The Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems Section

Posted in: MCAT

October 18, 2018 | by Alexis

The Biological and Biochemical Foundations
of Living Systems Section, Explained

You need a high MCAT score, but to be truly competitive, you need to achieve balanced high scores in each section.  This means that you need to understand each section, its content, its question styles, and you need to separate strategies for each.

Begin by breaking down the MCAT. The Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems is one of the three science-based sections.


The topics covered in this section include general biology, biochemistry, organic chemistry, and general chemistry.

Questions and question Style

This section has 59 questions in total. There will be 10 passages, with 44 passage based questions, and 15 stand-alone questions.


You’ll be given 95 minutes to complete this section.

Time per question

You have, on average, 96.6 seconds per question.

What this section tests, specifically

This section is composed of the following: biology (65%), biochemistry (25%), general chemistry (5%) and organic chemistry (5%).

This section asks you to combine your knowledge of foundational concepts in the biological and biochemical sciences with your scientific inquiry, reasoning, and research and statistical skills to solve problems. It will test your knowledge of the fundamental concepts governing the unique processes in living systems, such as growing and reproducing, maintaining a constant internal environment, and adapting, as well as how cells and organ systems within an organism act both independently and in concert to accomplish these processes.

How to prepare for this section

It’s important to know your science. You should start your review very early, however, because your understanding of the science will be, for the most part, simply the background. You’ll be asked to use your knowledge as context to think and reason through unfamiliar scenarios.

It’s also important to practice. You’ll need to understand how to approach both stand-alone and passage based MCAT questions. Prep101 can help. Visit to learn more about the expert instructors who can teach tactics and strategies to help you to read passages, dissect question stems, triage the questions in each section. They’ll also help you to prepare, and give you advice and feedback as you go.



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