When planning a career as a medical doctor, a person must first enter medical school. One of the criteria for admission to nearly all medical schools is the successful completion of the Medical College Admission Test, more commonly referred to as the MCAT. The MCAT exam is designed to test student competency on several key levels, including his or her ability to troubleshoot and solve problems, their knowledge of scientific principles and concepts, critical thinking abilities, and communication skills. Its goal is to help schools predict whether a candidate for admission will be successful if admitted. Because of its importance, it is crucial that people understand what to expect and to get the best MCAT tips prior to taking the actual exam.
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For a student to be eligible to take the MCAT exam, he or she must plan on applying to a medical school. This includes schools of veterinary medicine, osteopathic, and allopathic schools. Once the student registers for his or her test, a statement of intention to apply to a medical school must be completed. Although it is best to pass the MCAT on the first attempt, students are eligible to take the MCAT up to three times a year. The exam is given 58 times a year.
The MCAT is a test that as of 2012 consists of four sections. These sections include a multiple choice section on Verbal Reasoning, Physical Science and Biological Science, in addition to a writing sample. The student’s knowledge of physics and chemistry is tested in the physical sciences portion of the examination. Basic organic chemistry and biology are tested in the biological sciences portion of the examination. The writing portion of the examination will no longer be a part of the test as of 2013. In addition to the change in 2013, the MCAT is set to go through further changes in 2015.
The MCAT takes approximately five and a half hours to complete. The scores for Physical Sciences, Biological Sciences and Verbal Reasoning sections of the test range from 1 to 15, which is the highest. MCAT preparation will help improve one’s chances of scoring higher on the exam. Studying and getting the right MCAT help will allow students to reach the maximum score. Failure to study or utilize available MCAT tips could result in unacceptably low scores. When preparing for the MCAT, help from those who have previously taken it will also be useful for the essay portion of the exam. The essays are graded by both a computer and a human. The score for the essays range from a J to a T.
Students should be well prepared to take the MCAT. Test content outlines should be reviewed to ensure that all basic courses have been completed. MCAT preparation may also involve official review materials, taking practice tests and setting time aside for regular study. People who have already successfully taken the test are also a good source of MCAT tips and MCAT help.
Timing is also important when planning to take the MCAT. Test date selection should be made for the year before the student intends to go to med school. This would be the student’s junior year in college. Although MCAT test dates occur during any of the four seasons, the Association of American Medical Colleges recommends taking the MCAT exam during the spring or summer. When taken in the spring, there is ample time for the medical school’s admissions committee to review the student’s completed application. Careful MCAT preparation and passing the exam will not guarantee that a student will be accepted into medical school. The MCAT is only a part of the admission process. School admissions committees also take into consideration the student’s undergraduate GPA, his or her involvement with healthcare related environments and activities, drive and maturity.
- The Association of American Medical Colleges – How Do I Prepare for the MCAT?
- Demystifying the MCAT
- Test FAQ: The MCAT
- The MCAT
- Carolina Pre-Medical Association – What is the MCAT?
- Medical College Admission Test MCAT Basics
- The Medical College Admissions Test