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MCAT Verbal Reasoning Content Categories


Passages in the humanities area are drawn from excerpts in architecture, art, literature, music, philosophy, popular culture, religion, and theater. Often focusing on relationships between ideas, humanities passages are more likely to be written in a conversational or opinionated style than the passages in the social sciences and the natural sciences and technology areas. You may therefore be required to glean information from the author’s tone and word choice in addition to the passage assertions themselves.

Social Sciences

Passages in the social sciences focus on anthropology, archaeology, economics, education, history, linguistics, political science, psychology, and sociology. These excerpts frequently center on the interpretation, implications, or applications of research in the social sciences, and often are based on studies about people in general or particular social groups. Frequently these passages are structured around a central claim that is either being supported or undermined by the information provided by the author. Sometimes the information in these passages can be very “rough” because the passage deals with complex issues and events in an artificially simplified manner.

Natural Sciences and Technology

With the focus on astronomy, botany, computer science, ecology, ethology, geology, meteorology, technology, and zoology, passages in the natural sciences and technology area emphasize the significance of scientific and technological issues and advances. Natural sciences passages, which center on factual knowledge and its implications or applications, are often straightforward in their presentation since the claims they support tend to be well defined and clearly circumscribed.