Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)
Virtually all medical schools in the U.S. require that you take the MCAT. Most students take the test in the Spring semester of their junior year. Taking the test in late summer, August or September may not give you the best opportunity to gain acceptance, as by the time scores are reported (approx. 30 days later) some medical school classes may be almost half full. Your application will not be reviewed until it is complete, i.e. your MCAT scores have been received.
The MCAT Essentials is the official policy and procedure guide to everything you need to know about the MCAT exam. It includes important information about registration, scheduling, test day policies and procedures, scoring, and much more. Visit students-residents.aamc.org/mcatessentials for this required reading and be sure to bookmark it for easy reference.
It is very important that you prepare adequately for the test. While taking formal MCAT preparatory courses may or may not be helpful to you personally, it is important that you have finished your physics (2 semesters), chemistry (four semesters) and biology (as much as you have time for) courses before taking the MCAT. Students will find courses in cell/molecular biology, physiology, genetics, biochemistry, quantitative analysis, psychology, and sociology very helpful.
What's on the MCAT Exam? The test is composed of four sections that are presented here in the order they are given:
- Biological and biochemical foundations of living systems (biology, biochemistry, organic chemistry, and general chemistry) | 59 questions in 95 minutes
- Chemical and physical foundations of biological systems (biology, biochemistry, general chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics) | 59 questions in 95 minutes
- Psychological, social, and biological foundations of behavior (biology, psychology, and sociology) | 59 questions in 95 minutes
- Critical analysis and reasoning skills | 53 questions in 90 minutes
All sections are scored from 118-132. Your total score is the sum of the four individual section scores and will range from 472 to 528. There is no penalty for guessing.
Visit the official MCAT webpage for helpful resources such as a guide to create a study plan, FAQs, and free planning and study resources.