how much biochemistry is on the mcat

How Much Biochemistry Is On The MCAT?

How much biochemistry is on the MCAT? In this post, we will provide you with the answer to this question as well as some useful tips to study biochemistry.

June 17, 2022

You’ve finished your premed course prerequisites and are now prepared to take the MCAT. You may have a lot of questions: How difficult is the MCAT? What topics will be addressed in the test? How much biochemistry is on the MCAT?

Unlike organic and physical chemistry, the MCAT will include a lot of biochemistry. Surprisingly, the amount of time you spend in college studying a topic has little bearing on how much it will appear on the test. Even if you spend many sleepless hours agonizing about organic chemistry mechanisms or difficult physics issues, understanding such courses would not get you as many points on exam day as knowing biology.

So what should you do? If you’re in a mess, read on our page!

This page contains all of the information you’ll need for the MCAT biochemistry section. We also provide study tactics developed by experts who got a perfect 132 on the C/P and B/B sections, which you can apply to improve your MCAT score. Let’s get going!

how much biochemistry is on the mcat

What percentage of the MCAT is made up of biochemistry?

Biochemistry makes up around 25% of the MCAT, with between 25 and 35 questions covering the subject in each of the four sections: Chemistry and Physics (C/P) and Biology and Biochemistry (B/B).

Here are the MCAT biochemistry topics you should be familiar with:

  • Proteins
  • Nonenzymatic protein function 
  • Enzymes
  • DNA
  • RNA 
  • Carbohydrates
  • Lipids and membranes
  • Carbohydrate metabolism
  • Lipid and amino acid metabolism 
  • Biochemistry lab techniques

How can you prepare for the MCAT Biochemistry?

You might begin by learning about the MCAT Biochemistry in order to achieve a high score. You may design the fullest good study plan this way.

Visit the Association of American Medical Colleges website to learn more about the MCAT biochemistry section in particular. This webpage provides an overview of the topics included in the MCAT’s biology and chemistry sections.

Because a solid MCAT score will increase your chances of being accepted into the medical school of your choice, you should start studying as soon as possible; many experts recommend starting at least three months before the exam.

In general, dedicating a large amount of time each day to studying can assist you in being well prepared. Starting early can help you cover all of the subjects you’ll need for the test while also avoiding clutter. Cramming won’t help you score well on the MCAT in most situations.

You might also want to get a copy of the Official MCAT Exam Guide, which is available on the Association of American Medical Colleges’ website. This guide contains topics and questions that are comparable to those found on the MCAT.

It also contains thorough explanations of why the answers are correct or incorrect, as well as answers to the sample questions. The guide also contains advice on how to correctly answer the questions and how a high MCAT score affects admittance into medical school.

Practice examinations that you may take at home can be beneficial to you. Practice examinations are available on the website of the Association of American Medical Colleges, as well as on other preparing websites and in other study manuals.

You can also get practice exams and commentary if you attend an MCAT Biochemistry Prep course.

Biochemistry study tips

Biochemistry is a crucial topic for students studying medicine, nursing, and pharmacy.

Many people will find studying this topic challenging and complicated. So, based on my personal experience, here are some tips on how to learn biochemistry.

#Tip 1: Know the concepts

Biochemistry, as we all know, is a scientific discipline. As a result, you must comprehend its notions.

In biochemistry, aspects of carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids are explored.

As a result, you must comprehend its function, generation, metabolism, and excretion in and by the body. This helps you recall things and write effectively on examinations.

Understanding the need also allows you to consider its applicability in practice.

Glucose metabolism, glycogen synthesis, lipid synthesis, protein synthesis, nucleic acid synthesis, and other general concepts are covered.

#Tip 2: Know the scope and depth of biochemistry

From microbes to larger plants and animals, biochemistry has a broad reach.

Biomolecules including enzymes, carbohydrates, toxins, and electrolytes use its principles.

