The MCAT exam is a Medical College Admission Test that colleges and medical schools use as part of their requirement for admission. If you’re in your junior year of high school and are pursuing a career as a medical professional, you’ll need to take the test at some point prior to your graduation.
1. The MCAT Exam
The MCAT exam is a computer-based multiple-choice test. It focuses on problem-solving, written analysis, critical thinking and scientific principles and concepts. The questions are based on skills and knowledge identified by health professionals, necessary for success in not only medical school, but also graduates practicing medicine.
2. What’s Found on the MCAT Exam?
The test contains 230 multiple choice questions divided into four sections that include biological, chemical, psychological and critical analysis and reasoning skills. The time allotted for the exam is 6 hours and 15 minutes.
3. Preparing for the MCAT Exam
Since it is an important part of the college or medical school admissions decision, achieving a good score is essential. You should dedicate several months of practice prior to taking the exam. There are online resources available that will allow you to take practice tests and take an MCAT prep course based on typical questions administered on the standardized test. Depending on the high school you currently attend, there may be areas of weakness in knowledge of certain topics required. Giving yourself plenty of time to enhance your skills and increase your knowledge of these topics will produce a better test score result.
4. Other Resources
Teachers with a major in math and science will possess an abundance of knowledge that they can pass on to you. If you are not able to use this resource you can contact the National Association of Advisors for Health Professionals (NAAHP). They have volunteers who may extend their services or at the very least steer you in the right direction as to where to obtain additional information.
5. Where to Begin?
Creating a folder with a comprehensive study plan will allow you to remain organized and cover all the required topics. You can keep your notes and any additional papers, pamphlets or other reference materials obtained together in one location. The practice tests available for free online will provide a starting point. After taking one you’ll discover which of the four required topics that you need the most work on. Study that area first and then move onto the next weak area. For your strong section, brush up on anything new to make sure that you nail it.
6. What if I Fail the Test
If you don’t prepare and dedicate quality time to your studies you may fail the test or score poorly. The good news is that even if you fail the test, you can retake it up to four times in a year and up to 7 times in your lifetime. However, it’s in your best interest to avoid taking the MCAT exam if you are not ready. The reason for this is that, even though you can retake the exam, the college or medical school will receive a copy of all the tests you take, not just the ones you pass.
7. When is the Best Time to Take the Test
You should take the test in your junior year. This way if the results are not what you expected or you fail the test, you can retake it again prior to graduating. Again, the best time to take the test is always when you are ready.
Taking the MCAT exam is a part of the criteria that medical schools use for admissions. Make sure that you take advantage of all the resources available and that you dedicate several months to study hard. It’s only a matter of time before you graduate from med school and start a practice of your own.