The Essential MCAT


The Essential MCAT 

The Medical College Admission Test® (MCAT®) is a standardized examination that has been part of the medical school admissions process for more than 85 years.

Virtually all medical schools in the United States and many in Canada require applicants to submit recent MCAT scores as part of their application packet, and many health professions and graduate programs now accept MCAT scores in lieu of other standardized tests. Considering its widespread acceptance, it is no surprise that more than 85,000 examinees sit for the exam each year.

The MCAT exam tests examinees on the skills and knowledge medical educators and physicians have identified as key prerequisites for success in medical school and the practice of medicine. Content is divided into four multiple-choice sections.

Exam Content

The MCAT exam has four test sections:

  •  Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
  •  Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
  •  Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior
  •  Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills

The first three sections are organized around ten foundational concepts or ‘big ideas’ in the sciences and draw from the following disciplines: biology, biochemistry, organic chemistry, general chemistry, physics, psychology, and sociology. Questions in these sections will ask you to combine your scientific knowledge from multiple disciplines with your scientific inquiry and reasoning skills. The last section listed, Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills, includes questions that test your ability to comprehend and analyze what you read and requires no specific outside content knowledge.



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