MCAT Biology

Details of Biological Sciences Tested on MCAT

Preparing for MCAT can be a daunting task if you do not know the syllabus and the type of questions that you will be asked. It is an examination that will test your knowledge of Physics, Chemistry, Biology and your Verbal skills. Since it is an examination that candidates aspiring to study medicine have to appear for, it is only natural that the biology section will be the most difficult and extensive part of the examination. This section of MCAT will test your basic knowledge of Biology, as well as, Organic Chemistry. The types of questions that you will come across in the biology section are discussed in the following section.

Biology Question Topics

Broadly speaking 60% to 70% of the questions of biology section comprises questions on biology and the remaining 40% to 30% on organic chemistry. The biology questions will test your knowledge of vertebrates and microbes. The main topics that you will need to study in order to answer the questions on Vertebrates are as follows:





  • Nucleus and other defining features of eukaryotic cells
  • Structure and features of membrane covered organelles (for example: Mitochondria, Lysosomes, Endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi apparatus etc.)
  • Plasma Membrane
  • Cytoskeleton
  • Cell Cycle and Mitosis
  • Apoptosis or Programmed Cell Death
  • Types of Cell (Nerve Cell, Muscle Cell, Epithelial Cell, Endothelial Cell and Connective Tissue Cell)
  • Structure, function, sensory and receptive process of the Nervous system
  • Function and features of the Endocrine system
  • Structure, features and functions of the Circulatory, Lymphatic and Immune systems
  • Structure, features and functions of the Digestive and Excretory systems
  • Structure, features and functions of the Muscle and Skeletal systems
  • Structure, features and functions of the Respiratory system
  • Structure, features and functions of the Skin system
  • Structure, features and functions of the Reproductive system and its development
  • Study of Genetics and Evolution

The main topics that you will need to study for the Invertebrate section of biology are as follows:

  • Features of molecular biology, i.e., enzymes and metabolism
  • Structures and functions of DNA and protein synthesis
  • Study of Eukaryotes
  • Microbiology

The main topics that you will need to study for the Organic Chemistry section of biology are as follows:

  • Covalent bonds
  • Molecular structure and spectra
  • Separations and purifications
  • Hydrocarbons
  • Oxygen containing compounds
  • Amines
  • Biological molecules

The afore-mentioned lists are only the main topics that you will have to study for biology section, if you require a complete list then click on the following link: https://www.aamc.org/students/download/85566/data/bstopics.pdf Although, the lists of topics to be studied appear to be extensive, yet the question will test only your basic knowledge on these topics. However, to fare well in this section of the test you will not only have to memorize these concepts but also have in-depth knowledge of them, i.e., your knowledge of basic biology and organic chemistry should be clear. Moreover, to do well in this section ofthe test you will also need to know some of the other features of the biology section. The other features of this section of MCAT are discussed in the following section.

Features of  Biology Section of MCAT

The Biology section consists of 52 questions which you will have to complete in 70 minutes. In this section there will be 7 questions in the form of passages which you will have to analyze and then select the correct answer. Each of the passage will be followed by a set of 4 to 7 multiple choice questions pertaining to the passages. The remaining 13 questions will be independent multiple choice questions. Since you will get only 70 minutes to solve this section, it is essential that you time yourself so that you can answer maximum number of questions correctly with minimum wastage of time.

Thus, while preparing for MCAT you should not only work hard but also time yourself while solving the practice papers. It is an examination that will test your knowledge as well as, your analytical and time management skills. So identify your strengths and weaknesses and start preparing for the test.