What Makes a Topic High-Yield on the MCAT?

Session 150

The MCAT covers many concepts and study time is limited. Today, we discuss high-yield materials. Are they the key to getting the biggest return on your MCAT prep?

Once again, we’re joined by Clara from Next Step Test Prep as we help you prep up for your MCAT so you get the score that you want.

[01:55] What Does High-Yield Information Mean?

High-yield usually refers to a science concept that comes up more often than others on the MCAT. One example would be amino acids, where there would probably be 15 questions about it on the AAMC practice exam.

These topics come out so often that studying them is going to really pay off tangibly. But there are also misconceptions about this term. Students think they don’t need to study anything else and they just focus on the high-yield ones.

'High-yield means that it appears frequently.'Click To Tweet

[04:15] The Upsides & Downsides of High-Yield Questions

The “high-yield” concept suggests that not all MCAT topics are the same. If you spend two hours on every single topic that comes out on the MCAT, that may not be wise. For instance, may never get a question on one the Doppler effect while you get a ton of questions on amino acids.

All this being said, anything could come up on your test so you don’t want to take it too far and only study amino acids all day.

[05:00] This Isn’t All Luck

High-yield topics are not an accident. The key is to understand what the MCAT is for. The topics that tend to be high-yield on the MCAT are those that overlap between different subjects. 

For instance, amino acids are a biochem topic but the test makers could ask all sorts of questions about acid-based chemistry that also touches on amino acids. Or they could ask questions about general or organic chemistry questions. So you can’t really put this topic into just one subject.

Also, topics that have high medical relevance are what the test makers love because that’s what the MCAT is all about.

So try to get into the mindset of why the test makers made the MCAT the way they did to understand why certain topics are high-yield rather than just putting out random stuff.

[06:45] How Much Could Come Up in Each Section

CARS doesn’t require any outside knowledge so there’s no concept of high-yield in CARS. But there are certainly high-yield topics in every other section.

Think of high-yield topics on a subject level. For instance, the Chem/Physics section already includes a bunch of different subjects like general chemistry, biochemistry, biology, and physics.

So the possible high-yield topics under this section would be those that have a lot of overlap between those subjects. Again, amino acids would be one example. Electrochemistry is a big one on Chem/Physics too.

'Different sections have their very own high-yield concepts.'Click To Tweet

[08:33] What Happens If You Only Focus on HIgh-Yield Topics

Every MCAT administration is different. It would be very shocking if there were no amino acid questions on the MCAT. But there is a huge amount of variation. So you could take the MCAT and feel you’re getting a lot of low-yield topics.

Basically, you will be making a huge mistake if you only study high-yield topics. You might get a lot of questions right. But you may get wrong on a lot of the other questions too.

So the best approach is to study everything. Make sure you study everything that falls under the scope of the MCAT. But above and beyond, spend your extra time mastering your amino acids and electrochemistry to make sure you’re covered.

[10:10] Next Step Test Prep

Check out Next Step Test Prep and sign up for a free 15-minute consultation. Talk to them about you MCAT struggles, concerns, or worries and they will help you figure out the best path forward for you. You may also call 888-530-6398 to talk to one of their MCAT consultants.


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