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MCAT Books and Classes

There are commercial courses designed to prepare students for the MCAT, and some candidates have found them to be helpful. These programs provide an intense review program, and they emphasize test-taking skills. On the down-side, they are often prohibitively expensive - the Kaplan course is around $500 - and they are often offered only in large cities. You must travel to Denver, Colorado Springs or Albuquerque - not very convenient. Another disadvantage of these courses, though remote, is that the Association of American Medical Colleges may declare your scores invalid if you have taken one of these courses. The AAMC regularly monitors the commercial review courses to ensure that the course content does not provide an unfair advantage. Should this be determined to be the case your scores could be declared invalid, and you will be required to take the MCAT over. If you are still interested, one such course is the Kaplan course. You can contact:

Stanley H. Kaplan Educational Center LTD

There are a number of books available which give brief reviews of the test subjects and practice questions. Look for these at your local bookstores or in the library. A week before the exam you should have completed your review. Take the practice test in the MCAT Student Manual if you haven't already done so and clear up any lingering questions you might have by checking with other students, with professors or in textbooks. It may also be useful to talk with students who have taken the MCAT in order to find out what suggestions they might have.

Final preparation should include a good night's sleep. Do not try to cram. Light meals should be eaten so you are not distracted by hunger; eating heavily will cause you to become drowsy. Arrive at the test center early with several (at least 3) sharpened #2 pencils, 2 black ink ballpoint pens, an eraser, a watch and your admission ticket. You will not be allowed to bring a calculator or a watch with a calculator to the exam. You also will need to have a mental list of the institutions who are to receive your scores. You will be seated by the proctor. Relax as much as possible. (Try anyway!).

The MCAT is organized as follows (all multiple choice questions except for the Writing Sample):

Subject Time Number of Questions
Verbal Reasoning 85 minutes


Physical Sciences 100 minutes


Writing Sample 60 minutes

2 essays

Biological Sciences 100 minutes


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