Domain Names – Paying the right price

Sometimes we’re in such a hurry to buy our domain name we can often over look just how much we’re paying. In this article, we’ll cover how much you should (an shouldn’t) pay for a domain name.

A domain name is quite possibly the most important step in getting a web site. The name help determine page rank in search engines as well as help in marketing campaigns in the present and future – however, when making a decision to buy a domain, we may over look the price that we are willing to pay for that domain.

The standard cost (without tax) for a domain name is anywhere from $5.99 to $15.99, depending on which company you choose to go with for the ICANN registry. A popular web hosting company named 1and1 ( offers $5.99 domains, but you must purchase a hosting plan to receive that discounted rate. other companies such as goDaddy and Arvixe offer domains for around $10 without an obligation to purchase anything else.

When starting out, it’s most important to purchase your domain name and nothing else. For this simple reason, it’s highly suggested to simply purchase your domain from a company that offer’s it at a reasonable rate. Once you have your domain name, then you can start thinking about what will actually go on the site itself.

It’s also important to purchase your domain name yourself. Do not allow a web designer or web developer to purchase it on your behalf. When doing so, the web designer or developer becomes the registered OWNER of YOUR domain, not YOU. So be warry of such ‘professionals’ offering to purchase your domain for you.


Additional Free MCAT review websites

Moving to Grenanda in 2 (not so quick) steps

Moving is such a ambivalent experience. The excitement of moving to a new place, mixed with the stress to pack and the sadness of leaving friends.

Right at this moment, I’m mostly stressed.

We have a four bedroom, two bath house that needs to be packed up. But, it’s not as simple as packing a moving truck and unloading the truck at our new house — we’re moving overseas! We have to pair down, decide what we want to keep in storage and what we want to take.

Step 1: Pairing down and Packing

A good friend of mine recently moved to Ireland. After soliciting her advice for moving oversees, here is what she said:

On Packing:

1. Get rid of everything replaceable, but keep the things you use weekly.
2. If you haven’t worn it in a year, if it has holes, doesn’t fit, or is worn out, donate it.
3. Scan photos and videos into a digital archive. If you must keep paper photos, get rid of the frames.
4. Donate/sell all books/magazines.
5. No furniture. I know you have heirloom stuff, so give that to friends/family who can use and enjoy it. When you decide to finally buy a house, you can ask for it back.
6. If your electronics will require a converter, donate/sell it. Converters are garbage and dangerous.
7. When sorting, if you think “Well, I might need that…” put it aside. When you realize you have too much stuff to move, go back to that pile and sort through it again. If you REALLY have too much stuff, the whole pile goes.
8. You don’t need any collectables. Really.
For reference, when I moved to Iraq, I had 3 suitcases worth of stuff and it was everything I owned.
When I moved to Ireland I had 1 large and 2 small suitcases with all my clothes and shoes. I’ve been living here 6 months just fine on that. I have 3 50lb boxes of stuff that I’m shipping over with things that are very expensive to replace here (my really nice sheets, towels, and fine china). I call them my comfort boxes.
I recommend moving in two phases. For the first couple months, you’ll probably have a temp housing situation of some sort(if you don’t, I recommend you do it this way so you don’t get cheated or wind up in a ghetto.). It will be challenging to move all your stuff around, so only take the bare minimum.
Once you have your permanent residence, have some friends/family ship your (already packed for shipping) comfort boxes to you. You’ll find things easier to manage this way.

I’m in the middle of sorting everything into three categories: Pack, Move, and Sell. Here is how I’m doing it:

  1. Suit cases are open on the floor in the bedroom for toiletries and clothing. Everything that will be moved goes into the suitcase. If I’m not sure about an item, it goes in a pile next to the suitcase.
  2. Everything that needs to be packed for storage is being packed in boxes and moved aside. I do have some of my grandmother’s furniture that is being moved to parent’s house. It is more cost effective for my parent’s to get the furniture, otherwise it too would be sold off.
  3. Everything else that is not packed will be moved outside for a garage sale this Saturday. A donation truck was reserved (two months in advance) to pick up everything that does not sell on Saturday. This way we do not have to move anything back into the house.

