Ace the MCAT Psychology & Sociology Section

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The Psychological, Social, & Biological Foundations of Behavior section of the MCAT is 95-minute section contains 59 multiple-choice questions. This section tests your knowledge and use of the concepts in psychology, sociology, biology, research methods, and statistics that provide a solid foundation for learning in medical school about the behavioral and socio-cultural determinants of health and health outcomes.

Understanding the behavioral and socio-cultural determinants of health is important to the study of medicine.

You will be tested on your knowledge of the ways in which psychological, social, and biological factors influence perceptions and reactions to the world; behavior, and behavior change; what people think about themselves and others; the cultural and social differences that influence well-being; and the relationships between social stratification, access to resources, and well-being.


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Dr. Donnelly can teach you the correct approach to the Physical Sciences section of the MCAT. This will significantly increase your chance of getting your target score to attend the medical school of your choice.

Private lessons with Dr. Donnelly are available either online via Skype or Zoom or in-person at our La Jolla-based office here in San Diego.

Over the years, Dr. Donnelly has helped literally hundreds of students to improve their MCAT scores significantly and achieve their goal of getting accepted into a top-tier medical program. We are confident that he can do the same for you.

MCAT Behavioral Sciences Section

Two Key Concepts Tested

Foundational Concept 6: Biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors influence the ways that 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 the way we think about ourselves and others, as well as 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

Click on the links below to learn more:

  1. About the MCAT
  2. MCAT Test Dates 2021
  3. Contact Dr. Donnelly about MCAT lessons
  4. Read our MCAT students' reviews
  5. MCAT Exam - Section by Section
    1. Biological & Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
    2. Chemical & Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
    3. Psychological, Social, & Biological Foundations of Behavior
    4. Critical Analysis & Reasoning Skills (CARS)

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5 star review

"Dr. Donnelly is simply the best in his field. I came to him just three weeks before my exam in desperate need of a strategy to improve my CARS score. In just three lessons, I jumped 30 percentiles in my practice exams on that section and ultimately scored in the 95th percentile on the MCAT. Dr. Donnelly is professional, kind, patient, and so willing to do everything he can to support his students in succeeding on the MCAT. I wholeheartedly recommend him to anyone in need of strategizing their test preparation!"

Jenny. F., Miami, FL - (online student).

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5 star review

"Dr. Donnelly is a great tutor and genuinely cares about you doing well in your MCAT. Thanks to Stuart, I was able to understand the concepts of general chemistry much faster than I would have on my own. He made learning easy and stress-free. His strategy for dealing with the CARS section was also REALLY effective! I shot up by 7 points in that section alone and ended up with a 516 overall"

Peter H. Del Mar Heights, San Diego CA.

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5 star review

"Excellent service. My daughter improved immensely because of her work with Stuart. She developed much better work habits and took control of her academics. Our experience with Doctor Donnelly was exceptional!"

Cassandre C. La Jolla, San Diego CA.

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5 star review

"My daughter has worked with Dr Donnelly for the last three months and it has been wonderful. Dr. Donnelly has been able to focus on her weaknesses and provide enormous insight. In addition, his advice with regards to strategy for the MCAT has been invaluable. He is able to engage students and provide support well beyond other tutoring services. He is sincerely committed to student success and offers a personalized service with sound methodology. Within 3 months her scores improved significantly. In addition to all his talents ... he is just one of those really smart people that can teach."

Deborah W., Bergen, New Jersey (online student).

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5 star review

"Stuart's strategies were very helpful in tackling the MCAT passage based questions. After just a few meetings, I felt more confident approaching the exam. I just got my scores and I did very well!! I got a 518 overall/97th percentile - (130 on Chemistry/Physics, 130 on Bio, 127 on CARS, and 131 on Psychology/Sociology). Thanks for your help preparing!"

Emily S., San Diego CA.

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5 star review

"I appreciated how Dr. Donnelly concisely tailored his teaching to fit my learning style. His strategies are unique and helped me improve my MCAT score by 17 points to an amazing 523! - I got a perfect 132 score on the Bio section and near perfect scores on all of the others (130 on Chem/Phys,, 130 on CARS, and 131 on Psych/Soc). Thank you Dr. Donnelly!"

