Everything You Need To Know About The MCAT

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The field of medicine is still one of the most in-demand careers despite its challenges. While it can take a bit longer compared to other tracks, it’s one of the most rewarding and fulfilling fields out there, especially if you love your job. 

If you’re interested in becoming a doctor, it’s important to understand the necessary steps you need to take in order to achieve your goal. And if you’ve got even bigger dreams, why not take medicine abroad? The Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) is one of the most crucial deciding factors in this process. Medical schools in the United States and Canada use the MCAT to find out how well you did in college as well as the knowledge you have in the disciplines used in medicine. 

Is your road to becoming a doctor paved in the land of the free? Then here’s a guide to the MCAT, the test to get you into a medical school in the US! 

What is the MCAT?

The Medical College Admissions Test, more commonly known as the MCAT, is a standardized test required for admissions to medical schools located in the USA and Canada. The MCAT examines your knowledge of Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Psychology, and Sociology. Aside from these subjects, it also tests your reasoning and critical analysis skills.

Yearly, over 200,000 aspiring medical students take the MCAT. Interested in taking it this year? Here’s a kit with everything you need to know about the test!

What is the coverage of the MCAT?

Subject
Content
Time

Chemistry and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
Basic principles underlying the operations of the human body

44 passage-based questions

15 standalone, non-passage-based questions

59 total questions
95 minutes

Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills
Argument analysis and inferences

52 passage-based questions
90 minutes

Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
Disciplines of biology, biochemistry, and organic and general chemistry

44 passage-based questions

15 standalone questions

59 total questions
95 minutes

Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behaviour
Implementation of research and statistical principles related to behavioral and sociocultural relationships

44 passage-based questions

15 standalone questions

59 total questions
95 minutes

How is the MCAT scored?

The MCAT scores are based on the number of correct answers. Wrong answers do not affect your score and are not given any penalty. Each of the 4 sections is converted to a scaled score,  from 118 (lowest) to 132 (highest). The median score being 125.

With this, smart guessing is a great strategy to get as many points as you can. It is much better to use the process of elimination and have a slight chance of getting it right than leaving the number blank and warranting a sure wrong answer.

What are the passing scores of the MCAT?

Medical schools vary in test requirements or average scores of admitted students. Moreover, here are scaled scores that can help you gauge what score you aim to reach.

Top 10% of all test takers
514 to 528

Top 25% of all test takers
508 to 513

Top 50% of all test takers
500 to 507

Below 50th percentile of all test takers
499 or below

How do I apply for the MCAT?

The MCAT is offered over 20 times per year, between January to September.  You can apply to take the MCAT up to three times in one year. The registration can be done through the Association of American Medical Colleges online.

To register for the MCAT, you must complete the following steps:

  • Create an account on the  Association of American Medical Colleges website.
  • Fill up the personal information asked for. Be extra careful in this step as your data must match the government issued ID needed on the day of the test.
  • Before registration, ensure you have your credit card in order to secure your seat right away.
  • Register for a test date and choose your location. Keep in mind that scores are released a month after the test date so make sure to register for a test that is not too close to your medical school application deadline.
  • When and where can I take the MCAT?

    Students who are in their 3rd year of college often decide when they will be taking their MCAT. The common time period when students opt to take the MCAT is towards the end of their junior year and summer before senior year. You must also note that by the time you take the test, you must have taken the following courses in order to lessen review period: Biology, Physics, Organic and Inorganic Chemistry, Biochemistry, Psychology, and Sociology.

    Deciding as early as 3rd Year allows you to know how much you need to prepare. Are you going to take a gap year after you get your undergraduate degree? Do you need a year to prepare? Are you planning to go to med school right away? 

    There are over 20 test dates opened by AAMC yearly. This 2019, the remaining MCAT test dates are as follows:

    • June 28 & 29  
    • July 10, 13, &  20
    • August 2, 3, 9, 17, 30, & 31
    • September 6, 13, & 14

    Here’s a list of countries that administer the MCAT. Unfortunately, there are no testing centers in the Philippines.

    Is the MCAT expensive? How much do I have to pay to take it?

    The MCAT costs $315, which is around P16,300,  when you register during their regular window. Being proactive will definitely benefit you as there are late registration fees and rescheduling fees added on top of this testing fee. If you want to save some cash, opt to borrow review books or purchase used ones instead of buying brand new.

    Medical school is indeed going to be a tough journey; however, the experience will all be worth it. Although taking the MCAT is just the beginning, you are still one step closer to your dreams.

    Find your passion, course, and career path with us! Check out our College Life and Study Abroad sections on the Edukasyon.ph blog!

    Enjoying the blog? Register on Edukasyon today!


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    Tags: college lifeMCATMedical College Admissions Teststudy abroad

    About the author

    Renee Antaran

    Renee Antaran is a rising freshman, studying Diplomacy and International Relations. She is the Founder and Executive Director of Girl Up Philippines. Aside from her international relations and law pursuits, Renee enjoys writing and making art in her spare time.

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