Trying to pack the “comfort boxes” has been difficult because we have so much stuff. Since our move is not permanent, we’ll most likely replace items rather than ship them — anything we ship there will also have to be shipped back (for twice the cost!).

Step 2: Sell, Donate, and Load the Truck

In an effort to move as little as possible, we’re selling virtually everything in the house. TVs, DVD players, tables, sofas, etc. Anything that would be a pain to load into a moving truck is being sold in a garage sale.

Garage sales can be tricky, and timing is important. Here what we had to to in order to coordinate the move with the sale:

  1. Get a city permit for the garage sale.
    1. Always check your cities’ website for rules and regulations regarding garage sales.
  2. Donation truck rental
    1. We called Salvation Army (1-800-728-7825) to schedule a “garage sale pickup.” They will come with a huge truck in the afternoon after your garage sale to pick up everything that did not sell. This has to be scheduled well in advance because they only allow for two garage sale pickups each day.
  3. Rented tables from a local party supply place.
    1. No one wants to pick stuff up off the floor, so invest in renting tables for the event. They will earn their cost back within the first hour of the sale. We rented 6-8ft tables for under $70 dollars during out last sale, and we made over $600.
    2. Make sure the tables can be picked up after the sale so you don’t have to store them over the weekend.
    3. Also get the tables a day in advance so you can set them up early on the day of the sale.
  4. Advertise!
    1. Craigslist is a must.
      1. If you have the time, list you items in the ad. Sometimes people will contact you in advance to purchase items.
    2. Free online listing sites
    3. An ad in the local paper is not a bad idea.
      1. Get the Friday/Saturday listing only to save money.
      2. Place you order for the ad at least 5 days in advance to avoid missing the cutoff date.
  5. After everything unwanted has been moved out of the house, packing the truck will be easier and faster.
  6. We’re going to store most of our stuff at my parent’s house. Otherwise, we would have rented a storage unit in advance as well.
    1. If you have plastics or items that can melt, make sure the unit has air conditioning!

Another option we could have gone for is having a moving company come to house to pack and store everything for us. In retrospect, we should have done this because we are really pressed for time. While moving ourselves is a LOT cheaper, we’re paying in terms of stress and time constraints.

Most moving companies have a storage unit where they will keep your items until you’re ready to have them moved to another location. Again, this is very convenient if you are pressed for time and do not know where you will be moving to later on.

A note about our cars. My husband has sold his vehicles (an older car and older truck). As for my car, it’s a 2009 and we’re moving it with us to my grandmother’s empty garage. Otherwise, we would have sold that too. Lastly, we’re not driving the car, we’ll be towing it on raised trailer (the trailers that keep the back wheels on the ground add wear and tear to your tires, so we try avoid these if we can afford it). Since the move to my parent’s is over 3,000 miles, we did not want to add those miles to the car by driving it (or pay for gas in a moving truck AND a car — yikes!).

And very lastly, we’re also moving our cat to my parent’s house. We got her a collar with an id tag, a super nice rolling pet carrier (for only $33 from target store — not online), and some homeopathic relaxing tonic. There is a website,, that allows you to enter your travel plans and the site will give you a list of pet friendly hotels along your route. Although, there is not mention of Motel 6, which also welcomes pets. We hope we will not have to sedate the cat, but I have read many articles on the use of baby benadryl for cats. If needed, we’ll pick this up on the road.

So in a few days, we’ll be on our way to the wonderful island of Grenada! Beaches, breezes, and lovely warm weather. Until then, we’ll be packing!

3 Huge MCAT Mistakes

Mistake #1:
Leaving Studying until the last minute

Honestly, the idea of spending two months on MCAT studies seemed like a good idea. It still seems reasonable. The problem, two months is simply not enough time to cover all the material well enough to score above a 30.

Despite the fact that I did really well in the prerequisite classes (biology, chemistry, physics, and org. chem.), this did not translate into a guaranteed high score on the MCAT. Also, I did not study for the test while in school (it was hard enough to get A’s in the classes, none-the-less study additional material on the side). Basically, I’m a good student, but far from genius status.

But being a genius isn’t required to do well on a test, even if it is a test designed to fail the people taking it.

