Behavioral science mcat

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The introduction of the Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior section to the MCAT has added a new dimension of material not previously addressed on the test. Prior to this addition, few pre-med programs included exposure to psychology or sociology coursework, and few medical school admissions boards listed these courses as prerequisite. As a result, many undergraduate students pursued extensive coursework in the physical and biological sciences—biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics—while giving little thought toward social science. The innovation of the MCAT changes this precedent, requiring students to know not only Mendel and Darwin, but Piaget and Pavlov as well. Whether you need top MCAT tutors in New York, MCAT tutors in Chicago, or top MCAT tutors in Los Angeles, working with a pro may take your studies to the next level.

With relatively few resources available to help one prepare for the revised test, the MCAT Social and Behavioral Sciences section has become a bit of an enigma. Many students not only feel unequipped to tackle topics in the fields of psychology and sociology, but struggle even to identify the scope of the materials covered on the exam. Let’s try to break it down.

There are 59 questions in the MCAT Social and Behavioral Sciences section, with an allotted time of 95 minutes. Like the rest of the exam, most of these questions are passage-based, though there are a few discrete questions as well. The content covered is designed to require knowledge from one term of psychology coursework, one term of sociology coursework, and a minimal smattering of biology coursework. Varsity Tutors offers resources like free MCAT Social and Behavioral Sciences Question of the Day to help with your self-paced study, or you may want to consider an MCAT tutor.

Psychology topics represent the majority of the information covered. Though most of the psychology topics appear relatively basic (few extend beyond the scope of the AP Psychology exam), the passage-based nature of the section’s question delivery demands a deeper understanding of these topics. Though it may sound cliché, simple memorization is not adequate; students must be able to apply their knowledge. When preparing for this subject, students should focus on the following areas:

 -Cognition, including memory, speech, and learning

- Emotion and stress

- Influences of behavior, such as attitude, personality, and motivation

- Sense of self and identity

- Psychological abnormalities, disorders, and treatments

- Theories and influential studies in psychology

Sociology topics in the MCAT Social and Behavioral Sciences section range from cultural influence to group psychology and topics of social inequality. These topics can be applied to an incredible variety of different scenarios on the exam, requiring students to think critically about sociological theories and applications in a context of real-world issues and circumstances. Topics covered from sociology include the following:

- Group behavior and individual behavior in a group
- Culture and cultural interactions
- Norms and social institutions
- Social inequality, discrimination, and social movements for change
- Theories and fundamental principles in sociology

Biology content represents by far the smallest discipline within the Social and Behavioral Sciences section, and is limited almost exclusively to the nervous system. Students are expected to understand sensory organs, sensory input, and sensory processing, as well as general neural physiology. Some brain physiology is tested, especially as it pertains to psychological disorders. In addition to the MCAT Social and Behavioral Sciences Practice Tests and MCAT Social and Behavioral Sciences tutoring, you may also want to consider using some of our MCAT Social and Behavioral Sciences flashcards. 

Preparing for the MCAT is a daunting task. Learning new material from courses you may not have taken in college compounds the difficulty of that endeavour. To successfully prepare for your exam day, take the time to fully familiarize yourself the the concepts covered on the MCAT Social and Behavioral Sciences section. While part of this preparation can be self-taught, working with a tutor can enhance your grasp on the concepts you may not have been taught in class. Varsity Tutors offers the MCAT Social and Behavioral Sciences tutoring and preparation resources to help you master these difficult disciplines. In addition, Varsity Tutors’ free MCAT Social and Behavioral Sciences Practice Tests can help you get a sense of each topic covered on the exam, and identify those areas in which further study could be most beneficial to your preparation. Each free MCAT Social and Behavioral Sciences Practice Test consists of twelve questions that mimic the style and formatting of those you will encounter on the revised MCAT. Each question is accompanied by a complete explanation, so you can identify exactly how you erred in any questions you answer incorrectly. By making a free Learning Tools account, you can track your results and your progress over time. The MCAT’s Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior section may seem like the test’s most daunting, but with the right preparation, you can feel prepared to tackle any challenge it presents you with on test day!

