How To Ace The MCAT Reading Comprehension?

MCAT Reading Comprehension is one of the most necessary parts of the MCAT exam. Follow this article to find out how to ace this test portion.

June 15, 2022

MCAT Reading comprehension is often considered one of the most challenging and difficult hurdles to preparing for this the MCAT test, not only because it demands good preparation, but also because excellent reading comprehension abilities are needed for healthcare providers. You may benefit from learning how to read and comprehend difficult literature in both your academic and professional success. For slow learners, this article provides a foolproof MCAT Reading comprehension method and a step-by-step guide to boosting your reading comprehension for the MCAT. With the guidance of our team of specialists, you’ll discover how to increase your MCAT Reading comprehension score and ace other areas of the exam.

MCAT reading comprehension

What’s the goal of Reading Comprehension improvement?

We’ve been taught because we were young that reading helps us think more creatively, be more intelligent, and be more perceptive. However, reading does not always indicate that we have completely comprehended the content of a piece. Putting words into context is a completely different thing from comprehending them on their own. Reading comprehension is defined as the skill of assimilating and remembering the key points of a book or other written work. We would have to be able to link words, recognize ideas, and apply our thinking abilities in order to effectively grasp a book.

Medical students and physicians must be able to understand complicated materials, thus it is essential that they have strong reading comprehension skills before they can succeed in their careers. However, being able to decipher even the most difficult of writings may be useful in a variety of situations. It may help you enhance your communication, empathy, and learning abilities.

One of the most significant purposes to improve your reading comprehension and retention of whether you would like to become a doctor is the MCAT. In order to enter into clinical training, you must pass this exam, which incorporates a portion called MCAT CARS that measures your reading comprehension abilities.

About MCAT Reading Comprehension

The MCAT has a portion devoted to measuring your ability to comprehend and analyze lengthy texts. The MCAT’s Critical Analysis and Reasoning Section (which is popularly known as the CARS) consists of passages with questions that test candidates’ ability to use critical reasoning abilities to analyze and evaluate information. The MCAT Reading comprehension component of the MCAT may be considered the most essential since certain colleges pay particular attention to it. McMaster Medical School, for example, looks just at your MCAT Reading comprehension score. For a doctor’s exam to be the most significant and the most difficult, it relies on your disintegrating complicated issues, which is an essential talent for a professional.

Politics, sociology, and philosophy, among many other social disciplines, are covered in the MCAT Reading comprehension sections. The humanistic component of the MCAT is notoriously difficult for premeds who lack a liberal arts education, and this is the principal cause why half of all pre-meds must repeat the MCAT.

Students often underperform the MCAT reading comprehension part due to a combination of poor preparation, a loss of technique, and, ultimately, a lack of self-assurance. Starting at least 6 months ahead of time for the MCAT Reading comprehension, you’ll need to study complicated books and devise an MCAT Reading comprehension approach for each topic.

MCAT Reading Comprehension framework

During this section of the MCAT exam, which is devoted to the humanities, there are a total of nine readings to complete. It covers a wide range of topics, including literature, psychology, architecture, history, philosophy, economics, and spirituality, to mention just a few of the areas covered. In contrast, prior expertise in any of these fields is not required in order to participate in the MCAT Reading comprehension. Relying on outside knowledge to resolve problems, on the other hand, might be very damaging. To answer the questions, you must read through each part and gather all of the information you need.

To finish a total of exactly 5 questions, you’ll have 90 minutes to do so, which means you’ll need to spend an average of 10 minutes on each segment of the test. The items in this section may be classified into three categories based on the amount of critical thinking that is required:

  • Foundations of Comprehension: When it comes to Foundations of Comprehension, they are aimed to examine whether or not you have a solid grasp of the passage’s main points. It’s possible for them to inquire about the text’s major theme or the interpretation of a specific phrase.
  • Reasoning Within the Text: You must derive anything from the paragraph or make a connection between two topics that are discussed in it in order to answer these questions. Do you believe any of the unstated facts included within the paragraph to be accurate, based on the information provided? An in-depth review of the material is required to answer these questions.
  • Reasoning Beyond the Text: These are the most difficult questions to answer because they need you to connect a paragraph to a concept that is not explicitly stated in the text.

MCAT Reading Comprehension scoring system

In order to be taken into consideration for osteopathic medicine (DO) schools in the United States, you need a score of 124 or above on the Medical College Admission Test (assuming your other section scores are all 127 or higher). 

In order to be competitive for the majority of medical schools, you need a score of 125 or above (assuming your other section scores are all 127 or higher). In order to be deemed competitive, the majority of medical schools in Canada need a score of 127 or above (regardless of other section scores).

These numbers, of course, are not accurate in any way. Despite not getting these figures, a good percentage of the children that I know have been accepted. Nevertheless, if you want to give yourself the best chance of getting into the school of your choice, you should work hard to earn those CARS scores in the 80th percentile or above. In order to avoid receiving a score of 127, you may only skip between 10 and 13 questions in the CARS portion. 

There is a high probability that the number of MCAT CARS questions that you answer incorrectly will range from one person to the next. However, even if you get that average wrong, you might still end up with a score of 127. 

Every MCAT CARS exam consists of nine different sections. A score of 127 or even 128 is possible if you fail to answer one question in each of the first six parts, and then two questions in each of the last three areas. Especially on the brand-new MCAT CARS section, I feel it to be feasible.

If you fail to make more than 13 shots, you will finally move on to the higher scores. For example, if you get 14-17 questions wrong, you will nearly likely get a score of 126. A score of 126 is an excellent score that will almost surely get you accepted into most medical schools in the United States. If you have good grades on the other portions of the test but only a 126 on the CARS test, you may still be competitive if you apply to some of the nation’s most prestigious institutions. These colleges include Harvard, Stanford, and others.

On the MCAT CARS, a blank question is treated the same as a question that was answered incorrectly. If you make a note of a question that you wish to investigate more at a later time, you should respond to it in some way, even if it’s just a wild guess. Even if you don’t have time to think about the question or look it over again, there is still a one in four chance that you will provide the proper response.

MCAT reading comprehension

How to improve MCAT Reading Comprehension?

Study difficult texts

There are a lot of complicated MCAT Reading comprehension sections. There are no fast solutions to improving your MCAT reading comprehension; it will take time, effort, as well as a number of readings. The greatest method to prepare for the MCAT Reading comprehension is to study hard literature that includes aspects you aren’t inclined to read about.

Make use of answering techniques

Whether you do not even learn how to apply your reading comprehension abilities to use, you may not be able to get the most out of them. Developing response strategies for the MCAT Reading comprehension portion is essential. BeMo’s Ultimate Guide to MCAT Reading comprehension, for example, is a great resource.

  • Identify the exact sorts of passage

First, you need to know what kind of content you’re dealing with before you begin reading. Consider the following inquiries:

  • What kind of composition is it? (Contrast and comparison, metaphorical, collection of concepts, etc.) 
  • What does the author want to accomplish here?
  • What are some of the subjects it addresses? (Politics, philosophy, sociology, etc.)
  • Is the author in favor of or opposed to this issue?
  • You may form more accurate judgments about the text if you are aware of its breadth.
  • Evaluate the main ideas of each paragraph

To get started, make sure you’ve read the whole document. Highlight terms and topics that you believe to be the most important in the text. You want to be able to distill the passage’s main idea into a single thesis statement. Decide what each paragraph is trying to say and how it fits into the overall scheme of things. Asking yourself the following questions might help you focus your efforts:

  • In this sentence, what is the writer trying to accomplish?
  • Are there any specific cases that they’re citing?
  • Is there any proof to back up their claim?
  • Are they expressing themselves?

Don’t worry if you don’t comprehend every word of the chapter the first time you read it; it’s not a dealbreaker. Rather than re-reading a section a thousand times, attempt to determine words and develop connections between them. It will save you effort and time. Even if you don’t understand every word in the book, you can still confidently answer the questions if you get the overall concept. When in doubt, read the text a few more times, and if you still don’t comprehend it, come back to it at a more convenient moment. After reading the whole chapter, it may make more sense.

Read aloud

You may get several advantages from reading aloud, such as enhancing your attention span and learning new terminology more efficiently. Reading aloud sharpens your concentration, resulting in a greater understanding of the text.

Join a reading group

Joining a book club is a terrific way to get back into the habit of reading for enjoyment if you’ve never done it before. Learn about new writers or expand your knowledge and comprehension of literary classics throughout your time at a university. Sharing your reading experience with others may also be incredibly exciting and pleasurable.

Talk about what you’ve been reading with other people

Whenever it comes to obtaining the most out of every good book, it’s crucial to share varied viewpoints. Texts that are difficult to understand the first time around might contain hidden meanings and thoughts. A useful source of information on a subject is to talk about it with other students who are also studying for the MCAT, and they may offer appropriate reading material to you as well.

Take courses in the humanities and social sciences

The MCAT Reading comprehension is similar to liberal arts courses in terms of the subjects they cover. This course may be life-changing for people who aren’t well-versed in such disciplines since they will likely encounter the same kinds of materials that will be on the test.

Make use of the exams

In contrast to the other portions of the test, there is no prior information on which to base one’s preparation for the MCAT Reading comprehension component. To prepare for the test, you don’t need a special guidebook; all you must do is practice intensively over the course of a few months. In order to prepare for the MCAT Reading comprehension, the ideal strategy is to look over specimen chapters and reasoning processes again and again and again, implement the answer techniques, and assess your personal progress and achievement.

Take practice exams on a regular basis to see how near you are to the grade you want to get and figure out what kind of questions and sections are the most difficult for you. To help you prepare for the Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills section of the AAMC examination, the organization provides an approved preparatory guide. 120 passage-based questions from social sciences and humanities are included at a low price point

First Thing in the Morning

In the early morning, when you haven’t made any choices, it’s okay if you’re not a shift worker. When you start waking up, you still haven’t made up your mind about what you want to accomplish, but nothing has come to mind. There is a good chance that you may postpone or become sidetracked if you put off your writing assignment until later. The only way to avoid excuses and distractions is to begin practicing as soon as you wake up the next morning.

Predict the following paragraph’s content

The very next method is to analyze every sentence and make a more informed estimate about what the next paragraph will be about. The same as the first method, this will help you to be engaged with the primary concept of each paragraph and will assist you to take the path of the logic of the text better. When making a forecast, it’s crucial to grasp the previous sentence well so that you can guess what the next thoughts could be.

Predicting what will happen in the following paragraph pushes the reader to swiftly assimilate the information they’ve just read. While some of the forecasts above were right on the money, they were also unable to foresee the introduction of additional characters or new information. That’s fine! Don’t get caught down in making the proper forecast. Instead, use this method to read the material critically and thoroughly absorb it.

Pretend you are explaining to a middle student

The last method that we’ll cover may assist if you fail to comprehend the primary concept of a text. MCAT Reading comprehension chapters are notoriously difficult to decipher because of their dense use of jargon and convoluted phrase style. So, assume that you have to read and explain the chapter you’re talking to a middle schooler. These things must be broken down into smaller, more digestible portions. Consider this sentence from our example text:

Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, and the two Antonines were in charge of the public administration for more than fourscore years. The purpose of this work is to depict the wealthy state of their empire and then to derive the most essential factors behind its downfall and fall after the death of Marcus Antoninus; a revolution that will live on in the minds of people all over the world forever.

As a middle-schooler, how would you explain this to me? You may summarize the whole paragraph as follows: “Things were going well for Rome, then something changed and things began going terribly.” This succinct and simple explanation will give you a sense of the chapter and help you pick between two tough answer options on MCAT Reading comprehension questions!

Last but not least, there was a lot of information about various MCAT Reading comprehension tactics that you might employ. When faced with so many options, it’s easy to get disoriented and unsure of where to begin.

Doing a series of practice problems using several strategies and then measuring your percent accuracy is the best approach to figure out which technique works best for you. A minimum of 40-50 questions using each method is required for this to work. In the end, it all boils down to personal preference and what works best for you. This part may be approached in numerous ways but only one method is right for you.

MCAT reading comprehension

How to get the correct answer on MCAT Reading Comprehension?

Is there a way to make sure that I choose the correct answer after reading the original 2 categories of this handbook? As it turns out, our top recommendations are two distinct approaches.

The first method is to understand the question and estimate what you believe is the proper response before glancing at the alternatives supplied. If you’ve read and comprehended the chapter, you’ll know the proper response to any inquiry.

The best way to avoid getting caught in a trap is to use this strategy. There will frequently be more than one “true” answer on the MCAT Reading comprehension portion, which makes it more difficult than other standardized examinations such as the SAT or ACT. You may get confused between two “true” solutions, overcomplicate the question, and ultimately choose the incorrect one if you glance at the response alternatives without first having a notion of what the proper response should look like.

As a result, we advise making an educated guess before you’re able to be tricked and then selecting the answer that most closely matches your guess. However, this approach may not work in all situations, or your estimate may not be among the available options. We recommend moving on to our first strategic approach, which is the eradication procedure.

The first step is to get rid of alternatives that are clearly incorrect, irrelevant, unrelated to the issue, or simply do not address the question that was asked. Try to discover the language in the paragraph that most strongly supports one answer after you have reduced it down to two.

FAQs about MCAT Reading Comprehension

In order to prepare for the MCAT, when should I get started?

When is the best time to begin preparing for the MCAT? You may start researching for the MCAT reading comprehension as soon as you like since it does not need any prior or external information. It is generally suggested that students start researching at least six months prior to the exam.

What is the format of the MCAT’s reading comprehension portion?

At least five to seven questions are asked in each one of the MCAT reading sections. You will also have a minimum of 90 minutes to finish this portion, which implies that you’ve been able to commit 10 minutes per question.

What are the MCAT reading comprehension questions about?

They all come from a humanities or social science perspectives, such as sociology or psychology, or political science.

My MCAT reading comprehension may be improved by what?

Reading comprehension abilities can only be enhanced with days of intense practice. You need to broaden your horizons and learn about stuff you’ve never come across before. Taking classes and reading a wide range of publications, including periodicals, periodicals, and paperback novels, are both options available.

What role does reading comprehension have on the MCAT?

Strong reading comprehension is critical in many walks of life, but especially in the medical field. Your communication abilities will improve, as will your capacity for empathy, creativity, and introspection, all of which are enhanced by your ability to comprehend and analyze complicated texts.

Does MCAT reading comprehension need any prior knowledge?

Contrary to popular belief, relying on your own experience to provide a solution to a topic might really be harmful. The paragraph has all of the information necessary to answer the questions. You’ll have to use your critical thinking abilities to deduce anything that isn’t explicitly stated in the paragraph, but you shouldn’t rely on any outside knowledge.

Is the MCAT Reading comprehension more essential than the other three?

The MCAT Reading comprehension component of the test is equally as significant as the other three. The MCAT Reading comprehension part enables healthcare schools a chance to evaluate their ability to think in some kind of a range of methods about a range of different issues. In the end, it accounts for one-fourth of your overall MCAT score, so it’s important to treat it as such.

Is the difficulty level of MCAT Reading comprehension chapters ranked?

The complexity of the MCAT Reading comprehension passages and questions is not ranked in any specific order. In certain cases, it’s beneficial to start with the shortest or “easy” portions, then go to the harder ones. If you choose to jump over, go with your gut and do what seems right to you. However, don’t take too long to determine what direction to take your sections!

How to boost the speed for completing MCAT Reading Comprehension?

MCAT Reading comprehension passages or untimed practice may be done at a slower pace in the beginning. The test is approaching and it is necessary to practice reading passages in under 10 minutes each time you sit down to study. There is no right or wrong way to study, but if you are rushed for time, skimming the text for the key concepts and significant information could be a good option.

You may also avoid being stuck on a tough question for an excessive amount of time by using the question method of guessing the right answer before looking at the response options. Select a response based on the evidence provided in the text after eliminating any apparent errors. Finally, keep in mind that each answer is exactly the same amount, so try not to spend too much time on anyone.

What is the quickest approach to raising my MCAT Reading comprehension score on the MCAT?

No amount of preparation or practice can make up for lack of experience, therefore if your test is coming quickly, we recommend developing an exam plan and responding to as many MCAT Reading comprehension passages as you can. Take a break from studying the day before the test and allow your brain to relax for just several nights before the big day.

It takes time and effort to improve your MCAT reading comprehension abilities. Preparing for the MCAT reading comprehension exam requires months of hard practice. Then, it is not necessary for you to freak out! As long as you keep to a daily reading plan and an MCAT study regimen, you will see significant progress. Reading a wide variety of materials is the best way to prepare for the MCAT MCAT Reading comprehension.

