Part of the overall success of pre-med and medical school students is their ability to integrate concepts from different disciplines. The Biology section is one of the most daunting parts of your MCAT prep journey. This is also the most important section to do well on since it accounts for about 5% of the scores in physics/chemistry and sociology/psychology and 65%of the scores in biochemistry/biology. That’s a huge chunk of your total MCAT score!
It is essential you go through a very comprehensive guide that will teach you everything you need to know about MCAT Biology while preparing for the exam. After taking a couple of online practice examinations, many students go through Princeton Review MCAT course student reviews to ascertain they are fully prepared with the right material and practice questions. Here is a guide to everything you need to know about MCAT Biology and more!
MCAT Biology Topics
The MCAT biology section tests concepts you need to understand basic biology topics. Pay attention to details and try to understand the overall concept. The following are some of the topics you should take the time to study.
Genetics and Evolution: The genetics and evolution section of the MCAT will test your knowledge of the fundamentals of genetics, such as DNA and RNA structure, the Central Dogma of Molecular Biology, and Punnett squares. It will also cover topics like Mendelian genetics, Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, allele frequencies, and natural selection.
Cell Biology: This section of the MCAT will test your knowledge of all things cells. Topics include organelles (mitochondria, ribosomes), plasma membranes, and cell junctions (tight junctions, gap junctions). You’ll also be expected to know about cellular respiration, photosynthesis, and cellular reproduction.
Microbiology: Microbiology is important in MCAT biology because it’s incredibly diverse! Topics include bacterial structure (cell walls), bacterial metabolism (respiration), and antibiotic resistance mechanisms. You’ll also be expected to know how viruses work, including how they enter host cells and replicate once inside their hosts’ bodies.
Physiology: It studies how different body parts work together to maintain homeostasis (the balance between its internal environment and external surroundings). You’ll be tested on how your body works from a physiological perspective. You’ll have to know how cells secrete hormones and respond to them, as well as what happens when cells become damaged or diseased. The topics include functions of the circulatory,
respiratory, digestive, nervous, endocrine and cardiovascular systems, and cellular functions.
Hormones: Hormones are chemical messengers produced by one organ or tissue that affect another elsewhere in your body. They often act as regulators for specific processes within your body but can impact other systems directly (such as digestion).
Tips for Studying MCAT Biology
If you’re preparing for the test, you’re probably pretty busy. Studying MCAT Biology is a long, voluntary, and interesting process, but you’ll be glad you did it once you start seeing the results! Here are some key tips for studying for MCAT biology!
1. Keep your study schedule organized.
Make sure you have a plan in place for when you will study, and stick to it! This is especially important if there are days or weeks when you have other commitments (like work) that may make it difficult to sit down and study all at once. Write down what time each day you’ll study, and make sure not to skip out on any sessions!
2. Take advantage of recording your work!
Use an app like Evernote or OneNote that allows you to record everything that comes up during your studies. This will make you see which sections were most difficult or helpful. Which questions were answered correctly or incorrectly, or even had no answer (this can sometimes happen with high-level material). You’ll also be able to look back through those notes while studying easily.
3. Solve practice questions as much as possible.
Practice questions help you practice your way to success! Luckily, there are plenty of MCAT resources out there that can help you prepare for the MCAT Biology. There are a few ways to go about this. You can either ask the practice questions yourself, find a friend already familiar with the material, or ask a professional MCAT tutor what they think of your answers. The best thing about working through practice questions is that it helps you identify where you need more help and how much more help you need.
You will also see how much time it takes to complete each question and how much time is left in the section before you move on to the next question. If you can’t solve a problem because it’s too hard for you, then that’s okay—go back and watch some videos on YouTube or hire professionals to take you through until the problem is easier for you. This will allow you to see what kind of preparation needs to be done to feel confident with your score when taking the exam.
The MCAT overall is a great test that is worth studying for. Biology won’t be straightforward and tricky, but it will certainly help your critical thinking skills grow and have a great overall impact on you.
In summary, everything you need to know about MCAT Biology is that the better prepared you are, the better chances you have of passing. So set yourself up for success and devote the time, money, and energy to your Biology section needs.