The Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems section of the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) is conceptually one of the most difficult sections of the exam. With 59 questions in a 95-minute span, it integrates and tests dense subjects such as biochemistry, biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics. This section not only requires a conceptual understanding of these topics, but also tests the student’s ability to interpret, analyze, and calculate the answer to complex problems. Because of this, it is vital that students know many equations cold prior to entering the test. Here we will provide you with recommendations for creating equation sheets and methods for memorizing them.Read More
MCAT & Medical School Admissions
The Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior section was newly introduced to the Medical Colleges Admissions Test (MCAT) in 2015. It was implemented to emphasize the importance of social science skills in medicine and foster the growth of social and cultural competence in future physicians. This section integrates and tests psychology, sociology, and biology concepts while utilizing statistical models. Arguably, this portion of the MCAT requires a heavier burden of memorization of facts, models, and theories than other sections. However, in some ways this allows students to see a greater score increase on this section based primarily on the time dedicated to this section. Below, we will discuss how to approach studying for this section of the MCAT and techniques to improve your score.Read More
Since the introduction of the biochemistry section to the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), premedical students across the country have bemoaned its addition to the exam. As a first-year medical student who just finished my biochemistry block, I am coming to realize the importance of learning the Kreb’s cycle and other seemingly arbitrary facts. This article is intended to provide tips and tricks on how to learn and memorize some of the more complex portions of the biochemistry section of the MCAT. I also hope to provide some clinical relevance to help motivate you in studying this dense material.Read More
When studying for the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), most students tend to focus on studying through content review and reading preparation books. However, an essential method for preparing for this exam is taking numerous practice tests to prepare for the format as well as the arduous length of the exam. A critical portion of this practice is to effectively review exams in order to assess strengths and weaknesses in both content and testing strategies. Below we will discuss tips to optimizing your practice exams and strategies for reviewing them.Read More
Daily, physicians face challenges to apply, analyze, and communicate scientific and medical information. The ability to communicate and analyze is a softer skill that is difficult to develop compared to the effort it takes to memorize something like the Krebs’s cycle. This vital skill set has become emphasized by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) through the production of the Critical Analysis and Reasoning Section (CARS) on the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT). CARS is the section that most premedical students struggle with and requires the most time to build skills. Identifying question types on your exam will allow you to establish patterns of performance and test trends. Below we will discuss the six most common types of questions you will encounter on the CARS section and how to best approach them.Read More
The Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) is one of the most challenging graduate school entry exams. While the content and strategy is difficult, it is essential for students to focus on planning when preparing for this lengthy exam. A successful MCAT preparation begins with creating a study schedule that manages to accommodate your other commitments while meeting your preparation needs. Here are eight tips to assist you in preparing your own study schedule for the exam:
In my years as a scientist, I have found that in a world as diverse and unpredictable as our own, it is paramount to remain consistent in the ways we study the world and conduct experiments. Good studies need to have control groups that do not receive treatment and reflect the status quo. Likewise, when preparing to battle the beast that is the MCAT, consistency is key. While the ideas below are broadly relevant to any type of standardized exam, they are particularly important when preparing for the MCAT. Why? Because the MCAT requires memorization of so many facts across multiple subject areas, understanding of a broad range of concepts, and the ability to focus to apply these facts and concepts to correctly answer difficult questions. The GMAT by contrast, a test taken for admission to graduate business school, requires absolutely no knowledge of business subjects at all.
Here are a few factors to consider keeping consistent when preparing for the MCAT.