MCAT (Medical College Admission Test)
The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is the entrance exam required by most allopathic, osteopathic, chiropractic and podiatric medical programs. The MCAT is taken by more than 75,000 people each year and is one of many tools that admission committees use to ascertain the suitability of applicants to their schools. The MCAT is administered by and overseen by the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC).
Click here to link to the primary Web site for the MCAT.
The MCAT is offered about 30 times each year between the months of January and September. It is a computer-based exam.
Click here to link to the current MCAT exam schedule.
You must register for the MCAT well in advance of when you want to take it. Registration for the April-May exams typically opens in February. Registration for the June-September exams opens a month or so later. Each testing center has a limited number of seats for each test administration. The closest testing centers to San Marcos are in Austin and San Antonio, but there are a number of test sites located throughout Texas. For the 2021 administrations, the cost to take the test is $320 if you register well in advance, but partial fee waivers are available if you apply well ahead of time and can demonstrate financial need.
Click here to link to the MCAT registration page.
When you register for the MCAT please remember to check the box that releases your scores to the pre-health advisors at your university. We never share your MCAT scores with other people, but knowing how our students do on the exam is important information we need as we work with other students in the future.
The AAMC has designed a new MCAT exam that they began administering in April 2015. The previous MCAT was over 20 years old and was no longer testing the skill set and knowledge base that medical schools seek in their current applicants.
This new exam is substantially different from the previous exam. Changes include the content of the exam, the length of the exam, the scoring system, and the administration schedule. Your best source of information is the MCAT site on the AAMC website. Click here to visit this website.
MCAT 2015 will contain four sections that will integrate content areas (biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, physics, statistics, psychology and sociology). The four sections are:
Biological and biochemical foundations of living systems = 95 minutes, 59 questions
Chemical and physical foundations of biological systems = 95 minutes, 59 questions
Psychological, social and biological foundations of behavior = 95 minutes, 59 questions
Critical analysis and reasoning skills = 90 minutes, 53 questions
Most of the medical schools in the country have indicated that they will accept both old and new MCAT scores for the next few years.
To do well on the MCAT you should strive for three things:
- Master the content that will be tested.
- Become familiar with the format of the exam itself and understand what kind of information the exam seeks to test.
- Practice taking exams to increase your comfort and familiarity with the exam format and to ensure that you time your progress through each section effectively.
There are a number of ways to do this (prep courses, independent study, written guides, etc.) and you need to think about what is the most effective way for you to study. Plan to spend a substantial amount of time preparing for the exam.