The MCAT: What You Need to Know

In order to apply for medical school in the US, you must sit for the Medical College Admissions Test, or MCAT. The exam is an 8 hour test comprised of 4 sections:

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

You will receive a separate score for each of the four sections of the MCAT as well as a total score. Each section is scored from a low of 118 to high of 132. Your total score is the sum of the four individual section scores and will range from 472 to 528.

We recommend you plan on taking the MCAT the year BEFORE you are planning to go to medical school. For example, if you plan on starting med school in fall of 2021, you should take the test in early 2020. We recommend this because testing early gives you enough to time to allow for you to retake the exam, if you later deem it necessary, without being forced to delay your application time.

Be sure to consider opting into Med-MAR when you sign up for the MCAT in order to send your score and other components of your application directly to admissions teams that are invested in building a diverse incoming class.

If you are from an economically disadvantaged background, look into the AAMC’s Fee Assistance Program which provides financial support to qualifying students to offset the cost of the MCAT and other components of the application to medical school.

Full details on the exam content can be found here. A full guide to the MCAT written by AAMC can be found here.

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