Students applying to medical school must take the MCAT at least one year before the anticipated date of medical school admission. The MCAT is usually taken after the completion of General Chemistry, General Physics, Foundations of Biology, and Organic Chemistry. For most pre-med students this will be during the spring quarter (April) of the junior year or just prior to beginning their senior year (August). If summer school is taken or if the required courses are completed earlier, the MCAT may be taken at the end of the sophomore or beginning of the junior year.
If a student finds that his/her MCAT score is not as high as desired after the April testing, the student may elect to repeat the MCAT in August. You must register for the test by late March and the test is given on the last Sunday in April. For the summer testing, you must register for the test by late July, and the test is given on last Sunday in August. You may contact the Counseling Center to register for the test or see a schedule of ttest dates and deadlines. You should register for summer testing before you leave for the summer, as the Counseling Center does not have regular summer office hours.
The purpose of the MCAT is to help medical school admissions committees predict which applications will be successful in medical school. It tests areas and skills that medical educators and physicians consider important for success in the field.
The MCAT tests basic concepts in biology, chemistry, and physics, and assesses abilities in critical thinking, problem solving, reading and writing. It consists of sections in verbal reasoning, physical sciences, writing sample and biological sciences. The student receives a letter grade for the writing sample, and the other three sections receive scaled scores ranging from 1 (lowest) to 15 (highest). A score of 8 in any of the three sections represents approximately 50th percentile. The exam takes nearly 6 hours.
For information and registration, visit the Official Medical College Admission Test Website.
Review courses are offered which help prepare the pre-medical student for the MCAT. Generally, they begin about 6-8 weeks before the MCAT is given. These courses are expensive and may be unnecessary for the highly motivated student. Sample tests are administered, and then instructors give a brief review over the questions on the test. Many students do well on the MCAT without taking a review course, but most can improve their score by taking such a course. The primary advantages of a review course are (1) organizing the material for your to study, and (2) taking practice exams which are similar to the MCAT.
There are also many books which can be purchased that will assist the student in reviewing at a fraction of the cost of a review course. These books usually contain 3-4 complete practice MCATs along with short explanations for each answer. When applying to take the MCAT, the student should order the MCAT Student Manual which describes the test in detail and provides practice questions similar to those found on the MCAT.
KAPLAN is one of the more popular review courses. It involves review with live teachers. www.kaplan.com, 1-800-KAP-TEST 1 (800) 527-8378.
BEITZ produces books and computer tutorials for self study and review for the MCAT. The entire set of materials costs approximately $150. For enrollment information call 1 (800) 634-4365.
AMCAS has a set of materials that describes the MCAT with review information. The review packet includes a video. Their set of materials costs $50. Your AMCAS application packet will give you the information necessary for ordering their materials.
MCAT Made Easy is a review course for the MCAT. www.mcatmadeez.com, 1-888-220-MCAT
Princeton Review - One set of each of these materials is on reserve in the library. You will be able to check out only the materials from one of the publishers at a time. The computer tutorial will be available in the Learning Resource Center of the library on first floor. The video is also on reserve in the Learning Resource Center. www.princetonreview.com
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