Best Tips and Tricks for MCAT Sociology

June 25, 2024

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Students frequently ponder the inclusion of sociology on the MCAT. However, the MCAT is already challenging, so adding sociology makes it more challenging. Thus, MCAT sociology seems to be one of those MCAT subjects most students dread. 

However, acing MCAT sociology isn’t that hard; you just need to know the most effective techniques to ace it. Remember that to get a strong MCAT score, you must ace all four MCAT sections, including the psych/soc section

If you are looking for the best tips and tricks for MCAT sociology, look no further. That is precisely the purpose of this article. Please keep reading.

What is MCAT Sociology?

The study of social life, social change, and the social determinants and effects of human behavior is known as sociology. Sociologists study how individuals interact in groups, organizations, and societies and their organizational structures.

Since all human activity is social, the study of sociology covers a wide range of topics, including the intimate family, the hostile mob, organized crime, religious cults, racial, gender, and social class distinctions, as well as the sociology of work and sports. 

Sociology is included in the MCAT because the medical sector has acknowledged it as essential knowledge that future doctors must possess to provide the best care to a varied patient population and comprehend how social relations affect health.

Sociology covers 30% of the MCAT psych/soc section. It means that out of the 59 questions, 18 questions are related to sociology.

Sociology Topics to Study for the MCAT

Sociology covers many concepts; not everything will be included in the MCAT. Therefore, as you study and prepare for the MCAT, you must make yourself aware of which sociology topics the MCAT will cover. 

To assist you in finding out what these concepts are, we have listed them below. 

15 Best MCAT Sociology Tips and Tricks

Aside from identifying the concepts and ideas included in the MCAT sociology, another factor that will help you get the score you aim for is knowing the best tips and tricks for MCAT sociology that you should apply. Here are a few of them

1. Take an MCAT Diagnostic Test

Diagnostic tests are a great way to determine what you already know and don't. They assess your MCAT starting point and help you adjust your study plan accordingly. 

You might find that you do not need to devote as much time to this portion, but do not make that assumption without first taking these tests and figuring out where you really stand.

Only after taking an MCAT diagnostic test will you be able to devise an MCAT study plan that will be the blueprint of your MCAT preparation

Remember to devote more time to subjects and concepts where you scored low in the diagnostic tests. 

2. Identify the Skills Being Tested

It can be helpful to recognize the question type or the skills being examined when responding to MCAT sociology questions. 

For instance, if you can tell that a question is assessing your understanding of sociology principles, you might concentrate on remembering details related to that specific subject to assist you in responding to the question. 

On the other hand, you will not waste time on information recall if you realize that a question is testing your ability to solve problems. Instead, concentrate on analysis by using your current knowledge to discover the solution.

3. Understand the Definitions

Comprehending vocabulary used often in these subjects is necessary for many problems in the MCAT sociology. 

For instance, you might encounter a query on cognitive dissonance or hindsight bias. You will not be able to respond appropriately to the question if you do not know the definitions of these terms.

Start completing practice passages after studying the material necessary for the MCAT sociology. While practicing, if you encounter a term you do not understand, note it in your "error log" or record the definition on a flashcard. 

Also, try incorporating a sample or a diagram on your flashcard if you are constantly running into the same term and memorizing if it is not helping. 

4. Study Specific Meanings of Conceptual Terms 

To ace the MCAT, you must be familiar with the technical definitions of sociology terminology and how they are typically utilized in society. 

For instance, many students are unaware of the subtle differences between stereotypes, discrimination, and prejudice. Because of this, students frequently overlook practice exam questions.


Discrimination – behavior 

Stereotypes – cognitive (beliefs or ideas)

Prejudice – feeling

You can successfully answer sociology-related questions on the MCAT by using these straightforward definitions. 

However, many students miss out on some simple points because they are unaware of these minute variances. These fine distinctions between scientific words used in sociology or psychology are prevalent on the MCAT.

5. Learn the Different Research Designs 

As you start studying for MCAT sociology, practice comprehending research design and contextualizing terminology. You will be better prepared if you use examples more often as you study.

Additionally, this section 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, the dependent, and control variables when you encounter an experiment-related topic while studying.

6. Prepare for the Data and Experiments in Sociology

Students are generally tested on sociological experiments by the AAMC. This means that you need to be able to apply your knowledge to queries that are similar to those in experiments rather than just practicing words. 

Develop the habit of selecting the experiment's independent and dependent variables and any relevant controls as you finish practice passages.

Avoid focusing too heavily on a graph or figure when taking the MCAT sociology part unless a question directly asks about it. But as you work on it, you should hone your analytical abilities in case you ever need them. 

