The Medical College Admission Test, or MCAT, is a major part of the admissions process into medical school. While other factors, such as grades and extra curricular activities do play a role in whether or not a candidate will be accepted, a poor MCAT score can mean denial for an otherwise good medical school candidate. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to prepare for this test. Here are thee things to know about taking the MCAT.
The Subjects Covered
The first thing that any student who is planning on taking the MCAT should know is what subjects are covered by this exam. The MCAT tests students on certain subjects that will be used regularly in medical school. The four sections of the test include Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems, Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills, Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems, and Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior. Most of the subject matter that the MCAT tests is covered in the introductory science courses that most student take before applying to medical school.
The Amount Of Times It Can Be Taken
Most students take the MCAT in the year before they plan on entering medical school. The goal for many is to leave enough time so that they can retake the exam if they do not feel that they will be able to get into the school of their choice with their current score. The MCAT can be taken up to 3 times in a single testing year, 4 times in a two-year period, and 7 times total in a person's lifetime. The highest MCAT score is 528, with 500 being the average score. A score of 509 or above is recommended in order to gain admission into medical school.
Preparation Is Key
Studying for the MCAT is essential for getting into the school you want and is well worth the investment. There are a variety of ways to study including review books, practice tests, preparation courses and even private tutors. Review books and practice tests cost between $20 and $120 while an online course typically ranges between $160 and $2,000. A private MCAT tutor is often the most expensive way to prepare, costing between $75 and $250 per hour. However, many find that private tutoring is the most effective way for them to prepare.
The MCAT is a test that can have a major impact on a person's future. Those who are taking the test should be familiar with the subject matter covered. They should also be aware that the test can be taken more than once. Thorough preparation is also key toward getting the needed score the first time around.