The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is the applicant screening exam used by medical colleges in the United States. It is given a couple dozen times a year at Prometric testing centers, and the vast majority of people who take it are in their junior or senior year of college. The exam is designed to measure the knowledge and skills that are critical for success in medical college and a subsequent medical career – knowledge of scientific principles and concepts, critical thinking, and problem solving. There are three sections on the current version of the test – Physical Sciences, Verbal Reasoning, and Biological Sciences. For the 2013 and 2014 version, there is also an optional trial section which will cover several topics: biology, psychology, and sociology, or biology, physics, chemistry, and biochemistry. The Writing Sample section has been removed from the exam.
For decades, the exam was taken with pencil and paper. In 2007 that changed, and the exam is now taken by computer only. However, it is not an adaptive test, which means that the difficulty level of questions is not adjusted based on the responses to previous questions. The Physical Sciences section has 52 questions with a time limit of 70 minutes. The Verbal Reasoning section has 40 questions with a 60 minute time limit. The Biological Sciences section consists of 52 questions with a 70 minute time limit. All questions are multiple choice, and test takers may choose to take a 10 minute break between the second and third sections of the exam.
The Verbal Reasoning portion does not require any specialized knowledge. Science topics covered on the other two sections include eukaryotic cells and tissues, molecular structure and chemical spectra, oxygen containing compounds, amines, phase equlibria, rate processes in chemical reactions, thermochemistry, microbiology, genetics, electrostastics, translational motion, organic chemistry concepts, and many, many more.
Scores from the three sections are combined and turned into a scaled score, ranging from 3 to 45. Anyone not happy with their performance on the MCAT may void the results at any time during the test, and for up to five minutes after the test has ended. A person may only take the exam three times in one year. The MCAT is one of the most difficult tests in existence, and anyone hoping to go to medical school would be well advised to take advantage of some of the excellent prep guides on the market.
MCAT Study Guide
Start learning how to be successful on your MCAT exam. Our MCAT study guide is guaranteed to help you get the results you deserve on your MCAT test. Some test takers prefer to study using flashcards and so we have created the best MCAT flashcards that cover everything you need to know for the MCAT exam. Note that using multiple study aids will help you maximize the benefit from your study time.
MCAT Study Guide
MCAT Study Options
- MCAT Prep 2018-2019: Test Prep & Practice Test Questions for the Medical College Admission Test (click here)
- MCAT Prep Book: MCAT Secrets Study Guide: MCAT Practice and Review for the Medical College Admission Test (click here)
- Official site (click here)