During the days leading up to your MCAT exam, you’ll also need to plan ahead and keep tabs on your progress. Please feel free to utilize the information on this page to boldly take on the MCAT Reading Comprehension.

Don’t forget to take our free MCAT practice test at Medtutor to get familiarized with the format as well as the questions of the actual exam to strengthen your knowledge and skills, as a result, enhancing your chance to pass the MCAT exam with a high score on your first attempt. Good luck to you!

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What Classes Should I Take Before The MCAT?

What classes should I take before the MCAT? Today we will go through the classes you should attend before taking the MCAT and the details of each one.

June 15, 2022

The MCAT is one of the most challenging exams you’ll ever make as a student. “What classes should I take before the MCAT?”

The next step toward your goal of becoming a physician, researcher, scientist, or counselor is to prepare for medical school. However, you must first pass the MCAT to get there. To pass the MCAT, you must first complete the appropriate coursework.

The Medical College Admissions Test, or MCAT, is an admission exam that most medical schools require applicants to complete before being accepted. You’ll need the experience and understanding of numerous key courses provided at most colleges and universities to do well on it.

Today, we’ll go over the classes you should take before taking the MCAT and what you should know about each one.

What Classes Should I Take Before The MCAT?

Key findings

  • A high MCAT score is required by most medical schools.
  • Six classes are recommended by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) before taking the MCAT.
  • Upper-level college courses are highly suggested since they can help you prepare better.

What are class requirements before taking the MCAT?

The answer to the question of whether or not students must take any specific coursework before taking the MCAT is NO. Officially, you are not required to attend any MCAT preparatory coursework. However, the MCAT’s sponsor, the Association of American Medical Colleges, has certain recommendations for pre-med courses you should take before taking the exam. Students should finish some introductory-level courses, according to them.

Introduction to science laboratories, as well as beginning psychology and sociology classes, incorporate the research methodologies and statistical ideas covered on the test. You should contact your institution’s pre-health counselor, who may assist you in determining the precise curriculum required to achieve your educational objectives. 

Most colleges cover the MCAT subject in beginning classes. Introduction to scientific laboratories covers research methodologies and statistical principles that will be tested on the MCAT.

If your school does not offer these courses, talk to your pre-health counselor about the specific curriculum that will help you achieve your MCAT objective. To get a better mark, take as many of these courses as possible.

What classes should I take before the MCAT?

Below are all six classes you should take before taking the MCAT at your college. The majority of these courses are available for a full year or one semester.

Which classes you attend will also be determined by your knowledge level, grades, and how much assistance you believe you require.

You may always seek advice from older students or hire an expert to assist you in your MCAT preparation.

Biology

Taking general biology is required. Your courses will determine whether you need to take General Biology 1 and 2 or if 1 is sufficient.

Some colleges provide a Bio 1 course that covers all medical disciplines, whereas others need you to take Bio 2.

Speaking with senior medical students who attended your school is the best approach to decide if you need both General Biology 1 and 2.

Advanced biology courses, such as immunology, cell biology, microbiology, genetics, molecular biology, and others, are also available.

Biology is the most tested natural science, therefore taking upper-level biology classes can be tremendously beneficial for the MCAT.

General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry

Chemistry majors will be familiar with this, although pre-med students frequently take General Chemistry 1 and 2, as well as Organic Chemistry 1 and 2. 

All pre-med students are normally required to take General Chemistry 1 and 2. However, General Chemistry 2 is not required for everyone. If you’re not sure, go to your adviser or older pre-med students to see if it’s necessary for a decent MCAT score.

Both general and organic chemistry should cover the following topics:

  • Chemical bonds
  • Thermodynamics
  • Atomic/electronic structure
  • Intermolecular forces
  • Kinetics
  • Equilibrium
  • Solutions chemistry
  • Acids and bases
  • Electrochemistry

You don’t need to take Organic Chemistry 2 if your Organic Chemistry 1 covers all of these topics.

Physics

Both Physics 1 and 2 are extremely recommended for medical school students. Newtonian Mechanics, which affects fluids and waves, kinematics, and forces are all covered in Physics 1.

Electricity, magnetism, electrostatics,  geometric options, and quantum mechanics are all covered in General Physics 2.

Engineering students may have the option of taking a calculus-based version of physics or a non-calculus version for medical students. While the non-calculus option is simpler to pass, the calculus version will better prepare you for the MCAT exam, so keep that in mind.

What Classes Should I Take Before The MCAT?

Biochemistry

Without biochemistry, no list of suggested classes would be complete. Indeed, biochemistry is essential for MCAT success. Biochemistry comprises approximately 25% of the subjects in both Chemistry/Physiology and Biology/Biochemistry sections.

With this proportion, biochemistry is the second-most-tested natural science topic on the MCAT exam, right behind biology. 

For the MCAT, you need to be familiar with the following biochemistry topics:

  • Proteins
  • DNA
  • RNA
  • Enzymes
  • Carbohydrates
  • Lipids and membranes
  • Carbohydrate metabolism
  • Biochemistry lab techniques

Psychology

Despite the fact that neither the medical school nor the AAMC needs you to study psychology before taking the MCAT, it is another the useful pre-med courses

You should address the following psychology topics:

  • Neurobiology
  • Psychological disorders
  • Learning and memory

Sociology

Sociology is the final subject you complete before taking the MCAT. For at least one semester, most institutions will offer a sociology course. Many MCAT candidates, however, take the test without completing any social science university subjects. This is because soc is a very simple subject to self-study. You make the decision.

You should cover the following sociology topics:

  • Social interaction
  • Social behavior
  • Social thinking
  • Social attitudes
  • Social structure

You might also take an upper-level sociology course to prepare for this section of the MCAT.

FAQs

Do you need to take any prerequisites before taking the MCAT?

No, you do not need to complete the prerequisites in order to take the MCAT. That said, your university is likely to offer MCAT preparation programs as early as your junior year.

What is the minimum GPA required for medical school?

The GPA required for medical school is determined by the school to which you are applying. Schools recommend that students aim for a GPA of at least 3.5.

Are labs crucial?

Yes, the laboratories are an important part of the aforementioned programs since they provide hands-on experience and information that will be covered in many MCAT questions. You’ll be OK as long as you take your undergraduate science labs!

Do advanced placement courses count?

When studying for the MCAT, AP courses are a terrific way to get a head start on your college work, but they’re not a good substitute for college-level subjects in physics and biology. Because AP classes do not go into as much depth as college courses, you should take the college versions of these courses before taking the MCAT.

The bottom line

So, what classes should I take before the MCAT? To take the MCAT, you don’t need to take any classes, although it’s a good idea to start with biology (general and organic), physics, chemistry, biochemistry, psychology, and sociology. You might also want to consider taking additional, more advanced-level courses to help you prepare for the exam the first time around.

Don’t forget to take our free MCAT practice test at Medtutor to get familiarized with the format as well as the questions of the actual exam to strengthen your knowledge and skills, as a result, enhancing your chance to pass the MCAT exam with a high score on your first attempt. Good luck to you!

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How To Build An Effective MCAT Study Schedule?

For acing the MCAT test, it is important to build an effective MCAT study schedule. Follow this article for more MCAT test study guides.

June 14, 2022

Keep in mind that even the most accessible medical schools have specific GPA and MCAT requirements. The admissions committee members will judge you depending on your school GPA and MCAT score before they could even look at your AMCAS job and extracurricular component or professional school personal statement. Queen’s University health center is one of the medical schools that won’t examine your admission when you don’t fulfill their MCAT requirements.

MCAT study schedule

Before you begin your MCAT study schedule, it is vital that you have a strong understanding of the MCAT’s format. In the period between the first and second tries, a student who increases their MCAT score by 10-15 points does not seem to have gained much more wisdom. Once it has assisted you in preparing for the MCAT, all you have to do is figure out how to take the test.

When it comes to learning about examination procedures and other relevant facts, the AAMC recommends reading The MCAT Essentials. BeMo’s “How difficult is the MCAT?” is a good place to start before you begin planning your study regimen. Find out just how much time you have per segment, what the basic ideas are, and what abilities are being examined on the MCAT by reading our blog post “How long is the MCAT?”. Then, check out our comprehensive MCAT CARS approach to discover what to anticipate from the exam’s most difficult component.

It is possible to get admission to medical school despite a bad MCAT score, but it is preferable to focus on earning a decent score the very first time around. You do not have to agonize about how to make up for a bad MCAT score with other scattered applications if you do not like to do so. You are under no obligation to do so. The greater the number of points you get, the greater the number of medical schools to which you may apply.

What is the best time to begin your MCAT study schedule?

Knowing what the MCAT entails and how to prepare for it, you may be questioning when and where to begin studying. At least you got a head start on studying when you enrolled in college. According to your previous college coursework in physiology, sociology, ethics, and the like, the length of hours you’ll need to devote to MCAT practice will be dependent on how well you understand the content.

How soon are you hoping to sit for the exam? Because the MCAT is offered many times a year, you have the option of taking it whenever suits your schedule. Remember to factor in the MCAT submission dates for the schools you’re considering. Enroll as soon as reasonably practicable when you want to take the MCAT; test dates are limited and available only to those who sign up first. You should have plenty of time to study if your exam is at least 6 months away.

When should you begin preparing for an exam if you know the date? Be grounded! Take the MCAT exam seriously, but be realistic with yourselves about just how much effort you ought to devote to preparation. The amount of time and effort each student devotes to preparing for a test varies widely. Between 200 and 300 hours of concentrated study, time is suggested. A six-month preparation period may be necessary when you can only devote ten hours a week to studying.

You may be MCAT-ready in as little as three months if you put in extra study time each week. Make room for some wiggle room in your agenda. Remember to factor in vacations and breaks when deciding how long you need to study for the MCAT, and when you should begin studying.

Last but not least, don’t be hesitant to make changes to your MCAT preparation plan. As you study for the exam, keep track of how many hours and what subjects you’ve studied each day. Assess your study habits based on how focused you are at various times of the day. If something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to make changes to your study plan. You may adjust it to better fit your learning style or devote extra time to a certain section of the course materials.

If you don’t know where to begin, you may want to look into taking an MCAT training course or hiring an MCAT tutor to help you out. These specialists can help you plan your calendar and offer you a detailed analysis of what you’ve been focusing on on a personal level. Preparing for the MCAT is a daunting task, but following these tips will help put you in a better position to succeed.

What do you need to include in your MCAT study schedule?

Make an effort to be as specific as possible with your planning. Organizing your day already determines the appropriate resources would not only improve the overall quality of your academics but will also relieve you of the tension and worry that comes with these types of tasks. If you’re preparing for an exam, don’t stress about where and how you’ll obtain the material you need or how you’ll test your understanding. What must be on your to-do list each day?

Commitment of time

Begin by taking a look at all of your other responsibilities, not just MCAT study. Recall all of your educational, professional, recreational, and interpersonal duties, and then prioritize them. As you plan your weekly, take down the number of hours each activity needs each week, including how much time you will devote to that every day. Put a time limit on the number of hours you’ll be able to spend studying for the MCAT that day.

Content areas for the MCAT exam

This is a no-brainer. Because the initial part of your MCAT preparation will be devoted to reviewing the material, you’ll need to allocate time in your schedule to cover the subjects and topics you want to concentrate on. When filling up this portion of your schedule, go to the MCAT’s content outline to ensure that your entries are in sync with the test’s structure and sections.

A guide to studying and resources

What sources you’ll use to fill in knowledge gaps and how you’ll remember what you learn are the most crucial sections of your timetable. To ensure that you’re citing the right material, make careful to give the exact location of where you found the information.

Finally, make a list of the ACTIVE study methods you want to do in order to fully learn these topics. You won’t go very far if you just sit there and wait to be taught. If you don’t employ active study methods like making charts and graphs to illustrate links between ideas, taking short tests, describing topics to others, and so on, you’ll never know not just whether you really do comprehend anything.

MCAT study schedule

Rest Days

Breaks are crucial throughout your MCAT preparation even though they are tough to contemplate when the exam is just around the corner. If you’re short on time, you may not be able to take a whole day off, but you still need to take some time off at least once a week. Why not spend an evening with friends or family at a movie or concert? Take a break from work and enjoy a relaxing evening together. Keep your health and wellness in mind.

As you can see, the student lists their personal and academic responsibilities, as well as the number of hours they spend preparing for the MCAT each day. On days when the student isn’t dedicating much time to MCAT preparation (such as Saturdays), the student is being completely honest and just spending an hour or less on writing each day.

As well as outlining their study methods, such as which textbook chapters, flashcards, summaries, and instructional videos they want to read, the student explains which MCAT topics they may review on the days they have accessible for MCAT prep sessions. If you follow this MCAT test study guide, you’ll be well on your way to a successful MCAT test score.

A Six-Month MCAT study schedule

The following MCAT study schedule may be used as a starting point for developing your own after some in-depth self-evaluation and preparation. Each task should have a checkbox next to it, and you should cross it off as you finish it. You’ll be more responsible for yourself and more aware of the next stages if you do this. To combat burnout, schedule time for relaxation each week. If you find yourself procrastinating more than usual, it’s an indication that you really need an additional day off. One of the most important things to do in life is to be honest with yourself about your feelings and how well you are doing.

In addition, if your budget allows, consider taking an MCAT prep course either in person or via an MCAT study guide online. You can choose both a paid and free MCAT study guide. If you’re going through a hard time in the beginning stages of planning, or if you later feel confused or unsure, this is a good option. To avoid establishing negative or ineffective study habits, getting advice from an expert on how to prepare for the MCAT is quite beneficial.

To learn more about free or low-cost MCAT preparation options at your campus, check out the AAMC’s extensive list of free resources, which includes learning resources and other aids tailored to certain subjects. We know you’re tempted to rely on the MCAT and premed Reddit advice, but we urge you to be wary of relying on advice that is often contradictory and inaccurate. It’s nice to have a feeling of community and support, however, the framework of these kinds of discussions may lead to an erroneous sense of agreement.

Month 1 – 24 Weeks Before the MCAT Big Day

  • Week 1
  • Give a complete MCAT diagnostic exam to get an idea of your starting MCAT score. Do your best, but don’t stress about getting it perfect. The idea is to get a sense of where you are on day one. Please use the AAMC’s full-length practice exams as a diagnostic tool, and be sure to complete them in one sitting and under testing conditions that are as close to those as possible, such as by yourself, in a quiet room, with no other equipment than your computer and the AAMC’s somewhat constrained properties of matter. As a consequence of your diagnostic test findings, you’ll be able to adjust and fine-tune your training opportunities to effectively suit your individual requirements.
  • Make a list of all the subjects you’ll need to learn and incorporate them in your study plan. Try to divide each material area into digestible areas like “cell theory” and “nervous system” rather than just using the term “biology.” When studying these particular topics, recite the content loudly to yourself without glancing at your study materials to be sure you’ve covered everything. Biochemistry, physics, neurology, and sociology are all examples of topic categories that may be broken down into subsections.
  • Gather the items you’ll need for the next academic year. Included in this are textbooks, readings that will test your critical thinking abilities, instructional videos, and course materials that cover the information covered in these categories. 70 percent of your study time should indeed be spent reviewing information in the first few months, so be sure you have the correct stuff to review!
  • Read books/texts that are a little beyond your comfort zone to start establishing your CARS approach. As a result, CARS is unusual in the sense that it doesn’t draw much from requirements and courses in medical school. Because it necessitates the use of logic and critical thinking, it’s vital to spend time delving into non-science literature. The CARS readings and questions will ask you to, among other things, discern an author’s thesis, assess the depth of their argumentation, and locate proof. You don’t need to devote a lot of time to this, but you should spend at least 30 minutes a day reading something tough. Vanity Fair is a good place to start for the first week.
  • Week 2
  • For the Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems component of the MCAT, we’ll be reviewing biology, biochemistry, and organic chemistry this week.
  • Suggested book: The Economist.
  • Week 3
  • Preparation for the MCAT’s part on the Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems: Week 3 Content Review includes inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry.
  • Suggested book: Drift by Rachel Maddow.
  • Week 4
  • Psychology and sociology were covered in depth during Week 4 in preparation for the MCAT Psychology portion.
  • Suggested book: Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill.

