Like Drunk History for scientific concepts likely to be on the GRE
March 20, 2021 8:20 AM   Subscribe

I'm studying for the GRE and struggle with reading comprehension passages about science. The concepts and terminology (e.g. planetary accretion) are often new to me, and I run out of time trying to sort it all out. What documentaries, tv series, or youtube videos make topics like geology, the formation of planets, sickle-cell genes, etc. interesting and accessible? Smithsonian books are great and along the lines of what I'm looking for, but in video form. BONUS PONTS if (a) the video(s) are relatively short and (b) kid-friendly (i.e. not violent and scary).

When I say relatively short, I mean it'd be great to learn about a concept in under 30 minutes. 20 minutes on planetary accretion sounds great, 90 minutes not so much.

If you've studied for the GRE and found videos about any other topics helpful in providing context for reading comprehension passages, please post them! For example, I don't know much about different approaches to historical studies, and ETS (creators of the GRE) loves to test on topics like that.

Some disclaimers:
* I've googled lists like these and am looking for more specific recommendations.
* I understand the irony in asking for videos to get better at reading comprehension. Please assume that I'm already reading high-level texts and working on reading comprehension skills in other ways.
* While I may not be so lucky as to get a reading comp passage about a topic I've watched a video about, I want to get familiar with scientific topics so I have a wider contextual base.

* I'm aware that the Smithsonian Channel exists (though I've never seen it and don't own a TV), but I'm under the impression that it doesn't have a lot of content on scientific concepts.
posted by saltypup to Education (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Sounds like you're looking for Crash Course.
posted by tchemgrrl at 8:25 AM on March 20, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I particularly enjoyed Phil Plait's run of Crash Course Astronomy as recommended above.
posted by sukeban at 8:48 AM on March 20, 2021

I know that college science courses often assign videos from Crash Course and Khan Academy to introduce new topics. Khan academy tends to be less entertaining but does explain physics and biology topics fairly well, and they use a lot of technical language.
posted by arachnidette at 11:54 AM on March 20, 2021

Definitely Crash Course. I can’t say enough good things.
posted by Knowyournuts at 12:19 PM on March 20, 2021

Best answer: Subscription* based (and geared at kids) but brainpop is another potential option.

*Sometimes schools and public libraries subscribe.
posted by oceano at 3:28 PM on March 20, 2021

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