MCAT Psychology Everything You Need to Know

June 25, 2024

minute read

It is crucial to remember that the MCAT psychology accounts for your overall score, and you should not take it lightly. As most MCAT test-takers claim, MCAT psychology is one of the most challenging subjects on the MCAT. 

This article provides you with everything there is to know to learn more about MCAT psychology and how to ace it. So, without further ado, let’s get started!

MCAT Psychology: Everything You Need to Know

The study of the mind and behavior is known as psychology

Psychologists examine all facets of being a person, including thoughts, behaviors, brain function, personality, emotions, and human development. Due to its connections to the social and medical disciplines, psychology is regarded as a hub science.

To respond to questions on the MCAT psychology, you must use your knowledge of fundamental concepts and your talent for scientific inquiry and reasoning. 

The MCAT in psychology tests your understanding of the psychological factors influencing how people behave, perceive, and respond to their environment and change their behavior.

MCAT psychology takes up 65 percent of the Psych/Soc component of the exam. So, out of 59 questions, 39 will be regarding psychology. It should go without saying that your knowledge of MCAT psychology will help you get a solid score on the MCAT.

Psychology Topics to Study for the MCAT

Psychology is a broad topic; not everything will be covered in the MCAT. However, you should know what topics are tested to ace the exam. 

Knowing the topics to study saves you time and, simultaneously, makes you focused on the ones that matter. 

For your reference, we have highlighted the MCAT psychology topics and concepts on which you should focus.

10 Tips and Tricks to Ace the MCAT Psychology

Studying for the different MCAT sections, let alone MCAT Psychology, may be challenging. However, even though it might seem challenging, it is much more feasible than you think. In addition, understanding the various methods and techniques will help you learn faster and more effectively.

The following are some of the top MCAT psychology pointers and advice you ought to remember:

While Preparing for the MCAT Psychology…

Become Familiar with the Terminologies

The number of concepts to learn and study for the MCAT psychology can be a lot. But do not worry, as you can still ace this part of the MCAT. 

Flashcards can be a helpful review tool, whether making them yourself or using materials from other sources. Aside from MCAT flashcards, you can also use mnemonic devices to remember information easily. 

However, remember that the AAMC likes to go beyond simple explanations, so be sure you understand the concept correctly. In addition, you should know how to apply these concepts to relevant contexts and situations. 

You may want to check out our list of MCAT flashcards and mnemonics to help you with your MCAT preparation:

Make Use of a Range of MCAT Resources

A good study aid collection should include books, manuals, flashcards, and other materials. 

The AAMC maintains a significant collection of official materials depending on your needs. You can also buy additional MCAT prep resource bundles, sign up for MCAT prep courses, and have an MCAT tutor assist you with this part of your preparation.

The MCAT is probably the most challenging exam you would ever take, and investing in the right materials is a smart idea. However, do not worry about spending on prep courses and tutors as well. Allotting a budget for everything that will help you get a strong MCAT score is way better than retaking the MCAT.

Memorize 40 Terms for the MCAT Psychology Every Day

You will advance swiftly if you study 40 MCAT psychology principles every day. This may be a lot, considering that you also have to memorize terms and equations for the MCAT, but the key here is learning how to manage your time well. 

A good MCAT study plan will help you with time management. Before you start your MCAT preparation, make it a point that you have designed a good study plan to guide you.

Develop Your Understanding of Graphs, Tables, and Charts

The MCAT has graphs, tables, and charts, especially in the Psych/Soc section. That is a fact. As you study for the MCAT psychology, make sure that you also improve your knowledge and skills on how to interpret them. 

Once you have done reading a passage, make sure you comprehend every aspect of each graph and figure. 

What purpose does that serve? When there isn't a time constraint, you will be able to understand graphs and figures more quickly the more proficient you grow at it.

Answer Practice Questions About MCAT Psychology

Like every other part of the test, answering practice questions for the MCAT psychology is crucial for a high score. Many students supplement their preparation using third-party tests like Kaplan, Princeton Review, and Blueprint.

These tests are highly relevant, but we also advise you to utilize all AAMC tools at your disposal. This comprises hypothetical situations and questions from sample exams. They will be quite comparable to the MCAT because they were created by the same company that administers the MCAT.

Test Days Tips for MCAT Psychology…

Recognize the Tested Skills

Understanding the question format or the skills being examined can be beneficial while responding to MCAT psychology questions. 

For instance, if you can tell that a question tests your understanding of psychology concepts, you can focus on memorizing information related to that subject to assist you in responding to the question.

In contrast, you will not waste time on information recall if you know that a question tests your ability to solve problems. Instead, concentrate on analysis and find the solution using what you already know.

Search for Context Cues When Confused About a Term

Even if you have committed the definitions to memory, you can still feel unprepared when the exam questions contain new vocabulary. Do not panic. Sometimes, all you need are context clues. 

To perform better on MCAT psychology, it is imperative to have the ability to deal with new topics by using context clues and the process of elimination. These are hints that are found within the same sentence, and at times, within the same paragraphs.

Recognize the Dependent, Independent, and Controlled Groups in Experimental Passages

In addition to vocabulary and application questions, the exam authors at the AAMC really love testing students on psychology (and sociology) experiments. Unfortunately, this is also the aspect of the MCAT that most students have difficulties analyzing and comprehending. 

Our recommendation is to become accustomed to identifying and listing the key components of any experiments. Make sure you will be able to identify and recognize the dependent, independent, and controlled variables.

Carefully Consider the Argument in the Passage

Most MCAT psychology questions feature a thesis supported by a few paragraphs of supporting information. Make a brief note after each paragraph as you read a passage. 

Remember the stance it tried to take and how it relates to the main theme. 

What message is the author trying to convey? How does the information given in the passage support it? 

This is where your critical and analyzing skills should come into play.

Pay Attention to the Time

Remember that the MCAT's psych/soc part lasts 95 minutes. Therefore, you should develop time management skills because there are 59 questions to answer, most of which call for application and critical thinking abilities. 

If a question takes you a long time to answer, skip it. Simply return to these inquiries once you have finished with the others. Do not get stuck trying to get the correct answer for a specific question, which will significantly affect your overall MCAT score.

MCAT Psychology Preparation Resources

We advise using MCAT psychology prep materials in addition to the most efficient and tried-and-true methods and strategies for the psychology part of the test. While some of them require payment and subscription, some are free. 

A few MCAT psychology preparation materials are listed below for your perusal:

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