The Medical College Admission Test or MCAT in short is the test need to write to apply for admissions to any medical school in the United States.
What is MCAT?
It is a test conducted by the Association of American Medical Colleges. Your scores in this test is one of the main criteria for admission into a medical school. MCAT score are a pre requisite for your application to any medical school in the United States. Every aspiring doctor has to take this standardized entrance test in order to get into medical school. MCAT tests the prospective doctor’s basic knowledge in the principles of Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Organic chemistry besides verbal reasoning and writing skills. You can choose any one of the two options available of writing this test i.e. computer based or paper based ?
MCAT Test Sections
The MCAT is a computer based test that takes 5 ½ hours to finish. The multiple choice test duration is 3 hours and 20 minutes and the writing sample test is for one hour. The remaining time is used for optional breaks after each section of the test and filling up the administrative formalities. Besides this you are allotted 10 minutes for familiarizing yourself with the tutorial about the test, which is optional. The test begins with the Physical Science section, followed by Verbal Reasoning, Writing and finally at the end is the Biological Sciences section.
Below is a brief description about all the four sections. Each section tests the problem solving ability of the candidate with the help of the knowledge he/ she already has in the respective areas.
MCAT Physical Science Section
The Physical Science section has 52 multiple-choice questions. You are expected to finish this section in 70 minutes. In this section the you will be tested in General Chemistry and Physics. You will be asked seven to nine questions each, based on passages apart from ten individual questions. Each passage is of 250 words length and has four to seven questions.
MCAT Verbal Reasoning Section
Verbal Reasoning test has forty multiple-choice questions. This is to be completed in the one hour’s time allotted for this section. Seven passages, each consisting about 600 words are given. Five to seven questions for each passage are to be answered. In this section you are tested for your active and critical reading, understanding and evaluating skills in grasping the author’s idea of the given passage, figure out the written material content and drawing your conclusions.
MCAT Writing Section
The Writing Sample section is of one-hour duration and you need to write two essay questions. Each essay needs to be completed in 30 minutes. In this section, you as a prospective doctor, is tested for your ability to think critically, organize your ideas intellectually, support and blend these ideas with reasons, proof and examples in writing grammatically correct, clear and carefully spelled out correct essays.
MCAT Biological Science Section
The Biological Science section has 52 multiple-choice questions, which you are expected to finish in 70 minutes, the time allotted to this section. In this section you are tested in the concepts of Organic Chemistry and Biology. The pattern of test is almost same as the physical science section, wherein seven to nine questions for each, based on passages are required to be answered apart from ten individual questions.
When is the best time to Take the MCAT Test
If you are an undergraduate it is better to write the MCAT in summer after 2nd year of graduation when your workload is less, and you always have a chance to improve your scores next year in case your scores are low in your first attempt. If you are a graduate then it’s better to take the test in April. Since many Medical Schools accept up to three previous year’s MCAT scores, it is advisable to a take the test in the year in which you start the application process. Most importantly it is always better to take the test when you are completely ready in all aspects and want to attend the Medical School.
On behalf of the Association of American Medical Colleges, Thomson Prometric conducts MCAT twenty two times in a year, at several locations all over United States and in selected test centers in Asia, Africa, Middle East, Europe and Australia. You can choose your time to take the test as it is conducted in the morning, afternoon and weekend sessions. For additional fees of $10, there are special test centers available on Sundays, for candidates whose religious belief prevents them from writing test on Saturdays.
MCAT Test Eligibility
All of you aspiring doctors taking the MCAT, should have studied Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Organic Chemistry and English in your pre medical school. Candidates holding FSc from Board of intermediate and secondary education or any other equivalent qualification certificate with biology, physics and chemistry, with a minimum of 60% marks in Metric and FSc. are eligible to register for MCAT.
You are allowed to write the test three times in a year. You are allowed to register only once at a time. The MCAT score is required when you are applying to study medicine or health sciences like osteopathic, podiatric, and veterinary medicine
While registering for the test you need to undertake a statement stating your wish to apply for a medical /health professional school.
Registration Fee: $230
Late Fee: $55
Date Reschedule Fee: $55
Change of Test Center Fee: $55
Registration for taking MCAT has to be done online through the official web site of Association of American Medical Colleges. You can also register by filing an application obtained at your college premedical advisory office, along with the required registration fee and a recent passport size photograph. Walk-in registration is not allowed. Registrations for MCAT begin eight to twelve weeks before the test date and close two weeks before the test date. At the time registration, you must select the registration date, time and your nearest test of the region where you want to take the test. Early registration is better to ensure a seat at your nearest test center and also to receive the scores well before the closure of admissions in the colleges.
You can make use of the online tests offered by AAMC for a fee of $35. Besides these, many private institutes like Sylvan, Kaplan, Tutor Nation etc., offer private tuition to help candidates prepare for the test for a fee of $1000. There are many books and CDs available with numerous questions and excellent answers in each section and tips to prepare yourself to get your desired score.
Enroll yourself for online courses, which offer seminars, study groups, practice tests and questions for a lower fee than the private tutors.