Our completely free MCAT Social and Behavioral Sciences practice tests are the perfect way to brush up your skills. Take one of our many MCAT Social and Behavioral Sciences practice tests for a run-through of commonly asked questions. You will receive incredibly detailed scoring results at the end of your MCAT Social and Behavioral Sciences practice test to help you identify your strengths and weaknesses. Pick one of our MCAT Social and Behavioral Sciences practice tests now and begin!

Practice Tests by Concept

mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-consciousness-and-thought

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-cognition

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-cognitive-development

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-other-cognition-principles_aa

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-consciousness-and-sleep

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-pathways-and-processed-of-consciousness-altering-drugs

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-sleep-cycles-and-stages-of-sleep

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-memory-creation-and-encoding

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-memory-disorders-aging-and-forgetting

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-speech-and-language_aa

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-language-and-cognition_aa

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-physiology-of-language-and-the-brain_aa

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-environment-and-sensation

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-hearing

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-physiology-of-the-ear

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-processing-and-integrating-auditory-signals

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-other-senses-and-sensation-principles

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-principles-of-sensation

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-detection-theory-and-sensory-adaptation

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-other-sensory-principles

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-perceptual-concepts-and-organization

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-perceptual-processing-theories-and-gestalt

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-senses-and-receptors_aa

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-somatosensation-receptors-and-processing_aa

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-physiology-of-the-eye

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-processing-and-integrating-visual-signals

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-visual-receptors_aa

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-group-behavior-and-sociological-phenomena

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-attribution-discrimination-and-stereotype

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-development-of-attributions-and-perceptions-of-others_aa

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-behavioral-phenomena-within-a-group

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-deindividuation

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-group-polarization-and-groupthink

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-culture

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-cultural-phenomena

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-assimilation

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-culture-lag

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-social-institutions-and-norms

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-health-and-illness

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-other-social-institutions

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-social-norms-and-mores

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-social-behaviors

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-explaining-social-behavior

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-other-social-behaviors_aa

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-social-change

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-globalization

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-other-aspects-of-social-change_aa

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-social-class-and-inequality

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-other-social-inequalities_aa

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-power-privilege-and-prestige

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-social-stratification-and-socioeconomic-class_aa

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-spatial-inequality

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-sociological-foundations-and-principles_aa

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-demographics_aa

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-gender_aa

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-individual-behavior-and-learning

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-behavior-and-the-individual_aa

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-motivators-and-influencing-motivation_aa

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-conditioning-learning-and-behavior-change

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-associative-learning

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-classical-conditioning

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-identifying-positive-and-negative-reinforcement_aa

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-operative-conditioning

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mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-learning-and-behavior-change

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Sours: https://www.varsitytutors.com/mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-practice-tests

MCAT Self Prep

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 Kaplanand Princeton Reviewbooks 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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The Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior section asks you to solve problems by combining your knowledge of foundational concepts with your scientific inquiry and reasoning skills. This section tests your understanding of the ways psychological, social, and biological factors influence perceptions and reactions to the world; behavior and behavior change; what people think about themselves and others; the cultural and social differences that influence well-being; and the relationships between social stratification, access to resources, and well-being.

The Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior section emphasizes concepts that tomorrow’s doctors need to know in order to serve an increasingly diverse population and have a clear understanding of the impact of behavior on health. Further, it communicates the need for future physicians to be prepared to deal with the human and social issues of medicine.
This section is designed to:

  • test psychology, sociology, and biology concepts that provide a solid foundation for learning in medical school about the behavioral and sociocultural determinants of health;
  • test concepts taught at many colleges and universities in first-semester psychology and sociology courses;
  • test biology concepts that relate to mental processes and behavior that are taught at many colleges and universities in introductory biology;
  • test basic research methods and statistics concepts described by many baccalaureate faculty as important to success in introductory science courses; and
  • require you to demonstrate your scientific inquiry and reasoning, research methods, and statistics skills as applied to the social and behavioral sciences.
Test SectionNumber of QuestionsTime
Biological and Biochemical 
Foundations of Living Systems
59
(note that questions are a
combination of passage‐based
and discrete questions)
95 minutes


Exam content will draw from:

Discipline:*

  • Introductory psychology, 65% **
  • Introductory sociology, 30%
  • Introductory biology, 5%


Foundational Concept:

  • Foundational Concept 6, 25%
  • Foundational Concept 7, 35%
  • Foundational Concept 8, 20%
  • Foundational Concept 9, 15%
  • Foundational Concept 10, 5%


Scientific Inquiry and Reasoning Skill:

  • Skill 1, 35%
  • Skill 2, 45%
  • Skill 3, 10%
  • Skill 4, 10%

*These percentages have been approximated to the nearest 5% and will vary from one test to another for a variety of reasons. These reasons include, but are not limited to, controlling for question difficulty, using groups of questions that depend on a single passage, and using unscored field-test questions on each test form.

**Please note that about 5% of this test section will include psychology questions that are biologically relevant. This is in addition to the discipline target of 5% for introductory biology specified for this section.

A note on the recent revisions to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and the Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior section of the new MCAT exam

Sours: https://students-residents.aamc.org/whats-mcat-2015-exam/psychological-social-and-biological-foundations-behavior-section-overview
[PSYC 200] 3. Introduction to Human Behavior

MCAT Psychology and Sociology: Everything You Need to Know

Part 3: MCAT psychology and sociology study strategies

MCAT Psychology and Sociology Tip #1: Know any vocab words that show up on practice questions you take and write down any words you don’t know.

Many questions on the psych/soc section test your ability to distinguish between a set of terms. Let’s say you see the following question on your exam:

After a tornado, a student claims that she knew it was coming several months before it happened. This is an example of:

A)     Hindsight bias

B)    Representativeness heuristic

C)     Availability heuristic

D)    Cognitive dissonance

If you don’t know what the definitions of the words are, you will not be able to answer the question correctly. In this case, the answer is hindsight bias, which describes a fallacy where a person believes they knew something was going to occur when in reality there is no way that they could have made that prediction.

If you didn’t know what hindsight bias meant before this question, you would likely find answering the question correctly very difficult. So, anytime you get a psych/soc question and you do not know the definition of a term, write the definition down on a set of flashcards. Writing the term and the definition down, however, is not quite enough to get all MCAT questions right, especially when you get to trickier terms that never seem to stick, no matter how many times you memorize them!

Let’s move on to our second tip.

MCAT Psychology and Sociology Tip #2: When you define a psychology/sociology vocabulary term, include with it an example that makes sense to you.

What is an example of hindsight bias? The example can come directly from the question itself! You would write the following:

Hindsight bias: when an individual or group believes that they knew something was going to occur when in reality there is no way that they could have made that prediction. Example: After a tornado, a student claims that she knew it was coming several months before it happened. 

Utilize the already written out AAMC practice questions to your advantage. Going back to our example, we would also want to define and write down an example for our other answer choices if we didn’t already know what they meant.

MCAT Psychology and Sociology Tip #3: Anytime you receive a passage with a graph or a figure, make sure you go back and review each figure thoroughly.

During your actual exam and while you take practice, you will often not have time to fully understand any graphs or figures presented. In fact, you should not spend too much time on any one given figure unless a specific question is asking you about it.

Once you finish taking a passage, however, you should make sure to go back and understand every part of every graph or figure in the passage. What is the value in this? The more practice you get analyzing graphs or figures without a time crunch, the better you will be able to quickly analyze them when there is a time crunch.

MCAT Psychology and Sociology Tip #4: Practice identifying the independent, dependent, and control groups within experiments mentioned in the passages.