After finishing a sample passage, review any graphs or figures to ensure you fully comprehend the data.

7. Use an Active Study Technique to Remember What You Have Studied For 

After going over each topic by reading your textbook or reviewing your course materials, check in to make sure you can explain it to yourself without the aid of study tools. This is one of the best active-study techniques you can use. 

Repeat this for each of the key underlying ideas.

Additionally, creating quizzes for yourself to assess your material comprehension is a fantastic study strategy. See if you can teach a friend about the subject, and then practice with your own homemade flashcards. 

Although it is simpler to buy flashcards, creating your own is a helpful study technique that encourages active learning.

8. Do Not Put Off Studying for the MCAT Sociology

Many students who have studied sociology may be tempted to put off studying for this section in favor of concentrating more on the other three exam sections. However, rushing through this subject without first ensuring you understand it can be risky. 

Analyze your knowledge and what you do not know, then adjust your study plan accordingly. 

You might find that you do not need to devote as much time to this portion, but do not make that assumption without first taking a few practice exams and figuring out where you really stand.

9. Keep in Mind that MCAT Sociology is Just as Difficult as the Other Subjects Covered on the MCAT

Do not try to rush through the MCAT sociology part on test day because you think it will be simple or because you want to finish it quickly. Instead, apply the same caution to this part as you did to all the others. 

Do not give up just because you completed all the questions in this area and can leave to go home. Even though you may be mentally and physically exhausted at this time, this part accounts for 30% of your MCAT psych/soc score.

10. Use Context Clues in Case of Terms You Do Not Know 

Because it is not always clear which concepts might be assessed on the MCAT sociology, students frequently become irritated. Despite knowing the definitions by heart, you could feel unprepared when brand-new phrases appear on your next practice test. 

Accepting that it is impossible to anticipate exactly what will be covered is a tough hurdle to overcome. 

Thus mastering the use of context clues and process of elimination to deal with new topics is an essential ability to improve on practice exams.

11. Give Situations and Examples of What You are Learning

For example: What is hindsight bias? The following is what you would type:

“When someone or a group assumes they knew something was going to happen even though they could not possibly have predicted it, this is known as hindsight bias. For example, following a tornado, a student asserts that she knew about it for months beforehand.”

Make use of the previously provided AAMC practice questions. Returning to our example, if you were unsure of the meaning of the other answer options, you would also want to explain them and give an example.

12. Use MCAT Flashcards 

Many students would agree that employing flashcards during MCAT preparation yields positive results. MCAT flashcards help you memorize terms and concepts needed for MCAT sociology. 

However, as you memorize these terms, ensure that you fully comprehend them and that you know how and when to apply them to relevant situations and contexts. This holds true for the MCAT sociology passages that you will encounter.

13. Employ Mnemonic Devices 

Utilizing mnemonics as you study and prepare for the MCAT sociology is another effective strategy. Mnemonic devices help you remember and recall information more easily. They come in different forms, but the most common are abbreviations and rhymes. 

Additionally, you can make your own mnemonics and use names of your friends and family members and things you like. This makes it all the more easier for you to recall important details. 

Do check out our list of mnemonics for the sociology section of the MCAT to help you during your MCAT preparation:

14. Have an MCAT Sociology Notebook

MCAT sociology covers a lot of terms that you have to memorize and know the definitions of. 

Like using MCAT flashcards and mnemonic devices, having a notebook specifically for sociology is essential. This is where you should write MCAT sociology terms and concepts. 

Leave room underneath each entry so you may fill it in if you come across the concept again. Don't only include facts and definitions; also provide details about the situation the term was tested in.

When the time for the exam comes, you'll see specific entries that are jam-packed with notes and others where there is a ton of vacant space, indicating that you never saw the phrase again after the first time. 

This can be a handy guide for determining what you should spend more time studying and what you should examine less.

15. Take Practice Exams

Like any other part of the MCAT, answering practice questions about MCAT sociology is key to getting a solid score. Many students use third-party tests as part of their preparation because it can be challenging to decide which practice exams to take. 

These tests are totally acceptable, but we advise you to utilize every AAMC resource at your disposal. This comprises simulated test questions and scenarios. These tests will be very comparable to the MCAT because the same business produces them.

MCAT Sociology DO’s and DON'Ts

Along with the tactics listed above, we suggest you remember the MCAT Sociology DOs and DON'Ts.

