How to Memorize the 10 AAMC FCs in a Day

MCAT Adventure: Pathlight

Journey Goal

Memorizing the 10 AAMC Foundational Concepts

Explore the image to find out more about this MCAT journey...

WHY?

People waste most of their time studying for the MCAT.

It's not because they aren't studying. It's because they aren't looking at each question from the Test-Maker's point of view.

Did you know - aside from CARS - the MCAT only covers 10 concepts? Just as you have 10 fingers, use this ridiculously memorable tactic to memorize all ten concepts in a single, unforgettable day.

MCAT Adventure: Memorize the 10 AAMC Foundational Concepts (10 FCs)
Study ScissorsPortable Drawer DividersThick Colored TapeFine Tipped Color SharpiesFountain PenCurious?Biology/Biochemistry Band-Aids (FC1-3)Chemistry/Physics Band-Aids (FC4-5)Psychology/Sociology Band-Aids (FC6-10)

Study Scissors

MCAT Adventure: MCAT Scissors

There is something incredibly handy about having a pair of study scissors. While necessary in this tutorial for snipping your Foundational Concept band-aids - you will come to use them frequently when you spice up your study habits.
If you don't already have a favorite pair; I recommend these here.

Portable Drawer Dividers

MCAT Adventure: Desk Organizers to Prepare for Battle

Drawers have this way of turning into useless junk collectors. Not anymore. These transparent drawer dividers help you keep your writing weapons accessible, portable, and actionably useful - as pictured.

Get them here.

Thick Colored Tape

MCAT Normal Colored Concept Tape

The main ingredient! Colored tape is oddly life-changing: used frequently in research settings - it can be an amazing study tool, as seen in this tutorial. Not only is it sticky - it's relatively cheap for the amount you get.
Get it here.

Fine Tipped Color Sharpies

MCAT Adventure: The Best Fine Point Markers

Sharpie: the king of markers. Also the king of bold MCAT cheat sheets. MCAT Sharpies are best for the boldest words or lettering in a concept map.

As an artist, I am incredibly picky when it comes to pens. Having spent a lifetime weeding out the best: I finally decided on a hierarchy of sizes:

 Fine Tipped Pens: Black and Color + Fountain Pen
 Fine Tipped Markers: Black and Color
 Regular Sharpie Markers: Black and Color

The hierarchy of size and variation of color allows your sticky notes to emphasize what is important – to create a reference note worth preserving. After all, that is how the Amino Acid Legend was first conceived.

Fountain Pen

While not strictly necessary for this tutorial, this shockingly affordable fountain pen gives incredible confidence in your writing capacity.

I use mine daily. Get yours here.

Curious?

The Official Amino Acid Legend Ebook: Memorize the Amino Acids in a Day

This is the Amino Acid Legend - our own published book that uses similar wacky methods as this one to easily memorize all Amino Acids (covered by both FC1 AND FC5)!

Check out a the book here, and a different Amino-Acid-specific journey here.

Biology/Biochemistry Band-Aids (FC1-3)

MCAT Adventure: Life's Good Stuff

These band aids cover the entirety of the Biology/Biochemistry section (Foundational Concepts 1-3), or 25% of the MCAT.

Read more about this section here.

Chemistry/Physics Band-Aids (FC4-5)

MCAT Adventure: Wield the C/P Pocketknife

These band aids cover the entirety of the Chemistry/Physics section (Foundational Concepts 4-5), or 25% of the MCAT.

Read more about this section here.

Psychology/Sociology Band-Aids (FC6-10)

MCAT Adventure: Be the P/S Context King

These band aids cover the entirety of the Psychology/Sociology section (Foundational Concepts 6-19), or 25% of the MCAT.

Read more about this section here.

① ENSURE you have the supplies

%

Done

WHY?

 

You don’t want to be halfway through this
and realize you don’t have the right tape!
Ensure you have at least:
three colors of wide painter’s tape,
scissors, and a fine-tipped sharpie.

NEVER

*Blow off learning the AAMC FCs.
(Before you shoot, you need a target)!

ALWAYS

*Ensure you have a grasp of these 10 big “umbrellas”.

TIPS

*Order faster with Amazon Prime.
(The link gets you a 30 day trial).
*If you’re a student, leverage your “.edu”
account for inexpensive membership.

 

② CREATE first study band-aid

%

Done

WHY?

There’s 10 AAMC FCs.
You have 10 fingers.
It’s extremely weird.
That’s why it’s memorable.
The time you take making these will translate into the length of memory.

NEVER

*Leave too much exposed sticky tape.