MCAT study schedule

Month 2 – 20 Weeks Before the MCAT Big Day

  • Week 1
  • CARS, Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems, and Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems Practice Exams. In case you want to take these tests, you should start a “mistake log” in which you record all of the questions you missed, as well as their answers and essential definitions. Refer to your record on a frequent basis to reinforce topics as you go through the course. Identify why you are missing questions on the subject that you have previously covered and work to figure out why.
  • After checking your error record for these practice examinations, create a Pop Quiz and finish it within 2-3 days after completing the log. Examine your ability to describe a subject to yourself and to a classmate: inquire as to whether or not they grasped your explanations and, if not, what particular areas you were unsure about. Make certain that you are able to do this without referencing course materials.
  • Complete any reviews or reading that were leftover from Month 1.
  • Week 2
  • Content review for Week 2 includes biology, biochemistry, and organic chemistry. Also, have a look at our MCAT Chemistry practice questions.
  • Suggested book: Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
  • Week 3
  • Review of Week 3 content: inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics are all covered. In addition, check out our MCAT CARS sample course.
  • Suggested book: Guns, Germs, and Steel
  • Week 4
  • Week 4 Content Review: Psychology and sociology are tough to comprehend.
  • Suggested book: Ever After of Ashwin Rao by Padma Viswanathan

Month 3 – 16 Weeks Before the MCAT Big Day

  • Week 1
  • CARS and Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems Week two practice exams: CARS and Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
  • Complete any reviews or reading that were left over after Month 2.
  • Week 2
  • Examine the content in the areas of biology, biochemistry, and organic chemistry.
  • Suggested book: Midnight’s Children
  • Week 3
  • Review of the content in the areas of inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics
  • Suggested book: Pedagogy of the Oppressed
  • Week 4
  • Psychological and social sciences are covered in this review.
  • Suggested book: War & Peace

Month 5 – 8 Weeks Before the MCAT Big Day

It is anticipated that the fifth month would be the most difficult in terms of practice problems and examinations. In addition to completing the practice MCAT each and every week, you will utilize the time that is left over to concentrate on particular sections of the exam that you have identified. Following your enrollment in an MCAT review course, you’ll be able to continue your studies there.

Month 6 – 4 Weeks Before the MCAT Big Day

The final line is within striking distance! If you want to be ready for exam day after many weeks of intense study, you’ll need to calm down and take some time off to recoup and recuperate from the previous few months of intense study that have gone into your preparation.

MCAT study mistakes

Not allotting adequate time for your MCAT studying

This is by far the most severe of all possible MCAT mistakes. I ask a student how many points they want to improve and when they want to take the MCAT when we first meet for a free consultation. If they tell me they want a 15-point bump before their exam next month, but they won’t postpone their test because they’re committed to utilizing this cycle, it’s a no-win situation. It’s almost impossible to get so many points in such a short amount of time. We’d have to choose between changing their goal score and changing their test date.

So, do you believe you’ll have to study for a long time? Your initial skill level and desired score will affect this. If a student has a diagnostic test score of 485 but needs a 508 to be competitive in their selected program, they will need to study hundreds of hours more than a student who has a diagnostic exam score of 492 but needs a 508 to be competitive.

Believing passage reading is the sole issue

One of the most common things I hear from students is that they don’t think subject knowledge is a barrier and that they could answer any question I posed. After that, they get a 493 on a full-length test, despite missing a few isolated issues.

If a student receives a score of less than 510, certain content gaps may be addressed; if a student has a score of less than 500, the entire material is needed. Students should make a commitment to improving on both subject knowledge and passage reading as they study.

Delaying the CARS preparing process

The CARS section of the MCAT is by far the hardest to learn. During the years I’ve been teaching, I’ve seen huge differences in the amount of time necessary to study each point increase. 

To raise a student’s score by one point on a scientific portion, it takes an average of 50 hours of studying; to improve a student’s score by one point on CARS, requires closer to 75-100 hours of studying. These statistics are scary, which is why it is such a poor idea to not set aside enough time to study.

So, what is the best way to study CARS? I’d recommend having a specific goal in mind for that study session, whether it’s employing a comprehension strategy from our Ultimate CARS Strategy Course to better absorb portions, practice time, or better understanding a certain kind of content. A tutoring session will help you uncover your MCAT flaws and design a study plan to improve in those areas if you’re having problems understanding apart.

Looking for gimmicky studying strategies

When students have been studying for a few weeks and have made little progress, they may get frustrated and look for quick ways to improve their scores. Sure, some companies recommend reading questions before reading the material, but do you have the working memory to keep track of all of those questions while still comprehending the content? 

Is it really worth it to “triage” passages for a minute or two at the start of a section, or should you use that time to try to answer the tougher questions if you’re having difficulties with timing?

The best ways to improve are to study the topic, practice passages on a regular basis to enhance your reading skills, and seek specialist help with any biggest concerns. Plan your test date far enough ahead of time to ensure that you have enough time to finish all of the essential preparation. If you don’t want to waste time or spiral, stay away from student forums.

Not doing other things

Few (if any) pre-medical students would claim that studying for the MCAT is a pleasurable experience. It might be tiresome and depressing at times, which is why you’d rather be doing anything else while studying. 

Yes, you must commit considerable time to learning, but you must also maintain your sanity. Furthermore, your MCAT score is just one factor in medical school acceptance. Students are well aware that they must commit a large amount of time each week to studying, but they should also volunteer, work in a research lab, or get clinical experience on the side. 

You won’t feel like you’re only studying this way, and you’ll be able to keep improving your medical school application.

MCAT study schedule

Tips for minimizing your MCAT study schedule

When you will not have 6 months to spare for MCAT preparation, what options do you have? It is feasible to prepare for the MCAT in less time than the six-month time frame that we highly suggest. Consider using our six-month study program as a reference, then read on for more suggestions on how to make your MCAT study schedule shorter:

Three-Month MCAT study schedule

While it is not unusual for students to use the majority of their three-month summer vacation to prepare for the MCAT, it is more than feasible to complete your MCAT preparation in this amount of time.

The MCAT diagnostic exam should be the initial step in your process. Because it will help you to identify which content sections require improvement, it is impossible to avoid this phase altogether! Again, there is no need to feel pressured to do well on the practice exam; your first testing is only a diagnostic tool to determine what you should include in your preparation process. Once you have received your results, you may construct a study plan that will cover every one of the four MCAT portions.

Despite the fact that you will still be required to review information for each area, your study timetable will be reduced. This implies that you must devise a strict study schedule and adhere to it to the letter of the law. Please refer to our six-month timetable to determine which topics you need to study and when you should take practice exams to determine your progress. Every week, you must study tough books to prepare for the CARS portion, which should be included in your timetable.

This is a critical step that must not be overlooked! You should keep taking the comprehensive practice MCATs throughout your 3-month preparation period. Ideally, you will complete 5 to 7 practice exams to determine your level of proficiency.

Additionally, as the MCAT approaches, it is critical to begin reducing the amount of time you spend studying. You should complete your last mock tests about a week before the big day, and you should plan to take the day before the exam off from work or school.

One-Month MCAT study schedule

It is essential that you are entirely conversant with the subject presented on the MCAT in addition to preparing for the MCAT in only one month. Or maybe you have just completed all of the required courses and are feeling confident in your abilities to succeed. Assuming this is the case, your initial step should always be to take a diagnostic test to see whether or not there are any topic areas in which you are lacking proficiency.

Next, generate a checklist of up to 20 subject areas in which you need to sharpen up your knowledge, and start reviewing those topics right away. Do not study anything other than the curriculum areas in which you are weak, and attempt to cover a few items in every subject each and every week. For illustration, 2 biology themes every week would be combined with three chemistry subjects, etc.

The number of subjects covered and the number of tough books you read in preparations for the CARS portion will need to be drastically reduced for a one-month study regimen, as will your overall workload. Every week, try to read and review one issue of The Economist as well as one book.

You should keep taking practice tests while you prepare, and you should aim to finish at least five practice exams before your MCAT exam date. Each practice test will not only provide an opportunity to review constructs and specializations that you already know, but it will also provide an opportunity to determine whether or not your points tally is getting better and whether or not you have to resolve any difficulties that were encountered during your initial diagnostic exam.

It is vital to emphasize that for the majority of students, this is not an adequate study strategy. If you want to contemplate attempting the MCAT after just one month of studying, you must be totally prepared for the MCAT material. Recall that you should only take the exam if you are entirely prepared and that you should avoid working a day before the test!

One-Week MCAT study schedule

A diagnostic test should be included in your one-week study regimen in order to determine whether or not you are truly prepared for the MCAT. You must be quite familiar with the material covered in the test because you’ll never have time to go over it again.

If you have just a limited amount of time to prepare for the MCAT, a last-minute quick lesson will not be of use to you. Instead, take practice examinations to identify shortcomings in certain topic areas, and then concentrate your content review efforts on these areas to ensure that you get the most possible progress. It is essential that you study and get familiar with any ideas that you are not totally comfortable with. You will, on the other hand, realistically be able to fit three to five subjects within a one-week study schedule.

It will be necessary to limit the amount of time spent reviewing content in favor of receiving plenty of practice with questionnaires and official practice examinations. During this week, we suggest that you take many practice MCATs to verify that you are comfortable with the structure and length of the test, as well as to demonstrate that you are regularly scoring in the desirable range. Make an effort to calm down and also get a good night’s sleep the night before the exam. This is not the time to attempt to cram and perform an all-nighter since doing so will only have a negative influence on your results on test day.

Determine how many weeks or months you will dedicate to preparing for the MCAT by being honest with yourself about how much time you can devote to MCAT preparation each day before making your decision. Choose a proctored exam that will enable you to put yourself in the best possible position to succeed, and then build your study program around that day.

Final thought

The Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) is a significant milestone and a major cause of anxiety for most medical school candidates. After reading this book, you will have the knowledge and resources necessary to create an efficient study schedule for MCAT that will help you obtain a competitive score on the exam.

The ability to demonstrate a thorough comprehension of the MCAT Study Schedule, as well as following our comprehensive MCAT Study Schedule and completing numerous full-length mock examinations, can help you feel more confident on test day. Remember to include our stress-reduction tactics into your daily routine to optimize your outcomes. 

Don’t forget to take our free MCAT practice test at Medtutor to get familiarized with the format as well as the questions of the actual exam to strengthen your knowledge and skills, as a result, enhancing your chance to pass the MCAT exam with a high score on your first attempt. Good luck to you!

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How To Use MCAT Anki: A Powerful Tools For MCAT Study

If you've sought MCAT study tools, you've probably come across Anki, customized flashcards from many MCAT study materials. Now let's learn how to use MCAT Anki.

June 14, 2022

Because of its difficulty, it is critical to prepare for the MCAT in the most effective way. Self-testing and spaced repetition are two study methods that are often regarded as extremely successful.

The MCAT Anki flashcard app is built on these two principles, which helps to explain why it is so effective as an MCAT prepaid.

In this post, you’ll discover how to get the most out of Anki as quickly as possible. We’ll also go through the most important aspects of Anki that you should pay attention to.

MCAT Anki

What exactly is Anki?

What exactly is Abki? It’s not just another online flashcard creator. Anki is a great tool for memorizing a wide range of information, from a new language to physics formulae. Anki’s self-testing and spaced repetition features, as mentioned above, are what make it a popular MCAT prep tool, particularly for studying science subjects.

Self-testing is a feature of flashcards that allows you to ask yourself questions to see if you can recall knowledge based on a question, phrase, or definition. The spacing effect says that we learn best when our learning is spread out across time, which is what spaced repetition is predicated on.

Anki achieves both of these goals by only displaying flashcards for “review” when you are close to forgetting their contents. These features distinguish Anki from other flashcard apps by giving it the capability to make extremely productive studying possible.

While the Anki flashcard platform’s fundamental feature is spaced repetition, it also contains additional features that make making and studying flashcards a snap. 

These features include multi-device synchronization, extensive customization, the ability to insert material such as audio clips, photos, and videos into your flashcards, and a huge variety of add-ons that may help you study even more effectively. Even better, Anki is available for free on both desktop and Android devices!

What proof is there that Anki is effective?

Educators and psychologists have spent centuries trying to figure out what the best study tactics are based on scientific facts. According to a recent study, spaced content practice and practice testing are the most effective of the regularly utilized study tactics (Dunlosky et al., 2013).

Both of these issues are addressed by Anki’s spaced repetition algorithm, which tests you on particular chunks of knowledge over time. There are several success stories on premedical forms and from MCAT coaching students who have used Anki to remember crucial knowledge for their MCAT test prep and afterward.

How do you use Anki?

Start with the computer version of Anki if you are not sure how to use it; don’t worry, you will be able to sync your flashcards from your computer to your mobile device for on-the-go practice! Anki must be downloaded to your laptop or PC. On desktops and Android devices, Anki is free to download; however, the Anki App for iPhones and iPads costs $25.

Download Anki on your computer

Download AnkiDroid on Google Play Store

This is how to create an Anki deck. When you initially start using Anki, you will have one Deck called “Default.” You may rename this deck by clicking the gear and choosing “Rename,” or you can construct a new deck by choosing “Create Deck” from the bottom menu bar. Subdecks may be created in the same way, but with the additional step of clicking and dragging the subdeck on top of the deck, you want it to belong beneath.

Create Deck” button on the bottom part of the Anki window

After you have set up your decks, you’ll need to make the flashcards that will make up that deck. Select add from the top menu to make a new flashcard. A new, smaller window will appear as a result of this. This new window has five key points of interest. You will note that there are extra fields accessible, but they are not required to begin using Anki.

Add New window

  • “Type” – The default Anki download includes a range of Anki card kinds, with much more available through downloadable add-ons. The “basic” card type resembles a traditional flashcard the most and is arguably the most popular.
  • “Deck” – This field is simple but crucial to remember; altering it will change which deck the flashcard belongs to, so be sure it’s the appropriate one!
  • “Front” – Here you may type whatever you want to appear as your flashcard’s prompt. This is comparable to what you’d put on the “front” of a standard flashcard.
  • “Back” – Here you enter the “response” to whatever your Anki card’s “front” was prompting. This is comparable to what would be written on the “back” of a traditional flashcard.
  • “Tags” – Tags are single words that allow you to categorize your flashcards by topic or chapter. They are optional. Because tags are separated by spaces if you wish to use a phrase instead of a single word, delete the space. “Genetics” or “PhysicsChapter5” are two instances of tags.

After you’ve finished filling out each field, click the “Add” button at the bottom of the smaller window to finish your flashcard and move on to making a new one. You are now ready to begin your review after creating your first set of flashcards. Cards labeled “New,” “Learning,” and “To Review” display when you launch the Anki app.

“New” cards are ones you’ve produced but have not reviewed yet, “Learning” cards are those you’re now reviewing, and “To Review” cards are those the Anki spaced repetition program suggests you review today.

You can reveal the answer by using the spacebar or selecting the “Show Answer” option while studying cards. After you’ve revealed the answer, you’ll be asked to rate how simple or difficult it was to remember the answer for that card. 

The “easier” you rate a card, the longer it will take the computer to display that card again for inspection, and vice versa. Above the rating is the time it will take for the card to return for a review.

The basics of making and reviewing Anki flashcards have been covered. However, considering the numerous card varieties and add-ons available, there is much more to discover. There are a few more things to keep in mind if you want to use Anki for flashcard creation and review.

  • Specific Anki flashcards are required: When the material is broken down into little, particular bits, spaced repetition, and hence Anki, perform best. While creating ten extremely particular cards rather than one more broad card may take longer in the beginning, you will save time in the long run and learn more effectively.
  • Before you make a card, make sure you thoroughly comprehend the material: It doesn’t matter how well you remember a random fact, figure, or equation if you can’t apply it to your learning. Before you make a card, be sure you can use the information in a problem-solving situation.
  • Every day studying is necessary for success: Because Anki emphasizes spaced repetition, you must make every effort to avoid missing study days. When you miss a day of studying, not only is the spaced repetition algorithm not being used to its best potential, but your flashcards will start to pile up!

MCAT Anki

How to use Anki for MCAT?

The sheer quantity of material assessed on the MCAT might be intimidating at times. Anki is frequently advised as a strategy for overcoming this emotion.

When studying for the MCAT with Anki, you have the option of using an existing MCAT review flashcard deck or creating your own. The advantage of using an existing or readymade Anki deck for MCAT is that the time saved by not having to create the flashcards yourself may be spent on review.

However, the deck will not be tailored to you or your study habits if you choose this option. Consider your degree of expertise with Anki and the MCAT, your study style, and the length of time you have available to study before the exam before making this option.

Setting a daily goal for how many Anki MCAT flashcards you will complete or how much time you will spend studying flashcards is critical. Consistent daily practice can help you get the most out of your education. The good news is that you may review the MCAT curriculum on the fly with the Anki phone app!

How can Anki work with other MCAT preparation resources?