Knowing the true scope and complexity of biochemistry can assist you to determine the scope of the topics you’ll need to study.

#Tip 3: Using the TAID P technique, practice understanding graphs, figures, and tables

Title, axes, independent variable, dependent variable, and patterns are all abbreviated as TAID P. You will be able to grasp what the data is saying if you can recognize these elements in a graph, figure, or table.

Let’s look at an example that uses the TAID P method:

T (title): The title claims that medicine has an influence on cell survival. We may deduce from the title that the researchers are administering medication to cells and monitoring their survival.

A (axes): The x-axis represents rising medication micromolar concentrations, while the y-axis represents the percentage reaction. What exactly does a % answer imply? We know it has to do with survival based on the information we’ve gathered thus far.

I/D (independent/dependent variables): The axes make determining the independent and dependent variables, which in the TAID P approach are I and D, simple. What are the independent and dependent variables, for starters? The independent variable is anything you intentionally modify. A measured reaction based on this change is the dependent variable.

What is the independent variable in our figure? The independent variable is always represented on the x-axis. The concentration of drugs! The dependent variable, on the other hand, is shown on the y-axis, so we know its drug response.

P (patterns): Finally, let’s look at the patterns in our graph to see if there are any large-scale trends. What do you think of our graph? Is there a medication concentration at which the percentage response increases dramatically? Between 7 and 8 uM, a dramatic switch in response levels occurs, and medication doses over 8 uM result in a positive % response.

Within 15-20 seconds, you should be able to recognize the TAID P components for any given figure. The goal is to grasp the overall picture without being bogged down in the specifics. If you find yourself thinking for more than 15-20 seconds, finish your idea and go on to the next section of the chapter or the questions.

During your initial reading of the chapter, don’t spend too much time on any one figure because there may not even be a question on that figure! For example, if an MCAT biology/biochemistry passage has Figures 1, 2, and 3, the test writers may only offer a question on Figures 1 and 2. You don’t want to waste time learning Figure 3 in-depth if the MCAT will not ask you a question about it.

#Tip 4: When reviewing a biochemistry figure while going over your errors, pay close attention to every minute detail

When taking an MCAT biochemistry passage with a figure, you should return after submitting your answers and properly rereading the text. Why are you doing this? You will improve your ability to understand figures fast and accurately by exercising with the TAID P approach with no time limits.

You will have taken dozens of MCAT biochemistry sections by the time you have completed multiple full-length practice examinations. There are very few MCAT statistics that will confuse you if you take the time to examine each of them in detail throughout your test review.

#Tip 5: All twenty amino acids have a one-letter code, a three-letter code, structures, and chemical characteristics

This is one of the most high-yield recommendations you’ll get because amino acid questions will almost certainly appear on both the MCAT C/P and B/B sections. It is not enough to recall the structures of the twenty amino acids; you must also understand the characteristics that each structure provides.

Would you rather see an arginine, which has a positive charge, or a valine, which has a hydrophobic charge, on the outside of a protein? Because a protein’s exterior is frequently made up of hydrophilic residues that interact with water, the charged arginine, which is positively charged and can interact with water, is much more likely to be found there.

Let’s take a look at an MCAT-style question on amino acids:

In a protein domain, which of the following amino acids is most likely to be found at the intersection of two alpha-helices?

  1. a) Proline
  2. b) Tryptophan
  3. c) Serine
  4. d) Glutamine

Proline and glycine are two amino acids that are known to add flexibility and kinks to peptide strands. Because an amino acid that introduces flexibility at the junction of two alpha-helices is likely to shift the chain’s orientation, answer choice A is accurate.

