Just as you needed to take the SAT or ACT standardized tests as you were finishing high school and preparing for college, you may need to take additional standardized tests to continue on to graduate school. If you are hoping to get into medical school in the United States, Canada, or Australia, you will need to take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). The computer-based test is divided into three sections – Physical Sciences, Verbal Reasoning, and Biological Sciences – and assesses your problem-solving ability, scientific inquiry and reasoning skills, and written analysis. During the Biological Sciences section, you have 70 minutes to answer 52 multiple-choice questions, which include a mix of biology, organic chemistry, and inorganic chemistry topics. The MCAT was revamped in April 2015, and is designed to test both basic concepts and how these concepts integrate with each other. 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.
Comprehensive MCAT Biology study help is available using Varsity Tutors’ Learning Tools Learn by Concept. This vast inventory of topics is laid out like an interactive syllabus to guide your test review. Clicking on a topic brings up a set of sample questions, presented in multiple-choice format, that test you on the chosen topic. After looking at the possible answers, you review the question, and then choose the answer you think is correct. You then can check your answer using the key provided. Varsity Tutors offers resources like free MCAT Biology Practice Tests to help with your self-paced study, or you may want to consider an MCAT Biology tutor.
Learn by Concept doesn’t stop being helpful just by providing questions and answers. A detailed description of how to get the correct answer is provided, regardless of whether you got it right or not. These descriptions explain the concepts involved, allowing you to further study why the answer is correct. If you got the answer correct, you can review this explanation to make sure you understand these concepts. If you got the answer wrong, you can easily find the flaw in your reasoning that led you in the wrong direction, and improve your knowledge to get you heading in the right direction next time.
You can use the Learn by Concept tool as a MCAT Biology study guide as you prepare for this section of the test. Along with the main categories of Biology and Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Metabolism, there are hundreds of topics and subtopics, allowing you to focus on specific areas. Thousands of sample questions are available, and many subjects that could conceivably come up are covered in the Learn by Concept tool. In addition to the MCAT Biology Learn by Concept tool and MCAT Biology tutoring, you may also want to consider using some of our MCAT Biology flashcards.
A number of other free study aids are available from Varsity Tutors’ Learning Tools to complement the Learn by Concept tool. Taking a free MCAT Biology Full-Length Practice Test will help you experience the test format, while also seeing which areas you may need the most help in. Hundreds of free Practice Tests are also available; there are tests for specific topics as well as shorter problem sets, which cover commonly asked questions. After you have gone through the Learn by Concept example questions, you can get additional MCAT Biology practice with the free Flashcards. The Flashcards are sorted by category, but can also be customized based on what you need to focus on. Throughout your test review, you can use the Question of the Day tool to get a random question on a daily basis, which will help you understand your overall preparedness. Use Varsity Tutors’ Learning Tools to help you stay focused as you prepare for the MCAT Biological Sciences section.
The new MCAT, released in April 2015, looks unlike any MCAT previously administered. The new Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems section combines aspects of biology, organic chemistry, and inorganic chemistry. This unique combination of topics assesses how well students reason through and understand biological and biochemical topics that are rooted in cellular physiology. Also new to the 2015 MCAT are content questions focusing on topics covered in introductory biochemistry courses; this indicates an increased emphasis on proteins, amino acids, and various biochemical pathways. A background in basic research methods and a knowledge of introductory statistics can help equip students to tackle these new content topics in this fifty-nine-question, ninety-five-minute section. Whether you need MCAT tutoring in Atlanta, MCAT tutoring in Houston, or MCAT tutoring in San Francisco, working one-on-one with an expert may be just the boost your studies need.
The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has said that scientific inquiry and reasoning skills will be tested heavily on this section of the new MCAT. For those students preparing for the upcoming exam, this broad statement can lead to many questions about the type of background knowledge required and the specific types of questions that will be asked. A strong mathematical background, including the ability to discern the types of trends in graphs (i.e. linear, semi-log, log-log), calculate the slopes of data curves, estimate ratios, percentages, and square roots, and demonstrate an understanding of exponents, logarithms, scientific notation, and trigonometry is absolutely required for success on this portion of the exam. The content required can be broken up into three foundational concept areas. Varsity Tutors offers resources like free MCAT Biology Practice Tests to help with your self-paced study, or you may want to consider an MCAT Biology tutor.
The foundational concept areas cover a student’s understanding of various levels of biological organization, from basic biomolecules inside a cell to the overall complex organization of organ systems in the human body. Biomolecules are components of a cell that have distinct structures and functions. These permit them to carry out cellular processes that allow cells to continue living, as well as communicate with other nearby cells. One of the topics that commonly appears on this section of the new MCAT is the structure and functions of amino acids; you will be required to pick amino acid structures in answers to questions. Other common topics tested in this section include transcription and translation, as well as knowledge of how genes are inherited between generations. Additionally, students will be required to describe how mutations can cause diversity leading to evolution, and how cells derive their sources of energy from metabolic and catabolic processes such as glycolysis, gluconeogenesis, citric acid cycle, and the pentose phosphate pathway.
Building upon an understanding of the basic components of a cell, the MCAT will test students’ knowledge of how groups of molecules, cells, or organs work together in living and nonliving organisms. Inorganic and organic chemistry come into play here, as reactions between amino acids to produce proteins figure heavily. Additionally, the replication, growth, and genetic makeup of bacteria, viruses, and eukaryotes will be tested. The final foundation area of the biological and biochemical foundations section asks test-takers to understand how all of these organisms and systems work in concert. The overarching nervous and endocrine systems serve as a way to test students on how neuronal integration and hormones drive concerted effects in multiple systems. Additionally, the structure and functions of each of the other organ systems, such as the cardiovascular, pulmonary, GI, and integumentary systems will be tested. In addition to the MCAT Biology help section and MCAT Biology tutoring, you may also want to consider using some of our MCAT Biology flashcards.
Overall, this newly revamped section of the MCAT tests integration of topics that are learned from key biology and chemistry courses in college. Thorough review of each individual topic is necessary before learning how to link ideas together in the integrative style of this MCAT. If you’re reviewing for your MCAT and find yourself struggling with one particular concept or topic, don’t let misunderstanding complicate your understanding of the larger systems in which that topic is involved. Instead, consult Varsity Tutors’ free MCAT Biology Help page for model MCAT problems complete with answers and full explanations. Perusing model problems about a topic that confuses you can show you different ways in which that topic may come into play in MCAT questions as well as guide you through the steps necessary to solve each question. We have organized our MCAT Biology Help page by topic and in varying levels of specificity, allowing you to review as narrowly or as broadly as is best for your needs. Taking the time to learn each core concept tested on the MCAT’s Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems section can make connecting each concept much easier than if you need to keep reconsidering individual concepts you initially misunderstood. Approaching your MCAT Biology review conscientiously and making use of Varsity Tutors’ free MCAT Biology resources can help you study precisely and efficiently!