Do you need psychology for the MCAT? I know people say it it helpful, but I don\’t have time to take a psych class unless I add another class to my spring term schedule. Is it worth taking? And if I don\’t take it, advice for self-study?
The fourth and final section of the MCAT solely focuses on psychology and sociology. The AAMC recommends having an intro-level knowledge of both of these subjects going in to the MCAT. Given that information, many people like to take a course just so they have familiarity. Another point to consider is that more medical schools are now requiring applicants to take a couple behavioral science classes (like psych or soc), so depending on the schools you want to apply to, you may have to take a psych class or two at some point anyway. However, psychology tends to be relatively easier to self-study, since it is more term-based than some other sections.
Some good resources to use when self-studying psychology are: Khan Academy and the AAMC Psych/Soc Section Overview. Both of these sources will give you a good number of terms to study, and Khan Academy provides both video explanations and practice questions. You might also want to purchase the book dedicated to psychology and sociology from Kaplan, The Princeton Review, or another test prep company. Some not only give you a good amount of material, but may also give you access to practice exams.
The bottom line for psychology (and sociology) is: the more terms you know related to these topics and research methods, the better. Try looking over the materials listed above and doing a few practice questions as you’re registering for classes; if it seems like you can quickly understand the material, you may not feel like you need to take an entire class. However, a psych class could provide you with a more thorough understanding and greater exposure to MCAT material, and may also count for medical school admissions. Weigh your options and think about the classes you will be combining in the spring to see what works out best for you!
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