The question did not ask us to identify the structure of proline; rather, it asked us to determine which amino acid side chain possesses the required qualities to be found at the intersection of two alpha-helices. Know your amino acids inside and out to score easy (and necessary) points on the MCAT!

how much biochemistry is on the mcat

#Tip 6: Focus on rate-limiting stages and big picture notions to grasp the integration of metabolism

Many students believe that in metabolic pathways like glycolysis, they would need to learn every enzyme, reactant, product, and structure. Memorizing and remembering these facts is a difficult task that will take time and effort. Your time and effort, on the other hand, are quite important while preparing for the MCAT, and they are far better spent on high-yield content that is more likely to appear on Test Day.

What is glycolysis’ high yield? Rather of remembering every little detail, focus on the rate-limiting enzymes that regulate route flux, or how quickly the process moves. In other words, for each metabolic pathway, you should be able to answer the following questions: what are non-reversible enzymes, and how does the body control these enzymes to regulate human metabolism?

Consider the following scenario. The rate-limiting step in glycolysis is phosphofructokinase-1 or PFK-1. This indicates that the glycolysis pathway can only move at the same rate as PFK-1. Why would the body do something like this? Within metabolism and biological processes in general, rate-limiting phases are frequently critical regulatory points.

If we consume a huge meal and have a lot of glucose in our blood, we want to metabolize it so that we may use it right away or store it for later. As a result, we must engage in glycolysis. Insulin is released into our circulation when we consume a substantial meal, and it upregulates PFK-1 in a sequence of stages, causing the enzyme to operate faster and allowing glycolysis to proceed more quickly.

At this level of detail, you should be aware of the following metabolic pathways:

  • glycolysis
  • gluconeogenesis
  • glycogenesis
  • glycogenolysis
  • Krebs cycle
  • electron transport chain/ATP synthesis
  • fermentation
  • pentose phosphate pathway
  • fatty acid synthesis
  • fatty acid oxidation (beta-oxidation)

Tip #7: Learn how to use experimental techniques

PCR, Western blot, Southern blot, Northern blot, gel electrophoresis, SDS-PAGE/reducing gels vs native gels, molecular cloning, and transformation/conjugation/transduction are examples of biochemical experimental procedures used on the MCAT.

These tactics will appear in biochemistry passages, and you will be able to work your way through them by using strategies 1 and 2. We’ll go through the high-level functions of each approach here.

  • PCR: This technology amplifies tiny quantities of DNA and is used in current applications like sequencing and detecting cellular mRNA levels.
  • Western blot: This technique uses antibodies to quantify protein levels in a sample.
  • Southern blot: This method determines the amount of DNA present.
  • Northern blot: This method is used to measure RNA levels.
  • Gel electrophoresis is a technique for sorting molecules by size.
  • SDS-PAGE/reducing gels: This approach uses size to separate denatured proteins.
  • Native gels: This method separates proteins in their natural shape, preserving subunit integrity.
  • Molecular cloning: a process for inserting genetic information into a plasmid for the purposes of protein production or genetic modification.
  • Transformation, conjugation, and transduction: the ways for transferring genetic information into bacteria.

You’ll be acing all of the MCAT biochemistry questions in no time if you use these 7 study tactics!


How much biochemistry is on the MCAT?

Biochemistry makes up around 25% of the MCAT.

What role does biochemistry play in the MCAT?

It is extremely significant; after biology, it is presently the second most tested topic.

Is it possible to take the MCAT without taking biochemistry?

It is not a smart idea to take the MCAT if you are unfamiliar with biochemistry, as the current version of the MCAT has a substantial component of biochemistry, biology, and chemistry.

Is Biochemistry 2 part of the MCAT?

Focus on aspects of Biochemistry I instead.

Which MCAT score is the highest?

Under the current MCAT, the maximum achievable score is 528.


We answered the topic “How much biochemistry is on the MCAT?” in this quick guide. We discussed how to prepare for biochemistry, the key ideas you’ll need to understand, and some study tips.

Don’t forget to take our free MCAT practice test at Medtutor to get familiarized with the format as well as the questions of the actual exam to strengthen your knowledge and skills, as a result, enhancing your chance to pass the MCAT exam with a high score on your first attempt. Good luck to you!