Meet the MCAT competition winners

Post from Rishi Desai, MD, MPH, Khan Academy Medical Partnerships Lead

About two months ago we launched two competitions to find talented individuals that could help us by making videos, creating questions, or writing articles for the 2015 Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). The 2015 MCAT is different from the previous MCAT exam because it will include new content in areas like psychology and sociology. To help students get ready for this new exam, Khan Academy has partnered up with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Association of American Medical Colleges, and so far we have put together a collection of 500 videos and 600 practice MCAT questions.

The competitions were a tremendous success and we found 12 video competition winners and 20 question and article writing competition winners. We asked all of them why they decided to participate in the competition. Meet our winners and see what they had to say:

MCAT Video competition winners:


Efrat Bruck

Columbia University Medical Center

Khan Academy has always been an invaluable resource for me. It enriched my undergraduate experience, aided me in preparing for the MCAT, and helped me tremendously in my educational work as a high school teacher.


Florence Doo

Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine

Between kindergarten and med school, I’ve always gravitated towards teachers who really engaged me. I hope to share my love of learning & teaching to future pre-meds and medical students.


James Howick

Georgetown University

I am honored to be contributing to the education of students around the world with Khan Academy.


Jubin Matloubieh

Match Corps: Chicago/University of Rochester

Education is key to humanity’s progress and prosperity, and teaching is my passion. I am privileged to champion Khan Academy’s mission to provide open-access education to all who seek it.


Brooke Miller

University of Texas, Austin

Khan Academy has always struck me as a better, more modern way to educate people of all ages and backgrounds. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to contribute to it myself.


Jeff Otjen

Seattle Children’s Hospital and University of Washington

Online education can be a great equalizer. I have always been an educator and am excited to help change the world in a new way.


Vishal Punwani

Melbourne Medical School

I was very well-supported by Khan Academy’s content on my journey to medical school, so I’m excited to now contribute in any way that I can.


Theodore Roth

University of California, San Francisco

I’m excited to get the chance to give back through the MCAT video competition!


Arshya Vahabzadeh

Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School

I thrive on pushing the limits. Education is a great equalizer and Khan Academy has leveled the playing field. I am very excited about the possibilities ahead.


Jordan Weil

University of Minnesota

I’m really excited to help my fellow aspiring physicians (and dentists, nurses, pharmacists, physician assistants, etc.) by sharing the skills that I picked up as an undergraduate and beyond.

MCAT Question/article competition winners:


Jason Batten

Stanford University School of Medicine

For the past six years, I have taught chemistry and physics to low-income students in South Central Los Angeles. I’m writing free MCAT resources so that students like these can have an equal chance at medical school.


David Bridge

College of the Redwoods

This competition is my chance to give back to such a diverse and wonderful learning community.


Jeff Collins

Westminster College

I want to give back to collaborative efforts like Khan Academy that make information and learning resources freely available to everyone, regardless of socioeconomic status.


Aleksandra Degtyar

UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine

I applied for this competition because I’ve always loved medicine and education, and I wanted to help Khan Academy integrate the two.


Humberto Dutra

Life University

I am firm believer that high quality education should be available to everyone. This is a great opportunity to provide resources to anyone that wants to go medical school.


Bijaya Ghosh

NSHM College of Pharmaceutical Technology

I wanted to join this initiative because I believe that by offering equal education to an unequal world, we can help to remove barriers to success.


Rabee Haq

University of Maryland, College Park

I applied to this competition because I want everyone to be able to pursue their dream of being a physician, and that begins with making high quality MCAT content available for free.


Bradley Kolb

University of Michigan

This competition was an opportunity to use my expertise to contribute to the Khan Academy mission.


Clement Lin

DePaul University

I applied because I have always been interested in the sociology of health issues, and I’m interested in optimizing online education.


Kelly MacKenzie

American University

I have always loved learning and am excited for the opportunity to share what I know. I hope to make psychology topics relevant and interesting for those who may enjoy learning as much as I do, but may not have access to the same resources or materials.


Sruti Nadimpalli

Columbia University Medical Center

Having had the privilege of a quality education and excellent teachers throughout my medical career, I believe that any person driven to learn should have unfettered access to expert instruction.


Lucas Philipp

Emory University School of Medicine

Khan Academy has saved my (academic) life more times than I can count. The opportunity to return the favor in some modest way, is one that I simply could not miss.


Edward Sanchez

Orlando Regional Medical Center

I have always been interested in academics, and I wanted to help to provide free high quality education to those who desire to learn.


Chris Su

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

We learn in college and medical school that the best notes are written by students for fellow students. It’s time to give back.


Garrick Trapp

Columbia University Medical Center

Barriers to education can often stall dreams, so that’s why I revere the idea of free basic science education and test prep. I am humbled to join this community of learners and educators.


Anna Tsimelzon


I decided to take part in the competition because I am interested in education; particularly non-traditional and non-standard approaches. The MCAT competition was a chance for me to try myself at this new approach.


