This guide aims to discuss a few steps on preparing for your MCAT Exam. Obviously, the best way is to enroll for a MCAT prep course but that can be expensive, so we listed down other alternatives as well as a break down of the overall MCAT Exam.
The MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) is a test that is standardized nationwide. It is utilized by almost all medical schools in the United States to admit students into their medical programs. The MCAT assesses students’ scientific expertise as well as their analytical reasoning, logical, problem-solving, and writing abilities. Most medical school admissions committees offer an applicant’s MCAT score the same weight as their GPA. If a student’s MCAT score and GPA provide contradictory measures of an applicant’s credentials, admissions committees are likely to give greater weight to the MCAT score.
The MCAT is divided into four parts. These four parts are none other than Physical Sciences which includes chemistry and physics, Verbal Reasoning, Biological Sciences which includes biology and organic chemistry) and Writing. The Physical Sciences segment is made up of 52 multiple-choice questions that must be answered in 70 minutes. The Biological Sciences segment contains 52 multiple-choice questions that must be answered in less than 70 minutes. The Verbal Reasoning portion of the exam consists of 40 multiple-choice questions to be answered in 60 minutes. Finally, the Writing Sample segment needs two essays to be written in 60 minutes.
Physical Sciences, Biological Sciences, and Verbal Reasoning are also multiple-choice parts of the exam. They are rated solely on the number of correctly answered questions. There are no consequences for wrong responses. The individual scores from each of the three categories are then scaled using a 15-point scale. The scores for the three multiple-choice portions are then added together to form a cumulative score.
The MCAT Writing Sample section consists of two essays that are rated on a 6-point scale by two graders. Each essay is graded twice, once by each grader. The four resulting scores are then added together to provide a raw score for the entire Writing Sample portion. The raw score is then transformed to a letter grade varying from J (low end) to T (high end) (on the high end).
The steps below will assist you in preparing for the MCAT test.
The MCAT is primarily intended to assess your expertise of core fields as well as your critical reasoning abilities. As a result, you should concentrate your college studies on theoretical principles and their applications in various scenarios. Take classes and courses that can help you pass the MCAT’s four sections: Physical Sciences (chemistry and physics), Biological Sciences (biology and organic chemistry), Verbal Reasoning, and Writing.
Before registering for the MCAT, check the entry criteria for each medical school to which you want to apply. Although the MCAT is required by the majority of medical schools in the United States, others do not. If you intend to apply to medical school as soon as possible, you can register for the MCAT as soon as possible.
Register for the April or August exam. The majority of people choose a date that best suits their training schedule and planned medical school enrollment date. Until registering for the MCAT, check the eligibility criteria and deadlines for each school to which you want to apply.
Once the MCAT registration packet becomes usable after February 1, complete it. The packet is available from the MCAT Program Office, which can be reached at (319) 337-1357, or from a school counselor.
If you believe you are eligible, inquire about the test fee reduction option. The test fee reduction alternative is dependent on financial need. The AAMC Fee Assistance Program is defined in more detail on the AAMC website.
Preparation is important for passing and/or obtaining a high score on the MCAT, as it is for most graduate level entry examinations. It’s a difficult exam. Preparation for the MCAT can begin with the classes you want to take while in college and conclude with concentrated preparation several months before the exam. The following are tried-and-true research guidelines and planning methods for acing the MCAT.
Begin as soon as possible.
This should go without saying, but we want to emphasize how necessary it is to begin your MCAT training as soon as possible. You need not cram for the MCAT. Begin the actual test planning two to six months before the exam. Taking an initial screening practice exam six months before test day to see where you are. This will assist you in determining how well qualified you are for the MCAT, what you can concentrate on during your corresponding MCAT training, and how much prep time you’re likely to need.
Make use of preparation problems.
Although acquiring information is a necessary part of preparing for the MCAT, it is not sufficient. The MCAT is intended to assess your ability to adapt your understanding of scientific ideas in a variety of contexts – in other words, to assess your ability to think objectively. Doing practice problems is the perfect way to improve your critical thinking capacity when it applies to MCAT results. There are numerous online and offline tools, such as Kaplan Test Prep, Khan Academy, and Peterson’s, that include a broad variety of MCAT practice questions.
Complete the practice tests.
Person practice questions will assist you in developing the critical thinking skills needed to do well on the MCAT. However, in order to prepare for the MCAT, you can also take some full-length practice exams. The MCAT is 6 hours and 15 minutes long, making it one of the most difficult and time-consuming graduate entrance exams. Completing multiple practice exercises prior to test day will not only enhance your critical reasoning skills, it will also assist you in developing the mental stamina needed to sustain your concentration during the exam. Pace yourself when you take each practice test. Pacing on the MCAT can be difficult for many students; don’t let it be yours.
Don’t just concentrate on your strengths.
Although relying solely on your strengths can be a strong strategy for some standardized exams, it is not the best MCAT test planning strategy. Use practice exercises to help you determine your strengths and weaknesses whether you prepare on your own or taking an MCAT training course. Then, using this material, create a research schedule. The most successful strategy would allow you to build on your strengths while improving in your areas of weakness.
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself.
If you’re like most premed students, you’ll begin studying for the MCAT while still completing your undergraduate degree. If at all practicable, avoid overloading yourself with undergraduate classes during your MCAT training time. If you can prepare ahead and handle a lighter academic load during this period, you will have more time and mental capacity to spend on MCAT planning.
Seek professional assistance.
Seek advice from people who have taken the MCAT and scored well. Find out what research tools they used and what planning methods they suggest. You may also want to think about taking an MCAT prep course. Many MCAT prep courses are taught by people who have a high MCAT score and will advise you about which research techniques are likely to perform better for you. Many college and university campuses offer MCAT training courses. Since these courses always fill up fast, enroll as soon as possible.
Make use of high-quality materials.
Most pre med programs at universities will provide you with good research materials and tools for the MCAT. The research materials published by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the architects and designers of the MCAT, are highly recommended. Attempt to obtain any practice exam and practice query from the AAMC. The practice questions published by AAMC are generally taken from old MCAT examinations, and the practice assessments they offer are more accurate than any other source. We specifically suggest buying the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) research guides: Practice Test II, III, and IV, Practice Products, and the MCAT Student Manual. If you can’t find them at your local bookstore, you can buy them online. Kaplan Test Prep and Khan Academy are two other respectable research resources.
Examine the subject matter.
The MCAT is intended to assess intellectual and problem-solving abilities in two main subject areas: physical science (chemistry and physics) and biology (organic chemistry and biology). Even though the aim of the exam is to test comprehension and application of information, you can fail if you don’t have the knowledge. During your training period, devote time to studying your science lesson notes and reading research materials that will help you improve your skills.