Anki is a fantastic tool for memorizing and recalling crucial information and equations; but, to optimize your performance, you should combine it with additional MCAT exam prep products. You’ll need subject study material to utilize in the building of your Anki deck MCAT if you make your own.

Even if you choose a prepackaged deck, having access to this study material to elaborate on themes from the flashcards is crucial.

Furthermore, while Anki is a great tool for memorizing and recalling, the MCAT exam necessitates more than just recalling facts and numbers. You’ll need to be able to analyze texts and answer particular questions using recalled knowledge. It is critical to complete practice questions and tests in order to apply the material you have learned using Anki.

Any gaps in your material understanding may be rectified by creating fresh Anki flashcards once you have completed those practice problems and tests. By revisiting the material until it is stored in your long-term memory, these fresh flashcards can help you avoid making the same mistake on your actual exam.

Anki is a versatile tool that may be tailored to allow for the memorizing and recall of a wide range of materials. Studying for the MCAT necessitates the understanding of a seemingly unfathomable quantity of material. One technique to make such content more accessible and retainable is to use Anki.

It’s crucial to stress long-term retention of content no matter what tools you use in your MCAT and beyond studies, and Anki flashcards MCAT are a terrific method to do so.

FAQ

Is Anki useful for the MCAT?

Yes. Anki decks are the ideal digital adaption of the classic flashcard strategy, based on the experiences of dozens of MCAT preppers with whom I have spoken about their preparation methods, as well as common sense. However, use them judiciously; they produce the best results in terms of exam performance when they are utilized as means to assess your memory of material rather than as major study resources.

Is it necessary to create my own Anki cards for the MCAT?

No. There’s no need to recreate the wheel when it comes to Anki decks, which have been developed by thousands of MCAT preppers over the years.

The bottom line

Anki has swiftly attracted attention as a fantastic way to study. Many professionals have benefited from this online training, which has helped them learn and retain information for extended periods of time.

Because of its success, many medical school students and candidates partnered to generate pre-made Anki flashcards to aid test-takers in their preparation for the MCAT.

With the information about MCAT Anki provided above, you should be able to understand how to utilize Anki and its benefits. Download it and start creating your MCAT Anki flashcards right now!

Don’t forget to take our free MCAT practice test at Medtutor to get familiarized with the format as well as the questions of the actual exam to strengthen your knowledge and skills, as a result, enhancing your chance to pass the MCAT exam with a high score on your first attempt. Good luck to you!

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The Most Comprehensive MCAT Memorization List in 2023

Here, we provide the most comprehensive MCAT memorization list with a section-by-section breakdown of the topics you need to fully memorize for the test.

June 13, 2022

Students commonly inquire about the content that must be memorized for the MCAT exam. Students frequently ask what formulas, pathways, or details the AAMC will provide on the exam and what must be memorized. It’s difficult to know what the AAMC expects you to know until you take a lot of full-length practice exams.

This issue becomes especially sticky with MCAT equations to memorize and MCAT formulas to memorize in the chemistry/physics section, as well as specific details in the psychology/sociology section.

Here, we provide the most comprehensive MCAT memorization list with a section-by-section breakdown of the topics and things to memorize for the MCAT.

mcat memorization list

What to memorize for MCAT?

The MCAT will evaluate your mastery of the basics and your ability to apply those concepts to different situations. If you’re worried about remembering MCAT formulas, here’s a list of rules and equations prepared by our MCAT exam experts. This is a comprehensive list, but more a sample to get you started.

And keep in mind that application of knowledge is more important than memorization of knowledge.

Chemistry

Organic Chemistry

  • Recognizing and naming organic functional groups by using IUPAC nomenclature
  • CIP rules for assigning absolute configuration (that is R/S)
  • separation techniques, and especially chromatography
  • principles of spectroscopy techniques, especially 1H-NMR and IR
  • recognizing common organic reaction types (SN1/SN2, nucleophilic addition, elimination reactions, addition reactions)
  • classification, structure, and pKas of amino acid side chains
  • structure/reactivity of carbohydrates, nucleic acids, and lipids

General Chemistry

  • Avogadro’s number
  • common polyatomic ions
  • Electronegativity order, that is FONCIBrISCH
  • charges/masses of radioactive decay particles
  • Gibbs free energy equation
  • ideal gas law
    • 1 mol of a gas = 22.4 L at STP
  • phase solubility rules
  • salt solubility rules
  • common strong bases and acids
  • the ion-product that is constant of water (Kw)
  • KaKb and pKa/pKb relationships
  • pH definition and general logarithm math
  • Henderson-Hasselbalch equation that is for buffer pH
  • oxidation state rules
  • lose electrons-oxidized (LEO)
  • gain electrons – reduced (GER)

Physics/Math

There are some handy math formulas:

  • prefixes for powers of ten
  • sine values and cosine values for special angles
  • SOHCAHTOA
  • vector addition as well as vector subtraction
  • log rules
  • the approximation techniques used for square roots

There are several equations as well as the rules for using them:

  • basic kinematics equations
    • V= V­0 + at
    • Δx= V­0 + ½ at2
    • V2= V02 + 2aΔx
  • Newton’s laws
  • work formula
  • conservation of energy
  • First Law of Thermodynamics
  • buoyant force equation
  • continuity equation
  • electric force-field relation
    • E= F/q
  • energy-potential relation
    • V= PE/q, V= Ed
  • Ohm’s law
    • V= IR
  • period – frequency relation
  • wave equation
  • Doppler shift
  • Snell’s law
  • mirror and lens equation
    • 1/f = 1/do + 1/di
  • buoyancy force equation
    • FB= ρf * Vg
  • the equation of the potential energy of a capacitor
    • U= ½ CV2
  • charge of a capacitor equation
    • Q=CV

Psychology/Sociology

  • there are some of the characteristics of the true experiment
  • the differences between the independent variables vs the dependent variables
  • Weber’s Law
  • the difference between top-down processing vs bottom-up processing
  • Piaget’s stages of the cognitive development
    • Sensorimotor 0-2 years old, circular reactions, ends with language acquisition and object permanence
    • Preoperational 2-7 years old, egocentrism and pretend play, end with the conservation
    • Concrete Operational 7-11 years old, logic development
    • Formal Operational >11 years old, higher-level reasoning and problem-solving
  • Kohlberg’s stages of the moral growth
    • Preconventional: children act based on direct consequences, based on reward and punishment
    • Conventional: adolescents and adults act based on understanding societal rights/wrongs in search of approval and conformity
    • Postconventional: very few adults perform this based on an internalized moral compass as well as basic principles
  • stages of sleep and characteristics of each stage
  • the basic flow of memory encoding as well as retrieval
  • the differences between the Wernicke’s area and Broca’s area
    • Broca’s area: “Boca” (mouth in Spanish), is an area is used for the generation of speech
    • Wernicke’s area: is an area including listening and understanding language
  • Major theories of emotion
  • Major functions in each the brain region
  • Major personality theories
  • Major psychological disorders
  • How behavior and attitude impact each other
  • Major theories for social psychology
  • Major types of learning
  • Differences between primary and secondary; positive and negative reinforcers and punishers
  • The various reinforcement schedules and behavior associated with each schedule
  • Types of attributions
  • Types of negative social interactions (bias, discrimination, etc.)
  • Major theoretical theories in the sociology
    • Functionalism
    • Conflict Theory
    • Symbolic Interactionism
  • Types of social institutions
  • Freud’s stages of psychosexual development, with the ages of each stage and associated fixations
  • Four types of attachment
    • Secure
    • Avoidant
    • Ambivalent
    • Disorganized

mcat memorization list

Biology and Biochemistry

  • amino acid side chain classifications (including polar, non-polar, basic, acidic), their structure, and their charge at pH 7.4
  • amino acid 1-letter as well as amino acid 3-letter abbreviations
  • the importance of △G structures/monomers of the four biological macromolecules
  • know how to recognize reduction as well as oxidation reactions
  • basic of base/acid chemistry
  • four types of enzyme inhibitors Vmax and Km
  • regulation and location of biochem pathways (and when one pathway might be favored over another)
  • lab techniques (ELISA, electrophoresis, PCR, and blotting)
  • Central Dogma of the molecular biology
  • DNA replication rules and enzymes
  • the start codon (AUG) along with the 3 stop codons (UGA, UAG, UAA)
  • different types as well as the functions of RNA
  • understand the way that transcription is regulated
  • the energy that is required for protein translation
  • viral life cycles and genomes
  • classification of bacteria by structure and living conditions
  • roles of the eukaryotic signal sequence
  • plasma membrane structure
  • passive and active transport
  • mechanism of the G-protein 2nd messenger pathways
  • eukaryotic cell features (such as the organelles, cell junctions, cytoskeleton, )
  • four phases of mitosis
  • the differences between mitosis vs meiosis
  • classical dominance and non-classical dominance
  • 4 basic single gene crosses
  • 2 rules of probability
  • ways to determine linkage and recombination frequency
  • equations as well as rules for Hardy-Weinberg
    • p2 + 2pq + q2 = 1
  • an action potential as well as voltage-gated channels
  • CNS anatomy
  • sympathetic vs parasympathetic
  • eye and ear anatomy
  • 5 classes of sensory receptors
  • hormones (know the origin, function, and target)
  • heart anatomy
  • cardiac action potential
  • blood pressure along with peripheral resistance, and also cardiac output
  • blood gas transport
  • T cell and B cell function
  • antibody structure and classes
  • nephron structure and function
  • The angiotensin, renin, and aldosterone system for blood pressure control
  • digestive accessory organs
  • alimentary canal structure as well as function
  • sarcomere structure
  • sliding filament theory
  • muscle fiber types
  • conduction zone as well as respiratory zone
  • regulation of ventilation rate as well as pH
  • hormones as well as phases of the menstrual cycle
  • primary germ layers and what primary germ layers become
  • stem cells
  • All metabolic pathways: are moving from the glycolysis to the beta-oxidation, know rate-controlling steps, net ATP consumption or production of the pathway)

Cars

The CARS section, obviously, has nothing to memorize. Practice passage after practice passage is the ONLY way to improve your CARS score.

MCAT tips and tricks?

There is no special“trick” for you to answer memory questions. Either you know or you don’t know the answer. If you’re missing a lot of memory questions on your MCAT practice test, it’s a sign that you don’t understand the content well enough. Back and review.

MCAT memorization strategies

Mnemonics

A mnemonic device is a memory device that can assist you in recalling and retaining knowledge. This method of learning dates back to ancient Greece. Mnemonic techniques serve as memory aids, assisting you in transferring knowledge from short-term to long-term memory.

For example, some people use the mnemonic SOH CAH TOA to remember the definitions of the sine, cosine, and tangent of an acute angle in a right triangle. The letters represent the following: Sine equals Opp/Hyp, Cosine equals Adj/Hyp, and Tangent equals Opp/Adj.

Memory Palace

Imagine yourself moving through a familiar route or place, such as the rooms of your childhood home, and leaving a visual representation of a topic you wish to remember at several stops along the way. Simply imagine walking through your “palace” to retain the information you need. Students have used this technique to learn everything from the steps of the Krebs cycle to the parts of a cell.

Outlines

Writing something down helps you remember it much better. Furthermore, one-page outlines are outstanding academic aids because they are concise and colorful, which will help you to remember the things to memorize for MCAT.

FAQs – MCAT memorization list

How much of MCAT is memorization?

On the MCAT, memory questions account for 25% of the science questions.

Do you really need to memorize amino acids for MCAT?

You’d better memorize each form since the MCAT exam may test your knowledge of all three forms. There are 8 nonpolar amino acids: alanine, valine, phenylalanine, isoleucine, leucine, tryptophan, tyrosine, and methionine.

Does MCAT give equations?

The MCAT will provide you with the required equation to solve the problem. This doesn’t mean that you won’t need to memorize some equations.

How can I memorize MCAT formulas?

Taking information from your short-term memory and forcing it into your long-term memory is the key to recall. This involves reading as well as rewriting the equations, besides drawing them on flashcards, and also memorizing the flashcards for the average student.

Is there any physics on the MCAT?

Physics will make up about 20-30% of your MCAT Chem/Phys section, which is one of four. As a result, you can expect 12 to 18 physics questions on the MCAT (out of 230 total questions) – appropriately 5 to 8% of the exam.

Conclusion

If you have the time, memorize the information listed above to give yourself an edge in the exam. If you don’t have much time, make sure you remember all of the amino acids because they will always appear on the MCAT. You’re out of luck if you can’t recall a certain amino acid shorthand.

A solid comprehension of the material can provide the majority of information on the MCAT. Practice is the greatest approach to studying for the MCAT.

Practicing MCAT problems on a regular basis will compel your brain to actively learn the content being tested.

Let’s take our free MCAT practice test at Medtutor to get familiarized with the format as well as the questions of the actual MCAT exam to strengthen your knowledge and also your skills, as a result, enhancing your chance to pass the MCAT exam with a high score on your first attempt. Good luck to you!

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How to Prep for MCAT Exam: The Ultimate Guide in 2023

The MCAT exam is one of the first milestones to medical school. Here’s what you need to know about how to prep for MCAT exam. Read on to know more.

June 13, 2022

Do you want to be a medical doctor? If you are, you are aware that the MCAT exam is one of the first stages on the road to medical school and beyond.

It takes a lot of time and effort to prepare for the MCAT exam. It can be difficult to balance your preparation with an already busy schedule. Continue reading to learn how to prep for the MCAT exam. No matter where you are in the preparation process, we have resources and practice products to assist you.

Let’s get started with our free MCAT practice test to get familiarized with the format and as well as questions of the real exam to pass the actual exam with a high score on your first attempt.

how to prep for mcat

When to take the MCAT?

The earlier you take the MCAT exam, the higher your chances are. As the admissions season has progressed, the candidate pool becomes increasingly crowded. Even if you complete the rest of your application early, the vast majority of medical schools will not seriously consider your candidacy until they obtain a copy of your MCAT scores.

You’ll have a chance to retake the MCAT in the summer or the following fall if you take it in the spring of your junior year (once you’ve completed your prereqs).

How long should I study for the MCAT?

Most students who do well on the MCAT exam spend between 200 and 300 hours preparing for the exam, believe it or not. Your test date, as well as other work and school commitments, will determine when you start your prep—usually 3 to 6 months before your exam. View upcoming MCAT test dates to start planning your time for studying.

10 MCAT study habits

  1. Find your baseline

Your baseline score is the score you’d get if you went to the exam site today. Take a full-length practice test and try to recreate the actual testing environment as closely as possible before you start studying for the MCAT in earnest. The results of this first practice test will aid your preparation by identifying which areas you should concentrate on the most.

  1. Don’t sacrifice practice for content review

The MCAT truly evaluates 

  • Your ability to apply basic knowledge to different, possibly new, circumstances
  • Your ability to examine and reason through arguments

Is it still essential for you to know your science content? Absolutely. However, not to the level that most test-takers think. Your science knowledge, for example, will not help you pass the Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills (CARS) section.

  1. Focus on accuracy

Is speed the most significant aspect to you? You should keep practicing untimed. When learning a new skill, you should first learn how to do it well before learning how to do it quickly.

When working on practice problems, do the section or passage without stopping and concentrate on improving your accuracy. Later on, keep track of how long it takes you to complete each passage or section. Even if you’ve been studying for some time, it’s still a great idea to do some untimed practice problems, focusing on avoiding the common mistakes you make.

  1. Build stamina

Under normal circumstances, it is difficult to maintain concentration over several hours, let alone under stressful circumstances. Work passages for greater and longer lengths of time with shorter and shorter breaks until you can comfortably concentrate for a few hours at a time.

  1. Take as many MCAT practice tests as possible

Confidence comes from experience. Take on more and more practice tests once you’ve perfected doing numerous passages at a time.

  1. Simulate REAL MCAT conditions

Take the entire test in one sitting, with breaks in between sections. Except during the breaks, don’t drink or eat anything during the test. Unless you’re taking breaks, don’t put on or take off clothing if you get cold or hot.

  1. Practice dealing with distractions

Practice passages or practice tests in less-than-ideal conditions. Go to a quiet coffee house or an area of the library where people are moving around (but not talking loudly). While continuing to work, practice tuning out your surroundings.

  1. Manage your stress

It’s just as essential to take care of your mental and physical health as it is to study and practice. Working all day every day won’t help you if you’re so tired that your brain can’t function. Make time in your schedule for leisure, including working out.

