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MCAT Exam: What Does MCAT Stand for?

The MCAT stands for Medical College Admission Test. Unlike the GRE CAT, the MCAT lasts twice as long and covers a broader range of verbal, science, and writing components. Most medical schools assess your academic prowess from your transcript and your MCAT score; the MCAT indicates whether you possess a solid foundation to build a successful medical career. Although you can prepare for the test by reviewing scientific concepts, the test stresses the assimilation of new information and the thought required to answer questions surrounding it. The American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) indicates that the MCAT measures not only proficiency in the basic sciences, but also the more general problem-solving, critical thinking, and communication skills developed in humanities curricula. In the end, the MCAT sits among the top three selection factors for admissions officers surveyed by the Princeton Review.

MCAT Test Sections

Given twice a year, in April and August, the MCAT consists of four timed sections administered over a period of more than seven hours. Broken down, it contains four and three-quarters hours of multiple-choice-testing plus a one-hour writing sample. After the administrative details and three breaks, you can count on a long day. The four timed sections include verbal reasoning, physical sciences, the writing sample, and biological sciences.

How Long Is the MCAT?

TOTAL TIME: Approximately 5 hours and 45 minutes, plus 1 hour for lunch, 20 minutes for breaks, and 45-60 minutes spent filling out personal information.  Expect to spend about 8 hours total at the testing center.

They always appear in the same order on a test day.

85 minutes
100 minutes
60 minutes
100 minutes
65 multiple-choice questions: approx. 9-10 passa ges with 6-10 questions each
77 multiple-choice questions: approx. 10-11 passages with 4-8 questions each; 15 stand-alone questions
2 essay questions (30 minutes per essay)
77 multiple-choice questions: approx. 10-11 passages with 4-8 questions each; 15 stand-alone questions
critical reading
basic general chemistry & physics concepts, analytical reasoning, data interpretation
critical thinking, intellectual organization, written communication skills
ba sic biology & organic chemistry concepts, analytical reasoning, data interpretation

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