What is MCAT
What Is MCAT, What It Tests And How?
If you have the altruistic nature to reach out for the sick and the helpless then perhaps you should consider taking the MCAT. What is MCAT? Just like the various international standardized tests, the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is taken, to get admission to most of the U.S medical schools which includes allopathic, osteopathic, podiatric and veterinary medicine.
Understanding the MCAT Test
So what is MCAT testing you for? Before answering this question it is important to understand what is MCAT? MCAT is a standardized test which includes multiple-choice type of questions and is conducted by the Association of American Medical Colleges. It is designed to test the candidate's fundamentals in all those aspects of science and maths which are related to the field of medicine. It is an examination designed with the purpose of assessing your higher cognitive skills as well as your writing skills on subjects like Biology, Physics and General Chemistry as well as Organic Chemistry. You have the option of taking this test as a paper-based test or as a computer-based test and both are scored in the same way.
What Does MCAT Test?
Now that you have a tentative idea of what is MCAT, let us try to understand how it assesses you. Your skills will be tested through four sections which are as follows:
- Physical Sciences: This section contains a mix bag of questions from Physics and General Chemistry and is intended to test your problem solving abilities.
- Biological Sciences: This section again, will test your problem solving abilities but with respect to questions pertaining to Organic Chemistry and Biology. Make sure you are well aware of the basics of cells, DNA and the different systems that make up our body.
- Verbal Reasoning: This section will test your abilities to comprehend, evaluate and incorporate new ideas and information as well as your abilities to apply the information.
- Writing Prompt: This section will test your ability to write in a clear and focussed manner. It will consist of a topic, based on which you will be given three writing tasks. The first task will always be to explain the topic according to your understanding, while the instructions for the second and third tasks will vary from question to question and will be printed below each topic statement. The good thing about this section is that the AAMC has released a list of all the topics with statements and instructions which is indeed a big help for the candidates preparing for this section. The topics presented in this section of the test will be similar to the topics given in this list.
Scoring the MCAT Test:
The three sections i.e. Physical Sciences, Biological Sciences and Verbal Reasoning sections will be scored on a 15-point scale each, while the Writing Section is scored twice on a scale of 1 to 6 and is averaged. The raw score is then converted to an alphabetical scale and given a letter score from J through T. While you have understood this question, it is important to bear in mind that to take the test you should complete your course in Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics and English. For gaining admission to medical school, the test will only be one of the many factors which will be considered; nevertheless, it is one of the major decisive factors for gaining admission. Beginning your preparation for the test with an understanding of the question is definitely the first step. For more details on the different test sections log onto https://www.aamc.org/students/applying/mcat/preparing/.
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