  1. Evaluate your work…

The key to constant improvement is constant self-evaluation. Don’t just answer the questions and afterward add up your score. Use the results to help you learn how to get better. What sort of questions do you frequently ignore? What passages slow you down more than any other? What kinds of answer traps are you subject to? What made you choose the wrong answer to each question you missed?

  1. …Even the answers you got right!

Consider not only the questions you got wrong but also how you arrived at the correct answers. Did you manage to avoid a typical mistake? Are there any question types in particular that you are good at? Did you use an MCAT pacing strategy successfully?

how to prep for mcat

How to prep for the MCAT exam in 3 months

Here are your MCAT priorities if you have three months:

  • Take a free online practice test to assess your performance. This first practice test will help you determine your baseline score and determine your strengths and shortcomings.
  • Allow your content review to be driven by your baseline. Before moving on to comprehensive preparation, concentrate on the sections, topics, or question types that you need the greatest help with. You might, for example, decide to start with any subjects not covered in your prerequisite courses.
  • Take a look at the AAMC’s list of topics that will be covered on the exam. While textbooks and notes from prerequisite courses might be useful for reviewing material, you may tire of playing hide-and-seek to find the areas that AAMC is interested in. Investing in an MCAT prep book that combines all of the material you need in one place can save you time.
  • To keep on schedule, consider taking a prep course. Most MCAT test-takers study individually, although it doesn’t harm to review with experts who are familiar with the exam. Choose a course that meets your schedule and objectives. If you’re preparing while also working in a lab, online test prep that’s flexible and convenient can be the best option.
  • Practice, practice, and practice more.  Practice questions and tests will indicate where your knowledge is lacking. Try to figure out why you failed questions. If you’re having difficulty with the material, you’ll need to go over this again. Make sure you practice some of your tests under MCAT-like situations.

How to prepare for the MCAT exam in 1 month

If you only have a limited amount of time to study, knowing your personal weak spots is essential. MCAT prep books can help you focus your content review while also providing you with access to the numerous drills and practice tests you’ll need. You can even consider hiring an MCAT tutor to assist you in studying as efficiently as possible.

How to prepare for the MCAT exam prior to 1 week

  • Adjust your sleep schedule so that you go to bed and wake up at the same times the night before and the morning of the MCAT. Prioritize getting a sufficient amount of sleep in the days leading up to the test.
  • Make a trip to the test center at least a day or two before your scheduled test date so you can recognize the building and room easily on test day. This will also help you to assess traffic and evaluate whether you require money for parking or other unforeseen costs. Knowing this information ahead of time will significantly lessen your stress on test day.
  • Check the cell phone policy at your testing center ahead of time. Some institutions will not even let you keep them in your locker with your other personal belongings.
  • Don’t study too much the day before the test. This is not an exam for which you can study! Your goal at this point is to rest and relax so you may be in good physical and mental condition on exam day.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Caffeine and sugar in excess should be ignored. You should experiment with foods and practice tests in the weeks preceding up to the actual test to see which foods give you the most endurance. During the test, aim for steady blood sugar levels by eating sports drinks, trail mix, peanut butter crackers, and so on. Make good snacks for your lunch and break.

Test day tips

  • Arrive at the test center at least half an hour before your test is scheduled to begin.
  • Prepare to show photo identification, sign in, and have a digital fingerprint image taken.
  • Remember to bring the snack foods and lunch that you tried during the practice testing.
  • Take full advantage of the breaks! Get up and then take a walk. It’s a good way to clear your mind and get the blood (and oxygen!) flowing to your brain in-between parts.
  • If you run out of scratch paper, ask for more this at the breaks.

Conclusion

As you prepare for the MCAT, there are several methods to attempt and resources to use. It will take a lot of time, dedication, and brainpower to do well on such a difficult exam, but keep in mind that it is the first step toward achieving your dream of becoming a doctor.

Now that you know how to prep for the MCAT exam, it’s time to look at the other factors admissions committees examine when evaluating medical school applications.

Don’t forget to take our free MCAT practice test to pass the actual exam with a high score on your first attempt.

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What Are The Differences Between USMLE Vs MCAT?

The USMLE vs MCAT are two of the most significant tests that aspiring doctors must take. What exactly are they and what are the differences between them?

June 13, 2022

As someone who is considering or has already started a career in medicine, you may be aware that there are several tests that stand between you and the title “Doctor.” Getting into a prestigious medical school is difficult. To become a full-fledged Doctor of Medicine, aspiring medical physicians must also pass a series of qualifying and licensing tests.

These examinations may appear intimidating, but with proper preparation, you may pass them and obtain the USMLE or MCAT score you desire. Understanding what these examinations evaluate, how they are designed, and how they are scored is crucial to being prepared for exams like the USMLE vs MCAT exams.

So, what are these exams? What distinguishes them?

usmle vs MCAT

What are the USMLE and MCAT exams?

Let’s start by defining these two medical tests so we can better comprehend why they’re both required to become medical professionals.

The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is a computer-based standardized exam for candidates seeking admission to medical schools in the United States, Australia, Canada, and the Caribbean Islands. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) administers it.

The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and the National Board of Medical Examiners, on the other hand, sponsor the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) for medical licensing in the United States (NBME). This test is required for physicians who wish to practice medicine in the United States.

What are the purposes of USMLE vs MCAT?

While both the MCAT and the USMLE prepare students for a career as a doctor of medicine, their goals are different due to when they are taken.

The American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) created and administers the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test). It’s a multiple-choice exam designed to evaluate your problem-solving skills, critical thinking, and understanding of pre-medical topics. This is the examination you must pass before applying to medical school. Along with your essays, undergraduate GPA, and letters of reference, your MCAT score is a significant part of your medical school application. 

The USMLE is a three-step process for obtaining a medical license in the United States. These tests are given during your medical education (medical school and residency) and examine a physician’s ability to use what they’ve learned to treat patients. The first USMLE test, often known as USMLE Step 1 or Step 1 for short, is taken at the end of medical school’s second year. The second component of the USMLE examinations, USMLE Step 2 CK (Clinical Knowledge), is normally taken in the fourth year. Finally, near the end of the intern year of residency, the last USMLE, USMLE Step 3, is taken. You can apply for a medical license after passing this third exam.

The MCAT is taken before medical school and the USMLE is taken during and after medical school.

What are the exam structures of USMLE vs MCAT?

The MCAT and the USMLE are extremely different in terms of how they are administered and constructed.

MCAT

The MCAT is entirely made up of multiple-choice questions and is divided into four parts, each of which is graded separately. Each segment has 50 to 60 questions and takes 90 to 95 minutes to complete. The test will last around 7.5 hours, including the time spent between portions. Students take the test on a computer at a testing facility in one day.

USMLE

Meanwhile, the USMLE is extremely fragmented in that it must be taken at several periods throughout medical school and residency. Unlike the MCAT, the exam is organized into three parts and includes both computer-based assessments and practical exams. Step 2, Clinical Skills (CS), in particular, requires students to demonstrate their understanding of evaluating and diagnosing patients by meetings with standardized patients. 

  • Step 1 is an 8-hour sit-in multiple-choice exam administered during the second year of medical school. The exam is broken down into seven 60-minute sections, each with up to 40 questions. During the exam day, you are provided one hour of break time that you can divide any way you like.
  • Step 2 is a two-part test performed during the fourth year of medical school. The first section, Clinical Knowledge (CK), is a nine-hour multiple-choice and computer-based case simulation test. The second section, Clinical Skills, is a hands-on assessment, as previously indicated. It is broken into eight 60-minute segments with up to 40 questions in each block. During exam day, you get up to an hour of break time that you can divide anyway you like.
  • The USMLE Step 3 test, which is also a two-day exam, is taken during the first year of residency. 

The first day of testing consists of a 7-hour session with 232 multiple choice questions broken into six 60-minute blocks of 38-40 questions. You have 50 minutes of total break time to split as you see fit. 

The second day is a nine-hour test session. 180 multiple-choice questions are divided across 6 45-minute blocks of 30 questions on this day. There’s also a 7-minute CCS lesson, which is followed by 13 case simulations with a maximum of 10 or 20 minutes of real-time each. On the second day, there are 45 minutes of break time available.

What are the contents of USMLE vs MCAT?

MCAT

The MCAT 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
  • Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills
SectionNo. of QuestionsMinutes
Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems5995
Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills5390
Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems5995
Psychological, Social and Biological Foundations of Behavior5995

The Biological and Biochemical part, often known as the Bio/Biochem section, will have you reading passages and answering questions about subjects covered in introductory biology and first-semester biochemistry.

The cell, embryogenesis, the endocrine system, the immune system, the cardiovascular system, genetics, amino acids, DNA/RNA, biological membranes, and metabolism are just a few examples of things you’ll need to know for this field.

The Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems part, commonly known as the Chem/Physics section, will require you to study passages on chemistry, physics, organic chemistry, and some biochemistry, as well as solve questions in these areas. They will cover all of the content covered in the introductory level of these college courses. Furthermore, this course, more than any other, will demand you to complete some fundamental math without the use of a calculator.

Chemical interactions, stoichiometry, redox interactions, chemical kinetics, work and energy, wave and sound, fluids, thermodynamics, isomers, enzyme kinetics, nucleophiles/electrophiles, laboratory procedures, and other subjects are examples of topics you will need to be familiar with for this field.

The Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior (Psych/Soc) exam measures your ability to analyze psychology/sociology research and use statistical concepts. You’ll also have to evaluate behavioral data and sociocultural health variables.

Behavior, consciousness, and feeling, psychological disorders, stress, identity, motivation, social inequities, growth, and demography are some of the topics you’ll need to know for this field.

Finally, the Critical Analysis and Reasoning Section (CARS) will assess your ability to read a paragraph, analyze and evaluate the data, and respond to questions regarding the material. These passages can cover a wide range of themes, including literature, history, politics, and philosophy. This is the only component that does not require prior knowledge or memory.

Students will use a range of study tools, take many practice exams, and answer numerous practice questions while studying for the MCAT. Studying for the MCAT, like any other admissions exam, is a major endeavor, and candidates should set aside enough time to prepare before taking the exam. The MCAT is given at Pearson testing sites in numerous locations around the country, and students must register for a specific test day in advance.

usmle vs MCAT

USMLE

The USMLE tests are meant to assess your readiness to practice medicine as a licensed physician. These examinations are far more in-depth and sophisticated than the MCAT, focusing on information taught during medical school and residency rather than what was studied during pre-medical school.

Step 1 of the USMLE assesses medical knowledge acquired throughout the first two years of medical school. It is primarily concerned with the basic science that underpins human illness states. A thorough grasp of human physiology, pathophysiology, pharmacology, and treatment paradigms across all medical disciplines is required to pass USMLE Step 1.

Medical students are sometimes given several weeks of dedicated study time for USMLE Step 1, also known as “dedicated,” during which they focus only on the test. To prepare for the USMLE Step 1, students generally take many practice tests and answer hundreds of practice questions. Prometric administers Step 1 at testing locations across the world, and students register for a test day months in advance.

Step 2 CK, unlike Step 1, concentrates on evidence-based best practices and therapies from all medical fields. Step 1 CK, for example, may look at the molecular changes and basic science underlying a cancer subtype, whereas Step 2 CK might look into the particular screening criteria and treatment procedures for that cancer.

Step 2 CK is frequently regarded as a complete exam for third-year medical students. Most medical schools in the United States require students to pass “Shelf” tests for each clerkship during MS3. Each clinical rotation has its own set of shelf examinations.

After completing the OB-Gyn clerkship, you must pass the OB-Gyn shelf exam, which assesses clinical best practices for OB and Gyn problems. Step 2 CK is sometimes referred to as a comprehensive collection of shelf examinations from all of the basic clinical clerkships. A passing score on both the USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK is necessary to graduate from medical school in the United States.

The USMLE Step 3 exam lasts two days. Questions on organ systems, diagnosis, patient management, prognosis, emergency care, and pathophysiology will be included in the USMLE Step 3 exam. 

When should you take the exams: USMLE vs MCAT?

A student should take the MCAT in April or May of the year before he or she plans to attend medical school. So, if the aim is to be a first-year medical student in the 2023 school year, the MCAT must be taken in April or May of 2022.

The multi-step USMLE test is administered during the course of a person’s medical school. Step 1 is taken at the end of a medical student’s second year. The test is offered all year and must be arranged through a Prometric test facility.

The USMLE Step 2 exam is usually taken at the end of a student’s fourth year of medical school. Step 2 CK is similar to Step 1 in that it is offered year-round and may be planned with the exam center. Step 2 CS, on the other hand, is only offered at five testing places in the United States, thus confirming test dates with one of the testing facilities is essential.

After a physician’s first year of residency, Step 3 of the USMLE is usually taken. The exam is also offered throughout the year; however, scheduling permission is required to choose a test day.

What is the difference between scoring USMLE vs MCAT?

You will obtain a scaled score for each of these types of exams and will not see your raw result. The raw score is converted to a scaled score to account for modest differences in question tests and exams.

MCAT score

Your MCAT score is determined by the number of correct answers. Wrong answers receive the same score as unsolved questions and have no bearing on your overall score. The MCAT exam is not scored on a curve, either. The MCAT exam is scaled and equated such that your score has the same value regardless of when you take it or how other examinees performed.

Each part of the MCAT will be given a score. With a midpoint of 125, these scores might vary from 118 (lowest) to 132 (highest). You’ll also get a total score based on the sum of these four parts, which will range from 472 to 528 with a mean of 500.

If a student received a 127 on Bio/Biochem, a 129 on Chem/Phys, a 125 on CARs, and a 127 on Psych/Soc, their total score would be 508.

Your MCAT score will also be given a percentile rating. The AAMC updates the percentile ranks every year using three years of data. According to the MCAT percentile ratings for 2021-2022, a score of 508 is in the 72nd percentile. A score of 490 is in the 17th percentile, 500 is in the 45th percentile, and 520 is in the 92nd percentile. The AAMC website has percentile ratings for each component and a total score.

USMLE score

The USMLE raw score is transformed into a three-digit scaled score, just like the MCAT. Furthermore, studies are conducted to identify any testing candidates who had an unusual score pattern, and these pupils may be requested to explain their testing activities.

The USMLE Step 1 exam will be “pass” or “fall” from January 26th, 2022. Examinees formerly obtained a score ranging from 1 to 300, however, the majority of testers fell between 140 and 260. To pass, you required a score of 194. Prior to the transition to pass/fail score on the USMLE Step 1, a medical student’s Step 1 score was an important factor in residency applications.

In the same way, USMLE Step 2 CK scores range from 1 to 300. The passing score, however, is greater than the USMLE Step 1 score. A 209 is required to pass USMLE Step 2 CK. Since USMLE Step 2 is no longer a pass/fail test as of 2022, it’s possible that the emphasis on Step 1 scores for residency application evaluation will be moved to USMLE Step 2 CK.

The USMLE Step 3 is identical to the other USMLE exams in that examinees are given a number from 1 to 300, with 198 being the passing mark.

How long does it take to receive your USMLE and MCAT scores?

Get MCAT score

Scaling and matching raw MCAT results to scaled scores takes around 30-35 days, according to the AAMC website. Students may also express any issues concerning exam questions or testing circumstances within these 30-35 days. By logging onto your AAMC account after 30-35 days, you will obtain your MCAT score.

Get USMLE score

All USMLE exams take 3-4 weeks to complete following your test date. However, delays might arise for a variety of reasons, resulting in a wait of up to 8 weeks. You will be notified via email once your USMLE score report is available, and you will be able to view it. This report will be available for up to 365 days after you have completed the exam.

Final thoughts

When comparing USMLE vs MCAT, all four examinations (MCAT, USMLE Step 1, USMLE Step 2 CK, and USMLE Step 3) might seem intimidating if you’re just starting out on your path to becoming a doctor.

However, with the correct sort and quantity of study, these tests may be quite successful. Remember to give yourself adequate time to study and memorize the subject, and throughout your review, concentrate on high-yield topics.

Additionally, perform a sufficient number of practice questions and practice examinations, as this is one of the most effective strategies to prepare for exams like this. Finally, make use of all of the study materials accessible to you, and don’t be afraid to seek assistance when necessary.

Now that you’ve known the difference between USMLE vs MCAT, let’s start pursuing your career path!

Don’t forget to take our free MCAT practice test at Medtutor to get familiarized with the format as well as the questions of the actual exam to strengthen your knowledge and skills, as a result, enhancing your chance to pass the MCAT exam with a high score on your first attempt. Good luck to you!

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Everything You Need To Know About MCAT Retake 2023

While many medical schools have clear MCAT cutoffs, deciding to retake the MCAT is never an easy choice. Here's everything you need to know about MCAT retake!