Sze Yan

University of Chicago

I am always seeking new and more impactful ways to contribute back to underrepresented and underserved communities. This competition was the perfect way to give back as I am truly passionate about by using my experience to promote equalizing access to resources..


Allen Zheng

Edboost Education Corporation

The opportunity to level the playing field for students, especially low-income high school students interested in pursuing medical education is what motivates me.

Winners of both MCAT competitions:


John Luckoski

University of Toledo College of Medicine

I have developed a deep passion for education since becoming a tutor at my school, where we have actually started our own initiative of online videos to supplement our lecture material.  I am eager to contribute to something larger than myself.


Matthew McPheeters

University of Minnesota School of Medicine

I am fortunate to have had access to great teachers throughout my career as an undergraduate and medical student. I hope to extend the influence teachers have had on me to others around the world.


New Series on the American Revolution from the Aspen Institute

In the summer of 2011, Sal shared a “Big Idea” at the Aspen Ideas Festival. The idea was to combine the power of Khan Academy with the network of the Aspen Institute, an educational and policy studies organization, to bring the ideas and perspectives of some of the most respected authorities on various subjects to learners anywhere, for free.

Over the past several months, Khan Academy and the Aspen Institute have been working in partnership to develop a new and exciting series on the American Revolution. Just last week, we launched that series which includes tutorials on the founding documents, founding fathers, and founding mothers of the United States of America. This initial offering of videos lives up to the idea of bringing together respected authorities on the subject, and the videos feature conversations between Sir Walter Isaacson and a variety of phenomenal contributors including Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Joe Ellis, award-winning journalist Cokie Roberts, and our very own Sal Khan. 

Rather than offering simplified answers or shying away from unanswered questions, this first series of videos introduces learners to the complexities of the revolutionary era. They use the stories of the prominent individuals and revolutionary documents of the day to draw learners deeper into the history. Beyond the dates, names, and battles, the story of the founding comes alive and beckons the curious to investigate further.

These tutorials on the American Revolution are a great starting point and we look forward to exploring other areas with the Aspen Institute in the future. More to come soon! Check out this and other partner content available today on Khan Academy.

Start here


A Summer Update

Khan Academy has been running small-scale summer camps since 2009 to better understand different models of learning and many of you have asked whether we are continuing them this year. Unfortunately, we are not. However, we have learned so much from those camps that we are now exploring a longer duration, but smaller scale, learning lab in the coming months.

This will be set up to let us have an even more hands-on and sustained approach to research blended learning and education innovation, which will also let us experiment and share our learnings with schools and networks around the world.

This is just one of the many ways we’re learning from educators and students: we connect with hundreds of thousands of folks who use Khan Academy in their classrooms, we run pilots with numerous schools including Idaho State and of course facilitate our teacher workshops. These avenues help us understand so much more about creative ways to teach, and also help make our platform even more useful for learners everywhere.

Stay tuned: we’ll post more updates in the coming months, and we look forward to sharing what we learn soon - sign up here if you’d like to hear more about it. In the meantime, to beat the summer slump, come check out our math missions from early math through calculus!

Posted by Jason Pittman and Sonia Cho (Two of the teachers who’ll be facilitating the learning lab).


MORE Health and Medicine Content Now Available!

Post by Kyle Slinn, Khan Academy Nursing Fellow

Over the last few months we’ve been working tirelessly to create new content. Today we’re adding 26 health conditions and 158 practice questions to our growing collection of health and medicine material. The new content covers diseases from the cardiovascular, respiratory, and hematologic systems, such as non-cyanotic heart diseases, lung cancer, and leukemia. Health science students can use this material as a supplement to their classes, and patients and their families can learn more about medical conditions relevant to them. Over the coming months we’ll continue to frequently release new content, so be sure to keep checking Khan Academy!

Right now we’re looking for volunteers to help us write NCLEX-RN style questions. If you’d like to help us with this exciting project, send us an email.

Here’s an example of a lesson on non-cyanotic heart diseases. You can check out the rest of our new content by clicking here.


Learn about the most famous music ever written

"You take the simplest musical idea. Four notes, and can you make a castle out of four notes? [Beethoven] was fearless….It is simply baffling how imaginative the composer is in using so little….This is the first time the symphony wakes up and is a dramatic essay."

This is how Leon Botstein, conductor and President of Bard College, describes Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony in a video from our new partner, the All Star Orchestra. And this discussion is only one of five videos on this symphonic masterpiece. In the remaining videos, Gerard Schwartz, conductor of the Emmy-winning All Star Orchestra, walks us through all four movements, even explaining what he is doing as he conducts many of the nation’s most accomplished musicians.

We love the videos that discuss and explain the symphonies by Beethoven, Dvořák, Stravinksy, Ravel and others, but our favorites are probably those that focus on the individual instruments of the orchestra (everything from the violin to the tuba!). Here, leading musicians describe their instrument and what made them fall in love with it. The All Star Orchestra has made it easy for us all to fall in love with classical music, have a look, you may fall in love too.

Start Here
Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 5 Analysis by Gerard  Schwarz (Part 1)