MCAT or Medical College Admission Test is an entrance test designed to assess the capabilities of a student for the purpose of admission into a medical course. The test is recognized by nearly all the medical colleges in the US and Canada. It is a standardized test, which tests if the students are capable for medical academic field, or not. Every student does not have the aptitude and capability of practicing medicine. To pursue a career in medicine you require specific skills. Most of these skills are acquired in your lower grades. Along with your knowledge of science, it tests your verbal skills and reasoning abilities.
The responsibility of developing and conducting the test is that of the Association of American Medical Colleges. This is a non-profit organization that is committed to serve the medical schools in order to ensure better health for all. Since 2007 the test has been made computer-based which makes it possible to offer the test numerous times in a year along with making it shorter than before. Basic skills required to operate a computer are enough to appear in the test.
Importance of Conducting MCAT
Conducting MCAT becomes important as it is a standardized test for students coming from all walks of life. There are a number of students aspiring for medical studies. Each has a different level of intelligence. Also the seats available in a medical college are limited as compared to the number of students applying for them. That is why it becomes essential for medical colleges to become selective. They require a criterion where all the students can be put on a single scale and judged in the same light. MCAT is such a testing method where you get a score according to your performance in the test. This score becomes the index of your intelligence. A student getting a high score in the test is considered deserving whereas the one getting a low score may be rejected.
For students this test is a means of approaching various medical colleges. It is a single test that makes them eligible for admission in almost all colleges. They can send their score to various colleges in order to apply for admissions in them. This test is therefore very useful to colleges as well as students.
Structure of MCAT
MCAT is about a 5-hour long test. It is offered 22 times in a year on 19 different test days. It can be conducted in the morning or in the evening while on some days it can be conducted, both, in the morning as well as in the evening.
The test basically consists of multiple-choice questions with a couple of essay writing questions. It is divided into 4 sections, which are as follows:
- Physical Science,
- Verbal Reasoning,
- Writing Sample and
- Biological Sciences.
- PHYSICAL SCIENCE
- VERBAL REASONING
- WRITING SAMPLE
- BIOLOGICAL SCIENES
The Physical Science section consists of 52 multiple-choice questions. Students are given 70 minutes to complete this section. This is the first section to be administered. You are tested for your knowledge in physics and chemistry. You knowledge of physics should be updated by proper understanding of thermodynamics, nuclear physics, light and optics, Newton's concepts etc. In questions based on chemistry you could be tested for your knowledge of acids and bases, periodic table, bonding, states of matter etc. The questions are designed in such a way that the understanding of your concepts is tested.
The next section administered is that of Verbal Reasoning. It is a 60 minutes long test with 40 multiple-choice questions to be attempted. This section tests your ability to understand the given passages based on different subjects. You are required to answer the questions based on these passages. This section analyses your reasoning and understanding of the concept.
The Writing Sample is the third section to be conducted. It consists of 2 essay-writing questions to be completed in 30 minutes each, therefore making it a 60-minutes long section. In this section you are tested for your language and expression. You are given a set of statements and are asked to write an essay in your own words to develop the thought. You can give your own views and support it with examples and reasoning.
This is the last section to be administered. This section is again a 70-minutes test with 52 multiple-choice questions asked in it. This section requires your understanding organic chemistry and biology. You are given passage-based questions as well as independent questions.
Note: You are given a choice of taking a 10 minutes break three times during the test.
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