June 13, 2022

With good scores, you may be able to get into even the most reputable medical schools. Regardless matter how well you fared on other medical school prerequisites, poor statistics jeopardize your whole admissions chances.

It’s very painful to perform poorly on the MCAT. You study for months just to discover that your overall score isn’t high enough for the institutions you want to attend, or that your section scores are all over the place.

It’s understandable to get disappointed if you don’t meet that standard. MCAT retake? Should I do it? most candidates wonder at this time. This question may appear to have simple answers, but the solution, like other areas of medical school admissions, can be convoluted. While many medical schools in Canada and the United States have clear MCAT cutoffs, deciding to repeat the MCAT is never an easy option.

In this article, we’ll help you decide if you should retake the MCAT or attempt to get into medical school with a low MCAT score. If you decide to take the MCAT again, keep reading for advice on how to enhance your study and preparation tactics.

MCAT retake

What does your MCAT score mean?

Your MCAT score, along with your undergraduate GPA, is a key quantitative indicator of your academic ability. Although the MCAT may appear to be like any other standardized exam, the method admissions committees evaluate your MCAT results is actually rather complicated.

To begin, it’s crucial to recognize that the MCAT is often regarded as a reliable predictor of future success in medical school and the medical profession. Why? This is due in large part to the specificity of the knowledge examined by the MCAT.

Its four sections include topics that are essential for any medical practitioner, regardless of expertise. For example, performing well on the MCAT biology questions in the BBLS section is so important to medicine that it’s regarded as a key predictor of successful USMLE-1 scores, and many medical schools pay special attention to it.

As a result, medical school admissions committees want to see that you not only have the ability to be a successful medical professional but also that you can thrive in future tests necessary to completely enter the field.

Low MCAT scores almost often overshadow more qualitative criteria like your extracurriculars for medical school and reference letters, thus admissions committees will frequently utilize the MCAT score as a first-round assessment tool.

Given the large number of applicants that these committees must comb through, many admissions teams will use hard cutoffs on the MCAT and GPA to quickly “thin the herd.” All of the public service and pleasant words in the world won’t be able to compensate for the reality of a 480 MCAT score.

An excellent MCAT score, on the other hand, can assist offset for a below-median GPA. Although it won’t make up for a weak personal statement or letters of reference, the link between GPA and MCAT scores is roughly linear, suggesting that more of one can compensate for less of the other to some extent. Retaking the MCAT is a wise and required choice if your GPA and MCAT are both below acceptable levels.

Can you take the MCAT more than once?

Yes, you can take the MCAT up to 

  • three times each year
  • four times in two years
  • seven times in your lifetime. 

Even if you take a gap year before medical school, chances are you’ll be working for at least 2 years, so we’ll suggest 3-4 times—and trust us, if you’re thinking about taking a 6th or even 7th exam, you might want to look into a school that doesn’t need the MCAT at all.

Of course, just because you have the option to repeat the test does not imply you should. Retesting is a major investment of time, money, and effort, so there are several aspects to consider before proceeding.

Is retaking the MCAT necessary for you?

The MCAT is demanding, thorough, and exceedingly challenging. It is also one of the numerous factors that determine whether or not a student is accepted into medical school.

The MCAT is graded on a range of 472 to 528 points, with a 500-point average. However, the average for students admitted into allopathic (M.D.-granting) medical schools is greater. The MCAT average for accepted students was 511.5 in the 2020–2021 school year.

When considering a retake, the first question you should address is if your present score is sufficient. When comparing your scores, keep in mind that a retake must always result in a higher score.

Retaking the exam and receiving a lower score sends a variety of bad signals to admissions committees, not the least of which is that you may fail to learn from your mistakes.

If your initial MCAT study plans and practice program failed you, you should be able to demonstrate your flexibility by making good modifications. Both medical students and practicing physicians require adaptability and flexibility, and you don’t want to convey the impression that you lack either.

That being stated, determining whether your score is adequate should come first, before examining how to enhance your preparation method. Each of the three key components of assessing your score is significant.

Distribution of overall scores

The AAMC has put together a very useful table that shows the total admission percentages based on GPA and MCAT scores. This data may be used to derive some fundamental guidelines:

You should retest if your score is less than 498

Even with a stellar GPA of 3.79 or better, a score below 498 corresponds to an 18% likelihood of admittance. If your GPA falls below that level, your chances drop to less than a quarter of a percent. Although your score may be weighted to account for racial and ethnic differences in admissions (more on that later), a score below 498 should be considered an automatic repeat.

You should probably not retest if you got a 514 or above

If you look at the figure again, you can see that students with scores of 514 or above have admission rates of about 70% or higher, even if their GPAs are in the 3.4-3.59 area. 

Furthermore, scoring this well on two exams in a row is statistically rare—not it’s a perfect score, but the closer you get to it, the more probable a retest would provide a slightly lower score. 

Consider it similar to accepting another card on 18 in a game of blackjack—you could definitely destroy it, but it’s comparable to asking lightning to strike again.

If your score falls somewhere in the center, your GPA may be the decisive factor

Consider a student with a 3.5 GPA and a 507 MCAT score. This 507 would be competitive with a strong GPA, with a 56 percent chance of acceptance.

However, the total acceptance rate for medical school for students with numbers in this range is a concerning 36 percent. If your letters of reference, medical school personal statement, and extracurricular activities are all outstanding, you may have a chance to be among the 36% who get accepted.

However, for the majority of students, this is an excellent retest territory. There are additional elements to consider, such as the program’s competitiveness. For example, a school’s median MCAT score is 520, and the bottom end of the 10th percentile is 514, therefore 507 is clearly too low.

In general, you should consider retesting if your score falls considerably below the median of previously accepted students for the schools to which you are applying.

Averages and Thresholds for Specific Schools

The figures above represent an overall average calculated by incorporating data from all medical programs examined. However, each institution has its own average MCAT data based on the previous year’s matriculants’ records. Furthermore, most medical schools will set an MCAT minimum score or “floor” for matriculants to be considered.

Consider the Alex School of Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. It was one of the world’s most prominent medical schools, with a typical matriculant GPA of 3.94 and an MCAT score of 520.

This is no minor achievement for any student, but keep in mind that these are median figures! Even these ambitious goals will be exceeded by a significant number of Mayo Medical School students.

Returning to the AAMC’s chart, a student with a 514 MCAT and 3.7 GPA could appear to have a 72 percent probability of being admitted in a vacuum. However, if Mayo Medical Institution is the sole school you are applying to, the school-specific data put your MCAT score solidly in the lower end possible, and would almost certainly prompt a retest.

Cutoffs give these comparisons a new degree of stark clarity. Using Mayo as an example, their MCAT barrier for further consideration is the 75th percentile, or a score of at least 508, according to their admissions page. As a result, our hypothetical 507 student is unlikely to earn a secondary application.

Keep in mind that not every school has a clear, or at least public, MCAT threshold, so while you should look for these in their admissions materials as well as the AAMC’s MSAR database, you may only have a small number of matriculants to work with. Retesting, on the other hand, is a harsh and time-consuming approach in many ways. Unless you have your heart set on only one or two schools where your MCAT and GPA are too low, you should look for colleges with more forgiving performance requirements.

MCAT retake

Race/Ethnicity Score Scaling

The potential of weighting based on race or ethnicity is one last factor to consider while considering the feasibility of your MCAT score. Many, if not all, medical programs strive to maintain a racially and ethnically diverse student body, thus students from historically underrepresented or economically disadvantaged groups may be given special attention.

The typical student identifying as White or Asian is accepted with an MCAT score of 512 or 513, respectively, according to the AAMC’s table of Matriculant MCAT statistics by Race/Ethnicity, but those identifying as American Indian or Alaskan Native matriculated with an average MCAT score of 503.8.

There’s a lot to digest in data like these, and one of the most important things to remember is that this expressly does not imply that each institution’s student scores are similarly weighted by race/ethnicity.

That example, despite this average, a Navajo kid applying to Johns Hopkins with a 504 MCAT is unlikely to get accepted. These means and averages are calculated using data from all matriculating students, regardless of school—so it’s possible that students of other races/ethnicities have lower averages since they attend less exclusive programs on average.

The general point is that considering race and/or ethnicity might provide admissions committees greater “wiggle space.” Returning to our hypothetical student with a 507 MCAT and 3.5 GPA, they may have a better chance with a moderately competitive school if they identify as African American, but it does not guarantee they would be treated differently purely because of their race or ethnicity. It’s just another complication in the admissions process.

On the other hand, if your MCAT score is lower than your racially adjusted average, you should seriously consider retaking the exam. If our hypothetical student is Asian, then 507 is significantly below average and should be a strong indicator that they should retake. 

In general, scaling by race and ethnicity is difficult to extrapolate for many schools, therefore you should rely on comparisons based on overall and school-specific figures for the most part, and check racial/ethnicity averages mainly to explain the former two.

Other Considerations in the Retesting Process

If the above score criteria haven’t convinced you to retake the MCAT, there are a few more non-quantitative factors to consider before doing so.

Are you available for retaking the MCAT?

Studying for a second MCAT should be undertaken with the same kind of passion and commitment as the first. When it comes to studying for the MCAT, we propose a six-month plan to allow for initial diagnostic testing, studying, progress testing, and plenty of subject-specific practice work.

You may work with less time if required, but a six-month schedule is the best way to minimize burnout and failing in your other tasks.

A related decision is when to take the MCAT. If the rest of your life is too packed to allow even part-time study over a few months, you may want to consider either not retesting and risking a lower score, or taking a year off or a “gap year.”

Gap years before starting medical school are becoming more frequent, and they aren’t usually looked at adversely by admissions committees—as long as you use the year wisely, such as by having a premed gap year employment.

Volunteering, shadowing, updating your personal statement, and, of course, sticking to a strict and consistent study plan are all good ways to use this additional time.

Furthermore, if you get back into testing shape soon enough, you might be able to take the MCAT a third time if required. We don’t encourage it, but a year gives you plenty of room to work with and some “emergency room,” so to speak if test #2 doesn’t go as planned.

Do you have a better study strategy?

This has already been noted, but it bears repeating: if you’re simply repeating the same study schedule/methodology that failed you the previous time, you need to design a fresh strategy and stick to it.

We recommend meeting with an admissions professional in addition to consulting expert MCAT CARS tactics to feel confident in your new preparation approach.

Having professional assistance and feedback on what you’re doing makes a huge impact, and you want to be sure that your studying for round 2 is a major improvement over your first try to avoid wasting time.

When should you not take the MCAT again?

You got a 518 or better. Even if their average matriculant MCAT score is 520 or 521, a 518 or above will help you be competitive for the top-tier institutions provided you have a solid GPA and extracurricular profile.

An MCAT retake is not required with these scores since institutions will consider you academically outstanding. Furthermore, as previously mentioned, retesters with an initial score of 518 or above had a median gain of zero points. If this describes you, retaking the MCAT is probably not worth the risk.

Your score is sufficient for your desired schools. When it comes to MCAT results, there is such a thing as “good enough.” You won’t have to retake the MCAT if most of the schools you’re interested in have a 511 average MCAT score and you got a 512. The only exception is if your GPA is much lower than the average of those similar colleges.

You adequately studied for the exam, and your actual result is extremely close to or higher than your official practise exam scores. 

Despite evidence to the contrary, some medical school applicants believe they will fare significantly better on a later MCAT. You can be certain that you scored at or near your highest if you studied really hard for the exam and your score is very similar to what you got on certified AAMC materials.

You don’t have a clear strategy in place, and you don’t have enough time to resolve concerns from your prior exam. 

A large time commitment is required to perform well on the MCAT. If you have personal, academic, or application obligations that prevent you from thoroughly preparing for the exam, you may repeat the same mistakes or worse when you retake the MCAT. Similarly, if you study blindly (that is, without knowing how to adjust your study technique efficiently), you may not see the results you desire.

What are the advantages of retaking the MCAT?

Raise your score

The goal of retaking the MCAT in the first place is, of course, to improve your score. According to the AAMC, test takers who scored between 472 and 517 on their first attempt improved by two to three points on their second attempt. That implies that unless you already have a very high score, you will almost certainly improve.

Additional preparation time

An initial low score might be due to a lack of preparation. Perhaps you were unaware that the MCAT would be so difficult, or perhaps you studied the incorrect subject. Maybe you believed you could just “fly it” with little planning.

You might have also been coping with other influences at the time. If you choose to repeat the exam, you will have a second chance and extra time to devote to the MCAT’s rigorous requirements.

Better chances of getting into a better medical school

Your MCAT score could get you into a good medical school, but you want to get to the top. Harvard, Duke, Columbia, Johns Hopkins, and New York University (Langone) admit students with an average MCAT score of 519 to 522, which is much higher than the national average for medical school admissions. So, retaking the MCAT can be your ticket into the program.

What Are The Disadvantage Of Retaking the MCAT?

Even earn a lower score

The same AAMC study that indicates a gain for students with a score under 518 also shows that test takers who scored 518 or above on their first MCAT sitting have a median increase of zero on their second sitting.

As a result, it’s likely that you’ll get an even lower score if you don’t put in the effort to figure out what you need to do to raise your score.

Every MCAT exam result will be reviewed by medical schools

MCAT results are evaluated in a variety of ways by medical schools.

Some people just look at your top score, while others look at the average of all iterations. Others merely take into account the highest marks from each segment.

Admissions committees will view all of your MCAT scores regardless. While taking the MCAT twice is unlikely to have an influence on your admissions decision, taking it three or more times may make them wonder if you’re ready for the difficulties of medical school.

You’ll have to work harder

You won’t get a better grade unless you put in more effort in preparation. This will necessitate a drastic change in your study routine.

We recommend that students study for the MCAT for at least three months. We’ve found that if students don’t take this time, they seldom raise their test scores unless something unexpected happened on test day that had a negative influence (you were sick, you got into a car accident on the way to the exam center, etc.).

MCAT retake

What are some study tips for retaking the MCAT?

#Tip 1: Examine your notes and course materials from your undergraduate studies

You’ll have plenty of study material in the shape of textbooks, notes, and other course materials if you took applicable medical school requirements as an undergraduate—and we hope you did.

Although we don’t recommend becoming a paper hoarder, keeping notebooks, exams, projects, and study materials from these college scientific classes can be quite helpful for studying for a second MCAT try.

If you’re taking further time off or perhaps a complete gap year before going to medical school, you’ll want to go over this material again, especially if you’re studying for the MCAT. Regardless of how familiar these courses are in your memory, reviewing their topics over your weeks or months of pre-test preparation will be quite beneficial.

#Tip 2: Use practice questions and assessments on a regular basis

Testing yourself during your MCAT preparation gives continuously updated feedback on how your study method is paying off. Establishing an initial baseline is critical so you know which areas require the most improvement.

Furthermore, you may initially overestimate the time and energy required to raise one section’s score, and without regular diagnostic practice tests, you risk not discovering this and not making the most use of your time.

With the exception of anonymous strangers on the MCAT, all types of feedback are welcome. Reddit is extremely beneficial for critical endeavors such as the MCAT, so make the most of the opportunities to broaden your viewpoint and comprehension of your plan.

#Tip 3: Organize and periodize your time

Periodization is a concept that is commonly used in strength training, but it also applies to the heavy lifting that comes with preparing for the MCAT. Periodize your MCAT preparation by dividing your overall time into well-structured blocks that focus on specific parts of growth.

To avoid burnout and perform successfully, careful long-term planning is essential. For example, following your initial diagnostic test, we frequently propose the first phase of intensive review, with at least 70% of your time devoted to studying content and taking thorough notes.

It’s critical to go beyond memorizing during this stage and build a true grasp of the material. After that, transition to a practice phase in which you spend 70% of your time answering MCAT practice questions and taking full-length practice examinations.

It’s critical to vary not only the format but also the intensity of your preparation in order to stay on track and devote as much energy as possible to the real test when the time arrives.

Conclusion

Retaking the MCAT has both benefits and drawbacks. As a result, you’ll want to consider if another try is worth the work and risk. The answer will be determined by your current score, the potential you demonstrate through practice examinations, the MCAT averages of your desired medical schools, and your willingness to work hard to improve your score.

A retest may not be required in some cases. MCAT retake may be worthwhile if your original test score isn’t what you expected, you know you’re capable of more, and you can devote considerable time and effort to significantly boosting your score.

Despite the fact that repeated retakes are frowned upon, retaking the MCAT once or twice is not uncommon. Don’t allow an early setback to ruin your ambitions of pursuing a profession in medicine, and when it comes to retesting, proceed with caution.

