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 6.5 hour standardized examination.
  • It measures your knowledge of the biological, physical, and social sciences, as well as your ability to read and interpret information.
  • The test also is designed to predict how well you will do in medical school.
  • It consists of multiple choice questions.

Description of the MCAT

The MCAT consists of four sections:

  1. Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
  2. Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
  3. Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior
  4. Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills

When to take the MCAT

  • The MCAT is administered multiple times a year.
  • 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
    This annual publication contains registration instructions, test-day policies, and scoring details. It is required reading!
  • The Official Guide to the MCAT Exam
    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.
  • The Official MCAT Self-Assessment Package
    This package is prepared by the developers of the MCAT exam. It provides the opportunity to analyze your MCAT knowledge so that you can plan your study time.
  • MCAT Practice Tests
    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.

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 score on each of the four sections of the MCAT is reported on a scale ranging from 1 to 15.

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.