The Immune System, Part 1

The Immune System, Part 1

This is Part 1 of our two-part series on the immune system. After living through a global pandemic, we are all a bit wiser about pathogens, infections, and how the immune system can help us combat illness. Still, the MCAT goes deeper. In Part 1, we will cover the many divisions of the immune system, from innate vs. adaptive to cell-mediated immunity vs. humoral immunity. We will also discuss the immune system’s cells and signaling pathways, such as the complement system, MHC Class I, and MHC Class II.

At a glance


Essential skills

  • The immune system is a memorization heavy system, so make sure you use flow charts and tables to aid in your retention


Knowledge Fundamentals

  • The organs of the immune system

  • The cells of the immune system

  • Innate vs adaptive immunity

  • The function of cytokines and antibodies

  • MHC class 1 vs MHC class II


On the MCAT

  • The test is straightforward with the immune system. There are no trick questions and you can mostly rely on recall for content-specific questions.

  • But, aspects of the immune system, such as antibodies, are often used in biochemical techniques. Also, vaccination and immunity have become hot topics.


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