Biology for the MCAT: Everything You Need to Know

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. 

How to Prepare for Biology Exams Properly?

Preparing for biology exams is different from studying English or history classes. Strategies and processes that work well in other subjects may not necessarily work well here. Biology requires a lot of memorizing and practical applications as it is a visual subject. Pick a few of these strategies that you may find helpful and integrate them with other ways that are already working out for you. The results can be amazing. 

Flesh out lessons 

After your biology classes, rewrite or add to your notes. In other words, flesh them out while the scribbles make sense. The information you have in your mind is still fresh, and you need to fill up your notes with explanations of those bullet points. This is very important because otherwise, it is easy to forget them as you learn new phrases and terms. 

Fleshing out notes should be done regularly as a formal schedule until it becomes a habit. Use full sentences, add labels to diagrams, and organize biological concepts into groups to show the connections. Fill up all the missing gaps using your text. Avoid making the mistake of waiting until the nick of the exam time, as it might be too late. 

Understand the concepts 

Learn the biology concepts individually before integrating them all. You must understand and learn the content before you go to a higher level of understanding. Then you integrate them coherently. This is the reason to attend classes so you can take down notes of important facts and pull them out when you need them. 

Take your time to understand the biology concepts so that when it is time to submit your essays or research paper, you know how to piece together the content. As a college student, you can get help with examples from the biology essay writing service online. You may want to provide them with the concepts to be included so that they can do the rest. That is why it is important to get a full grasp of the biology concepts first. 

Daily study routine 

Way before the test, study a subset of the material as if the biology exam was tomorrow and repeat it until the previous night of the exam. Use shorter periods over several days or weeks to repeat your studies. Make this an everyday routine. 

Test both your short-term and long-term memory by leaving enough time between learning and self-testing. Study to grasp the concepts and not to memorize phrases and sentences, which is akin to rote learning. This can only serve your short-term memory. Repeat it until you are confident that you can always get them right always. 

Familiarize yourself actively 

Your biology professor focuses on those materials that are most likely to be tested on exams and quizzes. Therefore, learn the things taught during the lectures and give importance to the assigned readings. Also, prioritize the text, PowerPoints, and notes. This is known as active familiarization of the study materials. 

Sometimes, exam questions pose new situations that require you to analyze them practically. That is why you need to actively apply the biological concepts taught in the classrooms in practical ways. Try to explain the concept to yourself or a group of friends, if it is a study group, in practical terms. This is also another way to move beyond passive familiarization to active familiarization. 

Use online resources 

Several online resources can make your studying process easier. For example, online videos explain in detail every biology concept, making it manageable to understand. They connect to the visuospatial areas of the brain directly. Therefore, making sense of these visual concepts will help you memorize and score high grades. 

Online resources also contain diagrams on complex biology subjects. They help in connecting the dots. You can also access previous question papers to understand the pattern of exam questioning. By studying more of these past questions, you become familiar with them and can quickly identify them in the exam. 

Healthy study habits 

Eat nutritious food to keep your body functioning correctly. Nutrient-filled foods such as almonds, blueberries, pumpkin seeds, and broccoli help improve memory. They also help you stay focused for a long time. Practice meditation every day to improve your concentration and performance. 

Exams are stressful and can cloud your mind. Taking breaks can destress you and help you memorize quickly. Stay away from electronic gadgets while you are studying because they can be a distraction and can drag you down. Also, take enough breaks in between, as studying for exams can take a huge chunk of your waking hours. 


Do not let the biology exam stress overpower your planning and preparations. Follow these tips and build upon them to help your longer-term memorization. And as mentioned in the last tip, do not forget to balance it out with healthy living. Whatever your exam outcomes are, even if it is a failure, consider it as a learning process.

The Best Student Discoveries in Biology

There are many of them to consider, so let’s take the time to discover some of the most famous! If you have browsed through Quora or Reddit at least once by looking for student discoveries that are worth thousands of approvals, you might have heard of Simon Kaschock-Marenda and his famous discovery that helped to create an insecticide that would not be toxic for human beings. It works as a constant reminder that shows us that even middle school students can make it big and help the world! 

When Things Are Safe For Humans

Considering that it started as a middle school science assignment, it continued with the discovery of a sweetener that could be easily located in most grocery stores. Simon had good support from his father, a Biology professor at the famous Drexel University, which made it possible to research things and keep faith in what was focused on the artificial sweeteners and the fruit flies! It was all about erythritol, which was the ingredient that made the discovery possible! It is safe to say that Simon gave the world a safer alternative when dealing with small-sized areas. 