Vismaya S., Colorado (online student).

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5 star review

"Like many others, I took the MCAT many times before with suboptimal scores. And after my score went down, I was desperate for a good tutor to bring my score up. I was about to go with a company when I found Dr. MCAT. After our intro session, I knew right then and there that his methods were unique and he catered to the individual unlike many big companies, whose methods seem to only help a few people because of how general the strategies are. (I can say this because I use Kaplan twice before for the MCAT). My problem was definitely how I approached the test and Dr. MCAT definitely helped with that greatly. In ten weeks, he and his strategies took my score from the 66th percentile all the way to the 92nd percentile!! I highly recommend Dr. MCAT! And even if you dont live nearby, he offers tutoring sessions over Skype so don't be shy to reach out to him if you need MCAT help!"

Jenil B., Blauvelt, New York.

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5 star review

"I finally worked up the courage to check my MCAT score and found out I received a 515 / 94th percentile! I cannot thank you enough for your help. I am so relieved to have conquered this exam. I never could have scored a 129 in CARS without your methods and expertise!"

Jess F., San Diego CA.

"I finally worked up the courage to check my MCAT score and found out I received a 515 / 94th percentile! I cannot thank you enough for your help. I am so relieved to have conquered this exam. I never could have scored a 129 in CARS without your methods and expertise!"
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5 star review

"I took the MCAT two separate times with less than optimal results. I had done very will in my undergraduate studies and then scored horribly on the MCAT. I decided to take the exam one final time and found Stuart. Stuart sat down with me over Skype twice a week for five months. He explained technical concepts in amazing thoroughness and also taught me how to approach the exam and its individual questions. I had particularly struggled with verbal reasoning. After working with Stuart, I increased my CARS percentile by 60 points. I could ask Stuart any question and never had him not know the answer and he never made me feel dumb for asking the question in the first place. Because of Stuart's expertise and the drastic improvement in my MCAT score, I have gained admission into the University of Washington School of Medicine. I have tried many different MCAT study programs and have never found one as helpful or as enjoyable (as enjoyable as the MCAT can get) as working one on one with Stuart. I hold him and his expertise in the highest esteem and would recommend him to anyone. You won't be sorry for working with him."

Madeleine B., Salt Lake City, UT.

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5 star review

"I have some great news! I was accepted into medical school!!! Thank you so much for all your help, time, and dedication. You're truly the best!"

Katherine F., San Diego CA.

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5 star review

"Doctor MCAT is simply the best tutoring services I have every experienced. When most people are looking for a tutor, they generally head over to places like Kaplan because we have all heard of them due to their expensive marketing campaigns, but I wasn't convinced - the value simply isn't there. So that why I decided to give Doctor MCAT a go instead. Dr. Donnely is a professional every step of the way. Stuart is one of the leading experts in his field and has almost 20 years of experience tutoring students for the MCAT - and it shows! He was patient, and funny, and knowledgable in every section of the MCAT and he was happy to explain things to me as often as I needed without judgements. He is veery personable and generous with his time. I actually found myself looking forward to our lessons! He's the absolute BEST tutor in every way. When I expressed embarrassment at my low original scores, he reassured me that my MCAT score was not reflective of who I was in any way. He taught me the right strategies for each section of the MCAT including the CARS section and the Physical Sciences section (which I had always hated!) which made things a lot clearer. It also freed me to ask all questions and not be ashamed because I knew he wasn't going to judge me. I have recommended Dr. Donnelly to at least three other people and they tell me they are just as happy as I am."

Smriti D., Los Angeles CA.

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5 star review

"Stuart is the kindest, most patient MCAT tutor I have ever encountered. No matter what your background is, whether you've had MCAT training in the past or none at all, Stuart's one-on-one approach is able cater to the learning speed at which you need. This also enables you to pick and choose your areas of weakness. He is also extremely good about scheduling a time that is fit for you. I worked full-time and was still able to meet Stuart for weekly lessons after I got off work. Lastly, Stuart has a very comprehensive selection of MCAT material (Kaplan, ExamKrackers, Princeton Review, Berkeley Review), thus allowing him to pick and choose certain passages that he believes would be the most helpful. Altogether, I'm very glad I found Stuart!"

