Utility of MCAT Examination
The MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) is a test to ascertain the suitability of a candidate for the colleges of medicine. It is a standardised test that has four sections. The questions of the test are multiple choice questions that are designed to assess the aptitude and ability of a candidate aiming for medical school admission. The test is designed mainly for the medical schools of the United States and the governing body or the administrator of the test is the AAMC i.e. the Association of American Medical Colleges.
The MCAT Examination details:
The test has four sections. The four sections of the test are Physical Sciences, Biological Sciences, Verbal Reasoning and Writing Sample.
1. Physical Sciences: The Physical Sciences, as the name suggests, include physics and chemistry subjects. This section of the examination aims at assessing the candidate's knowledge of chemicals, elements, bonding structure of elements, atomic structures, energy, thermodynamics, thermo-chemistry, electronics and kinetics, equilibrium, solution chemistry, acids and bases, electrochemistry, translational motion, electronic circuit movements etc. It is a combined section for all the aspects of physics and chemical sciences. The questions are rigorous and the course structure is very exhaustive. The link https://www.aamc.org/students/download/85566/data/bstopics.pdf connects you to the official list of topics included in the physical sciences section of the examination.
2.Biological Sciences: The Biological Sciences section has questions from a vast range of topics from biology and its associated sciences like Botany, Zoology, Microbiology, etc. The section tests the knowledge of the applicant in the field of molecular biology (enzymes etc), metabolism, DNA structure, protein synthesis, eukaryotes, cells and tissues, muscles, nervous system, endocrine system, immune systems, circulatory systems, digestive systems, lymphatic systems, skin, reproduction, excretion etc. The following is the link to the detailed explanations of the topics covered under the biological sciences section of the examination. https://www.aamc.org/students/download/85566/data/bstopics.pdf
3.Verbal Reasoning: This section of the examination is not that technical in nature as it measures the capacity of a student to assess the given comprehensions and analyse them to answer questions .The section includes questions that require the student to identify the nuances of the given passage, its meaning, inferences and the logical derivations in terms of language skills. This section is as important as the other two scientific sections. This link https://www.aamc.org/students/download/85564/data/vstopics.pdf directs you to the detailed explanation of the verbal reasoning section of the exam.
4.Writing Sample: This is the most interesting section of the exam because of its novelty. The Writing sample section requires a student to write on a given subject. The writing matter has to be related to the given topic, cohesive and comprehensive. The website www.aamc.org provides a list of sample topics for the sample Writing section of the exam. The student needs to be very well prepared for this section also because this section is scored on a different scale than the other sections of the exam.
Things to remember about the MCAT:
- It is a medical college entrance examination.
- It is administered by the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges)
- The examination format contains four sections.
- The four sections are; Physical Sciences, Biological Sciences, Verbal Reasoning and Writing Sample.
- Almost all medical schools of the United States consider the MCAT as a prerequisite for admissions.
- The scores are calculated through a rigorous statistical procedure and the official website of the exam www.aamc.org explains the process of scoring in detail.
- The scores are valid only for a period of three years after which a candidate has to reappear for the examination to be eligible for medical school.
Why the MCAT:
The field of medicine is a very vast field and it is very difficult to decide which student is better qualified for the schools of medicine than the other, based on individual subject marks. The MCAT captures so many topics so that through one test only, the AAMC affiliated colleges can choose the better students from the many that apply to them.