Helping People With Hearing Problems 

The worst part with hearing aids is the use of the batteries that always run out. Meet Ethan Manuell, a teenager from Minnesota who didn’t even realize that his school Science Fair project would become an important breakthrough. He only thought about avoiding failure and getting the best grade possible. As a student in the eighth grade, he was looking for an idea that would be socially important and different compared to other projects that were on offer. He only had old battery-powered toys and the batteries that were used for his hearing aid. As a result, he found a way to extend the life of hearing aid batteries (zinc-based) by at least 85 percent! It was all about removing the plastic tab that could be found at the back of the battery. Manuel tested things and found out that five minutes were the precise amount needed to save the battery life! 

The Secrets of a Bumblebee 

Meet the young students from the Blackawton Primary School in England! This group of students who were aged from 8 to 10 made quite a discovery and became the youngest authors to grace the pages of an academic journal dealing with Biology. The research is related to the flower selection habits that are followed by the bees. The local churchyard has been chosen as the testing ground. The results have been taken as notes by the students and provided interesting information as the youngsters found out that bumblebees use a complex combination of color and various spatial bonds to decide on the color of a flower before they land on it and use it. It also made it clear that the bumblebees turn to an advanced level of analysis as they work on their surroundings. Now, if you are a young student who wants to publish something as well and get the writing polished and corrected, why not approach an essay writing service online and ask for help with editing or proofreading? It’s also a great way to make things look better and learn more as you study with a trained expert and keep things original, avoiding plagiarism risks! 

Mastering Anemone Biology

Sometimes you only have to get closer to nature by entering the natural habitat for your school project. It is exactly what happened to the middle school students at Dedham in Maine. It was an innovative project since the children were supervised by a group of Vanderbilt University professors via Skype. There was an experiment dealing with metridium (a type of sea anemone). It has been collected from the harbor in the local area. The research has unfolded the presence of sulfilimine bonds as the structure of the sea creature has been observed. In the majority of cases, this type of bond is found only in mammals and is not so common in organisms that are simple in their structure. The students also discovered the ways how the creatures like starfish would regrow their limbs and an assumption has been made that it could be possible to help our heroes of the war in the future. As you study a Biology process with marine creatures, you can explore the subject of bonding cells and see if you can make a discovery as well as it’s one of the most innovative research subjects to consider! 

Joshua Meier’s Discovery 

The students in this particular school in New Jersey do not get homework and can experiment and research freely. After all, it’s exactly what helps students to achieve success and work on original ideas that they may have. Now the young Joshua Meier decided to explore the reasons why we can observe the rapid aging processes in the stem cells that are generated artificially. It was discovered that there’s a lack of at least one-third of their DNA, which is what causes the fast aging process. The great discovery was that the control of the mitochondrial DNA levels by using the deletion method could slow the aging process down. Joshua saw it as an opportunity to find a treatment against cancer. The boy thought of reversing the process and stopping the cancer cells from growing. Once again, it shows how important it is to offer students enough freedom to research! 

The Importance of TEDx Videos

As we can see, even middle school students could discover interesting things in the field of Biology because they were feeling inspired and motivated by their projects and the teachers behind them. If you want to make a discovery as a student and need more information, Biology is one of those sciences that is mastered much better when you have a good example. While you can browse through YouTube and enter various keywords regardings the subjects that interest you, a far more efficient way is to approach TEDx videos on Biology and spend at least 30 minutes a day exploring. These are mostly led by acknowledged professors in Biology, Chemistry, Engineering, or Healthcare, so you can learn from the best and find inspiration and suggestions as to where and how to explore things even further! 


Ruby Butz is an avid explorer who loves to teach and share her knowledge. As an educator and technical specialist, she often focuses on the benefits of learning various academic subjects from English to Biology. Follow Ruby to expand your learning skills and master something new. 

How to Improve the Biology Curriculum in College

College Biology

Biology is one of the most popular subjects among college students. It opens up numerous opportunities for exciting careers in a range of fields. With a degree in biology, you can hope to land successful and well-paid jobs as a biologist, research scientist, forensic specialist, ecologist, or pharmacologist, to name a few. Therefore, it should not come as a surprise that almost 170,00 degrees in biology were awarded in the United States in 2020 alone.

Colleges and universities make every effort to make their biology curricula relevant to the fast-evolving environment that affects both educational institutions and employers. This environment puts great demands on the relevance of the curricula. There are a number of specific factors that must be taken into account to achieve the goals of relevance and efficiency. Let’s take a closer look at these factors.

