The MCAT is a science heavy exam. Each section has a certain focus which tests the major subjects medical schools require as prerequisites. One section is devoted to Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems, which focuses mostly on chemistry and physics principles. There are 59 questions in this section, and about 70% will focus on the chemistry topics. In addition, about 35% of the questions in the Biological and Biochemical Foundations section will cover chemistry topics. This post will go over how to study MCAT chemistry.
What is tested in MCAT chemistry?
The AAMC releases information on the approximate breakdown of content for the MCAT. For the Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems section, roughly 30% will be general chemistry, and 15% will be organic chemistry. There is also 25% biochemistry, 5% biology, and 25% physics. The way they test these topics will be broken up into different “skills” that vary from basic understanding of formulas, to problem-solving, to applications in research, to data and statistical analysis.
How to Study MCAT Chemistry
There are some principles of studying for the MCAT that apply to all sections. One is to start early and come up with a study plan. The earlier you start, the more time you will have to identify weaknesses and improve on them. Another is to study hard in the prerequisite classes for medical school—in this case, general chemistry, organic chemistry, and biochemistry. No MCAT prep course or tutor will go into as much depth as a college level course in these subjects. Review courses and prep courses are meant as review for concepts you have already learned. The better you do in your basic science courses and the better you learn the topics taught in them, the better you will do in both your MCAT and your medical school application.
MCAT Chemistry Resources
Some specific resources to use when studying include the AAMC Content Outlines. The AAMC, who designs the MCAT questions, use this outline when creating tests. This can serve as a road map for topics that you need to know. AAMC also releases a set of questions specific to chemistry content. It’s $15, but worth the investment to expose yourself to true MCAT chemistry question types. It won’t be enough for thorough MCAT studying, but should be supplemented with other types of question banks. Finally, a full-length MCAT from the AAMC will not only help you get a good feel for the MCAT chemistry topics, but also what a simulated exam feels like. This costs $35, but is again worth the investment. AAMC practice exams were perhaps the single best practice and predictor for me when I took the MCAT. Magoosh also offers MCAT prep to help meet your MCAT chemistry needs.