About the MCAT®

What is the MCAT?

The Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) is a computer-based, multiple–choice exam used by US medical schools to predict future success within the medical field.

Topics Tested on the MCAT:

There are several subjects covered on the MCAT: Biology, organic chemistry, general chemistry, physics, university-level biochemistry, introductory psychology, introductory sociology. Passages on the new MCAT also place more emphasis on integrating topics. This means that topics like general chemistry, physics, and biochemistry all appear within the same passage!

The Length:

There are 230 questions on the new MCAT. That’s over 6 hours and 15 minutes of testing, requiring much more stamina and focus. These questions are broken down to 10 passages with 4 to 7 questions in each passage, and 15 stand-alone questions in each of the science sections, and 9 passages in the CARS (Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills) section.(Information from AAMC Quarterly Update Meeting, May 2014)

Exam Overview:

Section Number of Questions Time
Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems 59 items 95 minutes
Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills (CARS) 53 items 90 minutes
Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems 59 items 95 minutes
Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior 59 items 95 minutes

Scoring Scale:

Each of the four sections on MCAT is  scored 118-132, for a total possible score of 528. The mean is expected to be 125 per section for a total mean score of 500.

Question Types & Skills:

The MCAT not only tests content knowledge and critical thinking but two additional skills. Research Design focuses on the fundamentals of creating research projects, bias, faulty results, and variable relationships. Graphical Analysis & Data Interpretation focuses on deriving conclusions and drawing inferences from visual data, including figures, graphs, and data tables.

A Medical Approach:

On the MCAT, passages tests all of the natural sciences within biological systems, often applying physiology or pathology. Showing the application of all the tested sciences to medicine encourages students to view these subjects not simply as prerequisites for med school, but for the practice of medicine in general.

Retakes:

  • The MCAT exam can be taking up to three times in a single testing year.
  • The MCAT exam can be taken up to four times in a consecutive two-year period.
  • The MCAT exam can be taken up to seven times in a lifetime.

Test Dates and Administration: 

Registration costs $300 USD plus a $95 USD fee for international test takers($395 USD Total). Test dates run April through September and January. Visit the  AAMC website for test dates and to register.