K.S.F., Los Angeles, CA (online student).

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5 star review

"I got an MCAT score of 514! Thank you for all your help! Hope you enjoy the rest of your summer!"

Alexa L., San Diego CA.

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5 star review

"Last year, I took the MCAT after studying on my own but my results were VERY disappointing. Physics and Gen Chem have never been my strong point so this year, I decided to get some professional tutoring help and contacted Dr Donnely. After just two months of working intensively with Stuart, I raised my Chem/Phys score by 7 POINTS! and my total MCAT score by 13 POINTS! That's how clear and thorough his instruction was. He really was exactly what you would want from a tutor because he really does care about how you do and even kept in contact with me after my exam to help me with school applications. He was an invaluable resource."

Jeff T. San Diego CA.

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5 star review

"I highly recommend this service! I had private MCAT lessons with Dr. Donnelly during the Spring and took my MCAT in June. Stuart was very helpful, patient, and flexible, and so knowledgable! He made the Bio and physical science passages seem so much easier. Just got my results back and I couldn't be happier! I went up by 11 points and ended up with a 515! I definitely would not have done as well on my exam without Stuart"

Rebecca I., Houston TX.

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5 star review

"The fundamentals I learned from Dr. Donnelly were very helpful. I received the one-on-one attention that I did not receive in the Kaplan prep test. I did not feel embarrassed to ask basic questions. Dr. Donnelly was very patient with explaining concepts in detail until I understood. Additionally, he was always available via email or phone."

Neelu V., San Diego CA.

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5 star review

"I worked with Dr. Donnelly over the summer to improve my MCAT. Dr. Donnelly has many tricks to simplify everything - from passages to math equations to detailed physics concepts. We met both in person and via Skype. He provided all of the study material, was incredibly patient, and overall just a great instructor. I definitely recommend anyone taking the MCAT work with Dr. Donnelly - you'll see results"

Samantha S., Hempstead, NY.

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5 star review

"Dr. Donnelly's private tutoring stands apart from other mainstream/commercial review programs because he isolates an individual's weaknesses and tailors a successful review and test-taking strategy that conforms to an individual's needs -- rather than those of the masses. Dr. Donnelly was able to quickly understand and dissect my thought process in order to help me break old habits and establish stronger test-taking skills so I could get that higher score I wanted."

Jacqui S., Manhattan, NY.

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5 star review

"Hi Stuart. Just wanted to share some great news with you - I received multiple offers to medical school this year and have narrowed it down to GW in DC and PCOM in Philly. I am thrilled to be headed to school in August. Thank you so much for all your help and support throughout this process."

Christina T., San Diego CA.

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5 star review

"Stuart's strategies were very helpful in tackling the MCAT passage based questions. After just a few meetings, I felt more confident approaching the exam. I just got my scores and I did very well!! I got a 518 overall/97th percentile (130 on chem/phys and bio, 127 on CARS, and 131 on psych/soc). Thanks for your help preparing!"

Emily S., Manhattan, NY.

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5 star review

"Dr. Donnelly is a wonderful teacher. He is quick to pinpoint weaknesses and, in many cases, turn them into strengths. He always has a structured lesson plan and pertinent homework assignments and puts aside time in the lesson to go over "trouble problems" from the previous lesson. I highly recommend taking a prep course with him. His patience, humor, and kindheartedness makes an otherwise uncomfortable standardized test almost enjoyable."

Mia P., San Diego CA.

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5 star review

"Dr. Donnelly tutored my son in Physics. My son learned a few steps to help him solve the problems faster and correctly. Every lesson helped my son feel confident. My son constantly talks about how Dr. Donnelly has taught him skills that even transcend beyond the physics that he is able to use in his classes at school. Dr. Donnelly was also very good at being able to work around a person's schedule. I highly recommend him, he is a great tutor. Thank you Dr. Donnelly!"

Tania L., San Francisco, CA (online student).

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5 star review

"Dr. Donnelly was patient, kind and willing to work with me in various areas to help improve not just my score but my understanding of the questions. His schedule is flexible and he is willing to work with you to give you what you need. My score went up dramatically and I would recommend Tutors of Oxford to anyone."