Another reason two months is simply not enough time is because we’re not precognitive. While in theory two months is a descent amount of time, it does not allow for burn-outs, relaxation, or even an unforeseen illness (as in my case).

Mistake #2:
Lacking a clear [reasonable] study plan

Sure, I bought the books: Kaplan biology, chemistry, physics, and organic chemistry; Exam Crackers 1001 passages; AMA MCAT review, etc. I bought the AMA practice tests, and even supplemented with Kaplan’s QBank. While most of these tools were invaluable, I did not have a clear outline on how and when to use them. Took a test, read some review, did whatever struck my fancy at the moment.

While I did put together an outline on what I should have studied for each day of my 2-month study plan, again I did not plan for unseen circumstances. Before long, I was running out of time and the outline went by the wayside in lieu of making up lost study time. I started to scramble, trying to do what I thought would produce the most amount of points on the test.

Suffice to say, scrambling did not bring about any usable test strategies or knowledge to implement on test day.

Mistake #3:
Not booking a test date early

Now this was just stupid. I waited until the last minute to book my test, and now have to fly to another state which had a seat open. Dumb, dumb, dumb!

There is a silver lining: I can always take the test again. There is an option to void my score should I not be happy with my test performance, and the test will not be reported to any school. However, it still counts as one of the three chances to take the MCAT. Meaning, the stakes are even higher for round two.

Regardless, I’m excited to be able to do this all over again; the right way.

MCAT Chemistry Study Guide – Part 1

Electronic Structure

Orbital structure of hydrogen atom

The hydrogen atom possesses only one electron and one electron shell. Based on the quantum mechanics model of atoms, this means that Hydrogen’s subshell is the 1s subshell. The s orbital is spherical in shape.

Principal quantum number, n

The principle quantum number, n, describes the highest energy level for an atom of a particular element. The highest energy level corresponds to the number of electron shells an atom has. The easiest way to identify an element’s principle quantum number is by observing the period it is in (a.k.a. the row); i.e. Hydrogen is in period (row) 1, so it’s n value is 1. This value of n=1 tells us that Hydrogen has only one subshell.

Number of electrons per orbital (hydrogen)

Within each shell (n), there are exactly 2n2 electrons. Within each orbital, there can be a maximum of only 2 electrons. Hydrogen does not have two electrons, it has one electron (given by it’s atomic number, 1).

Reminder: A Hydrogen cation (H+1) has no electrons.

Ground state, excited states

An atom of any element is said to be at its ground state when it is at its lowest energy potential. This means that all the electrons are in their expected shells, sub-shells and orbitals, as determined by the quantum mechanical model of atoms.

An atom’s electrons may be excited in the presence of energy (heat, light, radiation, etc.). The term excited refers to the movement of one electron from a lower energy level (shell) to a higher energy level. In terms of quantum numbers, an electron is excited when the principle quantum number (n) has increased; i.e. from n=1 to n=2.

In order to excite an electron to a higher energy state, the energy must be specific. Technically, the energy must be quantized. Moving an electron from one energy level to a higher energy level is equal to the difference in energy between the two energy levels.

Although this is mostly covered in the Physics section, it is relevant to note that the amount of energy needed to excite an electron from the first shell to the second shell is equal to En2 – En1.

hv = ΔE = En2 – En1 = -13.6 eV -(-3.40 eV) = -10.2 eV



Remember: The amount of energy required to move from a higher energy level (n=2) to an even higher level (n=3) is significantly smaller than the amount of energy required to excite an electron from the ground state.

En3 – En2 = -3.40 eV -(-1.51 eV) = -1.89 eV

Absorption and emission spectra

The absorption spectrum represents the the energy required to excite electrons in an element in terms of wavelength and frequency (E = hf = hc/λ ). The energy required to excite every electron present in an element from the ground state to an excited state is unique to that element. Absorption is graphed as intensity versus wavelength. More information can be found (soon) in the Physics section. The color we perceive of any element is due to the colors which are not absorbed.

Random Factoid: Absorption spectra are used to identify gases present in stars.



