The MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) is a critical component of your med school application. Mastering the MCAT requires hard work and a strategic approach to studying, and central to this strategy is understanding and focusing appropriately on high-yield MCAT topics.
In the context of MCAT prep, ‘high yield‘ refers to topics that are most frequently tested on the exam. These subjects hold significant weight in determining your MCAT score. They encompass foundational concepts and core principles that the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) deems essential for future medical professionals.
Understanding these high-yield topics isn’t just about memorizing facts or equations. It’s about comprehending key concepts like amino acids, proteins, enzymes, thermodynamics, and kinetics. It also involves applying this knowledge to solve complex problems, reflecting the critical thinking skills necessary for success in medical school and beyond.
Focusing on these high-yield areas during test prep will not only save you study time but also ensure you’re tho~prepared for the most important sections of the MCAT. Especially if you’re retaking the exam, these topics may be the key to your success.
There are four sections of the MCAT. Of those, three are science sections, and the fourth (CARS) is reading comprehension-focused.
According to the AAMC, here are the subjects you can expect to see in each science section (each of which contains 59 questions) and the percentage of questions based on that subject.
Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems:
Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems:
Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior:
Looking at the list and percentages, it’s simple to extrapolate which subjects you should focus on most heavily for the highest impact. For instance, if you spend the majority of your time studying introductory biology, biochemistry, general chemistry, and introductory psychology, you’ve covered a large portion of the exam’s content.
In addition to high-yield MCAT subjects, there are also high-yield MCAT topics.
Our team of expert tutors analyzed the official AAMC MCAT practice exams to determine which science topics are tested the most. We tallied the total number of AAMC questions related to each topic and then compared topics to determine which are the highest yield.
(For example, if there were 35 questions related to the citric acid cycle and only 15 questions related to sound & sound waves, then the citric acid cycle would be considered higher-yield.)
Here are the high-yield MCAT topics according to our analysis:
Remember, while these high-yield topics are crucial for a good MCAT score, it’s important to have a comprehensive grasp of all MCAT content. Use this list as a guide to focus your study plan, but be sure to cover all areas for well-rounded preparation.
Read Next: 2024 MCAT Test and Score Release Dates
Mastering the high-yield topics on the MCAT is not just about what you study, but how you study. Two of our tutors, Ethan Bott and Camille Villar, shared their proven strategies to optimize your study plan.
Depending on your study style, choose resources that help you learn what you need to know in the way you’ll best retain the material. These are our favorites:
The best way to improve your MCAT score is with dedicated tutors who are experts on specific MCAT questions and sections. MedSchoolCoach tutors are all 520+ MCAT scorers, trained to help you identify and master the high-yield topics most likely to help you improve your score.
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