In addition to vocab and applying vocab, the test writers at the AAMC really like to test students on psychology and sociology experiments. Students who have a great grasp of the vocab often struggle on experiment-style questions because it is easy to get lost in complex experiments.

Our tip is to practice identifying and writing down the key components of any experiment. What are the researchers changing on purpose? That is our independent variable. What are the researchers measuring as an outcome? That is our dependent variable. And what must the researchers hold constant in order for their results to hold true? Those are the controls.

Let’s look at the following example to practice identifying these important experimental variables:

In a study, researchers want to retrospectively assess the effects of air quality on rates of cardiovascular disease in elderly patients. Group 1 contains patients currently between the ages of 60 and 65 who lived at least eight years within city limits in a city with a population above one million people while they were between 40 and 50 years old. They compare this to Group 2, which includes patients between the ages of 60 and 65 who lived at least eight years within city limits in a city with a population below two hundred thousand people while they were between 40 and 50 years old. Which of the following is a potential confounding variable that the researchers did not control for?

A)     The effect of air quality in the city

B)    The size of the city

C)     Socioeconomic status

D)    The number of years in the city

Now, before we answer this question, let’s identify our important experimental variables. What are the researchers changing on purpose? The only difference between Group 1 and Group 2 is the size of the city that the patients lived in. So, size of the city is our independent variable, and the researchers are using city size as an indirect measure of air quality. They make the assumption that a bigger city has worse air quality. Therefore, answer choices A and B are incorrect as they describe the independent variable of the study in different ways. Let’s now think about the dependent variable. What are the researchers measuring as an outcome? As the question says, the researchers are measuring rates of cardiovascular disease.

Next, what are the researchers holding constant across both Group 1 and Group 2? Each group has patients between 60 and 65 years old, and each group lived at least 8 of 10 years between the ages of 40 and 50 in their respective city. Let’s look at answer choice D: the number of years in the city. The researchers accounted for this by specifying at least eight years, so that is not our correct answer.

Now, let’s look at answer choice C. By process of elimination, we know this is our correct answer, but let’s take a closer look. At any point in the study, did the researchers account for socioeconomic status? If you answered no, you are correct. In order for the researchers to account for socioeconomic status, they would have needed to look at household income or another proxy variable. So, answer choice C is our correct answer here.

Use this exercise as an example of how to analyze the experiments that the AAMC will give you on the MCAT psychology and sociology section. Every time you see an experiment in this section, practice this exercise and you will master experiment-based MCAT psychology and sociology questions in no time.

Sours: https://www.shemmassianconsulting.com/blog/mcat-psychology-and-sociology

Mcat behavioral science

Want to review MCAT Social and Behavioral Sciences but don’t feel like sitting for a whole test at the moment? Varsity Tutors has you covered with thousands of different MCAT Social and Behavioral Sciences flashcards! Our MCAT Social and Behavioral Sciences flashcards allow you to practice with as few or as many questions as you like. Get some studying in now with our numerous MCAT Social and Behavioral Sciences flashcards.

New to the 2015 MCAT is the Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior section that tests students’ understanding of how psychosocial factors impact biology, behavior and behavioral differences, and how people consider their relationships to themselves and to their larger surroundings. In addition, this section requires students to understand how socioeconomic status, access to healthcare and health insurance, and level of health literacy can affect a person’s overall physical and psychological well-being. For those college students who studied psychology, sociology, and to some degree, economics, you may recognize some material that as being familiar from your experience in such courses. For those students who did not study any of these topics, a review of medically relevant psychology and sociology will be necessary for this section of the MCAT and help you begin to equip themselves with the knowledge needed to treat a diverse patient population with varied cultural, religious, and lifestyle backgrounds. Whether you need MCAT tutoring in Atlanta, MCAT tutoring in Houston, or MCAT tutoring in San Francisco, working one-on-one with an expert may be just the boost your studies need.

