Wondering what is MCAT and how to study for it? Don’t worry, our strategic tips will keep you covered with all the important details and guidance to crack this exam.
What is the MCAT exam?
Medical College Admission Test is a standardized, multiple-choice exam administered by the Association of American Medical College (AAMC). Students intending to apply for medical colleges in the United States & Canada must apply for this. The exam is designed to make sure you understand the scientific and cultural complexities of Medicine. The exam besides measuring your knowledge in General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, General Biology, Biochemistry, Physics, Psychology, and Sociology, also tests your Critical analysis and Reasoning skills.
A brief overview of the MCAT exam is as follows:
- DURATION – 7 hours, 30 minutes
- SECTION – 4 sections
- EXAM CHANCES – 3 times in a single year, 4 times in two consecutive years and up to 7 seven times in a lifetime.
- SCORE VALIDITY – Usually 2-3 years (depends on applied medical college)
- AVERAGE SCORE – 500 in Total, 125 in each Section
- MAXIMUM SCORE – 528
Sections of the Exam :
The exam has 4 sections with 230 questions in total including passage-based and discrete questions.
- Critical Analysis and logical Reasoning (CARS) – This section includes 53 questions with 90 minutes of the time limit. Questions in this section are based on comprehension analysis and reasoning in ethics, philosophy, cultural studies, population health, social sciences, and humanities. Moreover, all are the passage-based questions in this section.
- Chemical & Physical Foundation of Biological foundation – This section comprises 30% General Chemistry, 25% Biochemistry, 25% Physics, 15% Organic Chemistry and 5% Biology. Also, candidates have 95 minutes to answer 59 questions of this section.
- Psychology, Sociology & Biological foundation of behavior – This section includes 59 questions consisting of 65% Psychology, 30% Sociology, and 25% Biology. The time allotted for this section is 95 minutes.
- Biological & Biochemical foundation of living systems – In this section questions are 65% Biology, 25% Biochemistry, 5% General Chemistry and 5% Organic Chemistry. Candidates have to solve 59 questions within 95 minutes of time.
👉 These three sections include 10 passage with 4-6 questions related to passage and 15 standalone questions.
What is the Best score?
Higher MCAT percentile will definitely get Medical school’s attention. Thus, the higher your percentile is, the better it is. From 2018-2019 records, the average MCAT score was 511. The Average Score for each section is between 118 – 132 with 125 being the midpoint. Hence, Overall Merit score ranges from 472 – 528.
How long is the exam?
The exam is 7 hours 33 minutes long, including breaks. The detailed breakdown of time is explained ahead. The testing time is 6 hours and 15 minutes, 8 minutes are allowed for the examinee agreement, 10 minutes for an optional testing tutorial, 50 minutes of optional break time, 5 minutes for a void question at the end of the test and 5 minutes for the optional satisfaction survey. Thus, this concludes to the total test day to 7 hours and 33 minutes.
Who can give the exam?
You can take this exam if:
☀ You are planning to apply to a health professional school such as Allopathy, Osteopathy, Podiatric or Veterinary sciences. Same is applicable for International students.
☀ You are enrolled in the MBBS degree program or you have such a degree.
☀ Candidate has to obtain special permission to register for the exam if he or she is not applying to health professional schools or currently enrolled as a medical student other than MBBS.
When the registrations are open?
MCAT is offered approximately 25 times per year between the months of January and September. You can see a full list of 2020 MCAT exam dates and Score released dates here. The registration dates fill up very quickly, thus it is highly recommended to fill application form earlier so that you can get desired test dates and location.
How to fill the application form?
Steps to register for MCAT are:
NOTE 👉 MCAT Fees vary depending on how early you are applying for the exam. Therefore, apply early to get relaxation of fees and chance to select desired date and location for test.
What is the Best strategy to ace the exam?
1. If you are aiming to get to Medical School in 2020, then you should start your exam preparation at least six months before the exam.
2. While preparing, you need to make sure that you have practiced the basic content and critical thinking questions beforehand.
3. Start taking practice tests often to grasp the timing and understand the exam structure. This will also help you to identify your weak points and strengthen them.
4. During the last month before the exam, focus more on topics that are areas for strength for you. This will help you to easily gain points and will also build your confidence.
5. Study for at least 5-6 hours every day and try to maintain your environment positive and free from all distractions.
6. Put more focus on bifurcating your time equally among all sections.
7. Since the MCAT exam is really long, it can be a physically and mentally draining experience. Thus it is recommended to give proper rest to your brain and body to keep you recharged.
I hope it helps!
All the best👍