Happy Thursday guys (it is Thursday, isn’t it?)
I had a question. I have yet to find anything “concrete” about the recommended courses to take prior to taking the MCAT. What I mean when I ask that is… Is it better to have 1 year organic (org I and II) or physics I and II or 2 years of bio or biochem or whatever.
I’ve seen some recommendations but really have no clue if there’s a “standard listing” of courses that are recommended prior… of course. that’s not counting any prep courses like Kaplan.
It’s my intention to take the MCAT next Spring and possibly again next Fall (04) if necessary… but I’d like to try to have some basis for some of the questions and prep course (like Kaplan) prior to going into it…
Thanks in Advance!
Happy Thursday guys (it is Thursday, isn’t it?)
The science material that is covered on the MCAT:
Biology I & II
Physics I & II
Chemistry I & II
Organic Chemistry I & II
There is also a section on verbal comprehension which will test your ability to read, comprehend and extrapolate from written passages, and you will be required to write two short essays.
Most people will tell you not to take the MCAT until you have taken all the above mentioned science classes. You will need to know facts, concepts and formulas from all of them to do well on the test.
If (and this is a big ‘if’) you’re considering taking the MCAT without having taken all the above science classes, then at a minimum you need to take some practice tests before making your decision.
I took the MCAT in April, without the benefit of Physics II or Organic Chemistry II. I self-studied those topics using ExamKracker material. I did okay, but in retrospect I believe I would have been better off waiting six months or a year to get a firmer grasp on the material. I would highly recommend you take the courses before the MCAT, you don’t want to have to take that test twice.
Quick edit: This .pdf document put out by AAMC shows all topics covered in the science portions of the test.
It looks like molecular bio rather than cell bio (which is usually bio I) would probably be of help also.
I think I will have taken everything on the list prior to taking the MCAT. I took Org I last semester, and I'm taking Org II and Physics I this semester and will probably take Physics II next semester and I guess I will take Chem II next semester also… I was also wondering if there would be any benefit to having had biochem and physiology prior to the MCAT. I'd like to take biochem, but don't know if I will get it in before Spring… also Anat. & Physiology. Did anyone find any benefit to having taken a course that wasn't necessarily required prior to the MCAT?
At the school I did my post-bacc at, they did not have “Bio I” or “Bio I”. The program has students take Cell Bio and A&P II (I also took A&P I but that was because I already had Physics). I thought that A&P I wasn’t needed for the MCAT because very little skeletal, nervous and muscular system was on it. Much more of the physiology that was covered in A&P II was on the MCAT. I also took Biochem I during the fall after I took the MCAT during my glide year and I don’t remember thinking that I wish that I had had it. I also had taken a Medical Microbiology class the semester that I took the MCAT and while it was a “nice-to-have” for the MCAT, having Cell Bio was much more important I thought.
I agree that Physics I & II, Inorganic Chem I & II and Organic Chem I & II were a must. I thought Organic II was necessary as the mechanisms covered were a large part of the organic part of the MCAT (I’ve read a few times that some people were taking the MCAT without Orgo II). However, that was back in April 2001 and some people since then have posted that the BS section is shifting more towards the biological material and away from organic material.
Hope this helps,
It has been about 20 years since I took biology I so I can't answer about the value of it. This past year, I took ANP I & II and Microbiology at community college. I relocated and on my cross country drive, I listened to the Exam Krackers Audio Osmosis CD (all 12 of them!) and I was pleasantly surprised to find that nearly all of the MCAT biology topics were also covered in those classes.
In my usually non-traditional form… I will take Bio I & II starting September. I haven't taken the MCAT yet but I am very happy I took those community college classes.
go here to see a brief discussion by AAMC on MCAT contact. Halfway down the page is a link titled “topics,” to a .pdf file that gives a comprehensive list of topics that could be covered on the MCAT. (It’s 5 pages long!!)
Physiology would probably be more helpful as an additional course than biochemistry. Make sure that whatever biology you’ve taken covered cell biology in some depth, and you should be OK for the genetics topics that could be covered (I’ve heard people advocate actually taking a genetics course but I doubt that is necessary).