How to Prepare for MCAT Sociology: Complete Guide

June 25, 2024

minute read

Your sociology background is essential to achieve a competitive MCAT score. You will not be able to achieve a strong MCAT score without studying and reviewing for MCAT sociology. 

While it is a given that you have prior skills and knowledge of the science needed on the MCAT, sociology is something that most pre-medical students do not have enough background on. 

Be cautious, as sociology is one of the most common downfalls of students taking the MCAT. 

We are here to help you, so if you are looking for an article to help you prepare for MCAT sociology, you have come to the right page. Please read on.

What is MCAT Sociology? 

The study of social interaction, social roots, social change, and effects of human behavior is known as sociology

Sociologists research the social interactions on a micro (individual interaction) and macro-level (between groups, organizations, and communities and their institutional frameworks).

The study of sociology encompasses a wide range of issues because all human activity is social. For instance, the close-knit family, the violent mob, organized crime, religious cults, race, gender, and social class disparities, as well as the sociology of work, sports, health, and wellness.

The medical industry recognizes that it is crucial for aspiring doctors to have a firm grasp of sociology. Sociology is included in the MCAT as it is important to understand how social interactions affect health and shape attitudes towards disease, illness, disabilities, and mental health. 

Thirty (30) percent of the MCAT's psych/soc part is devoted to sociology. 

This indicates that 18 of the 59 questions on the test have a sociological component.

Sociology Topics to Study for the MCAT

Sociology is a broad subject; not all of it will be tested on the MCAT. 

You must familiarize yourself with the subjects that the MCAT will cover as you study and prepare for it.

Below is a list of these topics to help you understand what they are

Many of the topics covered in this section overlap with psychology. This is because much of our biological, neurobiological, and psychological makeup affects our social interactions.

How Much Time Should You Give Yourself to Study for MCAT Sociology?

The MCAT is a challenging test with a lot of material, so you must give yourself plenty of time to study it all. You should not take the MCAT unprepared. You should specify a minimum period and standard of at least three months

A good guideline is between 300 and 350 hours for preparing for the MCAT exam. 

Spending around 6 hours every day, six days a week, without any extracurricular activities, should be perfect. The amount of time you should spend learning and comprehending each topic will depend on how much time you spend on it. 

Sociology makes up approximately 30% of the psych/soc section of the MCAT. Therefore, within the 6 hours a day timetable, an ideal MCAT study plan will advise you to spend at least 2 hours studying and preparing for both the MCAT psychology and sociology subjects. 

Depending on how fast (or slow) you are progressing and which topics you are having difficulties with, MCAT sociology should take up at least 6 hours a week of your MCAT preparation time. 

You might occasionally need to change your plans depending on your commitments at work or school. But remember to reserve one day per week for leisure or rest. When you take the MCAT, you do not want to be overworked and exhausted.

10 Tips and Strategies to Prepare for the MCAT Sociology

To some pre-medical students, sociology is something they do not have enough background in before taking the MCAT. Most of them have science prerequisites but not sociology. Thus, learning the MCAT sociology concepts can be challenging. 

Don’t worry! Acing the MCAT sociology section is achievable. All you have to do is use the top MCAT tips and strategies to succeed. And for your reference, we have listed them below.

Know the Topics Covered in the MCAT Sociology

Do not be startled if you encounter a term you have never heard of on a practice test because some people have said that the content in this section is more ambiguous than content seen in the other science sections. 

In the same way, do not be shocked if a term you assumed would be examined does not appear in any questions.

Evaluate What You Know (and Don’t Know) in MCAT Sociology 

Examine what you already know and what you do not, then make any necessary adjustments to your study schedule. 

You might find that you are not required to put in as much time as you thought studying this part, but do not jump to that conclusion before taking a few practice tests and assessing your actual performance.

Have an MCAT Sociology Journal 

Keep track of the terms you encounter as answer options in practice questions and on practice tests to assist you in limiting the options you are more likely to face on test day. 

Then, if you see these terms again, make another note. The ones that recur might have a higher likelihood of appearing on test day.

Additionally, within your notes, we recommend placing terms that look/sound similar next to each other so you can better identify and understand the differences between them. This will prevent a mix up on test day!

Focus on High-Yield Topics

Using this method, you can reduce studying words that are less likely to appear on the test. 

Sociology covers a wide array of topics, and if you study all of them, you risk your chance of focusing on topics that really matter. Take note that you have only a limited time to study and prepare for the MCAT.

Use Mnemonic Devices 

MCAT sociology includes terms and concepts that need to be memorized. Unfortunately, the amount of information you have to remember can be overwhelming. 

We recommend that you employ mnemonic devices to recall these concepts more quickly. They are an effective way to help you remember essential ideas for MCAT sociology. 

To make your life easier, we’ve created a mnemonic device – MCAT Sociology Mnemonics. Check it out.

Utilize MCAT Flashcards

Like mnemonics, flashcards are an effective tool for MCAT preparation. You can purchase MCAT flashcards from the AAMC or make your own flashcards. Just don’t focus on memorization alone because the MCAT is not all about memory recall, you must understand the concepts presented to you. 

If you want to know the best MCAT flashcards, check out our detailed guide – Best Flashcards for MCAT Exam.

Know the Basic Terms and Their Definitions 

We advise learning as many vocabulary words, well-known experiments, and other crucial phrases in context as you can. 

Comprehending how experiments have affected modern sociology and medicine are two very different things. Nevertheless, you will be better prepared to use examples more often as you study.

Know What Experimental Designs Are

MCAT sociology requires a solid understanding of experimental and research design. You might discover that many of your queries depend entirely on how well you understand experimental design. 

Practice identifying the independent variable, the dependent, and the control variables when you encounter an experiment-related topic while studying.

Know How to Read and Interpret Graphs, Tables, and Charts 

After you have finished reading a chapter, be careful to review it again and ensure you comprehend every detail of each graph and figure. 

What purpose does this serve? First, you will be able to interpret graphs and figures more swiftly when there isn’t a time constraint the more experience you have doing so.

Utilize Practice Tests 

Answering practice questions concerning MCAT sociology is essential for a high MCAT score, just like every other exam section. 

Therefore, we suggest using all AAMC resources available to you. This includes scenarios and questions from practice tests. Given that the company produces them, so they will be similar to the MCAT. However, you can also use practice tests from third-party MCAT services.

MCAT Sociology Preparation Resources

Aside from employing the most effective and proven strategies and techniques for the MCAT sociology, we recommend using MCAT sociology prep resources while studying for the MCAT. 

Below is a list of a few MCAT sociology prep resources you should check out:

Additional FAQs – Preparing for MCAT Sociology

Is MCAT Sociology Hard?

MCAT sociology is one of the most challenging subjects covered on the MCAT. 

Some students are surprised by this section on the MCAT as the concepts are much more challenging than they were expecting. This is why you should exert the same effort and hard work for all sections covered on the MCAT even if you perceive some easier than others

Is Sociology a Prerequisite for the MCAT?

Unlike biology, physics, and chemistry, sociology is not a prerequisite for the MCAT. However, sociology is highly recommended as it will surely give you an advantage for the MCAT. 

Suppose you did not enroll in an introductory sociology course before taking the exam. In that case, you could still ace the MCAT sociology by giving yourself enough time to study the concepts required.

How Many Sociology Questions are There in the MCAT?

MCAT sociology accounts for 30% of the MCAT psych/soc section. This means that out of the 59 questions in this section, 18 are related to sociology. 

Ensure that you have studied for the different MCAT sociology topics to answer these 18 questions correctly.

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