MCAT® Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior (PSBB)

MCAT® Behavioral Sciences Overview

Subject Breakdown

The Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior (PSBB) section is the third section to appear on the MCAT exam is worth 25% of your total score. This section emphasizes concepts that tomorrow’s doctors need to know in order to serve an increasingly diverse population and have a clear understanding of the impact of behavior on health.  

  • Introductory Psychology - 65%
  • Introductory Sociology - 30%
  • Introductory Biology - 5%

Question Structure

This section contains 10 passages that often include a hypothesis followed by the results of a study. You will need to interpret the data and connect them to broader sociology and psychological concepts or implications.

  • 59 multiple-choice questions.
  • 10 passages each with 4 to 6 associated questions.
  • 15 independent or "discrete" questions.

Timing & Pro Tips

Students have only 95 minutes to complete this MCAT section, and many find this time constraints to be quite challenging.

  • Spend less than 3 minutes reading each passage.
  • Don’t get bogged down by small details.
  • Focus on any graphs or tables of results provided.
  • Check if the results support the hypothesis being tested.

Ace The Behavioral Sciences With Private MCAT Tutoring

Without proper Guidance, students can end up wasting a lot of time memorizing low-yield topics in psychology and sociology that are unlikely to ever appear in the Behavioral Sciences section of the MCAT. Hence, knowing the right strategies for this section is the key to significantly improving your score.

Dr. Stuart Donnelly’s academic credentials and teaching experience are second to none. Stuart has a Ph.D. from Oxford University and 20 years of MCAT® tutoring experience. He is also the author of several critically acclaimed test prep books.

Many leading educators consider Dr. Donnelly “One of the most qualified and experienced MCAT tutors in the country.”

Over the past two decades, Stuart has developed several unique techniques that help his students deal with the passage-based structure of this section and master each of the background topics in Psychology and Sociology.

Private MCAT tutoring with Dr. Donnelly is available in person at his San Diego-based office or online via Zoom. Contact Stuart today to schedule your FREE MCAT consultation and take your Behavioral Sciences score to the next level.

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MCAT® Behavioral Sciences: Concepts Tested

Foundational Concept 6: 

Biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors influence how individuals perceive, think about, and react to the world.
  • 6A: Sensing the Environment
  • 6B: Making Sense of the Environment
  • 6C: Responding to the World

Foundational Concept 7:

Biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors influence behavior and behavior change.
  • 7A: Individual Influences on Behavior
  • 7B: Social Processes That Influence Human Behavior
  • 7C: Attitude and Behavior Change

Foundational Concept 8:

Psychological, sociocultural, and biological factors influence how we think about ourselves and others and how we interact with others.
  • 8A: Self-Identity
  • 8B: Social Thinking
  • 8C: Social Interactions

Foundational Concept 9:

Cultural and social differences influence well-being.

  • 9A: Understanding Social Structure
  • 9B: Demographic Characteristics and Processes

Foundational Concept 10:

Social stratification and access to resources influence well-being.

  • 10A: Social Inequality