The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is developed and administered by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). The MCAT exam is a standardized test that evaluates the capabilities, skills and knowledge which are essential for pursuing higher studies in the field of medicine. Most of the medical schools across the United States and Canada require the MCAT exam scores to be submitted along with the application forms for admissions. There are a number of other programs related to medicine and health studies that consider the MCAT exam scores for evaluating suitability for admissions.
The medical school admission committees find the MCAT exam scores very useful in classifying the applicants into two broad categories. One category is of the applicants who have scored high in the MCAT exam reflecting their ability to excel in the pursuit of medical studies and practicing medicine. The second category comprises of applicants who have scored low in the MCAT exam and this is an indication of their inability to perform well in the academic studies of their medical school program. The MCAT exam scores are not the only criteria considered by the medical school admission committees for admissions, but applicants falling in the first category have a better chance of getting admitted as compared to those who fall in the second category.
MCAT exam Format
The MCAT exam consists of four sections. Three of the sections consist of multiple choice questions and the fourth section is a writing test. The multiple choice sections of the MCAT exam are the Physical Sciences section, the Verbal Reasoning section and the Biological Sciences section. As of now, the MCAT is administered by computer only.
The Writing Sample section of the MCAT exam requires you to write 2 essays and you are given 60 minutes for the same. The Physical Sciences section will consist of 52 multiple choice questions that have to be answered within a time frame of 70 minutes. You will be presented with 40 questions in the Verbal Reasoning section of the MCAT exam and you will have 60 minutes to answer all of them. In the Biological Sciences section you will have to answer 52 questions within 70 minutes. You may opt for a 10 minutes break between two sections. After attempting all the sections of the MCAT exam, you will be given 10 minutes for survey. You can also avail the option of taking a 5 minutes tutorial at the start of the MCAT exam. The entire time duration for taking the MCAT exam will be approximately 5 hours.
Content Tested by MCAT Exam
The MCAT exam is a test of your knowledge of the basic concepts of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. In addition to the knowledge of these subjects, the MCAT exam is designed to evaluate your expertise in applying this knowledge for solving related problems. Your critical thinking skills and general writing skills are also tested by the MCAT exam. The questions that are asked are not designed to evaluate your capability to recall scientific facts and formulae while taking the MCAT exam. You are expected to be able to effectively utilize your knowledge in solving the problems presented to you.
The Physical Sciences section of the MCAT exam consists of questions designed to evaluate your ability to solve problems related to Physics and General Chemistry. Your problem solving abilities in the subject areas of Biology and Organic Chemistry are tested by the questions presented to you in the Biological Sciences section of the MCAT exam. Each of the Physical Sciences section and the Biological Sciences section of the MCAT exam contains approximately 10 independent questions and approximately 8 sets of questions based on different passages.
The Verbal Reasoning section of the MCAT exam consists of seven passages followed by sets of questions. These questions will require you to analyze the statements made in the passages before answering them. The passages presented to you in the Verbal Reasoning section of the MCAT exam will be based on various concepts of social sciences, natural sciences and humanities.
The Writing Sample of the MCAT exam will require you to write two essays. This section of the MCAT exam is designed to test your writing skills and knowledge of the rules of English grammar. The topics presented to you for writing an essay are not intended to evaluate your knowledge on any subject. You will only be assessed for your ability in presenting your ideas in a consistent, organized and logical manner that follows the norms laid down for standard written English.
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