All MCAT Social and Behavioral Sciences Resources
The introduction of the Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior section to the MCAT has added a new dimension of material not previously addressed on the test. Prior to this addition, few pre-med programs included exposure to psychology or sociology coursework, and few medical school admissions boards listed these courses as prerequisite. As a result, many undergraduate students pursued extensive coursework in the physical and biological sciences—biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics—while giving little thought toward social science. The innovation of the MCAT changes this precedent, requiring students to know not only Mendel and Darwin, but Piaget and Pavlov as well. Whether you need top MCAT tutors in New York, MCAT tutors in Chicago, or top MCAT tutors in Los Angeles, working with a pro may take your studies to the next level.
With relatively few resources available to help one prepare for the revised test, the MCAT Social and Behavioral Sciences section has become a bit of an enigma. Many students not only feel unequipped to tackle topics in the fields of psychology and sociology, but struggle even to identify the scope of the materials covered on the exam. Let’s try to break it down.
There are 59 questions in the MCAT Social and Behavioral Sciences section, with an allotted time of 95 minutes. Like the rest of the exam, most of these questions are passage-based, though there are a few discrete questions as well. The content covered is designed to require knowledge from one term of psychology coursework, one term of sociology coursework, and a minimal smattering of biology coursework. Varsity Tutors offers resources like free MCAT Social and Behavioral Sciences Question of the Day to help with your self-paced study, or you may want to consider an MCAT tutor.
Psychology topics represent the majority of the information covered. Though most of the psychology topics appear relatively basic (few extend beyond the scope of the AP Psychology exam), the passage-based nature of the section’s question delivery demands a deeper understanding of these topics. Though it may sound cliché, simple memorization is not adequate; students must be able to apply their knowledge. When preparing for this subject, students should focus on the following areas:
-Cognition, including memory, speech, and learning
- Emotion and stress
- Influences of behavior, such as attitude, personality, and motivation
- Sense of self and identity
- Psychological abnormalities, disorders, and treatments
- Theories and influential studies in psychology
Sociology topics in the MCAT Social and Behavioral Sciences section range from cultural influence to group psychology and topics of social inequality. These topics can be applied to an incredible variety of different scenarios on the exam, requiring students to think critically about sociological theories and applications in a context of real-world issues and circumstances. Topics covered from sociology include the following:
- Group behavior and individual behavior in a group
- Culture and cultural interactions
- Norms and social institutions
- Social inequality, discrimination, and social movements for change
- Theories and fundamental principles in sociology
Biology content represents by far the smallest discipline within the Social and Behavioral Sciences section, and is limited almost exclusively to the nervous system. Students are expected to understand sensory organs, sensory input, and sensory processing, as well as general neural physiology. Some brain physiology is tested, especially as it pertains to psychological disorders. In addition to the MCAT Social and Behavioral Sciences Practice Tests and MCAT Social and Behavioral Sciences tutoring, you may also want to consider using some of our MCAT Social and Behavioral Sciences flashcards.
Preparing for the MCAT is a daunting task. Learning new material from courses you may not have taken in college compounds the difficulty of that endeavour. To successfully prepare for your exam day, take the time to fully familiarize yourself the the concepts covered on the MCAT Social and Behavioral Sciences section. While part of this preparation can be self-taught, working with a tutor can enhance your grasp on the concepts you may not have been taught in class. Varsity Tutors offers the MCAT Social and Behavioral Sciences tutoring and preparation resources to help you master these difficult disciplines. In addition, Varsity Tutors’ free MCAT Social and Behavioral Sciences Practice Tests can help you get a sense of each topic covered on the exam, and identify those areas in which further study could be most beneficial to your preparation. Each free MCAT Social and Behavioral Sciences Practice Test consists of twelve questions that mimic the style and formatting of those you will encounter on the revised MCAT. Each question is accompanied by a complete explanation, so you can identify exactly how you erred in any questions you answer incorrectly. By making a free Learning Tools account, you can track your results and your progress over time. The MCAT’s Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior section may seem like the test’s most daunting, but with the right preparation, you can feel prepared to tackle any challenge it presents you with on test day!