The Test: MCAT
What is this? Medical College Admission Test
Who should take it? If you’re applying to medical school
What’s the test like?
It’s a standardized, multiple-choice test assessing your problem solving, critical thinking, writing, and knowledge of science skills. Scores are reported in four sections: Verbal Reasoning, Physical Sciences, Writing Sample, and Biological Sciences.
How is the test scored?
The Physical Sciences, Verbal Reasoning and Biological Sciences sections are scored between a 1 and a 15. In total, the highest score you can get is a 3 and the highest score you can receive is a 45. The two essays are scored based upon a J-T scale by one person as well as one computer grader. For most competitive med schools, shoot for a combined MCAT score of 30 and a writing MCAT score of P or Q.
When should you take it?
Medical school admissions officers usually suggest that you take the test in the calendar year prior to the year that you plan on entering. A winter or spring test date is recommended as it will allow for the summer or fall completion (January-May) of your application.
How much studying is required?
Your study plan should begin at least three months before you take the exam. Experts recommend purchasing “The Official Guide to the MCAT Exam” ($30) which contains everything from tips to answers from “real life” tests.
Popular prep books:
Medical School Essays that Made a Difference, 3rd Edition written by Princeton Review and the MCAT Workout written by Princeton Review.
MCAT Hyperlearning Course—students can boost an average 10 point score improvement.
How long are the results valid?
Many schools do not accept MCAT exam scores that are more than three years old.
How many times a year is the test offered?
28 times per year on 24 test dates Cost: $240. Luckily, there is also a Fee Assistance Program (FAP) to help with that cost, if you are eligible. Where can I register? Aamc.org