Hydrogen absorption and emission spectrum

Hydrogen absorption and emission spectrum

The Emission spectrum is the exact opposite of the absorption spectrum. It represents the amount of energy released by an excited election when transitioning to a lower energy level. The energy released is a photon with the same amount of energy required to excite the electron (see section Ground State versus Excited State) and the electromagnetic energy of the photons is equal to hc/λ. Each photon released by an electron has a characteristic wavelength, specific to the energy transition. Because the energy release is quantized, a continuous spectrum is not observed — instead a line spectrum is seen.

There are many wavelength series, but we should familiar with these two: the Lyman series in the ultra-violet (n = 2 to n = 1), and the Balmer series in the visible spectrum (n = 2 to n = 3). The Lyman series has a wavelength of 1250-800 where the Balmer series has a wavelength of 800-400 nm.

The equation used to calculate the energy absorbed or emitted is:

E = hv = -RH[(1/n2initial) – (1/n2final)]

v = c/λ

Remember: If the E value is positive, it represents absorption energy. If the E value is negative, it represents emission energy.

Quantum numbers n, l, m, and s

Quantum numbers are used to describe electron configuration and probable electron locations of an atom. The Quantum model of an atom replaced the Bohr model; but the Bohr model laid the path for the QMofA.

Principle quantum number and the shells they representThe quantum number n represents the principle quantum number. The principle quantum number describes the highest energy level possible for an electron in any atom. Basically, the number tells us how many electron shells are present in an atom. In addition, the n number tells us the relative size of the atom’s radius (n = 1 being the smallest).

Quick refresher: Atomic shells contain subshells. Subshells contain orbitals. The first atomic shell has one subshell, 1s. The second atomic shell has 2 subshells: the 2s and 2p. Orbitals within subshells are represented as, in the case of the p orbital, px, py, and pz. Each orbital can only hold two electrons.

The value of n is given by the period (row) that an element is located in on the periodic table of elements.

Hydrogen, n = 1 (first period)

Florine, n = 2 (second period)

Chlorine, n = 3 (third period)

Remember: As n increases, so does the atomic radius. This is also true when an electron is excited — the radius expands and then contracts when the electron returns to the ground state.

From the principle quantum number, n, we are able to distinguish the other quantum numbers:

l = 0 to (n – 1)

Quantum number l (Azimuthal) represents the number and shape of subshells within a shell (aka energy level). For example:

Hydrogen, n = 1, l = 0 to (1 – 1) = 0

IMPORTANT: Although the value of l is zero, it is important to realize that the value 0 is a digit. A single digit, 0, represents the first subshell — the s subshell. This means that Hydrogen (or any other atom with a n value of 1, such as Helium) only has one orbital, the 1s orbital. The s orbital is spherical because it does not share space with any other subshells (no repulsion).

Another example: Florine, n = 2, l = 0 to (2 – 1) = 0, 1

Here there are two digits, 0 and 1. As with the example of Hydrogen, the 0 digit represents the shell’s s orbital. The second digit, 1, represents the the second orbital within the shell — the p orbital.

Because we are using the n value of 2, the orbitals are called the 2s (represented by the 0) and 2p orbitals (represented by the 1). The first shell containing the 1s orbital is not accounted for (it’s considered a given).

The quantum number ml (also known as the quantum number m) represents the number of subshells present in each orbital. Although at first glace it seems very similar to the l quantum number, the ml number does not count the number of orbitals present in a shell, it distinguishes electron paths (aka subshells) within the s, p, etc. orbitals.

ml = –l to l

Tricky example:

Chlorine, n = 3, l = 0, 1, 2

There are three l values to derive ml, l = 0,  l = 1, and l = 2

For the s orbital (l = 0),  ml = 0.

As with the previous quantum number l, the 0 value represents one digit. Hence, there is a maximum of one subshell within the s orbital.

For the p orbital (l = 1), ml =-1, 0, 1

Here we have three digits, -1, 0, and 1. This indicates that there are a maximum of 3 subshells located in the p orbital.

For the d orbital (l = 2), ml =-2, -1, 0, 1, 2

Here we have five digits, -2, -1, 0, 1, and 2. This indicates that there are a maximum of 5 subshells located in the d orbital.

However, Chlorine does not have a d orbital.

REMEMBER: Quantum numbers do not dictate the number of electrons, orbitals or subshells of any particular element. They represent the highest energy level possible for a given principle quantum number (an atomic shell).