Linking biology with social issues

When taking biology classes, students must always bear in mind that biological research is essentially a human activity and that it cannot be designed or undertaken in isolation from other disciplines, such as sociology, politics, or economics. In many respects, biology is an interdisciplinary subject. One must take a comprehensive approach to get a handle on biological studies that are driven by or should influence social issues. The biology curricula must be structured and designed with a view to this important consideration.

It should also be noted that however one improves or refines the curriculum, it will still end up being rather complex and daunting for students to manage. If you are one of them, there is no need to panic because you can always rely on trustworthy online writing services to help you out. When you identify a professional service, you can pay for your term paper to save yourself a lot of trouble and time, which you can use to focus on your research activities or other college assignments.

Applied biology

Some curricula seem to be outdated, focusing on stem anatomy and monocot and dicot roots only. While these are essential elements, more effort must be made to shift focus to invasive weeds, flower coevolution, agricultural applications, and in- and outbreeding methods. The topics should be more diverse and regularly updated to keep students engaged on the one hand and ensure the relevance of the subject matter to the current trends, developments, and demands.

Lots of drawings and diagrams

Biology is not a simple subject. It is an intricate one, awash with complex systems and structures that are extremely challenging to master. When students prepare for their exams, they have to study and memorize lots of facts and figures. A verbal explanation of difficult and multi-faceted biological processes is of little help. More often than not, our brains are not prepared to process written data as quickly as a visual one. To deal with the challenge, it has been found practical to add lots of drawings and diagrams to the study material. The visual material makes it easier to take in new information and digest it more effectively.

Importance of the terminology

It is hard if at all possible, to overestimate the significance of using the right terminology. It is equally important to ensure that all students understand all the important concepts and terms. Given the multitude of terms used, it is easy to get lost in the maze of phrases often derived from non-native languages. The biology curriculum must have a list of terms and concepts explained. It should also avoid using redundant phrases or obsolete terms. To the extent possible, the curricula should use clear and simple language, breaking down complex ideas into manageable pieces.

As a student, you come to appreciate the importance as soon as you start looking for scholarships for biology. When completing your application, you must be meticulous and careful about using the right terms and concepts. If you use them arbitrarily or without clear context, you risk being downgraded or turned down by the evaluation committee.

Integrating research into the curriculum

The biology curriculum cannot be effective without integrating research. As with any other scientific discipline, research is an integral and indispensable part of the scientific and learning processes. There are different ways of ensuring that the biology curriculum draws on evidence-based models and concepts.

Advanced Research Experience in Microbiology is one example. It is a modular approach to integrating genomics research into the biology curriculum. The CRATE method (Consider, Read, Elucidate the hypotheses, Analyze and interpret the data, and Think of the next Experiment) is another one utilizing rigorous analysis of literature to synchronize research activities with classroom-based teaching for college students. There are some other methods too developed by the world’s top universities. The point is to pick what suits your college best and integrate it into the curriculum to make sure the teaching process is evidence-based and scientifically exciting!

Bottom Line

Biology is both an exciting and complex scientific discipline. Developing an effective biology curriculum is no less challenging. To keep it relevant and refined, colleges need to make deliberate and well-thought-through steps.

One of the biggest steps is to ensure that the learning process is based on rigorous evidence. This paves the way for identifying opportunities for making scientific theory and discoveries practical, with specific benefits across a wide range of sectors and disciplines. Achieving clarity about the phrases and terms used is another worthwhile effort. Using imagery enhances the efficiency of the curriculum too. The best results are also achieved when biology is taught and learned in the context of wider social issues and implications. This helps students make linkages and seek opportunities for cross-fertilization.

Ruby Butz is a popular writer and experienced researcher. As an education sector consultant, she has been advising many colleges and universities on improvements in their curricula. Recently, Ruby has taken an interest in the biology curriculum and related improvements based on in-depth research, facts, and figures.

Resources for Easy and Interesting Learning of Microscope Parts

Microscopes are used in many different scientific fields. They help biologists, chemists, forensic experts, and others observe and study objects and cells that are too small for the human eye to see otherwise. Many famous scientific breakthroughs and discoveries were made by leading scientists using microscopes. Without one, the science world would have probably failed to create an effective vaccine against the recent pandemic.

A microscope is a complex unit. At first sight, it has three main parts, i.e., head, base, and arm. But it is far more complex an item with lots of other important parts. They are not easy to learn about. Keep scrolling to find out the most effective resources that will ease the process of learning how this important tool works.

