What Topics Does the MCAT Cover?
Is there a list that contains everything I should memorize for the MCAT? Sadly, there is no magic notebook that contains every piece of content that you should memorize for the MCAT. However, there are some great resources to get started. Most prep book sets are fairly comprehensive (with the Princeton Review book-set having the densest and most in-depth explanations) and will do just fine. However, prep companies simply try to reverse-engineer what is covered by the MCAT by paying their staff to take the MCAT and tell them what was tested.
A better (and FREE) alternative is to work through all of the Khan Academy videos. The AAMC paid Khan Academy directly to make these videos following their specific guidelines. We’ve compiled all of the videos in digestible Youtube playlists in our FREE Ecourse. Following the Khan Academy ensures that you won’t miss any important concepts for the MCAT.
While we don’t recommend using this to study for the MCAT comprehensively, the AAMC has released a general list of concepts that are covered on the MCAT. However, the AAMC’s study guide presents each topic as only a bullet point with little guidance as to what you need to know. In order to maximize this resource, we recommend searching for unfamiliar AAMC bullet points on this companion website. The MCAT review website simply breaks down every concept into succinct explanations. Reviewing the AAMC guide with the companion website allows for clarification and elaboration once you have finished the content review phase.
Why doesn’t the AAMC have clear guidelines for the MCAT? The answer is simple, yet hard to swallow. If the AAMC gave specific guidelines as to every fact that should be regurgitated on the MCAT, thousands of pre-meds across the country would be spending months and months getting ready to throw up random facts on test day. That is not what the AAMC wants. They want to test pre-med students’ critical thinking and ability to synthesize concepts. To truly excel on test day, one needs to understand the material in addition to memorizing facts.
How am I supposed to study if I can’t just memorize everything? This is a challenging question, and there is no simple answer. But, the best thing you can do is to follow the examples of those who have already done well on the exam. Our analysis of top MCAT scorers has revealed that those who do well tend to use a variety of materials. They use review books, videos, question banks, and more. They tend to gain multiple perspectives on the material and use only the best practice materials to test their ability to understand and think critically about the content. In summary, you’ll need to incorporate practice problems and practice tests into your study plan in addition to reviewing the material. Our Free eCourse is based on the experiences of 50 students who scored between the 95th and 100th percentile and will walk you through the step-by-step process of preparing for the MCAT.
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