori B. Robbins, MD: Albany School of Medicine; Resident at Cedars Sinai

Yalda Safai: St. George School of Medicine

Matthew A.-Santos: UCSF Medical School

Nancy V.: UCI Medical School

Matthew A.-Santos: UCSF Medical School

Hannah Canty: Commonwealth Medical College

Catherine K. Nguyen: Creighton University School of Medicine 

Alexander Nguyen: UC Davis School of Medicine

Masha S.: St. George School of Medicine

Vasily R.: St. George School of Medicine

Alison T.: Stanford School of Medicine

Kirandeep S.: University Arizona College of Medicine

Shana K.: Penn State College of Medicine

Ruth Montes: USC School of Medicine (Keck)

Rajvir Kaur: UCSF Dental

William Kim: (formerly USC Dental) Now Loma Linda Dental

Eric Chen: Loma Linda Dental

Nathaniel Hassan: Loma Linda Dental

Hannah Shull: David Geffen School of Medicine (UCLA)

Gabrielle K.: Tutfs Medical School

Garret Rubio: UCSF Dental

Kiyumi Heard: UC Davis Medical School

Hannah Canty: Commonwealth Medical College

Christa Slaught: David Geffen School of Medicine (UCLA)

+ many more

Sorry, we have not even updated all of the names!  Thank you to all of the students who have shared their success!  We will post the good news when we get a chance!