4 Things to do to Conquer Behavioral Sciences

When the AAMC remade the MCAT in 2015, they added a new section, the Behavioral Science section. The section covers both sociology and psychology. Because there is no resource out there that covers every single term you might expect to see in this section, make sure to get as much exposure to these topics as you can. By the time you take the MCAT, you should have:

1. Taken a college-level class on both psychology and sociology. 

Although not all medical schools require you to have taken these classes, if you want a high MCAT score, you will want to take them anyway. One trend among students that score a 132 on this section is that they majored in psychology or sociology. This doesn’t mean that you should change your major, but it simply indicates that students who succeed have had a good amount of exposure to behavioral science topics in a variety of settings. 

2. Done the AAMC Practice problems covering these topics. 

When you get an AAMC Behavioral Science question wrong, don’t just learn why you got the question wrong. Dig deeper. Do you know why the incorrect answers are incorrect? If each answer choice is a different psychology term, do you know what they all mean? The AAMC wrote the MCAT, so if they are using a specific term, you’d better learn it. You’ll want to know their passages and questions inside and out!

3. Watched the Khan Academy videos covering both of these topics. 

Top scorers speak very highly of the Khan Academy video collection for the Behavioral Science section. This makes perfect sense because this video collection was produced in partnership with the AAMC. Make sure to memorize every single psychology/sociology term that is taught by Khan Academy. This is why we created a FREE Behavioral Science Notes resource to help you make the most of the Khan Academy’s content review. Our new Behavioral Science Notes section will walk you through every term in a clear and concise transcription. That way you’ll get it straight from the Khan Academy!

4. Read the sociology/psychology section of two different prep books. 

If you are really looking to succeed at this section, go the extra mile and read not just one but two content review books on this topic. We outline which chapters of both the Kaplan and Princeton Review books match up with the Khan Academy videos in our Free MCAT prep course

Many students think that since many psychological and sociological principles are common sense, they can just blow off studying for this section. This would be a sore mistake. Although some principles may be common sense, many times the MCAT will test your knowledge of the nit-picky details of behavioral science terms. This is not common sense and will require you to have in-depth exposure to the behavioral sciences. Don’t underestimate the difficulty of this important section. If you feel that you could benefit from individual help and specific test-taking strategies and drills, please sign up for a tutoring package with one of our 519+ tutors!

Warm regards,

Andrew  George

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How we Matched up the Khan Academy Passages with the eCourse Lessons

Each lesson of the eCourse contains links to 1 to 5 Khan Academy science passages for the purpose of providing you with non-AAMC material to practice your science passage reading skills on. By completing all the linked passages within every lesson, you will have finished all the freely available Khan Academy science passages.

To match up the Khan Academy Science Passages with the eCourse lessons, we carefully examined the passage and question content of each one. Then we decided which lesson of the eCourse best correlated with that content. You may notice that some passages don’t match up perfectly with the current lesson. If they don’t match up with the current lesson, they should match up with one of the previous lessons in the module. We did this carefully so that you could practice your science passage reading skills on passages that contain the content you’ve already learned.

Why we don’t recommend non-AAMC CARS practice questions

We recommend practicing CARS by reading non-AAMC CARS passages but not doing the associated practice problems. The reason we don’t recommend doing the practice problems is because the MCAT is written by the AAMC. They have a very unique style in which they write CARS practice questions that third-party companies (try as they might) are unable to replicate. When students spend time on non-AAMC CARS practice problems, they get familiar with the wrong style of questioning, leading them to overthink and incorrectly respond to the questions written by the AAMC. Thus, it is in your best interest to solely practice on AAMC CARS practice questions.

That said, we highly recommend practicing your reading skills on non-AAMC CARS passages. In our Ultimate CARS Strategy Course, we provide you with 1,000 free CARS passages and 100+ homework assignments, giving you ample material to practice on. Reading countless passages while practicing the proper reading habits and strategies will prepare you well to conquer the CARS section as it was written by the AAMC.

Which books do the lessons match up with?

The books we use in each lesson are linked below. We plan to stick with these older editions of the books since very little has changed and the older editions are much more affordable:

First Edition of the Kaplan 7-book Series
First Edition of the Princeton 7-book Series

Do the chapters match up perfectly?

The Kaplan Books, Princeton Books, and Khan Academy Videos were all produced by different authors. For this reason, there are some chapters in the Kaplan Book or Princeton Book that are not even found in the Khan Academy Videos and vice versa. For instance, the Kaplan and Princeton Books have chapters that cover certain experimental procedures that the Khan Academy Videos do not cover.

Our goal in matching up the books with the videos was to correlate the content as best as possible while also covering ALL the content from every resource. For this reason, when nothing in the Kaplan Books matched up with one of the video playlists, instead of leaving the reading assignment for Kaplan blank, we inserted material that did not fit in anywhere else (i.e. one of those chapters on an experimental procedure that was not covered by Khan Academy). So, when the assignment doesn’t appear to match up right, please know that this was intentional.

*If you follow the reading assignments outlined, you will finish the entire Kaplan 7-book series and/or Princeton 7-book series by the time you finish all 10 content modules.

Do the sections match up perfectly?

If the sections assigned in our eCourse do not match up with the sections contained in your content review book, you may have a different edition. The sections should still match up the large majority of the time, but in the rare instance that they don’t, I’d recommend simply reading sections that do match up and saving the ones that do not for a future lesson.

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