I don't care how smart you are, the MCAT is tough, and by tough I mean really tough. Unlike other tests, you can't just rely on reasoning skills to get a good MCAT score. You actually have to have some stuff memorized, although you won't be tested on rote memorization. The MCAT Biological Sciences section will tear you apart if you haven't memorized, practiced and put in a great deal of sweat. Here's what you'll face.
MCAT Biological Sciences Basics
MCAT Biological Sciences, one of the four sections on the MCAT, is the last section you’ll run into on this bad boy. Like the Physical Sciences section, you'll test for a grueling 70 minutes where you'll encounter these:
- 7 sets of passage-based questions (contain 4-7 questions a set). Here, you’ll read a passage and then answer the multiple-choice questions related to the text.
- 13 independent questions. In these, you’ll simply read one question and choose the best answer from the choices below it.
- 52 questions total
What will you need to know? Biology (obviously) and Organic Chemistry
MCAT Biology Concepts To Know
The topics listed behind each bold item are just a few of the points touched on, so make sure you have a full understanding of each concept.
- Molecular Biology: enzymes, metabolism, DNA, protein synthesis, eukaryotes
- Microbiology: fungi, virus structure, viral life cycle, prokaryotic cell,
- Generalized Eukaryotic Cell: nucleus, organelles, plasma membrane, cytoskeleton, mitosis, apoptosis, cell cycle
- Specialized Eukaryotic Cell: neural, contractile, other specialized types
- Nervous and Endocrine Systems: hormones, hormone actions, nervous structure and function, sensory reception and processing
- Circulatory, Lymphatic and Immune Systems: major functions, components and concepts
- Digestive System: ingestion, stomach, liver, bile, pancreas, small and large intestines, rectum, muscle control,
- Excretory System: homeostasis, kidney, nephron structure, formation of urine, storage and elimination
- Muscle and Skeletal Systems: functions, structural characteristics of bones, nervous control, cartilage, ligaments, internal bone structure
- Respiratory System: gas exchange, breathing mechanisms, diaphragm
- Skin System Functions in homeostasis, osmoregulation and thermoregulation, protection, structure
- Reproductive System: male and female structures and functions, gametogenesis by meiosis, ovum and sperm, reproductive sequence, embryogenesis
- Genetics: Mendelian concepts, meiosis and genetic variability, analytic methods
- Evolution: natural selection, speciation, ontogeny and phylogeny, origin of life, evolutionary time, comparative anatomy
MCAT Organic Chemistry Concepts To Know
- The Covalent Bond: sigma and pi bonds, stereochemistry of covalently bonded molecules, multiple bonding
- Molecular Structure and Spectra: absorption spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, 1H NMR spectroscopy,
- Separations and Purifications: extraction, distillation, chromatography, recrystallization,
- Hydrocarbons: description, important reactions and general principles of alkanes
- Oxygen-Containing Compounds: alcohols, aldehydes and ketones, carboxylic acids, acid derivatives, keto acids and esters
- Amines: nomenclature, stereochemistry, physical properties, important reactions
- Biological Molecules: carbohydrates, amino acids and proteins, lipids, phosphorus compounds