DO’s of MCAT Sociology

Use Active Strategy to Retain Information

After reading your textbook or studying your course materials for each MCAT sociology topic, do a check-in to make sure you feel comfortable speaking aloud to yourself about the material without using any study resources.   

Repeat this for each of the key underlying ideas. Additionally, creating quizzes for yourself to assess your material comprehension is a fantastic study strategy. 

Make Notes While Reading

Write crucial information on your note board, such as the main ideas of each paragraph or the definitions of essential MCAT sociology terminologies. Making notes will help you save a ton of time, which is vital for the MCAT. 

You do not need to reread the passage to locate the key points. Instead, concentrate exclusively on pertinent facts while you take notes. Then, write short sentences that just cover the key points.

Prepare Yourself for Experimentation and Data

As you read the passages, make it a habit to choose the experiment's independent and dependent variables and applicable controls. If there isn’t a question specifically concerning a graph or figure in a section, you should spend a lot of time on it when taking the biology MCAT.  

To be sure you understand the question, read the questions at least twice.

Eliminate, Translate, and Paraphrase

You can interpret the questions however you like. Find the important details in the passage again, read them, and then paraphrase them. What specifically is the question requesting of you?  

Next, think about the question and what the correct response will need to be. As you consider your options, use the elimination process. If you come across a truly challenging question, keep in mind to finish the other, simpler questions first.

Pay Attention to the Diagrams

Most sociology-related questions on the MCAT may frequently be resolved using merely reaction diagrams. Go straight to the questions after skipping the text. You might be surprised to learn that you can efficiently answer the questions while also doing so accurately. 

Make sure you comprehend the skills being tested as you concentrate on the diagrams. A crucial part of the MCAT is applying the knowledge you have acquired over your study period, so keep that in mind.

DON’Ts of MCAT Sociology

Don’t Forget that the Passages Have the Answers 

Never make an answer decision based on "outside" information you may have. You can find the correct answer with the aid of the passages. Think twice if you can respond to the questions by just recalling a recollection.  

Always strive to choose an answer that is related in some manner to the paragraph and the subjects it covers. As you read the paragraphs, it is crucial to highlight pertinent information.

Don’t Lose Track of Time 

Time management abilities are needed for the MCAT. The MCAT sociology questions are difficult and may take some time to complete. In addition, some graphs and examples require more time and consideration than others. 

You might find some things monotonous, and it will be difficult for you to focus on anything you find boring. However, it is imperative to avoid obsessively dwelling on such things. Instead, skip any questions you find particularly difficult and move on to the next set.

Don’t Hesitate to Draw If It Helps You 

Establish connections, like social stratifications and interactions. Write down the directions as you read the passage on your scratch paper.  

To avoid having to reread the paragraph and getting lost when it comes to the questions, make a type of "flow chart."  

Make everything into a story; once you figure it out, you will see how easy it is. 

However, remember that you should be able to comprehend what you have drawn or constructed when you make flow charts. If not, the numbers and drawings will be useless or could seriously confuse you. 

Don’t Take MCAT Sociology Lightly 

The MCAT covers sociology because of its importance in public health and in medicine. However, you cannot ace the MCAT. 

Make it a priority to thoroughly understand the social attitudes, processes, and behavior while you study for the MCAT.  

Instead of concentrating too much on memorizing the terms, concentrate more on applying these concepts to relevant contexts.

Don’t Be Distracted by External Factors

It is possible that the MCAT test day will differ slightly from the location where you take your full-length practice tests. 

It might be a little distracting because of the unusual physical environment and the many other applicants taking the MCAT.  

Get ready for this and practice focusing. Be prepared for any unexpected or undesired sounds. 

Additional FAQs – MCAT Sociology Tips and Tricks

What Do I Need to Know About Sociology for the MCAT?

To ace the MCAT sociology part, you need to study the following topics: social interaction, social thinking and attitudes, social processes and behavior, social structure, and stratification

There is no need to review other topics for sociology. Instead, devote your attention to these topics; you will be good to go.

What is the Objective of MCAT Sociology?

For future doctors to deliver the most outstanding treatment to a diverse patient population and understand how social relations affect health, sociology is included in the MCAT. This is because the medical industry recognizes sociology as crucial knowledge that future doctors must possess. 

Remember, as a prospective physician, you must be well aware of the importance of sociology in providing the best health service to your patients.

What Percentage of the MCAT is Sociology?

Sociology covers 30% of the MCAT psych/soc section. It means that there are 18 questions (out of 59) about sociology in this section. 

It may not be a lot, but it accounts for your overall MCAT score. Therefore, ensure that you give enough time and effort to MCAT sociology during your MCAT preparation.

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