How to Use the Official AAMC Content Outline

After the 2023 MCAT season ended, the AAMC released their first ever content outline for the MCAT. Why hasn’t this received more attention? It has been buried in their Online MCAT Prep Hub, making it difficult to find and revisit. However, it has some great material, combining online textbook links with some of the already officially endorsed Khan Academy MCAT video lessons, all organized by the MCAT Learning Objectives

While these online text links are 100% free and useful, they are far from comprehensive. Many of them focus on one or two small pieces of a large topic (e.g. Hydrolysis of Organic Phosphates and Prokaryotic Gene Regulation) and go into a great level of detail. Although this may sound too specific, don’t these texts mimic how the AAMC finds niches of common topics to build their science passages?

So, AAMC Content Outline Texts are definitely not a sufficient, comprehensive source for content (or at least not in its current form). They should be strategically paired with more broad content sources as well.

AAMC Content Outline with Khan Academy

By watching the corresponding Khan Academy MCAT videos, these texts can add some great additional detail. You can build some vocabulary and experience on finer points that the MCAT may test on discrete questions or as part of a passage’s experiment. This could easily translate into a few more questions right per section, and getting to spend less time on difficult questions. 

AAMC Content Outline with Textbooks

There are already some really popular MCAT review books available for purchase. The two most popular book series, Kaplan and Princeton Review, have published slightly different editions each year since the MCAT format last changed in 2015. While these still are not fully comprehensive, they are more focused on quickly reviewing lots of high yield topics, and are a great pairing with the AAMC Content Outline Texts.

AAMC Content Outline with MCAT Self Prep

At this point, there are at least 4 complementary, mainstream resources to consider combining in your content review phase of MCAT studying. MCAT Self Prep has gone through each source, conglomerated each text and video into 120 digestible lessons based on a central theme, and made them available in our FREE E-COURSE. Although not every lesson has an associated text from the AAMC Content Outline, you will cover 100% of those texts throughout the e-course! 

Now that all of these sources are integrated into MCAT Self Prep, what’s the best way to add them to your studying? For almost every student who needs to improve their MCAT score by 5+ points (especially 3+ points in a given section), there will need to be content gaps filled with these recommended Khan Academy videos. The AAMC Outline text links are great if you have struggled with passage reading and want to understand more nuance on the topics and recognize more of the vocabulary. And the Kaplan and Princeton Review recommendations are best used if you struggled to understand a topic after watching those videos and need a new perspective to view the information from.

If you’re still wondering about how to select high-yield resources or apply this to your own study schedule, our Create-Your-Own Study Plan Course or MCAT tutoring can give you the individualized help you need. You can request a free 10 minute phone consultation with one of our tutors at any time. Good luck studying!

Timothy

MCAT self prep tutor Timothy Nolan

Timothy is an internal medicine resident at Brown University who has helped over 100 students succeed on the MCAT. Not only did he score in the 99th percentile, he also has extensive understanding of MCAT questioning and has written hundreds of practice questions!

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