ALWAYS

*Ensure you don’t cut off your fingers.

TIPS

*Loop tape with sticky part facing outward.
*Cut.
*Then overlap with the sticky part inward.
*Get used to this process.
You’re about to repeat it.

 

③ MAKE all b/b band-aids

%

Done

WHY?

 

The Biological and Biochemical Foundations
of Living Systems (B/B) section
has 3 foundational concepts (AAMC FCs).
Making three band-aids will give you invaluable scope
regarding what you need to cover.

NEVER

*Leave too much exposed sticky tape.

ALWAYS

*Ensure you don’t cut off your fingers

TIPS

*Choose one color per exam, to refile AAMC FCs
into the three relevant MCAT sections
*We chose blue.
*Three total fingers:
Left pinky, left ring finger,
and left middle finger.

 

④ MAKE all c/p band-aids

%

Done

WHY?

 

The Chemical and Physical Foundations
of Biological Systems (C/P) section
has 2 foundational concepts (AAMC FCs).
Making two band-aids will give you invaluable scope regarding what you need to cover.

NEVER

*Leave too much exposed sticky tape.

ALWAYS

*Ensure you don’t cut off your fingers

TIPS

*We chose green.
*Choose one color per exam to refile AAMC FCs
into the relevant MCAT sections.
*Two total fingers:
Left index finger, and left thumb.

 

⑤ MAKE all p/s band-aids

%

Done

WHY?

 

The Biological, Social, and Psychological Foundations
of Behavior (P/S) section has
5 foundational concepts (AAMC FCs).
Making five band-aids will give you
invaluable scope regarding what you need to cover.

NEVER

*Leave too much exposed sticky tape.

ALWAYS

*Ensure you don’t cut off your fingers

TIPS

*We chose pink.
*Choose one color per exam to refile AAMC FCs
into the relevant MCAT sections.
*Five total fingers:
All five fingers of your right hand.

 

⑥ CHECK and flatten them

%

Done

WHY?

 

You are going to want to have these fit your fingers.
Moroever, you’re going to write on these Band-aids.
Flattening them beforehand saves time
from costly errors in the following step.

NEVER

*Skip checking if the Band-Aids fit.

ALWAYS

*Ensure the flattening weight is heavy.

TIPS

*Use heavy books like the Kaplan practice set.
*While you wait, read these three articles
to introduce the 10 AAMC FCs to you:
C/P
B/B
P/S

⑦ LABEL each side

%

Done

WHY?

 

This will allow the Band-aids
to function as eccentric flash cards.
All 10 topics the MCAT covers – the AAMC FCs – are pegs:
accessible and associated with your body.
You will have ten fingers in the real exam:
eventually you can imagine the band-aids.

NEVER

*Make the text illegible (or symbol horrible).

ALWAYS

*Ensure you are mindful of space and legibility.

TIPS

*If you are artistic and visual,
try forgoeing text and drawing a symbol
representative of each FC.
*Boil the wordy FCs on the AAMC website
to one word.

⑧ WIELD your band-aids

%

Done

WHY?

 

This gives you an overview
of how many subtopics are in each FC.
Find them all at the bottom of this page.

NEVER

*Make the text illegible.
*Try to cram too much info on your band-aids.

ALWAYS

*Ensure you are mindful of space and legibility.
*Only write cues. Let your brain fill in the rest.

TIPS

*Start with the main word.
*Then try to also memorize the subtopics.
They are alphabetical and will be referenced
on AAMC official question banks.

⑨ RECALL fcs verbally

%

Done

WHY?

 

Storytelling and conversations are
the best ways to recall something.
You can apply this with the 10 AAMC FCs,
using your 10 band-aids as finger puppets.
This will turn into internal dialogue during
the real exam – where you
are not allowed to talk to yourself.

NEVER

*Rush through this.
(This is the referential foundation of most MCAT studying)

ALWAYS

*Imagine a visual while speaking.
*Know all topics/subtopics like
the back of your hand (pun intended).

TIPS

*Go through all 10 fingers first.
*Clean up failures.
*Repeat.
*Then go through the amount of subtopics.
*Then through specific subtopic names.

⑩ PRACTICE without band-aids

%

Done

WHY?

 

You are allowed 10 fingers in the real MCAT. Now that the band-aids are off, you get to carry around a strange
sampler of the full scope of MCAT content.

NEVER

*Memorize any details.

ALWAYS

  *Remind yourself to simplify: this is all about scope.

TIPS

*Add in the “three hinges” of one arm
as CARS skills, the other as Scientific Skills
and you’ve now covered all the content.

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