How to Prep for the Psych & Sociology Section of the MCAT

Session 133

Psychology and Sociology is the newest section of the MCAT. We talk about how to tackle this section and talk about how it may be different from other sections. Once again, we’re joined by Clara from Next Step Test Prep as we discuss how to best prepare for the this particular section on the MCAT.

[02:44] How to Approach Studying for Psych/Soc

No matter what resources you use to prep, you’re always going to feel there’s this chance to see these random terms in questions you’ve never seen before when you were studying. And a lot of times, this freaks students out.

What Clara recommends is to keep a log of actual terms and concepts you see in questions. Midway through your studying, you may do practice questions. You may see wrong answer choices that you had not seen before. Just keep running the log. Write down the term and the concept as well as anything you learned from it. Then leave a bit of space underneath. Over time, you can add that blank space in your log and then understand these patterns as to when weird terms really come up in questions.

[04:53] Using Visuals

Flashcards are great. You may also create an Excel sheet or Word document. So you want to make them easily searchable. But at the same time and you’re looking at a flash card and the correct terms is already goo, then it’s a nice review of the terms you already have written down. So that’s a plus on that side.

[05:29] What’s Hard About Psych/Soc

The biggest issue that a lot of many students have is that there a lot of terms that sound the same or really similar to each other. And there are also other terms that sound like the perfect description of what the question is talking about but they’re really not the actual Psych/Soc term.

So go over them carefully when you’re studying. Maybe you can make a flash card on each one so when you’re studying and come across them, the terms would be easier for you to distinguish.

[07:20] Should You Walk Into the Exam Already Knowing the Terms?

This is the kind of section where having knowledge about it coming into the exam would be really beneficial. The one thing that complicates it a bit, which some people either love or not, is that this section has a lot of questions about research design. Those are the ones that end up being more passage-based.

Clara points out that just knowing the definitions of these terms isn’t quite enough. You have to be able to apply it to a real-life experiment setting.

[08:47] The Biggest Mistakes Students Make

One common mistake students make while preparing is they just overlook it. They’d often leave Psych/Soc until later. Or for those students who work full-time or are really busy and have to prioritize which subjects they need to focus on. Very often, they’ll end up focusing on Biochem, Gen Chem, Physics. And they leave Psych/Soc because they can just memorize it and cram it in later. But this doesn’t work.

[10:25] It’s Always the Last Section

Keep in mind that the last section of the exam is a really big one. Oftentimes, when students study this section, they’re doing it when they’re fresh. But on the real exam, you’re going to see psych/soc when you’re exhausted. And there’s this weird psychological phenomenon that occurs on Psych/Soc section. Because almost everyone finishes with plenty of time left, a lot of times, students will just end their exam when they’re done. But use that time as much as you can. Review one or two passages. In other words, don’t succumb to that urge to end it.

Moreover, Clara recommends studying Psych/Soc at the end of the day before you go to bed. Though you can carry over the other sections if you really want to get intense with your practice. This way, you’re already used to it.

[13:40] Next Step Test Prep

If you’re looking at full-length exams and if you need more prep, check out Next Step Test Prep and use the promo code MCATPOD to save 10% off.

Links:

Next Step Test Prep (Use the promo code MCATPOD to save 10% off)

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