Jodi B., Los Angeles CA.

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5 star review

"Dr. Donnelly is patient and supportive and is clear when explaining questions that were challenging to me. He also urMCAT me to work out questions on my own, which was extremely helpful. He created an atmosphere in which I looked forward to the challenge of each section on the practice tests, and I definitely felt more confident taking the test. If you need to prepare for a standardized test, you should definitely contact Dr. Donnelly."

Pauline E., Brooklyn, NY.

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5 star review

"Dr. Donnelly helped me build my confidence, which improved my test taking substantially. I'm no longer afraid of Physics because he taught me strategies to break down complicated problems into simple concepts. He also reviewed concepts I didn't know in depth, asking questions to make sure I understood. I strongly recommend Dr. Donnelly, he made test preparation enjoyable and fulfilling."

Mora V., Staten Island, NYo.

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5 star review

"I got a 31 on the MCAT! I have had several interviews and just got my first acceptance to last week. Very happy to have that and know I'm definitely going to med school!"

Alexa W., San Diego CA.

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5 star review

"Dr. Stuart Donnelly was the help I needed to jump 9 points while retaking my MCAT. He gave me the confidence and the tools I needed to succeed and I really could not have done what I did without him. He is extremely knowledgeable on all things MCAT and is beyond patient. He is great at what he does and is super helpful getting his students to the next level. He is also very professional and organized. Would recommend Stuart to anyone who enjoys learning in a 1 on 1 environment and will put in the work he asks for! I also had the privilege of doing Skype sessions and in person sessions and both were great, not one bad thing to say."

Jordan M. San Diego CA.

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5 star review

"I started with Stuart at the beginning of the summer and didn't have any idea what to expect on the MCAT. Stuart was so incredibly helpful and was always understanding even when I had trouble understanding topics. His strategies were extremely helpful, and he has seemingly unending knowledge on every topic on the MCAT. The one-on-one attention made it possible to focus on areas in which I personally struggled, rather than being forced to follow a curriculum in a larger group setting. After working with Stuart for about 2.5-3 months I took the MCAT, and I'm thrilled with my score and won't be taking it again, which wouldn't have been possible without Stuart. I got a 514! (91st percentile!), Chem: 128 (86th percentile, CARS: 129 (95th percentile), an d Psych:131 (99th percentile!) Thank you so much for all of your help"

Chloe K., Bronx, NY.

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5 star review

"I received my MCAT score this morning and received a 514. I got 132 in CARS! I'm pretty happy with the result. Thanks for all your help."

Ben H., Dallas TX (online student).

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5 star review

"Though I felt confident in chemistry, I was struggling with studying for physics while preparing for the MCAT. This chanMCAT when I went to Dr. Donnelly to sharpen up my physics. He was very helpful, and I felt very confident going into test day. I ended up scoring in the 97th percentile for the chemical and physical foundations section! All of my tutoring took place over Skype--so where ever you live you should give Dr. Donnelly a try!"

Alison H., Washington DC (online student).

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5 star review

"I worked with Dr. Donnelly over the summer to improve my MCAT. Dr. Donnelly has many tricks to simplify everything - from passages to math equations to detailed physics concepts. We met both in person and via Skype. He provided all of the study material, was incredibly patient, and overall just a great instructor. I definitely recommend anyone taking the MCAT work with Dr. Donnelly - you'll see results."

Samantha S., Hempstead, NJ.

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5 star review

"I have had several interviews and just got my first acceptance last week. Very happy to know I'm definitely going to med school - Thanks Dr. Donnelly!”

Alexa D., San Barnardo, CA.

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Ace your MCAT Exam

with private tutoring from Dr. Donnelly

Best GMAT Tutor in San Diego

Call Dr. Donnelly Today!

Dr. Donnelly can show you how to greatly improve your scores on the MCAT. Private lessons with Dr. Donnelly are available either online via Skype or in-person in San Diego at our La Jolla-based office.

Over the years, Dr. Donnelly has helped literally hundreds of students to improve their MCAT scores and get accepted into top-tier medical schools. We are confident that he can do the same for you.


Contact Dr. Donnelly to schedule your appointment

Email Dr. Donnelly Call Dr. Donnelly

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