MCAT Biochemistry Complete Guide

Table of Contents

Along with general and organic chemistry, biochemistry is one of the chemistry disciplines you must study for the MCAT. Biochemistry covers a large part of the MCAT, so you must do well in this area to achieve a high score on the MCAT.

This article focuses on MCAT biochemistry. We’ll cover what it is, the different biochemistry topics included in the MCAT, and the best tips and tricks to succeed in MCAT biochemistry. 

Read on if you're curious and want to learn more!

What is MCAT Biochemistry?

Biological chemistry or biochemistry is the discipline of science that studies the chemical processes occurring within and relating to living beings. 

Biochemistry is a branch of chemistry and biology that can be further broken down into the sciences of structural biology, enzymology, and metabolism. Biochemistry has improved in explaining life processes through these three disciplines over the past few decades of the 20th century. 

The study of biochemistry focuses on comprehending the chemical foundations that permit biological molecules to be the source of the processes that occur within and between living cells. 

This knowledge is crucial for understanding tissues and organs and the structure and function of organisms, which is why it is essential in medicine. Thus it is one of the components tested on the MCAT

Biochemistry is covered in two MCAT sections:

Twenty-five (25) percent of the MCAT chem/phys section calls for your MCAT biochemistry knowledge and skills. That means that out of the 59 questions in this section, 15 are about biochemistry.

  • General Chemistry                              –                 30%
  • First Semester Biochemistry       –                  25%
  • Introductory Physics                          –                  25%
  • Organic Chemistry                              –                  15%
  • Introductory Biology                         –                    5%

Additionally, the MCAT bio/biochem section also has 25% of biochemistry questions.
Out of 59 questions, there are 15 questions covering MCAT biochemistry. 

  • Introductory Biology                         –               65%
  • First Semester Biochemistry       –                  25%
  • General Chemistry                              –                   5%
  • Organic Chemistry                             –                    5%

Summary Table of Biochemistry Distribution in the MCAT

MCAT Section 

Chemistry Subject


Number of Questions 

(out of 59)

Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems

First-Semester Biochemistry



Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems

First-Semester Biochemistry



Total Number of MCAT Biochemistry Questions: 30

Biochemistry Topics to Study for the MCAT

To prepare for MCAT chemistry, you must be familiar with the wide variety of topics covered in MCAT biochemistry. You must spend enough time studying the following topics to feel confident before taking the MCAT.

The MCAT covers the following general biochemistry-related topics:

10 Tips and Tricks to Ace the MCAT Biochemistry

MCAT biochemistry could be challenging to study for. When you consider how many concepts, equations, and diagrams you need to understand and study, you can't help but feel overwhelmed. But it is possible to study MCAT biochemistry without cramming and still get a strong MCAT score

All you need to do is be aware of the strategies and methods that will enable you to reach your MCAT score goal.

To succeed in MCAT biochemistry, you can maximize your studying by following the tips and tricks below:

1. Learn to Read Charts, Figures, and Tables Using the TAID P Technique

Title, Axes, Independent, Dependent, and Patterns abbreviated as TAID P. You will be able to interpret the meaning of the data if you can recognize these components in a graph, figure, or table.

Within 15 to 20 seconds, you should try to recognize the TAID P components for the given figure. 

The objective is to comprehend the big picture without becoming bogged down in the specifics. 

If you find yourself thinking for more than 15 to 20 seconds, stop and continue reading the passage or move on to the questions.

2. Review Every Small Feature of Each MCAT Biochemistry Figure as You Go Over Your Errors and Look Over the Figure as a Whole

Every time you take an MCAT biochemistry passage that includes a figure, you should go back and carefully read it after you have turned in your answers. What justifies doing this? 

You can improve your ability to swiftly and accurately read figures by utilizing the TAID P approach in practice situations with no time limits.

After finishing multiple full-length practice examinations, you will have taken dozens of MCAT biochemistry passages. 

There are relatively few MCAT figures that will need to be clarified if you thoroughly analyze them throughout your test review.

3. Read the Questions First 

When reading the MCAT biochemistry question or passage for the first time, try not to focus too much on any particular figure because there might not even be a question about it. 

If an MCAT biochemistry passage has Figures 1, 2, and 3, the test authors might only ask a question about Figures 1 and 2.

As a result, you do not want to waste time comprehending Figure 3 if the MCAT isn't even going to ask you a question about it. This is a good time-saver, especially on a timed exam like the MCAT.