Microscope Unit Activities

A great resource for students to learn about the parts and functions of the microscope. It contains lots of practice materials, review activities, and a project. The content has already benefited millions of students, and the feedback of many teachers shows that it helps students achieve their educational goals with ease. As a result, they gain a thorough understanding of how the microscope works, how each part contributes, and how to take a microscope in perfect condition at all times.

Get professional help if you have to deal with a heavy academic workload standing in your way as you try to learn more about microscopes. Identify and go through the best essay writing service review to find a market-leading online writing company. The top companies hire top writers who are able to meet your needs by strictly following your instructions, offering competitive rates, living up to the highest standards, and submitting work before or by the

Microscope Bundle, Set of Review Materials

Another wonderful resource for teaching or learning about the parts of the microscope. You will be delighted to find more than six scaffolded resources. The How-To-Sheet includes detailed instructions. There are lots of helpful pieces of information about the functionality of the microscope, its application in various fields, and its safe use.

The SMART Board Notebook offers drag-and-drop labels explaining different parts of the microscope. You can test your knowledge by using in-built quizzes. There is a bonus file with a link to the Google presentation on microscope parts. All parts are clearly labeled. Different colors are used to identify and differentiate parts from one another. Last but not least, you benefit from extremely helpful review activities on Quizlet and Kahoot.

Ask a Microscopist

This is a web-based project designed to help you ask questions about microscopes and the analyses carried out with the help of microscopes. No need to worry about your proficiency level. The project caters to the needs and interests of both novices and experts.

The beauty of the project is that when you post your question, you gain access to a large pool of leading experts. Your answer will come from someone with years of experience in using microscopes. Many are members of the Microscopy Society of America. You can also gain access to the Argonne National Laboratory to observe how scientists use microscopes in real life. All in all, it is hard to think of a question that you might not get an answer to. Even if you don’t, it will encourage and dare some scientist somewhere to come up with one.

Microscopic Explorations

The resource is supported by the Lawrence Hall of Science of UC Berkeley. This is an amazing guide to microscopy, which introduces students to the basics of microscopy, the application of microscopes in scientific research, and the explanation of various related terms and concepts.

The guide is designed in a “festival” format, which means it includes lots of explorations and an array of supplemental information on microscopes, their utility, maintenance, and prices. They are perfect for use in classrooms as well for learners preferring self-education.


Follow this guide supported by Rockefeller University to learn more about microscopes. The website includes lots of useful articles with detailed descriptions, terminology, and tips. The content is structured in a logical manner, so you should be able to find what you need with relative ease.

You can also learn a lot about biochemistry universities and how they use microscopes in scientific research. The articles are written by leading experts and scientists. But they are written so as to be accessible for both novices and professionals.


The Discovery Channel needs no special introduction. It offers a broad range of scientific programs that are perfectly suited to all interested in scientific subjects regardless of knowledge or skill level. The channel offers a few programs dedicated to microscopes and their utility in scientific research.

Make sure your subscription includes access to the channel to benefit from the program, which lays out and presents information in a user-friendly format. What’s more, you will have a lot of fun watching these programs. These programs are designed for the general public, but they attract large numbers of experts too.

Microscope in Action

Learn about a game-changing tool that revolutionized biology. Fluorescence microscopy plays a central role in scientific research these days. Microscope in Action is an action-oriented learning tool that draws on optics and biology. It helps students put together functional microscopes using optical, electronic, and mechanical parts. As a hands-on tool, it has already gained a lot of popularity.

It is also a flexible tool. It can be easily adjusted to provide content that will meet the needs of students at different academic levels, whether it be middle school, higher education, or doctoral levels. With lots of workshops and practice sessions, you won’t miss any important aspect.

Key Takeaways

Microscopes are a vital part of scientific research. They make research detail-oriented, rigorous, and practical. Studying microscope parts can be an exciting, fun, and useful exercise. My recommendation is to use several learning tools and resources at a time. There is no single tool that can cover the subject completely. So, it behooves you to benefit from a combination of learning resources to achieve optimal results.

You can also turn the learning process into a fun experience. I selected the recommended resources with a view to their practicality, as well as the extent to which they keep students engaged and motivated. I am convinced you’ll get the best of both worlds.

Ruby Butz has been posting evidence-based articles on a range of scientific topics for more than a decade. With a solid background in academic research, has gained popularity among both college students and tutors. Ruby’s articles are informative, in-depth, and insightful. What’s more, they are a lot of fun to read.