If you’re planning to have a career in the medical field, you need to consider many things to get started. One of these considerations is getting into medical school to prepare yourself for this exciting path in your life. However, you might have to take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) before becoming eligible for medical school enrollment.
Typically, taking an MCAT is crucial for the admission process. Most medical schools won’t allow applicant admission without it. While it can be intimidating, you can navigate this examination more effectively if you’re informed about it as much as possible.
Thus, if you want to get into med school anytime soon, here’s everything you need to know about the MCAT exam.
What Is MCAT Exam?
Developed by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the MCAT refers to a standardized and computer-based examination consisting of multiple-choice questions that serve as a medical school admission requirement in the United States and Canada. The purpose of this test is to provide medical schools with standards to help screen applicants based on their qualifications and preparedness.
Generally, many medical schools use the MCAT results and other requirements to determine whether a particular applicant has the potential to build a flourishing medical career.
Things You Need To Know About MCAT Exam
Now that you know what the MCAT is, it’s time to familiarize yourself with some essential things about this medical school admission requirement. These can include:
1. Exam Sections
When taking the MCAT exam, you’ll see four integrated sections. This means they’re not tested independently to the point that information and application overlap in the examination. The sections you need to prepare for may include:
- Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills
- Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
- Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
- Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior
With these sections, the exam would take 6 hours and 15 minutes to be finished. It is composed of 230 questions, which should be completed within the timeline to increase your chances of getting a passing score.
However, if you want to prepare for these highly technical subjects, you should know how to comprehend massive amounts of information. In such a case, using mnemonic devices can be an excellent idea. To better understand how MCAT mnemonics work, you can check out this recommended reading for more information.
2. Scoring System
Another thing that you should also keep in mind when taking the MCAT is the scoring system. Normally, your score for each section is calculated based on the number of correct answers you’ve got. The score you get ranges from 118 to 132, with 125 as the mean and median. When the total scores for each section are combined, the sum will range from 472 to 528, with 500 as the mean and median.
From there, your MCAT percentile score will be computed. The percentile refers to the percentage of students with lower raw scores than yours. This means your percentile would depend on your performance in relation to other takers who took the test with you on the same date or during the same time of the year. Within 30– 5 days after the exam date, you’ll receive the results of your MCAT.
3. Availability Of The MCAT
Unlike other admission tests, the MCAT is available 25 times a year. It’s usually administered between January and September. Hence, if you want to enroll in a medical school soon, you don’t need to worry because the examination can be taken anytime you want.
However, if you have a preferred date, it’s best to register your examination date as early as possible. Doing so allows you to choose the location, time, and seat.
4. Test Day Rules
The MCAT has some test-day rules that you need to remember. These can include:
- Check-In Rules: To ensure your attendance, you must present your identification card upon check-in. Make sure the ID card you submit is current, written in English, government-issued, and includes your photo and signature. By doing this, you can guarantee acceptance during the check-in.
- Testing Room Rules: There are specific policies to keep in mind when taking the MCAT. For instance, you only need to bring your ID and a pair of earplugs provided by the testing center. No jewelry and watches are allowed in the testing room. You should only sit in the assigned seat, and your photo ID should be on your desk throughout the exam. Lastly, you shouldn’t rip or conceal any part of the note board given to you by the testing center during the exam.
There are many rules that you should follow during the examination. Remember, the test administrators have the right to investigate any suspicious behavior. Hence, if you want a smooth testing experience, it’s best to educate yourself with these rules to avoid problems later on.
Being a medical practitioner isn’t only a rewarding career. Doctors and other medical professionals also play a crucial role in dealing with today’s common public health issues. However, before you become a doctor, you need to survive the MCAT first to obtain an admission pass in your chosen med school.
By keeping the information here in mind, you can navigate the test with less stress and anxiety. Note that the more you’re aware of the MCAT basics and protocols, the better you can prepare for this exam and your medical career.