4. Know the Twenty Amino Acids' Codes, Structures, and Chemical Characteristics

As it is almost certain that you will face questions on amino acids on both the MCAT Chem/Phys and Bio/Biochem sections, this advice is one of the highest-yielding tips you will ever receive.

The twenty amino acids' structures should be known, but it is also important to understand what benefits each structure gives the amino acids. Learn all there is to know about amino acids to score easily (and significantly) on the MCAT.

5. Concentrate on Processes and Broad Concepts to Comprehend Integration of Metabolism

Many students mistakenly believe they must know each enzyme, reactant, product, and their structures in metabolic pathways like glycolysis. To memorize and preserve the recollection of these details will require time and effort. 

However, your time and energy are quite valuable while preparing for the MCAT, and they would be much better utilized on high-yield content that is more likely to be tested. 

Learn the rate-limiting enzymes that regulate route flux—the rate at which the pathway moves—instead of memorizing every tiny detail. Learn how each metabolic pathway affects various systems and organs.

6. Draw Things Out

The greatest strategy to build metabolic pathways from scratch is to draw them out. Consider how molecules react and alter in your mind. Ensure that you comprehend each stage of the procedure.

One of the best benefits of utilizing an iPad or tablet instead of a laptop is this. You could also benefit from using a whiteboard. Anything that is quickly drawn on and removed. The point is, use any materials you can use for drawing.

7. Pay Close Attention to Conceptual Application Rather than Memorization

The MCAT preparation process requires a lot of time. As a result, rather than memorizing information, you should study it for application to example passages and unexpected settings.

On the MCAT, you will not usually be required to recall arbitrary biochemistry facts.

Instead, the MCAT will give you a paragraph from a condensed scientific article, ask you to assess it critically, and then ask you questions that combine information from the passage with information from your prior knowledge.

8. Answer MCAT Biochemistry Practice Questions 

The most effective technique to master MCAT biochemistry is to take practice questions

Even while you won't see the practice questions you have answered on the real MCAT, they help you develop the abilities you will need to ace the test.

Make sure you can justify each action you would take while responding to an MCAT biochemistry practice question

The MCAT is not a memory recall test, so keep that in mind. As was previously mentioned, it is more application-focused.

9. Examine Why Your Answers in the Practice Questions are Right or Wrong

You must examine and explain why you answered each practice question correctly or incorrectly when taking the MCAT biochemistry practice questions. Taking notes while doing this is also beneficial. 

Make a note of the thought process needed to respond to any wrongly answered questions. Not just the questions relevant to MCAT biochemistry should be answered in this manner; make sure to review all answer choices you did not know while going through the exam.

10. Use the Appropriate MCAT Biochemistry Prep Resources

Unquestionably, the MCAT biochemistry prep materials you use will be your primary source for learning and studying. The content must be carefully investigated, studied in detail, and reviewed to ensure complete comprehension.

You can get MCAT biochemistry preparation materials from various MCAT prep companies, including Kaplan, Blueprint, and Princeton Review

As an alternative, you can find free online MCAT biochemistry resources that will improve your understanding of the subject.

For your reference, here are a few MCAT biochemistry free resources:

Additional FAQs – MCAT Biochemistry 

What Kind of Biochemistry is on the MCAT?

The MCAT covers introductory biochemistry. Comprehending the basic concepts of biochemistry — carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids is required to ace MCAT biochemistry.

While you may be required to memorize a lot of concepts, it is more important that you focus on application. 

The MCAT assesses how well you understand these concepts and if you can apply these concepts in relevant contexts.

Is Biochemistry Important in the MCAT?

Yes, biochemistry is essential in the MCAT. 

Two sections of the MCAT, i.e., Chem/Phys and Bio/Biochem, cover 25% each of biochemistry. 

This indicates that there are 30 (out of 230) biochemistry questions on the MCAT. Overall, biochemistry is covered in 13% of the entire MCAT.
{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Your MCAT Success Mentors

About the Author

We're a team of future doctors passionate about giving back and mentoring other future doctors! All mentors on the team are top MCAT scorers and we all are committed to seeing you succeed in achieving your physician dreams ???? To help you achieve your goal MCAT score, we take turns hosting these Live MCAT Courses and are also available for 1:1 private tutoring!

The hardest part of MCAT prep is making the leap from knowing MCAT content to understanding how to apply it in MCAT passages. Working with a 90+ percentile scoring tutor can fast-track that process for you. 

Success message!
Warning message!
Error message!