MCAT Test Centers

MCAT Test Centers

The MCAT, which stands for Medical College Admission Test, is a standardized exam used for admission to medical schools in the United States, Canada, and some other countries. It assesses the readiness of prospective medical students to pursue a career in medicine by evaluating their knowledge of natural, behavioral, and social science concepts and their critical thinking and reasoning skills. The MCAT is designed to measure the abilities and aptitudes necessary for success in medical school and beyond.

MCAT Test Structure

The MCAT exam consists of four main sections:

  1. Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems: This section assesses knowledge of foundational concepts in biology and biochemistry, including molecular biology, genetics, cellular structure and function, and human physiology.
  2. Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems: This section tests understanding of foundational concepts in general and organic chemistry, biochemistry, and physics as they apply to living organisms and biological systems.
  3. Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior: This section evaluates knowledge of psychological, sociocultural, and biological factors that influence behavior and mental processes, including topics such as sensation and perception, cognition, personality, social behavior, and health disparities.
  4. Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills (CARS): This section assesses critical reading and analytical skills by presenting passages from a variety of disciplines and testing the ability to comprehend complex ideas, analyze arguments, and draw logical conclusions.

Each section of the MCAT is multiple-choice and is scored separately. The exam also includes an optional unscored trial section used for testing new questions and a voluntary survey section for collecting demographic and background information.

Average MCAT Scores

Scores on the MCAT range from 472 to 528, with the average score typically falling around 500. The exam is administered multiple times each year at designated testing centers. Many medical schools require MCAT scores as part of the admissions process, along with other criteria such as undergraduate GPA, letters of recommendation, and personal statements.

Rank Medical School Average MCAT Score
1 Harvard Medical School 519
2 Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine 520
3 Stanford University School of Medicine 518
4 Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania 519
5 David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA 517
6 Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine 518
7 Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis 518
8 Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons 519
9 Yale School of Medicine 519
10 University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine 519
11 NYU Grossman School of Medicine 519
12 Duke University School of Medicine 518
13 University of Michigan Medical School 517
14 Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University 519
15 University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine 517
16 Vanderbilt University School of Medicine 518
17 Weill Cornell Medicine 518
18 UCSF School of Medicine 518
19 University of Washington School of Medicine 518
20 Brigham and Women’s Hospital Program 518

These are approximate average MCAT scores reported by each medical school and can vary slightly from year to year. Additionally, these scores reflect the middle 50% range of admitted students, meaning that 25% of admitted students scored below these ranges and 25% scored above.

How to prepare for MCAT

Each section of the MCAT has a specific time limit, and the exam as a whole takes approximately 7.5 hours to complete, including breaks. Understanding the timing and scoring of the exam is crucial for effective pacing and strategy development during your preparation.

Preparation Strategies

1. Develop a Study Plan:

Create a comprehensive study plan that covers all content areas and allows you to review systematically over several months. Break down your study plan into daily or weekly goals, focusing on specific topics or sections each day. Be realistic about the amount of time you can dedicate to studying each week and adjust your plan accordingly.

2. Utilize Official Study Materials:

Utilize official MCAT study materials provided by the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges). These resources include the Official MCAT Prep Bundle, which includes practice questions, practice exams, and official content outlines for each section of the exam. Official materials closely resemble the actual exam, providing valuable practice and familiarity with the test format.

3. Review Content Areas:

Review content areas covered in each section of the MCAT, focusing on foundational concepts in biology, biochemistry, chemistry, physics, psychology, and sociology. Use textbooks, online resources, or review courses to reinforce your understanding of key concepts and principles. Pay special attention to topics that are heavily tested on the exam.

4. Practice, Practice, Practice:

Practice is essential for success on the MCAT. Complete practice questions and full-length practice exams to build familiarity with the types of questions you’ll encounter and improve your test-taking skills. Analyze your mistakes and learn from them to avoid similar errors on the actual exam.

5. Develop Critical Thinking Skills:

The MCAT places a strong emphasis on critical thinking and reasoning skills, especially in the CARS section. Practice reading complex passages and analyzing arguments to improve your ability to critically evaluate information and draw logical conclusions.

Test Day Strategies

1. Get Adequate Rest:

Ensure you get enough sleep the night before the exam to feel well-rested and alert on test day. Avoid staying up late studying, as fatigue can impair your performance.

2. Eat a Balanced Meal:

Eat a nutritious breakfast on the morning of the exam to fuel your brain and sustain your energy throughout the test. Avoid heavy or sugary foods that may cause energy crashes.

3. Stay Calm and Focused:

Maintain a positive mindset on test day and stay confident in your preparation. Remember that the MCAT is just one aspect of your medical school application, and you’ve already put in the effort to prepare. Stay calm, focused, and do your best.