MCAT Psychology and Sociology

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About MCAT Psych/Soc

On the MCAT, you will encounter questions on the foundations of psychology, sociology, and biology. Students must use their knowledge of these principles as well as their critical thinking skills to succeed on this portion of the exam. Learning about the structure of the MCAT Psych/Soc section and applying proper study techniques can prepare you for the test and help you hit your target score.


How Long Is the MCAT Psychology Section?

Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior is the final MCAT section on the exam. It consists of 44 passage-based prompts as well as 15 standalone questions that evaluate your general understanding of scientific concepts. Test-takers have 95 minutes to read the ten passages on this portion of the MCAT and answer all 59 questions.

Percentage breakdown of topics in the MCAT psychology section:

  • Psychology - 65%
  • Sociology - 30%
  • Biology - 5%


How Is the Psych/Soc Section of the MCAT Scored?

Your results on the psychology, sociology, and biology portion account for one-fourth of your total MCAT score. Typically, standardized tests calculate scores based on the number of correct or incorrect answers.

Grades on this portion of the exam, however, fall on a curved scale between 118 and 132 depending on the level of difficulty and test-taker performance on that particular day.


What Psychology & Sociology Topics Are Included?

Psychology, sociology, and biology are all broad concepts that cover a wide range of subtopics. To ensure you do well on this part of the MCAT, you'll need to create a study plan that touches on as many of these scientific subcategories as possible.

Topics that you can expect to see on this section include:

  • Cognition and Consciousness
  • Identity and Personality
  • Language Development
  • Learning and Memory
  • Motivation and Emotion
  • Neurobiology
  • Psychological Disorders
  • Sensation and Perception
  • Social Thinking and Attitudes
  • Social Structure and Stratification
  • Social Interaction
  • Social Pressures and Behavior


MCAT Psych/Soc Example Questions

While the MCAT Psychology questions change every year, studying a few practice prompts can give you an idea of what to expect when you show up to take the exam. Below, you'll find a few helpful examples of what some of the 15 standalone questions on this portion of the MCAT may cover:

1.) A researcher finds that adults tend to view other cultures through the lens of their own culture. Which of the following best supports that observation?

  • Cultural relativism
  • Ethnocentrism
  • Stereotype threat
  • Cultural absolutism

2.) Researchers find that elderly individuals are slower at solving logic puzzles when compared to young adults. Which type of intelligence to elderly individuals likely have less of?

  • Crystal
  • Fluid
  • Unrealized
  • Hidden

3.) John presents himself as confident and composed while answering questions in class, but at home, he is quiet and reserved. Which theory best explains John's behavior?

  • Out group
  • Dramaturgical approach
  • Hidden curriculum
  • Fundamental attribution error

Practicing with sample prompts like these is an excellent way to prepare for the general knowledge questions on the MCAT Psych test. However, you'll also need to study some examples of passage-related questions and answers so you know how to approach the majority of the question types on this part of the exam.


How to Study for the MCAT Psychology Section

It’s important to give yourself plenty of time to prepare for each topic on this portion of the exam.

When planning your MCAT study schedule, be sure to devote extra time to concepts that you struggle with. Prioritizing the difficult sections first gives you more time to familiarize yourself with the information and can improve your chances of getting those questions right on test day.

Using the right study methods and materials is essential when trying to earn the best possible test results. Grad Prep's MCAT test prep resources include sample questions, practice tests, detailed answer explanations, and a convenient study progress tracker to help you achieve your target score.

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