The MCAT Test
Pattern of the MCAT
What is MCAT?
MCAT is an abbreviation for the Medical College Admission Test, which is a pre requisite for admissions to most of the medical schools in the U.S., Canada, Australia and most of the South-East Asian countries. It is a computer-based exam since 2007. The MCAT has been designed to assess the test-takers' reasoning, problem-solving, writing, and critical thinking skills. Apart from this, the test-taker is also required to have a thorough understanding of the basic concepts and principles of Science.
Due to the growing acceptance of the MCAT as a standardized assessment for medical school, most of the countries today have made it mandatory for students to take the MCAT in order to seek admissions into medical schools. MCAT is conducted several times in a year; 25 times or more times. MCAT has authorized testing centers all around the world. The most preferred time to take the MCAT is April/May since schools end their terms by March and students who have been preparing for MCAT since their high school year, find it suitable to take the MCAT immediately.
Sections of MCAT
The MCAT has a combination of both Science and English sections. There are four sections in MCAT, let's take a closer look at them.
- The Physical Sciences: There are a total of 52 multiple choice questions in this section, which are to be completed in 70 minutes. The most fundamental concepts of Physics and Chemistry are covered in this section. The test-taker is supposed to know the basic formulae related to these two science subjects. There is a direct correlation between the practice of medicine and these subjects. An average high-school student would be adept with these questions having studied the related content in his/her school years. These questions are mainly based on passages, which are around 200-300 words long and will describe a specific situation or a problem.
- The Biological Sciences: This section will consist of 52 multiple-choice questions, which are to be completed in 70 minutes. This section basically covers fundamental concepts of Biology, as well as Organic Chemistry. The test-takers are expected to have good working knowledge of topics such as balancing equations in Organic Chemistry and The Periodic Table. This section of the MCAT is designed to test the problem-solving skills of the test-taker. This is done through questions that are based on passages that are 250-300 words long and discuss a specific problem or a situation.
- The Verbal Reasoning Section: There are 40 multiple-choice questions in this section and they must be completed in a span of 60 minutes. The questions are based on passages, mostly around 500 words. These passages are taken from myriad sources like books, magazines, newspapers etc. They are of different topics as well, such as, Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, Arts, Humanities and Philosophy. The Verbal Reasoning Section assesses the reading comprehension and analytical skills of the test-taker.
- The Writing Section: This section tests the basic writing abilities of the test-taker. This section has two essays and they have to be completed in a span of 60 minutes. The writing prompts are inspired from various topics such as art, ethics, values or education. The exam requires the test-taker to explain, expand and evaluate the topic.
Scores in MCAT
The Physical Sciences, Verbal Reasoning, and Biological Sciences sections on the MCAT are scored on a scale of 1 to 15; wherein, 1 is the lowest score and 15 is the highest score. The scores of the writing section range from J-T; J being the lowest and T being the highest. The writing sample is graded both by a human assessor and a computer scoring system. There is no negative marking in the MCAT; so many students adhere to guessing rather than leaving the answer blank.
For more information on the MCAT exam you can refer to the website www.aamc.org
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