MCAT Exam Preparation & Best Practices to Score High

Q1. What is the MCAT exam?

A1. The Medical College Admission Test, commonly called the MCAT is a computer-based test for medical science students in the United States, Canada, Australia, and Caribbean Islands. MCAT score is accepted by almost every US based medical schools and a large number of medical schools in Canada and other countries. The MCAT score of a candidate is a vital element in their screening process for admission into a good medical score.

Q2. What are the eligibility criteria for MCAT exam?

A2. A student or an individual is eligible to take the MCAT exam if they are planning upon applying to a medical school, which includes MD grant programs, DO grant programs, Podiatric medicine, veterinary medicine and other programs. Before applying, a MCAT aspirant needs to agree to a statement which verifies their intention to apply to a medical school. MCAT test is available to international students and international MCAT aspirants either in a MBBS program or holding a MBBS degree can take the test without any additional special permission.

Q3. What score do I need to pass MCAT exam?

A3. The MCAT test has no minimum passing marks and instead, each MCAT test taker is allotted a score. The average score of the MCAT aspirants accepted by the college or course you are applying to can be used as a better benchmark to stay on the top of the things. But for reference purposes, the average score for all test takers is 504 for MCAT.

Q4. What is difference between MCAT and USMLE?

A4.  The assessment done by them is the major difference between MCAT exam and USMLE exam. While the MCAT test scores are used to screen a candidate by medical school, the USMLE is for medical school graduates. USLME is a competency test for physicians to screen their ability to practice as a physician in the United States of America. Hence, the MCAT test prep and USLME test prep is very different and so are the MCAT syllabus and USLME syllabus.

Q5. How does the MCAT exam work?

A5. The MCAT exam is a multiple-choice exam. The test takers generally appear for the test on a computer at the test centre and they receive five scores at the completion of it: one for each of the four sections being tested and one total score.

Q6. How Should I prepare for the MCAT?

A6. MCAT test prep has to be streamlined and if you are planning on getting into a medical school, always keep it in mind that the competition is going to be tough. So it is wise to begin with the subjects that you are weak in and strengthen them. MCAT test prep can get really dreary and having a MCAT study buddy will help. Always use practice tests for MCAT prep to figure out the problems or challenges that you might have in exam prep.

Q7. What Should I expect on my MCAT test day?

A7. An aspirant needs to bring in one valid ID proof on the day of MCAT test, and the name on that ID proof should match with the name used for registration. An MCAT test taker should ensure that they reach the Prometric testing center no less than 30 minutes ahead of the appointment, so that there are no slips taking traffic and weather into account. After completing the formalities like scanning of the fingerprint, a MCAT test taker will be allotted a system for appearing in the MCAT test. There are two 10 minute breaks and one half hour break.

Q8. How many exams are there in MCAT?

A8. The MCAT is a 7.5-hour exam that consists of four sections: Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems; Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems; Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior; and Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills.

Q9. How is my MCAT score calculated?

A9. Instead of numerical correct scores, the conversion is made to scaled scores through a process called equating in the MCAT test scores. Since every test taker is given a question paper of similar difficulty but different questions each time, this conversion compensates for the variations in difficulty levels if any. The numerical correct score to scaled score conversion is not constant and varies according to question set used.

Q10. How many times can I take MCAT exam?

A10. The MCAT test has limits on the number of times you can write it, and hence, you have to be careful when you choose to write the exam. You can write the exam for a maximum of 3 times a year and 4 times in two consecutive years. In totality, no aspirant is allowed to take the MCAT test more than 7 times in a lifetime.

Q11. How long will my MCAT score remain valid?

A11. The MCAT scores of a candidate are valid for three years. But, it is important to check with the school you are applying to as many institutions do not accept a score more than two years old.

Q12. How long do you have to wait between MCAT exams?

A12. Although there are no effective wait periods involved between tests, but a candidate might need to wait for 24 hours before he or she is allowed to rebook a test date for MCAT exam.

Q13. What are the score ranges for the MCAT exam?

A13. The MCAT test is scored on a 15 point scale for the four sections—namely Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems; Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems; Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior; and Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills. The four scores of each section are combined, and the lowest possible scaled score is 472 and the highest is a score of 528.

Q14. Can I cancel my score? How to do it?

A14. The MCAT test does not have a provision for score cancellation, but once you are done with all the sections of MCAT, you can choose to void the test. This option is available at the end of the test upon completion of all the sections. On voiding, no school will receive any intimation of your score, but the voided attempt will be counted among the lifetime limit of the MCAT test taking.

Q15. How much does it cost to take the MCAT?

A15. The base price for registration in MCAT is $315, but MCAT test takers might have to shell out more for late registration, changer of centers etc. as per their demands

Q16. How to find study partner for MCAT test?

A16. Preparing for MCAT exam doesn’t have to be a journey that you take alone. Want to know how? Simply find a study pal near you, who shares the same routine or even a different one and take their help in preparation for MCAT test. Find a study partner with Studypal.co today for MCAT exam near you and prep for test like a pro.