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Medical School Admission Test

The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is required for admission to almost all schools of medicine, osteopathy, and podiatry, and may be used in applying to some schools of veterinary medicine. The test is intended to aid admission officers of member medical colleges in the selection of entering students. The MCAT is offered twice a year, in April and in August, and must by taken a year in advance of the anticipated date of matriculation. We recommend that you take the MCAT in April of your junior year in order that your application will be received in the first part of the application cycle and so that you will be able to retake the exam in August if your scores are low. If you take the MCAT for the first time in August before your senior year, your application will arrive at medical schools in the latter part of the application cycle. This may make your application slightly less competitive.

The MCAT is scored on a scale of 1 - 15. The average accepted applicant to medical school scores between 9 and 10; for osteopathic school between 7 and 8; for podiatry school between 6 and 7.

Test Content

The MCAT consists of four sections, three multiple choice exams and two essays which evaluate applicants in the following areas:

Verbal Reasoning 65 questions / 85 minutes
Several 500-600 word reading selections from the social and natural sciences and humanities are followed by 6-10 multiple choice questions which assess the applicant's ability to comprehend, reason, and think critically.  It's a measure of the ability to understand, evaluate, and apply information and arguments presented in prose texts.
Physical Sciences    77 questions / 100 minutes
Multiple-choice questions that test reasoning in general chemistry and physics.   Most of the questions are based on short reading passages that describe a situation or problem.  There are also questions that are independent of the passages and of each other.  The questions do not require the memorization of scientific facts; instead, the test is intended to evaluate the applicant's knowledge of basic scientific concepts and the ability to apply this knowledge in problem-solving.  A measure of the ability to understand basic concepts and to solve problems in the areas of physics and physically-related chemistry.
Writing Sample 2 essays / 60 minutes
Two topics of general interest, not scientific in nature, are presented and the applicant is expected to write a coherent essay on each.  Theme development, logic, clarity and grammar are evaluated.  A measure of skill in developing a central idea; synthesizing concepts and ideas; presenting ideas cohesively and logically; and writing clearly, following accepted practices of grammar, syntax, and punctuation consistent with timed, first-draft composition.
Biological Sciences 77 questions / 100 minutes
The format is similar to that of the Physical Sciences section.   The multiple-choice questions test basic knowledge in biology and organic chemistry, and the ability to synthesize this knowledge.  A measure of the ability to understand basic concepts and to solve problems in the areas of biology and biologically-related chemistry.

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