Introduction

Description of the MCAT

When to Take the MCAT

Why You Need to Prepare for the MCAT

How to Prepare for the MCAT

MCAT Resources

Registering for the MCAT

MCAT Scores

Retaking the MCAT

 

Introduction

  • The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is a 5.5 hour standardized examination.
  • It measures your knowledge of the biological and physical sciences, your ability to read and interpret information, and your ability to write coherently.
  • The test also is designed to predict how well you will do in medical school.
  • It consists of multiple choice questions and a writing assessment.

Description of the MCAT

The MCAT consists of four sections:

  1. Biological Sciences:~75% general biology and ~25% organic chemistry
  2. Physical Sciences: ~50% general chemistry and ~50% general physics
  3. Verbal Reasoning: your ability to read and interpret information
  4. Writing Sample: your ability to write coherently

When to take the MCAT

  • The MCAT is administered multiple times a year from January to September.
  • You should take the MCAT after you have completed your prerequisite courses. This is typically in the spring (April or May) of your junior or senior year.

Why You Need to Prepare for the MCAT

  • The MCAT is a high stakes examination. Your scores will be carefully evaluated by medical school admissions committees.
  • It is absolutely essential that you set aside time over many months to prepare for the MCAT.

How to Prepare for the MCAT

  • Most people can do well on the MCAT if they develop a sound study plan and begin preparing as early as possible.
  • You can prepare for the MCAT on your own, but many students also choose to take a commercial review course.

 MCAT Resources

  • MCAT website (www.aamc.org/mcat)
    This comprehensive website provides information about preparing for and taking the MCAT.
  • MCAT Essentials (www.aamc.org/mcat)
    This annual publication contains registration instructions, test-day policies, and scoring details.  It is required reading!
  • The Official Guide to the MCAT Exam (www.aamc.org/mcat)
    This is the only guide from the developers of the MCAT exam. The guidebook contains questions taken from real MCAT exams, thoroughly explained answers, and a plethora of valuable data and advice.
  • MCAT Practice Tests (www.aamc.org/mcat)
    These full-length practice tests are composed of previously administered MCAT questions and provide you with an accurate estimate of your likely MCAT scores.  Solutions are provided, as well as examples of scored writing samples. 

Registering for the MCAT

  • Register for the MCAT on-line at www.aamc.org/mcat
  • You should register 60 days or more in advance of the exam day for the best chance at your preferred test date and location.

MCAT Scores

  • MCAT scores are released approximately 30 days after each test date.
  • The scores on the Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences, and Verbal Reasoning sections of the MCAT are reported on a scale ranging from 1 to 15.
  • The score for the Writing Sample section is reported on a scale ranging from J to T.

Retaking the MCAT

  • Some students think they should take the MCAT once for practice, and then again "for real". This is not a good idea.
  • Medical schools see all your MCAT scores, not just the most recent ones.  Different medical schools use multiple sets of scores in different ways.  Some schools look at all sets of scores and note improvements.  Others take an average of all sets of scores.  Still others consider only the most recent set of scores.  Finally, some schools use only the highest scores.