Don’t forget to take our free MCAT practice test at Medtutor to get familiarized with the format as well as the questions of the actual exam to strengthen your knowledge and skills, as a result, enhancing your chance to pass the MCAT exam with a high score on your first attempt. Good luck to you!

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Cost Of MCAT – Price List For MCAT In 2023

The cost of the MCAT is another major barrier that many students must overcome. This article will discuss about the cost of MCAT to help you know more about it.

June 10, 2022

Preparing for the MCAT exam, which involves paying the MCAT registration fee as well as other fees, is an important step in the medical school admission process. Most medical schools in Canada and the United States require your MCAT score as part of the application process, and some may have rigorous cut-offs to screen out main applicants. Preparing for this tough 7-hour exam is difficult enough without the added stress of dealing with unanticipated expenses.

While most students are aware of the basic registration expenses for the MCAT, many are unaware of the other hidden expenditures involved with the MCAT and may be unprepared to cope with them. Read on to know the cost of the MCAT before taking the exam.

cost of mcat

How much is the MCAT exam?

The MCAT, often known as the Medical College Admissions Test, is one of the most significant examinations taken by anybody aspiring to be a doctor. Most MD and DO-granting medical schools require MCAT scores to even be considered (though there are a few exceptions). The MCAT, despite its importance, is not free. How much is the MCAT test?

It’s one of the expenses linked with the medical school application process. The test has a number of costs that only apply to specific test days. That implies you must pay registration costs for each MCAT try.

The only exception is if you register after the deadline. If seats are available, the AAMC will accept late registrations up to eight days before the exam date. However, joining up on short notice will cost you an extra $55 on top of the normal $320.

You can adjust your testing date or location if necessary. The AAMC also charges $95 in administrative costs for this (which is why it’s important to choose the correct size from the start).

Finally, there is an additional cost for overseas students. The cost of the MCAT exam is charged to test takers who complete the exam outside of the United States, Canada, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the United States Virgin Islands.

Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Lebanon, and other countries have testing facilities. As of January 2021, overseas test-takers must pay an additional $115 cost in addition to the usual $320 registration price.

MCAT requires a financial investment

When it comes to the MCAT exam, there are various financial considerations to consider, ranging from the cost of preparation to registration fees and travel charges. There are strategies to reduce your expenditures, which we’ll go through later in the blog, such as employing low-cost prep supplies and taking use of the AAMC fee help program. However, not all of these options are available to every student, and for the average MCAT test-taker, the exam is a major price that must be accounted for as part of their med school application.

So, when you plan your med school application, keep in mind that preparing for the MCAT will cost you money in addition to time and effort.

MCAT fees

The MCAT exam fee for the registration is USD $320 for all US and Canadian test sites. International students must pay an extra international fee of USD $115 in addition to the aforementioned cost, as well as any relevant local taxes such as sales tax, value added tax, GST/HST, and so on. In addition to the base price, Canadians must pay GST/HST. The amount of tax varies according to the province and the local taxing rules in effect.

AAMC provides a complete cancellation refund for the basic payment, but not for the taxes and extra international charges. If you cancel or reschedule fewer than 8 days before the exam, you will not be refunded.

You cannot also register for the exam fewer than 8 days before the test date. We do not, however, advocate leaving the registration procedure until the last minute. After determining how much time you’ll need to finish your MCAT prep, you should register for the exam two or three months in advance.

MCAT prep fees

Besides the MCAT test fee, you need to spend more fees for MCAT prep. The MCAT is one of the most difficult examinations you’ll ever take! It is purposefully designed to be a difficult exam since many medical schools regard your MCAT score to be a crucial indicator of your academic and intellectual preparation for medical school. It lasts 7 1/2 hours and is divided into four sections that assess your understanding of core medical sciences and associated humanities courses, as well as your reasoning, critical thinking, analysis, and comprehension skills.

While some medical schools do not require the MCAT, the majority of medical schools consider it a significant selection element. Some schools, such as the most prestigious Ivy League medical schools, utilize your MCAT score, along with your GPA, as a filter to sort out good applications. If your application does not match their minimal necessary score, it may be rejected before it is ever examined!

As a result, it is vital that you take your MCAT preparation seriously and devote the necessary time and effort. If you’re wondering how to study for the MCAT, the first thing to understand is that this is not an exam that can be aced with hurried preparation. You must not only thoroughly understand, memorize, and synthesize key knowledge and concepts pertaining to the MCAT Chemistry, MCAT Physics, MCAT Biology, and MCAT Psychology sections, but you must also engage in numerous practice sessions to develop critical analysis and reasoning skills in order to improve your MCAT CARS score.

To complete all of this, the average medical student must devote at least 350 hours of intense study time. Make sure you have all of the necessary MCAT prep tools and resources to assist you to prepare for the exam as you plan your MCAT prep. This includes guides and textbooks covering the scientific concepts and knowledge needed for the exam, question banks with detailed answers to help you practice answering different types of questions and develop the necessary skills to tackle the difficult ones, and mock exams to familiarize you with the MCAT format and test-taking conditions.

Furthermore, you may want to seek expert assistance in the form of tutoring or a prep course to assist you with certain topics that you find difficult. While there are some basic free MCAT prep tools accessible, the vast bulk of these resources is not. Your real spending will be determined by your study style, academic needs, and individual problems.

cost of mcat

Other expenses associated with taking the exam

Depending on your circumstances, registering for a single MCAT test date might cost you several hundred dollars. If you’re like most prospective students, you’ll go in a number of times to acquire the finest possible date. MCAT expenses quickly climb in such cases.

But it isn’t all.

This is not an accurate depiction of the MCAT fee. Additional charges will very certainly be incurred. Many of the following expenditures are sometimes neglected but are required for many test-takers to get the desired score.

Here’s a list of some of the most typical expenses you’ll face when you study for the MCAT.

  • Study tools

Study materials will be one of the most valuable purchases you’ll make during your MCAT adventure. The MCAT is a difficult exam that you should not take lightly if you want to earn a decent grade. Some students seek to prepare for the challenges ahead by relying solely on their textbooks.

Unfortunately, many of these students enter the MCAT unprepared and unprepared for the genuine challenge that lies.

The MCAT is a four-part exam that covers several areas. The test covers humanities, social sciences, and other subjects in addition to science-based modules including biology and biochemistry. Furthermore, the great bulk of the test questions is based on passages.

To master the MCAT, you must have more than just strong memory and repetition abilities. You must become acquainted with the test format and question styles. Otherwise, you risk scoring far lower than you should.

Study tools can assist you in overcoming these obstacles. The majority of students studying for this exam will purchase anything from MCAT prep books to practice tests. The prices of these things vary greatly.

Some are merely a few hundred dollars, but prices may quickly escalate.

Full-fledged prep courses are the most costly tools on the market. They are, nevertheless, the most efficient. They usually provide all of the necessary resources as well as several practice changes to mirror the real MCAT experience.

MCAT preparation classes typically cost between $1,500 and $1,800. More comprehensive courses with lifelong access might cost three or four times as much!

  • Tutoring and consulting services

When studying for the MCAT, it is usual for individuals to seek tutoring assistance. While not required, this is frequently the strategy that results in the highest score improvement.

A qualified MCAT instructor will use their experience to build a personalized study plan based on their appraisal of the student’s knowledge. They will also be accessible to assist students in working through this plan to ensure they are prepared.

However, a skilled tutor is not inexpensive. While you may get inexpensive MCAT tutoring, the finest instructors will normally charge between $150 and $350 per hour.

Because of the enormous improvements that working with a tutor may offer, most believe this to be a crucial element of the “real” MCAT fee. It is totally up to you how much time you spend working with a tutor.

If you discover that you want more extensive coaching or specialized, focused, section-by-section teaching after reviewing the publicly available resources and completing the diagnostic MCAT exam, you can choose paid consultation services in the form of an MCAT tutor or MCAT prep course. The MCAT may be a difficult exam to study for on your own, and not every student is up to the challenge. If you prefer one-on-one coaching for your most difficult topics, or if you’re having trouble answering CARS questions, tutoring or prep classes might be quite beneficial.

The cost of MCAT tutoring and prep courses varies according to the quantity and type of coaching you choose. MCAT prep classes often range in price from $300 to $5000. You could expect to pay more than $1000 for a 6-month comprehensive coaching curriculum that covers all MCAT parts and includes several sample question banks and practice exams. You may also acquire a cheaper study materials package that includes self-paced online webinars or videos. You may also choose a certain number of tutoring lessons to target your weakest areas and pay just for the assistance you require.

Remember that when planning your MCAT study schedule and completing your MCAT prep, your first focus should be to ensure that you fully prepare for the exam. Get all the assistance you need to give it you’re all. Don’t be afraid to seek more assistance in addressing your important areas for improvement. Finally, it is preferable to invest your time and money in putting in your best efforts so that you do well on the exam, rather than saving money on inadequate study tools and then doing poorly on the MCAT.

If you have to retake the MCAT, you will have to pay the registration fees and any associated charges again. If you are unable to retake the MCAT within the same application season, you may have to wait until the following application cycle. This is a significant financial loss (in terms of med school application fees), not to mention the grief and frustration of squandering a year and having to postpone your med school goals even longer.

  • Getting to the test site

Finally, don’t forget about the transportation charges to and from the testing place.

This cost is largely dependent on where you reside and where you choose to take the exam. The AAMC administers exams across the country and in a number of overseas places. They usually cling to major cities and population hubs.

If you reside in one of those cities, your expenses may be as little as a tank of petrol or a bus ticket! However, if you reside many hours away, you may incur significant fees.

It is critical to consider travel time. You must not only guarantee that you arrive on time and without incident, but you must also consider how the stress of travel may affect your performance. Without breaks, the MCAT already takes over six hours. Can you withstand a multi-hour car ride on top of that?

It can be worthwhile to spend on a hotel stay. While this will increase your overall MCAT costs, the extra time may help you in the long run.

The MCAT is not an online exam, and you must go to an MCAT exam facility to take it. One of the hidden MCAT expenditures that students sometimes overlook is the cost of traveling to your MCAT destination, as well as accompanying fees such as test-day lodging, transportation to and from the test facility, and so on. These expenses vary based on your location and distance from the testing site. A domestic flight in the United States typically costs approximately USD $500. Driving is a cheaper choice, with the average cost of petrol being 3.5 dollars per gallon, but it also takes significantly longer.

Also, if you’re traveling for more than a few hours, you’ll need to include the cost of any lodging you stay in on the route to your destination. This might easily add another $200 to $300 to your total costs.

When enrolling for the exam, you may try to reduce this cost by choosing an exam center that is closest to you and most convenient in terms of travel and lodging.

Students who live in crowded regions have an advantage since they are more likely to discover an MCAT test center nearby. They may not even need to make travel or lodging arrangements and may be able to drive to their exam facility in a matter of minutes. If you reside in a rural or isolated region, you will most likely need to arrange for travel to another city or town, overnight accommodations, and transportation to the test facility. These expenses might quickly mount up.

To illustrate the usual costs associated with taking the MCAT, consider a student going from a rural location to an urban environment like as Chicago. This student will spend USD $400 on a plane ticket from their hometown to Chicago, and another $50 or so on a cab ride to their lodging. They may have to pay an additional $200 for a room at an Airbnb near their center for lodging. They must also account for the cost of meals, snacks, and any other extraneous charges that may arise, which might amount to an additional $50. This student will pay around $700 in total for MCAT airfare and hotel.

Remember that the real statistics might be significantly higher or lower than the amounts shown above. Flight tickets and petrol prices will vary based on where you live. You might try to save money by utilizing public transportation such as a bus or train from the airport to your hotel and around the city. A cab or Uber may cost $50 or more for a 30-mile trip, but public transit may cost only a few dollars. However, keep in mind that figuring out public transit in a new city is difficult, and you risk getting lost and causing unnecessary stress soon before a critical exam like the MCAT.

Furthermore, if you choose to remain in a prominent region of the city, the cost of lodging may become too high. If, on the other hand, you choose a less expensive lodging located some distance from the center, you will be required to pay for a taxi, bus, or another mode of transportation.

Though these fees may appear expensive, it is not a good idea to cut corners on your travel and lodging arrangements in order to save money. Remember that the MCAT is a 7+ hour exam, and you must be fresh and well-rested on the day of the exam in order to retain your stamina and give each part your best effort. If you make hurried and inconvenient travel arrangements, you may arrive late for the test or be too exhausted to take it adequately. You don’t want to score poorly on the test or skip it entirely because of one bad day after months of study!

cost of mcat

Is it possible to make it more affordable?

Don’t be anxious about the reasonable MCAT pricing we’ve stated above. There are methods to save expenditures and make life easier for you.

The American Academy of Medical Colleges offers a Fee Assistance Program. The program is designed for students who cannot afford to take the MCAT on their own.

To be eligible, you must complete a separate application form and supply supporting evidence. The application requests financial information about you and your family.

The Fee Assistance Program authorizes applicants based on poverty requirements established by the US Department of Health and Human Services. For 2021, you can get the program reward if your family’s income is 400% or less than the previous year’s poverty level.

This initiative has the potential to significantly reduce expenditures. The program benefit is usually a substantial reduction in the MCAT enrollment price. Waivers for multiple medical school applications and free MCAT study resources may also be included.

Resources that are free or low-cost

Some MCAT preparation tools are fully free and freely accessible online. While these do not give a full, all-inclusive MCAT prep program, they do provide a good foundation from which to design your MCAT study regimen. Ideally, you should read over these resources right at the start of your preparation to identify where you stand and which areas of preparation may require more assistance. As a result, you may determine where and how to devote your time and money throughout your MCAT preparation period.

AAMC Materials:

AAMC’s website has various free MCAT prep materials, including:

  • Each of the four MCAT parts includes complete test information in PDF format.
  • You can use this free sample exam as an MCAT diagnostic test.
  • A guide to developing a study plan
  • 12 MCAT questions are included in this MCAT practice program.
  • MCAT video library with over 1000 videos and 3000 questions
  • Various MCAT study guides are available.

In addition to these free tools, AAMC offers a comprehensive array of premium MCAT preparation products. You have the option of purchasing individual things as needed or the entire bundle for USD $350. The individual items are as follows:

  • USD $34 for the official MCAT study guide
  • Four full-length MCAT practice tests are available for USD $35 each.
  • USD $90 for the MCAT question pack bundle
  • MCAT prep CARS diagnostic gadget costs $25 USD.
  • Additional low-cost tools, such as flashcards, guides, and section-specific question banks and study materials, cost between $10 and $45 USD apiece.

The AAMC suggests that you use all of these low-cost resources to make your MCAT preparation as robust and complete as possible.

Other free and low-cost materials

You can also leverage various free online courses in the form of videos and webinars, as well as blogs, study guides, and sample question banks. They provide an amazing selection of free MCAT resources including blogs, videos, webinars, books, and guides, as well as cost-effective premium materials and coaching services to help you focus on particular areas of development.

MCAT total estimated cost

We have produced a table with the overall expected MCAT costs based on an example of a specific student, Mary, to assist you to understand the actual expenditures required with taking the MCAT. Mary, in our case, is a US citizen who is not eligible for the AAMC financial assistance program. She enrolled in a mid-level MCAT prep course. She enrolled for the MCAT exam at a Chicago facility and booked a trip to O’Hara airport because she lived in a remote part of Illinois. The rates we’ve given for travel, transportation, and lodging are all based on the typical costs in USD in a major city like Chicago.

FAQs – Cost of MCAT

How much does it cost to register for the MCAT?

The MCAT costs USD $320 to take at a US or Canadian facility. In addition to the $320 registration price, international registration fees are $120. Keep in mind that, in addition to the above charges, foreign and Canadian students may be required to pay local taxes.

How much MCAT prep do I need to spend?

That depends on your study needs, chosen study method, and how much assistance you require with MCAT prep. If you have a solid academic foundation in the MCAT areas and are skilled at self-study, you may use AAMC’s free and low-cost tools, as well as additional free materials like BeMo’s webinars, videos, books, and guides, to finish your MCAT prep for less than $500. If you need further assistance with specific areas of weakness or study tactics, you can enroll in MCAT tutoring or prep classes, which can cost $400 or more depending on the degree and type of coaching you choose.

How much does it cost to cancel or reschedule my MCAT?

If you cancel your exam 8 days or more before the test date, you will receive a full refund. You can also free reschedule your exam till this deadline. If you need to cancel or reschedule your test within the final week before it, you will not receive a refund and will be required to pay the entire registration fee again.

How can I lower my MCAT costs?

