Medical College Admission Test Guide ─ Tips for Taking the MCAT


The Medical College Admission Test, or MCAT for short, is a meticulously structured multiple-choice assessment crafted to evaluate your abilities in problem-solving, and critical thinking, alongside a robust comprehension of the foundational concepts and principles across the natural, behavioral, and social sciences that serve as bedrock to the field of medicine.

As of April 2015, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) rolled out the present iteration of the MCAT exam. The scores are meticulously tabulated across four discrete sections:

  1. Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
  2. Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
  3. Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior
  4. Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills

You’ll find that all U.S. medical schools, along with a significant number of Canadian institutes, consider MCAT scores an essential component of their standard admission process. It’s worth noting that a fair number of these institutions have a policy of turning away MCAT scores that have passed their third anniversary.

So, just how formidable is the MCAT? There are no two ways about it – this test stands out as a real bear, staking a claim as arguably the most challenging grad school entry exam anywhere across the U.S. But let’s sprinkle some optimism here: despite its daunting nature, the beast can be tamed.

For those who’ve managed to secure a spot in a medical school, the average score hovers around the 510 to 511 mark. It should be abundantly clear that rolling up your sleeves and diving deep into your MCAT tutor prep will significantly amplify your odds of clinching a score that brings approval.

MCAT Structure and What Makes It So Hard


Peering into the labyrinthine nature of the MCAT’s difficulty, here’s what we unearth:

First up, brace yourself for the duration: a colossal 7.5 hours, interrupted by brief respites, devoted to tackling 230 intellectually demanding questions sprawling across a spectrum of disciplines. The marathon-like length alone can fray even the most fortified nerves.

Next, ditch the notion that memorization is your golden ticket; rote learning won’t cut it here. The MCAT is all about the delicate dance of applying what you’ve absorbed to real-world predicaments—think less regurgitation and more sophisticated reasoning. You’ll need to not just recall, but deftly maneuver through the intricacies of each question.

Now, regarding the questions themselves, expect to encounter a maze of complexity. They’re engineered to probe the depths of your comprehension and logical acumen—forever challenging you to sift the wheat from the chaff in a vast field of data.

And let’s talk about that ubiquitous adversary, time. It’s not uncommon to witness students grapple with the clock, and scramble through sections, sometimes resorting to shots in the dark, as the ticktock mercilessly winds down.

Aiming for that coveted 510 on the Medical College Admission Test results? Consider the schools you’re courting—each has its benchmark for what constitutes a standout score. Weigh these expectations against every facet of your application.

As for percentiles, they provide a relative scale of your performance. Land at the 50th percentile, and you’re on par with half the test-taking population. Leap to the 75th percentile, and you’ve outpaced three-quarters of them, vaulting yourself into the upper echelons.

MCAT Preparation


Embarking on your study journey early pays off with remarkable results on the MCAT, but unraveling the starting point can seem like a puzzle. Let’s dive into a repertoire of strategies for effective test prep that could help you ascend the score ladder:

Craft a Meticulously Orchestrated Study Regimen

Map out daily intervals dedicated to absorbing knowledge, sprinkling them with specific subject matter for each day. Intersperse this with downtime for noshing, unwinding, and cherishing moments with your nearest and dearest.

Enroll in a reputable prep class

Leveraging an MCAT prep course from acclaimed providers might just be the key to unlocking your potential and nudging your scores skyward. The price tag may be steep, but it’s an investment that promises dividends in the form of video tutorials, study manuals, and a plethora of MCAT practice tools.

Sit Down for a Practice Test

Early on, it’s crucial to gauge your aptitude with a preliminary score. A lower-than-expected outcome? No sweat—it’s merely a starting line to track your progress.

Rally a Study Alliance

Ensure that your collective possesses a broad spectrum of know-how, meshing strengths to neutralize any weaknesses. Yet, remember, it’s not just about the group effort; personal conquest of the material is indispensable.

Tackle Sample Questions as if It’s Game Day

Stepping into an exam-like atmosphere sharpens your skills for the real deal. And don’t just check the MCAT sample correct answers—grasp the rationale behind them. Comprehending the missteps is vital for decoding the questions and accurately appraising possible responses.

Remember: Primed and consistent prep is your safeguard against subpar showings. Etch this mantra into memory.

As Your Test Date Draws Near


As the clock ticks down and your MCAT showdown looms on the horizon, it’s prime time to make sure you’ve got your ducks in a row:

Catch those Zs

It’s no secret that your noggin works best when it’s well-rested. Plus, let’s face it, most MCAT showdowns kick off in the A.M. You’re going to want to nail that routine of waking up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to take on the world—or at least the exam.

Run Through Another Practice Scrimmage

Hitting the books and taking yet another mock test can give you a leg up. It’s a solid way to measure how much you’ve absorbed and get a real feel for the material. Plus, it’s a confidence booster to see just how far you’ve journeyed from that initial baseline.

Do a Recon on the Test Site

Don’t just wing it on the day of. A week or so before, why not do a dry run?

Mimic the Big Day

Drive out to the test center on a day and time similar to your test schedule to suss out the traffic situation. Being late? That’s a no-go. And hey, while you’re at it, recce the parking pitch, pick out the primo parking spot, and maybe even take a little jaunt inside to stake out the place, memorize the restroom locales—because, on the day of, would you really want to be hunting for where to take a break?

Test Day Zen


The much-anticipated day of reckoning, your MCAT, is upon us. The preparation was no joke, and you stand primed to conquer this beast of an exam. Here’s the nitty-gritty on how to nail it down in these waning moments before the storm:

Stay Calm

Sure, it’s easier said than done, but keeping the jitters at bay is key. Don’t let a surge of adrenaline throw a wrench in your cognitive works—ease into a relaxed rhythm, take soulful breaths, and maintain your composure.

Stock Up on Snacks and Lunch

Get your hands on those energy bars—they’re clutch for keeping your engines humming all day long. Toss in a lunch that’s easy-peasy yet chock-full of nutrients to boot. And for the caffeine fiends? Bring that cup of joy. Everything you do should be aimed at keeping those spirits high and that test-day zen.

Hit the 30-second Reset

Feel your concentration slipping away mid-question block? Hit the brakes for a swift half-minute. Draw in a lungful of air, give your mind the green light to settle down, and laser-focus on the task at hand.

Break Smart

Your marathon includes sprinting through four hefty sections. Pace yourself—staggering those breaks can be a lifesaver, giving you that precious recovery and reboot time between each mental gauntlet. The lunch intermission? You’re the boss—slot it pre-third or pre-fourth section as you see fit.

In essence, just bring your A-game on D-day!