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!
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