Studying for the MCAT Biochemistry and Biology section of the test can be a daunting task for most students. Since many theories can be on the exam, it can be hard to know where to start. This section makes up roughly 65% of your overall score. It is also the most important element of the test.
Breakdown of the MCAT Biochemistry and Biology Section
The Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems section of the MCAT is a timed segment that tests your knowledge of biological and biochemical concepts and your ability to apply them. This part of the test contains 59 questions, including 10 passages and 15 standalone questions. You will have 95 minutes to work through and complete the entire section. This section’s central topics will include cell biology, microbiology, biochemistry, genetics, anatomy, and physiology.
The MCAT’s biochemistry portion of the test only accounts for a single college semester’s worth of course coverage. However, this topic holds preeminent importance in passing this test. Even though the biochemistry element blends with biology in this section, the topics covering biochemistry still add up to about 25% of the MCAT’s total number of questions. Visit the AAMC’s official website for a detailed description of each section and topic on the MCAT.
Study Tips for a High Score
It is never too early to start your study process for the MCAT. You should start studying at least three months before your test date. This time will give you ample opportunity to memorize and practice applying these concepts for the test. Here are some effective tips to help you study for the MCAT biochemistry and biology section.
- Get organized. Planning is vital when preparing for an extensive test like the MCAT. Start by incorporating a realistic study schedule into your routine. Create a space where you can focus without interruptions and distractions.
- Use multiple study resources. There are many MCAT test prep books available to purchase online or from your local bookstore. As you read through these books, make thorough notes and highlight key concepts. As you complete the test prep book, review sections or topics that are more difficult until you have a better understanding of them and how to apply them. Test your knowledge by taking practice tests. The AAMC has many great study preps and resources for MCAT test takers to use when preparing for each section.
- Memorize and apply. Although the MCAT biochemistry and biology section is not a memorization type of test, memorizing original concepts and learning to apply your knowledge to the test questions will help you pass. Handwriting your flashcards is a great way to remember ideas, as it can help develop muscle memory. Since there are so many concepts that can be on the test, it may be better to purchase flashcards and only write out more troubling theories that are difficult to remember. You can also use mnemonics to help memorize key concepts
- Practice makes perfect. As you study and memorize essential concepts for the test, practice applying the mechanisms of each theory. Understanding why and how these concepts work will give you a better understanding of the principle, in general.
The MCAT is a very competitive test for students who wish to attend medical school. It is crucial to provide enough time for yourself to study each section thoroughly. As this section will account for the majority of your overall score, it is vital to review these concepts until you are comfortable applying these practices in unknown circumstances.