Breaking Down Sociology MCAT Discrete Questions

Session 76

Today, we’re covering some sociology MCAT questions looking at specific definitions that you need to know to help you get the best score possible on the MCAT.

Sociology is one of the hardest ones on the MCAT because they’re so nit-picky on the details of those words, definitions, and everything else.

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[01:10] All About -Isms

Question 29: Researchers use a symptom list similar to the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders in order to diagnose psychiatric disorders and screen incompatible subjects from a study. When comparing data from previous studies, it was discovered that the symptoms on the most recent DSM differ from the symptoms on the previous list. Which of the following social theories best explains this discrepancy?

  • (A) Social functionalism
  • (B) Social interactionism
  • (C) Social antipositivism
  • (D) Social constructionism

Bryan’s Insights:

Ryan takes a random guess and he goes with (D) just because it seems right. ANd this is correct. Bryan further explains that social constructionism is the idea where we socially construct our concepts, categories, and definitions, rather than being objective facts or something you individually makeup. It’s like “we” as a society construct xyz.

In this case, what’s being socially constructed is our notion of mental wellness or illness. And so if the symptoms can change form addition to the next, then that tells you there’s not some objectively correct definition of, say, schizophrenia. Rather, we as a society construct the definition of schizophrenia. So it can change from book to book.

Functionalism is how large scale social structures interact in a functional way. An example of this is how the police force interacts with legal system. Interactionism is the the idea that individual people interacting is the core substratum that makes up society. Social terms are defined by interactions happening between individuals.

Positivism is the notion of how science investigates the world. so antipositivism is the idea that sociology in some sense is not a science. Or not a “science” in the same way that physics is a science.

[04:35] A Professionalism Issue

Question 44: When medical faculty members engage in unprofessional behavior towards the patient or a student. What type of norm do they violate?

  • (A) Edicts
  • (B) Laws
  • (C) Folkways
  • (D) Mores

Bryan’s Insights:

Ryan’s guess is (A). Bryan explains that an edict is a proclamation from an authority figure. For example, the king gives out an edict, or Congress. Being unprofessional towards a patient, however, is not a violation of an edict.

Laws are laws obviously which are the written laws. In this case, they might be doing something illegal. But the question doesn’t really explicitly describe anything illegal. Folkways are normal everyday interactions like shaking hands with your right hand. Or when you stand in an elevator, you face the doors.

Mores are defined as a moral or ethical behavior. And this is the right answer. Also, folkways are way too minor to be considered a professionalism issue. Mores tell you the difference between right and wrong. Folkways tell you the difference between right and rude.

[07:02] All About Rates

Question 47: Many sociologists predict that cardiovascular disease will affect a larger proportion of the population as the average age of a U.S. citizen increases. This statistic of cardiovascular rates per 1000 people is known as the:

  • (A) Sufferance rate
  • (B) Mortality rate
  • (C) Incidence rate
  • (D) Appearance rate

Bryan’s Insights.

Ryan’s guess is (C) and he’s correct. The question only mentions cardiovascular disease and didn’t mention any fatality. So it’s not mortality. Students have to know the difference between morbidity and mortality. The former is the appearance of the disease whereas as the latter is it kills you.

Sufferance rate and appearance rates are not actual public health terms in the context of MCAT.

Prevalance is how much of it is out there while incidence is how many new cases per 1000.

[08:37] About Next Step Test Prep

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