As with the other three sections of the revised MCAT, this section contains fifty-nine questions that are a combination of passage-based and discrete questions, all to be answered within the span of ninety-five minutes. Introductory psychology will comprise sixty-five percent of the tested questions, while sociology and biology will account for thirty percent and five percent, respectively. Five foundational concepts will figure heavily in this section, all centered on how various biological, social, and psychological factors combine to drive human behavior individually and within social groups. In the first foundational concept area, students will be tested on how these factors lead people to think about and react to the world around them. Topics tested could include biological concepts such as sound, light, and the gustatory sense, but may also require knowledge of how people sense the environment, process traumatic life events, and weigh the benefits and consequences of following a certain action plan. The next foundational area asks students about how life factors can influence behavior and lead to behavioral change. Individual attitudes, group dynamics, and other social processes that affect human behavior can be considered. Varsity Tutors offers resources like free MCAT Social and Behavioral Sciences Practice Tests to help with your self-paced study, or you may want to consider an MCAT tutor.

Introspection and empathy are important skills to have as a physician. They allow physicians to self-identify how a diagnosis can impact a patient, including how a patient may communicate information within his or her social circles. In this foundational area, students may be asked about the stages of grief, how social networks can improve patient outcomes, and how different personality types may interact in the inter-professional environment comprised of physicians, nurses, technicians, and other support staff. The final two foundational areas focus on how social inequality and social structure can impact overall health. Students should have an understanding of the U.S. health care system, know how access to care and insurance can affect a patient’s ability to receive medical care, and have general knowledge that the same disease can affect ethnic groups differently. In addition to the MCAT Social and Behavioral Sciences flashcards and MCAT Social and Behavioral Sciences tutoring, you may also want to consider using some of our MCAT Social and Behavioral Sciences Question of the Day. 

Theories of language, memory formation and consolidation, consciousness, attention, and cognitive development may also figure heavily as discrete questions within this section. Students preparing to take the new MCAT will want to review how these psychological and social concerns can be tested in the content of determining human health behavior.

If you’re preparing for your MCAT and find yourself dreading the Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior section, Varsity Tutors’ free MCAT Social and Behavioral resources can help you learn and review the concepts pertinent to this section. While our MCAT Social and Behavioral practice tests and diagnostics can help you examine your current skills and abilities, you may not have time to incorporate such tests into your busy schedule as often as you might like. Our MCAT Social and Behavioral flashcards allow you to answer practice questions drawn from the entire section or one specific concept tested one at a time, wherever and whenever it best suits you. After you input your answer choice, the correct answer is revealed, as well as a full explanation of how it can be determined. Any flashcards you miss thus become learning opportunities, as you get the chance to examine and adjust your understanding and the approach you used for that particular question. By making good use of all of the free MCAT review content available on Varsity Tutors’ Learning Tools site, you can prepare yourself to face the MCAT with confidence!

Sours: https://www.varsitytutors.com/mcat_social_and_behavioral_sciences-flashcards
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What’s tested on the MCAT: Psychology and Sociology

The Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior section of the MCAT, often called the Behavioral Sciences or Psych/Soc section for short, requires you to solve problems based on knowledge of introductory psychology and sociology concepts combined with scientific inquiry and reasoning skills. The content on this section of the test also includes a small amount of biology. You should also be aware that this is considered to be a science section of the MCAT, not another CARS (Critical Analysis and Reasoning) section.
You should also keep in mind that the MCAT requires more than just an understanding of behavioral science content. The MCAT is first and foremost a test of critical reasoning skills. Knowing how to use psychology and sociology information to interpret and solve complex problems is the key to a great MCAT score. However, without the foundational content, it is just as difficult to do well on the MCAT.