You can apply for the fee assistance program if you are a US citizen or permanent resident of a low-income family. If you qualify for this program, you will pay a reduced MCAT registration price and receive free access to all AAMC MCAT prep tools. In addition, if you need to find inexpensive lodging near an MCAT facility, you can take advantage of AAMC’s discounted lodging at neighboring hotels.

If you are already familiar with MCAT exam topics and prefer to self-study, you may mix AAMC’s low-cost and free materials with the various free online MCAT prep tools to construct a cost-effective MCAT prep regimen.

However, if you believe you require extra assistance, remember that it is preferable to engage in MCAT coaching or prep courses so you can give the exam your all rather than risk performing poorly due to insufficient preparation.

Do all medical school admissions require an MCAT score?

No, MCAT scores are not required for all medical schools. Some do not require it at all, while others may require a minimum MCAT score but do not use it as a selection criterion. Check the admissions page of the institutions you’re applying to for their unique MCAT requirements.

Final thought

As you can see, the genuine MCAT cost is somewhat more than the exam fee. While you are not required to pay any extra money, it is typically necessary if you want to earn a competitive score and get admitted.

Many students decide that the additional expenditures connected with the MCAT are worthwhile in exchange for improved performance and less stress. But, at the end of the day, it is all up to you! So hope you find out the suitable information from this article about the cost of the MCAT and try your best for your exam.

Don’t forget to take our free MCAT practice test at Medtutor to get familiarized with the format as well as the questions of the actual exam to strengthen your knowledge and skills, as a result, enhancing your chance to pass the MCAT exam with a high score on your first attempt. Good luck to you!

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What Is The MCAT? Everything You Need to Know in 2023

What is the MCAT? MCAT is a computer-based, multiple-choice exam that is required for admission to medical schools in the United States and Canada.

June 10, 2022

What is MCAT? If you want to be a physician, your MCAT scores will be a big part of your application to the schools you want to go to. What does MCAT stand for, what is the MCAT exam? Read on to find all the beneficial answers to these questions.

Let’s get started with our free MCAT practice test to get familiarized with the format and as well as questions of the real exam to pass the actual exam with a high score on your first attempt.

what is the mcat

What is the MCAT?

What does MCAT mean? What is the MCAT exam?

MCAT stands for The Medical College Admission Test, it is more than just a formality for medical school admissions. MCAT is a computer-based, multiple-choice exam that is required for admission to medical schools in the United States and Canada. Annually, over 80,000 applicants to medical schools in the United States and Canada submit their MCAT scores.

The MCAT is a test established and administered by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) to provide medical schools with standardized measures to evaluate applicants’ qualifications and preparedness for medical school. Your MCAT score, as well as your academic record and supporting materials, are used by medical school admissions committees to evaluate your foundations for a successful medical career.

The exam has changed over time, and since 2015, it has primarily been a reasoning-based exam – although a wide breadth of basic knowledge is required to accurately answer the questions.

The MCAT will assess your understanding of natural, behavioral, and social science principles and concepts, as well as problem-solving and critical thinking skills necessary for medical school.

Let’s find out what are the four MCAT sections and the breakdown of the number of questions for each MCAT section in the next part of the article.

What are MCAT sections?

The MCAT has integrated sections, which means that subjects are not assessed separately but rather in overlapping areas of concentration, as you will encounter them in medical school.

The MCAT’s integrated content is divided into four test sections that make up the exam:

  • Chemical & Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
  • Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills
  • Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
  • Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior

Each of the four sections of the MCAT is scored from 118 to 132, with the median and mean at 125. This means the total score ranges from 472 to 528, with the median and mean at 500. See the following for further information on how the MCAT is scored.

  1. Chemical & Physical Foundations of Biological Systems

The Chemical & Physical Foundations of Biological Systems section requires you to solve problems by combining your knowledge of physical and chemical foundational concepts with your scientific inquiry and reasoning skills. 

This section examines your understanding of the physical, mechanical, and biochemical functions of human tissues, organs, and organ systems. It also examines your knowledge of the basic physical and chemical principles that underlie the mechanisms operating in the human body and your ability to reason about and apply your understanding of these basic physical and chemical principles to living systems.

This section is designed to

  • Test introductory-level biology, physics, organic and inorganic chemistry, and concepts;
  • Test biochemistry concepts at the level taught in many universities and colleges in first-semester biochemistry courses;
  • Test molecular biology topics at the level taught in many universities and colleges in introductory biology sequences and first-semester biochemistry courses;
  • Test basic research methods and statistics concepts that are described by many baccalaureate faculty as critical to success in introductory science courses; and
  • Require you to show your scientific inquiry and reasoning, research methods, and statistics skills as applied to the natural sciences.
Number of QuestionsTimeScore range
44 passage-related questions95 minutes118 to 132
15 standalone, non-passage-related questions
59 total questions

You will have access to the periodic table during the actual exam while answering questions in this section of the exam.

Content of the exam will draw from*:

Discipline:

  • First-semester biochemistry, 25%
  • Introductory biology, 5%
  • General chemistry, 30%
  • Organic chemistry, 15%
  • Introductory Physics, 25%

Foundational Concept:

  • Foundational Concept 4, 40%
  • Foundational Concept 5, 60%

Scientific Inquiry and Reasoning Skill:

  • Skill 1, 35%
  • Skill 2, 45%
  • Skill 3, 10%
  • Skill 4, 10%

*These percentages have been approximated to the closest 5% and will vary from one test to other tests for a variety of reasons.t 5% and will vary from one test to another for a variety of reasons. These reasons include, but are not limited to such as controlling for question difficulty, using groups of questions depending on a single passage, and using unscored field-test questions on each test form.

  1. Critical Analysis & Reasoning Skills 

what is the mcat

The Critical Analysis & Reasoning Skills section of the MCAT exam will be similar to many of the verbal reasoning tests you have taken in your academic career. It consists of questions and passages that test your ability to comprehend what you read. 

You could find this section to be unique in several ways, though, as it has been developed specifically to measure the analysis and reasoning skills you will need to be successful in medical school. 

The Critical Analysis & Reasoning Skills section achieves this goal by asking you to read and think about passages from a wide range of disciplines in the social sciences and humanities, followed by a consequence of questions that lead you through the process of comprehending, analyzing, and reasoning about the material that you have read.

Critical Analysis & Reasoning Skills passages are relatively short, typically between 500 and 600 words, however, they are complex, often thought-provoking pieces of writing with sophisticated vocabulary and, at times, intricate writing styles. 

Everything you need to know to answer test questions is in the questions and the passages themselves. No additional coursework or specific knowledge is required to do well in the Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills section, but you, as the test taker, may find yourself needing to read the passages and questions in ways that are different from the reading required in the textbooks you used in most pre-health courses or on tests like the SAT Critical Reading exam. 

Passages for the Critical Analysis & Reasoning Skills section, even those, written in a conversational or opinionated style are often multifaceted and focus on the relationships between ideas or theories. The questions associated with the passages will require you to assess the content, but you will also need to consider the authors’ intentions and tones and the words they used to express their points of view.

This section is designed to

  • Test your comprehension, analysis, and reasoning skills by asking you to critically analyze the information provided in passages;
  • Include content from philosophy, ethics, studies of diverse population health, cultures, and a wide range of social sciences and humanities disciplines; and
  • Provide all the information you need to answer questions in the passages and questions themselves.
Number of QuestionsTimeScore range
53 passage-related questions90 minutes118 to 132

This Section will draw from*:

Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skill:

  • Foundations of Comprehension, 30%
  • Reasoning Within the Text, 30%
  • Reasoning Beyond the Text, 40%

Passage Content:

  • Humanities, 50%
  • Social Sciences, 50%

*These percentages have been approximated to the closest 5% and will vary from one test to other tests for a variety of reasons.t 5% and will vary from one test to another for a variety of reasons. These reasons include, but are not limited to such as controlling for question difficulty, using groups of questions depending on a single passage, and using unscored field-test questions on each test form.

  1. Biological & Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems

The Biological & Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems section challenges you to resolve problems using your biological and biochemical concepts, as well as your scientific inquiry and reasoning skills.

Growing and reproducing, maintaining a constant internal environment, collecting materials and energy, recognizing and responding to environmental changes, and adapting are all processes that are unique to living creatures.

It also asks you to reason about these processes at various levels of biological organization within a living system, and it tests how cells and organ systems within an organism function independently and in concert to accomplish these processes.

This section is designed to

  • Examine fundamental concepts in biology, organic chemistry, and inorganic chemistry;
  • Test biochemistry concepts at the level taught in first-semester biochemistry courses at several colleges and universities;
  • Test cellular and molecular biology topics at the level taught in introductory biology sequences and first-semester biochemistry courses at various institutions and universities;
  • Many baccalaureate faculty consider basic research methods and statistics concepts to be critical for success in introductory science courses; and
  • In the natural sciences, you must demonstrate your scientific inquiry and reasoning, research methods, and statistics skills.
Number of QuestionsTimeScore range
44 passage-related questions95 minutes118 to 132
15 standalone, non-passage-related questions
59 total questions

You will have access to the periodic table during the actual exam while answering questions in this section of the exam.

You could be wondering about how much biochemistry will be covered on this section of the MCAT exam, how many questions will be asked about a specific foundational concept, or how your scientific inquiry and reasoning skills will be divided across the exam. The questions you see will most likely be distributed in the following ways. For each discipline, foundational concept, and reasoning skill, these are the approximate percentages of questions you’ll see on an exam.

Discipline:

  • First-semester biochemistry, 25%
  • Introductory biology, 65%
  • General chemistry, 5%
  • Organic chemistry, 5%

Foundational Concept:

  • Foundational Concept 1, 55%
  • Foundational Concept 2, 20%
  • Foundational Concept 3, 25%

Scientific Inquiry and Reasoning Skill:

  • Skill 1, 35%
  • Skill 2, 45%
  • Skill 3, 10%
  • Skill 4, 10%

*These percentages have been approximated to the closest 5% and will vary from one test to other tests for a variety of reasons.t 5% and will vary from one test to another for a variety of reasons. These reasons include, but are not limited to such as controlling for question difficulty, using groups of questions depending on a single passage, and using unscored field-test questions on each test form.

what is the mcat

  1. Psychological, Social & Biological Foundations Of Behavior

The Psychological, Social & Biological Foundations of Behavior section requires you to resolve problems by applying your foundational knowledge to scientific inquiry and reasoning.

This section assesses your knowledge of how psychological, biological, and social factors influence perceptions and reactions to the world; what people think about themselves and others; the cultural and social differences that influence well-being; behavior and behavior change; and the relationships between social stratification, access to resources, and well-being.

The Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior section emphasizes concepts that tomorrow’s doctors will need to understand in order to serve an increasingly diverse population and comprehend the impact of behavior on health. It also emphasizes the importance of future physicians being equipped to deal with the human and social aspects of medicine.

This section is designed to

  • Test ideas in psychology, sociology, and biology concepts that will help you understand the behavioral and sociocultural determinants of health in medical school.
  • Many colleges and institutions teach test concepts in first-semester psychology and sociology courses;
  • Test biology concepts related to mental processes and behavior that are taught in introductory biology lessons at various colleges and universities;
  • Many baccalaureate faculty consider basic research methods and statistics concepts to be critical for success in introductory science courses; and
  • In the social and behavioral sciences, you must demonstrate your scientific inquiry and reasoning, research methods, and statistics skills.
Number of QuestionsTimeScore range
44 passage-related questions95 minutes118 to 132
15 standalone, non-passage-related questions
59 total questions

The content of the exam will draw from

Discipline:*

  • Introductory psychology, 65%**
  • Introductory sociology, 30%
  • Introductory biology, 5%

Foundational Concept:

  • Foundational Concept 6, 25%
  • Foundational Concept 7, 35%
  • Foundational Concept 8, 20%
  • Foundational Concept 9, 15%
  • Foundational Concept 10, 5%

Scientific Inquiry and Reasoning Skill:

  • Skill 1, 35%
  • Skill 2, 45%
  • Skill 3, 10%
  • Skill 4, 10%

*These percentages have been approximated to the closest 5% and will vary from one test to other tests for a variety of reasons.t 5% and will vary from one test to another for a variety of reasons. These reasons include, but are not limited to such as controlling for question difficulty, using groups of questions depending on a single passage, and using unscored field-test questions on each test form.

**Please note that approximately 5% of this test section will involve psychology questions that are biologically relevant.  This is in addition to the introductory biology discipline objective of 5% given for this section.

What is a good MCAT score?

It’s always a good idea to look at the requirements—or minimums, if applicable—at the med schools to which you’re applying while deciding on your MCAT score goal. Here are some additional data about MCAT scoring that can aid you in determining your target score:

The MCAT’s four sections are scored from 118 to 132, with the median and mean at 125. The overall score varies from 472 to 528, with the median and mean at 500.

Why are the numbers somewhat odd? The AAMC stresses that this scale places a greater emphasis on the central portion of the score distribution, where the majority of students score (about 125 per section, or 500 total), rather than the high end of the scale.

On the new exam, the AAMC includes the full scoring scale. An initial correlation between scaled score and percentile has been published by the AAMC.

PercentileScaled MCAT Total Score
Top 10% of all test takers514 to 528
Top 25% of all test takers508 to 513
Top 50% of all test takers500 to 507
Below 50th percentile of all test takers499 or below

How Long Is The MCAT?

You may plan to spend just over 7.5 hours on MCAT Test Day, including test-taking time and possible breaks, including one for lunch. This time does not include the time you check in at the testing center. It is essential to arrive on time and prepared. The following is the AAMC lists the Test Day schedule:

MCAT SectionTime
Examinee Agreement8 minutes
Tutorial (optional)10 minutes
Chemical & Physical Foundations of Biological Systems95 minutes
Break (optional)10 minutes
Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills90 minutes
Mid-Exam Break (optional)30 minutes
Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems95 minutes
Break (optional)10 minutes
Psychological, Social & Biological Foundations of Behavior95 minutes
Void Question5 minutes
Satisfaction Survey (optional)5 minutes
Total Content Time6 hours, 15 minutes
Total Seated TimeApproximately 7 hours, 33 minutes

Who can take the MCAT?

Can anyone take the MCAT exam? If you want to apply to a health professions school, such as allopathic, podiatric osteopathic, and/or veterinary medicine, you can take the MCAT. Moreover, this is also true for international students.

  • You’re submitting an application to any health-related program that accepts MCAT exam results.
  • You are enrolled in or have completed an MBBS degree program (Bachelor of Surgery, Bachelor of Medicine).

You will be requested to verify your intention to apply to medical school or a health professions school during MCAT registration. The MCAT does not have any educational standards. Students with science and non-science backgrounds are eligible to take the MCAT exam and apply to medical school.

However, there are some undergraduate courses that are recommended for improving exam performance. It is essential to understand that required courses do not limit one’s ability to pursue a wide range of undergraduate academic programs.

When to take the MCAT?

Prospective medical students usually schedule the MCAT a year before they plan to attend medical school. If you want to attend medical school in 2023, you can take the MCAT in 2022 or earlier.

As the MCAT has no academic prerequisites, you can take it as early as your freshman, sophomore, or junior year of undergraduate study if you consider you’re ready. You can ask for advice from your pre-health advisor.

Whether or not you will retake the MCAT is an important consideration. If you believe you’ll need to take the MCAT more than once, you should take it early in the testing year. This will give you enough time to get your scores and make a decision.

Another thing to consider is readiness. Have you thoroughly prepared for the MCAT’s content and skills requirements? You should begin MCAT preparation at least six months before your test date.

How many times can I take the MCAT?

You can take the exam up to three times in one testing year, up to four times in two consecutive years, and up to seven times in your lifetime. Obviously, you want to reduce the number of times you have to take such a hard exam, and this is where good MCAT preparation comes in. Additionally, medical schools will not consider your application until they have all of your AAMC scores.

How much does the MCAT exam cost?

The MCAT costs $310 if you register during AAMC’s regular registration window, but it keeps rising if you register late or reschedule. Some test takers may also be subjected to cancellation and international fees. It’s essential that you pick the best MCAT test date—and test prep—for you to avoid having to pay the fee again.

Conclusion

What is the MCAT test, what subjects are included in the MCAT exam, and what is a good MCAT score are among the key questions that we have answered? The MCAT can definitely help you get into the medical school of your dreams (especially if you have a lower-than-average GPA), but it is not everything! Get your test prep completed as quickly as possible, then focus on polishing your application materials.

Don’t forget to take our free MCAT practice test to pass the actual exam with a high score on your first attempt. Good luck to you!

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