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In today’s episode, Ryan and Bryan talk about the “prerequisite” coursework you have to take to prepare for the MCAT. The AAMC recommends taking certain medical school prereq courses before taking the MCAT. Is this really necessary? Or can you skip a couple of classes and take the MCAT before finishing your prereqs?
What courses should you take before the MCAT?
The AAMC suggests a year each of general chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, and biology, plus a semester each of psychology, sociology, and biochemistry.
[Related episode: Are There Hidden Prereqs I Should Take for the MCAT?]
A year of biology is almost certainly not going to be enough. Biology is the most tested topic on the MCAT (in all three science sections).Biology is the most tested topic on the MCAT (in all three science sections).Click To Tweet
It’s recommended to do the first year of biology, but then before you take the MCAT, try to get a mid- or upper-level course on cell biology and a mid- or upper-level course in something like molecular genetics.
Taking a couple of upper-level courses in biology that operate at levels of cell, molecular, etc., is going to be tremendously valuable for the MCAT.
[Related episode: Should I Take an MCAT Prep Course?]
Is one semester of psychology enough for the MCAT?
Bryan recommends you take a whole year of it. Psychology is the second most tested science (in terms of countable number of questions). It’s best to take a full year of freshman psychology (Psych 101 and Psych 102).Psychology is the second most-tested science on the MCAT (in terms of number of questions).Click To Tweet
Organic chemistry and physics: Important for the MCAT?
The 2nd semester of organic chemistry and the 2nd semester of physics are not as valuable. There are not too many organic chemistry or physics questions on the MCAT. Although they have value for your grades, they have almost no value for the MCAT. So focusing on these two won’t pay as big of dividends as biology and psychology.
Can I self-study instead of taking MCAT prereqs?
Yes, but you shouldn’t do that with more than one semester’s worth of content. Trying to teach yourself multiple semesters worth of new material while also prepping for the MCAT is very, very difficult. Bryan has never seen a student do this successfully in his 15 years of experience.Trying to teach yourself multiple semesters worth of new material while also prepping for the MCAT is very, very difficult. Click To Tweet
Links and Other Resources:
- Related episode: What Is a Competitive MCAT Score?
- Related episode: Do I Need to Take an MCAT Prep Course?
- Related episode: Are There Hidden Prereqs I Should Take for the MCAT?
- Need MCAT Prep? Get tutoring, classes, and full-length practice tests at Blueprint MCAT (formerly Next Step Test Prep).