Ultimate Guide for Applying to Medical School: Taking the MCAT
It’s time to face the notorious Medical College Admission Test. Taking the MCAT is required by almost every medical school to be considered for admission. Needless to say, it is not your average college exam.
The Association of American Medical Colleges designed the test to gauge medical school applicants’ knowledge of preclinical science concepts, their skills in problem-solving, critical thinking, and writing. There are four scored sections: physical sciences (physics and general chemistry), verbal reasoning, biological sciences (biology and organic chemistry), and writing samples.
Because testing sometimes assesses test-taking skills over actual knowledge, American University of Antigua doesn’t believe MCAT scores should be a determining factor in accepting a med school candidate. However, in order to comply with governmental regulations, MCAT scores are required.
How should you prepare for the impending challenge? One of the best ways to practice is to take any of the practice exams provided online. You can also purchase books with practice exams and find updated versions of actual, retired MCAT exams that are available for order through the AAMC. Take a practice test once a week, preferably on a Saturday morning like the actual test. Once you have taken a few of these, you’ll be able to assess the areas you need to improve on.
The suggested amount of time to spend on preparing for the MCAT is about three months. If that timeframe feels overwhelming, start by drawing up a study plan. Break down the process by text section to keep yourself on track and organized. Schedule study sessions and group practice. Most importantly, stick with your plan and stay on track!
Spend time reviewing old class notes and tests, but don’t focus on memorizing facts or formulas. More often than not, the test will present you with information and expect you to use the information in answering questions, much like old reading comprehension tests. That’s why humanities students actually score better on the biological section of the MCAT than biology majors.
Did you bomb the exam? Your medical career isn’t over. If you’re applying to AUA, we don’t factor in your score for our admission’s decision.
Have any study hacks for the MCAT? How long have you studied?
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