Medical College Admission Test

From WikiMD's Wellness Encyclopedia

The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is a standardized education test conducted by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).

Entrance for medical schools

The MCAT test is a knowledge and aptitude test administered to students seeking to enter accredited first professional degree programs in allopathic medicine, osteopathic medicine, and podiatric medicine


The MCAT is one of the requisite examinations for prospective medical students to test their medical school readiness. MCAT is a critical factor in a student's medical school application. The MCAT is designed to achieve several purposes.

  • To assess understanding of science concepts and principles identified as prerequisite to the study and practice of medicine
  • To evaluate basic analytical skills in the context of medically relevant problems and data
  • To help admissions committees predict which of their applicants will perform adequately in the medical school curriculum

Areas tested

The MCAT measures knowledge and skills in the biological sciences, physical sciences and verbal reasoning plus requires a writing sample. The MCAT tests for knowledge of material covered in first-year, introductory undergraduate courses in gen- eral biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, and general, non-calculus physics.

Six scores are reported: Biology Knowledge

  1. Chemistry Knowledge
  2. Physics Knowledge
  3. Science Problems
  4. Skills Analysis: Reading
  5. Skills Analysis: Quantitative

The MCAT is designed to assess understanding of science concepts and principles identified as prerequisite to the study and practice of medicine; evaluate basic analytical stills in the context of medically relevant problems and data; and help admissions committees predict which of their applicants will perform adequately in the medical school curriculum.


Its six scores are biology knowledge, chemistry knowledge, physics knowledge, science problems, skills analysis--reading, skills analysis--quantitative. MCAT scores are reported on a scale ranging from one (lowest) to 15 (highest).

  • The average scaled score on each of the six tests was set at eight when the test was introduced in 1977;
  • the mean score varies slightly as characteristics of the examinee population change.
  • The standard deviation of each test is 2.5.
  • Scaled scores are converted to percentile scores to reveal an examinee's standing in relation to other examinees.

Six separate subject scores

  • The separate subject matter scores provide diagnostic information and have value in clarifying applicants' achievement levels. Separate scores also allow medical schools to weight MCAT content areas in ways relevant to their curricula.
  • Separate scores provide students with information about specific strengths and weaknesses and allow them to focus their preparation for future testing and/or entry to medical school.
  • Similarly, admissions committees can use scores diagnostically.
  • For example, they can evaluate applicants' weaknesses in relation to the availability of instruction in relevant areas within the medical school setting.
  • Admissions committees are also enabled to compare individual MCAT scores to corresponding course enrollments and grades on applicants' transcripts.

How do medical schools use MCAT?

The medical school admissions officers use MCAT scores to:

  • Identify applicants likely to succeed in medical school and those likely to experience academic difficulty Diagnose applicants' specific strengths and weaknesses in science preparation and analytical skills
  • Interpret the transcripts and letters of evaluation for applicants from unfamiliar undergraduate institutions

It's not all MCAT scores

MCAT scores are intended to be only one of several measures of applicants' qualifications. Many medical school admissions committees evaluate MCAT data in conjunction with applicants other qualities such as:

  • Undergraduate grade point averages Breadth and difficulty of undergraduate coursework
  • Quality of the degree-granting undergraduate institutions
  • Personal comments on American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) and/of institutional application forms Letters of evaluation from undergraduate advisers, faculty members, premedical committees, community leaders, research sponsors, and/or employers
  • Medical school interview results
  • Participation in activities/events demonstrating motivation, responsibility, maturity, integrity, resourcefulness, tolerance, perseverance, dedication to service, and/or other relevant noncognitive characteristics
  • Involvement in extracurricular activities such as student governance and community service during undergraduate and graduate years
  • Gender, racial, and ethnic backgrounds
  • Involvement in and quality of academic programs at the graduate and postgraduate levels
  • Involvement in and quality of undergraduate and graduate health-related work and research experience
  • State or county of legal residence


Of you register about 1 month or more prior to test date: the fee is US$310

Score / grade range

118 to 132 (in 1-point increments) for each of the four sections (Chemistry and Physics, Biology/Biochemistry, Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills, and Psychology and Social Sciences). So a total score on scale of 472 to 528.

Test locations

The exam is offered 25 or more times per year at Pearson VUE centers.

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