Connections- How the MCAT is Relevant in Medical School!

July 5, 2013
Emily Hause

Hello my post- Fourth of July celebratory MCAT students. Hopefully you all took some time off yesterday to enjoy the holiday, see some fireworks and get ready to blow the MCAT away! Okay, I’ll try and stay away from the fireworks puns as much as possible, but I make no promises.
Today’s post is about a question which I distinctly remember grappling with during my studies. I know that you many of you ask yourselves this on a daily basis.  If you haven’t so far, at some point you will look to the sky, curse the MCAT and ask the very question that I hope to answer today, “WHY do I need to know this to get into medical school?”
I’m here to help! It’s all about making the connections – like the story of how the squirrel became our official national mammal by saving the life of our beloved president Theodore Roosevelt  (we don’t have time to cover those details here).
Rather, here are some topics and some reasons why studying these topics for the MCAT will eventually be useful in medical school-
Physics -Kinematics, work, energy, momentum etc. it is generally really hard to understand why they are pertinent for a career in medicine. They are important from a critical thinking standpoint. I want all of my future physicians to be able to set up an algebraic equation and solve it. Those critical thinking skills involved in physics problems are building blocks for even more complicated situations that you will encounter in medical school.
Gen Chem- Specifically the periodic table is useful because you have to know why the trends are happening, not simply memorize the trends to get a rockin’ MCAT score. In medical school and in practice, doctors don’t simply memorize, they have to troubleshoot and know why things are happening. Gen Chem on the MCAT is great for getting at the why behind the what.
Organic Chem- Biological molecules are covered in organic chemistry! These are crucial in medicine! In the early 1960’s, physicians realized how important organic chemistry was when two different enantiomers of the very same molecule-thalidomide- produced markedly different results. As a physician, you will need to know the subtle differences that can produce potentially life-altering changes in your patients.
Biology- This is one of the easiest to justify on the MCAT. Biology is the study of life and medicine deals with one very specific life form, the human! Hopefully this is one of your favorite sections of the MCAT!
Which subjects do you have trouble justifying on the MCAT? Go ahead and drop them in the comments. I would love to help inspire your studying with a reason why your least favorite topic is on the MCAT!
Happy studying!

Emily Hause Emily has been a teacher for Kaplan for over eight years; she's taught MCAT, ACT, SAT, SAT2 and tutored pretty much every subject under the sun in both the classroom and live online (aka Classroom Anywhere) settings. She's also worked for Kaplan in content development and teacher mentorship roles. Emily is currently a fourth-year medical student at the University of Colorado and is hoping to go into Pediatrics. She's involved in many campus opportunities such as being a Prospective Student Representative, admissions committee member, CU-UNITE member, and co-president of the Education and Teaching Interest Group. Prior to medical school, Emily got a BA in Biochemistry and Spanish from Lawrence University and a Masters in Public Health- Epidemiology from the University of Minnesota. In her free time, Emily enjoys dancing, baking, playing tennis and exploring her new Colorado home.

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