Chlorine has a 3rd shell. It’s principle quantum number is 3. However, Chlorine’s 3rd shell does not contain a d orbital, as postulated by the Aufbau principle which states, “According to the principle, electrons fill orbitals starting at the lowest available (possible) energy states before filling higher states (e.g. 1s before 2s).” This means that the 3s and 3p orbitals will be filled before the 3d orbital — which explains why Chlorine does not have a d orbital; it does not have enough electrons to occupy the s, p and d orbitals of the 3rd shell.

The ms quantum number (a.k.a. the s quantum number) represents the spin state for each electron pair, and hence the maximum number of electrons allowed in each subshell. Before we had mentioned that each subshell could only contain two electrons. In addition, the electrons cannot have the same spin orientation, otherwise they would repel each other and fail to stay in the same subshell. The spin states are given a value of +1/2 and -1/2. The value of ms will always be +1/2 and -1/2 which are represented as up and down arrows. This is the basis for orbital diagrams.


Hydrogen, n = 1, l = 0, ml = 0, ms =+1/2, -1/2

In the diagram, the number 1 represents the shell number (n), the s represents the orbital (l), the box which contains the arrows represents the number of subshells (ml), and the two arrows represent the opposite spin states (ms).

REMEMBER: An electron diagram is a visual representation of the atomic numbers.

Number of electrons per orbital

The number of electrons per orbital is determined by the number of subshells in a orbital (ml) quantum number, multiplied by 2 (representing the two states of ms).

Conventional notation for electronic structure

The conventional notation for electronic structure is synonymous with electron configuration diagrams. Electron configuration diagrams are based on the quantum numbers n, l, m, and s.

In order to properly create an electron configuration diagram, one needs to remember the order of permitted energy levels within an electron — 1s, 2s, 2p, 3s, 3p, 4s, 3d, 4p, 5s, etc. Or, creating a electron configuration scheme, such as this:

(C) MDHS SCH 4U Study Page

This video also covers electron configuration diagrams:

[yframe url=’′]

REMEMBER: To write the ground state electron configuration of a cation, remove electrons from the highest occupied energy level in the ground state electron configuration of the atom. In other words, remove electrons from the orbital with the highest principal quantum number.

Na: 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s1 Na+: 1s2 2s2 2p6

Mg: 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 Mg2+: 1s2 2s2 2p6

Fe: 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p6 4s2 3d6

Fe2+: 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p6 3d6

Fe3+: 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p6 3d5

Bohr atom

Bohr was the first to propose a model of the atom which had a densely packed nucleus of positive charge, surrounded by electrons revolving around the nucleus in a defined pathway (orbits) with distinct energy levels. He also identified that electron excitation in Hydrogen was only possible at certain frequencies. This gave rise to the concept of quanta — discrete energy bundles. He proposed that electrons could be excited only when a specific amount of energy was supplied to the electron.

E = hf

Bohr used quantum mechanics to define the angular momentum of an electron (quantum number l), and found that the momentum of an electron changes only in discrete amounts in respect to the principle quantum number. Hence, the energy emitted (or absorbed) by an electron is quantized by the principle quantum number.

REMEMBER: As the principle quantum number increases, energy increases and get closer to zero.

Effective nuclear charge

Electrons surrounding a nucleus experience two major forces: the force of attraction to the positive nucleus, and the repulsion from neighboring electrons. Electrons at lower energy levels shield or offset the attractive forces experienced by valence electrons. The resulting attractive force (real attraction minus the shielding effect) is termed the effective nuclear charge. Effective nuclear charge allows valence electrons to bond to other atoms, or create ions.

Free Online Physics Videos Resources for Premed

One of the projects for a class I was taking on Statistics required that we watch a video on the Annenberg Learner website, The video was pretty good; not too boring or childish. After finishing the assignment for my class, I started to snoop around for more videos, and I came across a pretty wide selection of science videos (you can view all the science videos here).

There were two among these that really stood out for pre-med students; The mechanical universe . . . and beyond and Physics for the 21st Century. There are also videos on chemistry and chemical reactions, biology and microbiology, as well as some videos on the subject of learning. . Overall, a pretty good find.

Do know of any additional videos for pre-med subjects online? If so, please share!