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What is the MCAT test, what subjects are included in the MCAT exam and test day schedule, what is a good MCAT score and how to prepare for the MCAT are among the key questions that we will answer.
Our experts at MCAT-prep.com will point you in the direction of lots of free MCAT prep resources, as well as detailed two and three-month MCAT study schedules. With this definitive guide about the MCAT, it is expected that you will gain a better understanding of the exam, thus strengthen your chances of getting into the medical school of your choice.
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MCAT-prep.com's MCAT Guide
To help you prepare for the exam, Gold Standard MCAT has laid out comprehensive information on MCAT scores, topics covered, MCAT test dates, preparation advice and free MCAT sample questions.
The MCAT is 7 hours and 30 minutes long, including breaks. The image below shows the detailed breakdown of the four MCAT sections, the subjects included, the time allocated to each section, as well as the breaks.
Before the exam: sign in, present valid ID, have your fingerprints digitally collected, and have your test day photo taken.
Total content time: 6 hours 15 minutes
Total 'seated' time: 7 hours 33 minutes
Can anyone take the MCAT test? You can take the MCAT if:
you are planning to apply to a health profession's school such as allopathic, osteopathic, podiatric and/or veterinary medicine. This also applies to international students.
you are applying to any health-related program that will accept MCAT exam results.
you are enrolled in an MBBS degree program or if you have such a degree (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery).
During MCAT registration, you will be asked to verify your intention to apply to medical school or to a health profession's school.
There are no academic prerequisites to take the MCAT. Students with science and non-science backgrounds can take the MCAT exam and have the same opportunity to enter medical school.
However, there are recommended undergraduate courses that would help to optimize exam performance. It is important to recognize that recommended courses do not restrict the freedom in pursuing a wide variety of possible undergraduate academic programs (What college classes do you need to prepare for the MCAT exam?)
Prospective students usually arrange to take the MCAT a year before their intended matriculation into medical school. For example, if you are eyeing medical school in 2023, then you can take the MCAT in 2022 or before.
Since there are no academic prerequisites for the MCAT, you can take the MCAT as early as your freshman, sophomore or junior year of undergraduate studies as long as you feel that you are ready. You may consult with your pre-health advisor. (Read: How to determine when to take the MCAT)
One important consideration is whether or not you will re-take the MCAT. Should you feel that you might take the MCAT more than once, it's ideal to take the MCAT early in the testing year. This will give you time to receive your scores and make a decision.
Another consideration is readiness. Have you thoroughly prepared for the content and skills that are required for the MCAT? Ideally, you should start your MCAT prep at least six months prior to your test date. (2022 MCAT Test Dates)
The pie chart below shows that 2/3rds took the exam in August and September. This suggests that having most or all of the summer available for MCAT preparation may be one factor in gaining a high MCAT score.
You can take the exam up to three times in a single testing year, up to four times in a two consecutive-year period, and up to seven times in a lifetime. Obviously, you want to minimize the number of times you need to take such a rigorous exam, and that is clearly the value of good MCAT prep. Furthermore, medical schools will not review your application until they receive all your scores from the AAMC.
How are the multiple MCAT scores evaluated?
Some schools consider only your most recent score, whereas others will accept your highest score for each section.
In other cases, medical schools may rely solely on percentile rank when comparing your multiple scores.
Just keep in mind that medical schools will see all your MCAT attempts during their review of your application.
For guidance on how the MCAT is scored and to calculate your chances of getting accepted to medical school, click here: MCAT Scores.