Psychology and Sociology Subjects on the MCAT


The undergraduate courses that are reflected in the Psych/Soc section of the MCAT are introductory Psychology (65%), introductory Sociology (30%), and introductory Biology (5%).
In order to study effectively for the Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior section, you should thoroughly understand these Psychology, Sociology and Biology topics:
Behavioral science subjects to study for the MCAT:
NeurobiologySensation and PerceptionLearning and Memory
Cognition and ConsciousnessLanguage DevelopmentMotivation and Emotion
Identity and PersonalityPsychological DisordersSocial Processes and Behavior
Social InteractionSocial Thinking and AttitudesSocial Structure and Stratification

MCAT Psychology and Sociology: Critical Reasoning


The AAMC has defined four critical reasoning skills, called Scientific Reasoning and Inquiry Skills, or SIRS. These skills are tested in all three of the science sections of the MCAT (Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems, Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems, and Psychological, Social and Biological Foundations of Behavior). These four skills are:
  • 1. Knowledge of Scientific Concepts and Principles

    This skills asks, “Do you remember the science content?”

  • 2. Scientific Reasoning and Problem-Solving

    This skill asks, “Can you apply science content to a novel situation? Can you combine multiple content areas at one time?”

  • 3. Reasoning about the Design and Execution of Research

    This skill asks, “Can you explain or extrapolate on the experimental methods, results, and conclusions of a research study?”

  • 4. Data-Based and Statistical Reasoning

    This skill asks, “Can you read, interpret, and extrapolate from graphs, tables and figures? Can you draw conclusions from these figures?”


You can learn more about these four Scientific Reasoning and Inquiry skills here.

MCAT Psychology and Sociology: Structure of the Section


The MCAT will present you with 10 passages on psychology, sociology and related biology topics, and ask 4-7 questions about each passage. The questions will address the four skills listed, although not every passage will require you to use each skill. You will be asked to answer 15 discrete questions that are not associated with any passage. These will also be designed to test both your science knowledge and application of that knowledge based on the four SIRS skills. You can find more details on what you need to know about the overall structure of the MCAT here.
The Psych/Soc section of the MCAT is scored on a curved scale of 118-132, with the median score of all test takers set at 125. A given scaled score does not correlate to any specific number of right or wrong questions. Instead, each test administration is curved according to its level of difficulty and the performance of the test-takers on that day. The score for this section of the test is combined with the other three sections to give an overall score ranging from 472 to 528.
You should also be familiar with the test day schedule. The Psych/Soc section of the MCAT is the final section to be tested, and follows an optional 10-minute break.
Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems section
Length95 minutes
Format59 questions
10 passages
44 passage-based questions
15 discrete (non-passage based) questions
ScoreBetween 118 and 132
Topics testedBiochemistry: 25%
Biology: 65%
General Chemistry: 5%
Organic Chemistry: 5%

The AAMC has described the topics within the Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior section of the MCAT. These topics are subdivided into three Foundational Concepts, each of which has several sub-categories.
To learn about Foundational Topics 1-3, covered in the Bio/Biochem section of the test, click here, and Foundational Topics 4-5, covered in the Chem/Physics section of the test, click here.
You can also visit the AAMC site to learn more about the MCAT Blueprint.
The Foundational Topics for the Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior are:
6) Biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors that influence the ways that
individuals perceive, think about, and react to the world.

6A. Sensing the environment

6B. Making sense of the environment

6C. Responding to the world

7) Biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors that influence behavior and behavior change.

7A. Individual influences on behavior

7B. Social processes that influence human behavior

7C. Attitude and behavior change

8) Psychological, sociocultural, and biological factors that influence the way we think about ourselves and others, as well as how we interact with others.

8A. Self-identity

8B. Social thinking

8C. Social interactions

9) Cultural and social differences that influence well-being.

9A. Understanding social structure

9B. Demographic characteristics and processes

10) Social stratification and access to resources that influence well-being.

10A. Social inequality

The most important factor you should consider about the Psych/Soc section of the MCAT is how well prepared you are for both the content and the critical reasoning required. To learn more about how to prepare for the test, click here.

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