About the MCAT
MCAT Test Schedule
| MCAT Test Centres in
|Important Changes to the MCAT |
2013 and 2014: For MCAT test takers in 2013 and 2014, the Writing Sample Section
will be removed.
2015: For applicants considering applying to medical school to start
for the fall of 2016, there is a new exam (MCAT2015) that will be offered.
Here are some general changes that are being implemented:
Medical changes have altered the natural sciences section
Addition of the social and behavioral sciences section
New Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills section
For a summary of changes organized in a chart for the MCAT2015
by the AAMC, please click here.
The AAMC has also created a preview guide which can be found here.
What is the MCAT?
The Medical College Admission Test, commonly known as the MCAT, is a computer-based
standardized examination for prospective medical students in the United States
and Canada. It is designed to assess problem solving, critical thinking, written
analysis, and writing skills in addition to knowledge of scientific concepts
and principles. Prior to August 19, 2006, the exam was a paper-and-pencil
test; since January 27, 2007, however, all administrations of the exam have
The new MCAT in 2015 will be offered on fourteen test dates per year. The
total number of administrations will remain the same from previous years;
however more administrations will occur on each test date to account for the
reduction of total test dates per year. The new exam’s duration will be 7.5
The exam prior to MCAT 2015 was offered 25 or more times per year at Prometric
centers. The number of administrations may vary each year. Most people who
take the MCAT are undergraduates in college in their Junior or Senior year
of college before they apply to medical school. Ever since the exam's duration
was shortened to 4.5–5 hours, the test may be offered either in the
morning or in the afternoon. Some test dates have both morning and afternoon
What is the format of the MCAT?
The new MCAT in 2015 will be first administered in April 2015.
The test 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
All of the sections are in multiple-choice format. The passages and questions are predetermined, and thus do not change in difficulty depending on the performance of the test taker (unlike, for example, the Graduate Record Examination).
Scores for the four multiple-choice sections range from 118 to 132, with
125 being the center point.
The numerical scores from each multiple-choice section are added together to give a composite score. The composite score range for each section combined is 472 to 528. There is no penalty for incorrect multiple choice answers, thus even random guessing is preferable to leaving an answer choice blank (unlike many other standardized tests).
10 min (optional)
|Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
10 min (optional)
|Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills
30 min (optional)
|Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
10 min (optional)
|Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior
5 min (optional)
|Total Test Time
6 hrs 15 min
|Total Seated Time
7 hrs 33 min
Note: For test takers in 2013-2014, the Writing Sample section is removed
and replaced with a voluntary Trial section.
The test prior to the MCAT 2015 test consisted of four sections, listed in
the order in which they are administered on the day of the exam:
- Physical Sciences (PS)
- Verbal Reasoning (VR)
- Writing Sample
- Biological Sciences (BS)
The Verbal Reasoning, Physical Sciences, and Biological Sciences sections are
in multiple-choice format. The Writing sample consists of two short essays that
are typed into the computer. The passages and questions are predetermined, and
thus do not change in difficulty depending on the performance of the test taker
(unlike, for example, the Graduate Record Examination).
The Physical Sciences section assesses problem-solving ability in general
chemistry and physics and the Biological Sciences section evaluates these
abilities in the areas of biology and organic chemistry. The Verbal Reasoning
section evaluates the ability to understand, evaluate, and apply information
and arguments presented in prose style. The Biological Sciences section most
directly correlates to success on the USMLE Step 1 exam, with a correlation
coefficient of .553 vs .491 for Physical Sciences and .397 for Verbal Reasoning.
Predictably, MCAT composite scores also correlate with USMLE Step 1 success.
Scores for the three multiple-choice sections range from 1 to 15. Scores
for the writing section range alphabetically from J (lowest) to T (highest).
The writing section is graded by a human reader and a computerized scoring
system. Each essay is scored twice - once by the human reader and once by
the computer - and the total writing sample score is the sum of the four individual
scores. The total raw score is then converted to an alphabetic scale ranging
from J (the lowest) to T (the highest).
The numerical scores from each multiple-choice section are added together
to give a composite score. The score from the writing sample may also
be appended to the composite score (e.g. 35S). The maximum composite score
is 45T. According to the AAMC, the average 2008 MCAT score for U.S. medical
school applicants was 28.1P, while for matriculants it was 30.9P. There
is no penalty for incorrect multiple choice answers, thus even random
guessing is preferable to leaving an answer choice blank (unlike many
other standardized tests). Students preparing for the exam are encouraged
to try to balance their subscores; physical, verbal, and biological scores
of 12, 13, and 11 respectively may be looked upon more favorably than
14, 13, and 9, even though both amount to the same composite score.
It is recommended that every student taking the MCAT should prepare for
the test beforehand. We at Ivy Global are prepared to equip you with the
skills and strategies needed to maximize your results. Ivy Global offers
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