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Michigan Medical Education Day Saturday, October 8, 2011. Managing the MCAT. Medical College Admissions Test. Standardized, multiple-choice examination designed to assess problem solving, critical thinking, and writing skills for all U.S. and some Canadian medical schools (MD and DO).

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medical college admissions test
Medical College Admissions Test
  • Standardized, multiple-choice examination designed to assess problem solving, critical thinking, and writing skills for all U.S. and some Canadian medical schools (MD and DO).
  • Also serves as admission test for some U.S. veterinary and podiatry medical programs.
  • Tests specific knowledge in Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences, Verbal Reasoning, andWriting.
one of several admission criteria
One Of SeveralAdmission Criteria

Along with:

  • GPA
  • Extracurricular activities and exposure to the profession (employment, volunteering, research, etc.)
  • Reference letters
  • Application essays
  • Interview performance
  • Special life experiences and circumstances
what it covers
What It Covers

Physical Science Concepts

General Chemistry and Physics

Biological Science Concepts

Biology and Organic Chemistry

Verbal Reasoning


of new information

Writing Sample

Topic statement with instructions for 3 writing tasks

mcat section format
MCAT Section Format

Physical & Biological Sciences

  • 7 passages w/ 4-7 questions per passage
  • 13 independent questions

Verbal Reasoning

  • 7 passages w/ 5-7 questions per passage
  • Passages are about 600 words long

Writing Sample

  • 2 essays (30 minutes each)
  • Subjects are not medical/scientific in nature
mcat layout
MCAT Layout

Tutorial (optional) 10 min.

Examinee agreement 10 min.

Physical Sciences (52 questions) 70 min.

Break (optional) 10 min.

Verbal Reasoning (40 questions) 60 min.

Break (optional) 10 min.

Writing Sample (2 essays) 60 min.

Break (optional) 10 min.

Biological Sciences (52 questions) 70 min.

Void Question 5 min.

Survey 10 min.

  • Gather required paperwork for accommodation request well in advance (ideally ~6 months) of anticipated test date.
  • Accommodation requests often denied due to incomplete or obsolete supporting documentation  give yourself plenty of time to appeal.
test registration
Test Registration

Costs: $240 (regular registration)

Additional fees for late registration, changes…

Online Registration

Register 60+ days in advance of test date

Read online “MCAT Essentials” first

Fee Assistance Program (FAP)--$240  $85

testing locations in michigan
Testing Locations in Michigan
  • Ann Arbor
  • Auburn Hills
  • Detroit
  • East Lansing
  • Grand Rapids
  • Lansing
  • Livonia
  • Mt. Pleasant
  • Sault Ste. Marie
  • Troy
when should i take the mcat
When Should I Take The MCAT?

In general…

  • When you have completed your pre-requisites
  • Can fit several months of intense MCAT preparation in your schedule
  • By spring/summer of the year during which you plan to apply to medical school

***Test dates are January, and March through September***

why so early
Why So Early?
  • Application services for allopathic and osteopathic medical schools (AMCAS and AACOMAS) open in May and start allowing submission in early June.
  • Because of rolling admissions, submit your primary application in June or early July at the very latest, ideally with MCAT scores in hands.
  • Exception: Take MCAT later and apply in the following year or beyond if you need to strengthen preparation and overall application profile.
when should the exam not be taken
When Should The ExamNot Be Taken?

In general …

  • When you have not taken a substantial number of pre-requisites (i.e., Freshmen/Sophomores)
  • If you will not be applying to medical school for another 2 or more years
  • As a “trial run” since all scores count!
preparation methods
Preparation Methods

Self Preparation

  • Familiarize yourself with the test as soon as you start pre-medical classes
  • Read “The Official Guide to the MCAT Exam”
  • Borrow/purchase old MCAT practice tests from fellow students--one available free online
  • Develop a study schedule and start practicing at least four months in advance
  • Consider group study options
preparation methods continued
Preparation Methods, continued

Test Preparation Organizations

  • Always try self-study or group study first
  • Test prep orgs expensive but can be effective
  • Outcome usually proportionate to investment in time and practice beyond the course
  • Official prep courses may buy a false sense of security
  • Good scores are the result of a lot of studying and practicing—they are not bought.
release of mcat scores
Release Of MCAT Scores

Automatic : You cannot withhold scores!

  • AAMC and affiliated institutions
  • AMCAS (for inclusion in your application)


  • HealthProfessional Advisor
  • Med-MAR (Medical Minority Applicant Registry)
  • MCAT Recruiting Service
  • AACOMAS (DO schools) and other application services  as applicable
mcat scoring
MCAT Scoring
  • Biological Sciences,Physical Sciences, and Verbal Reasoning: scaled score of 1-15
  • Writing Sample: scaled score of J-T


  • No penalty for guessing
  • Scores available 30 days after test
what is a good score
What Is A Good Score?
  • Variance among schools
  • For the last few years, average score of accepted applicants nationwide:

~30 P forallopathic medical schools

~26 O for osteopathic medical schools

to retake or n ot to retake
To Retake Or Not To Retake

Change from an initial score of 8


Number of points different from original score

mcat score policies by school
MCAT Score Policies—By School

University of Michigan

  • Best set of scores is given most weight
  • Averages are considered (individual scores <8 not viable)
  • August and September takers are at a disadvantage

Michigan State University CHM (MD)

  • Focus on improvement if multiple scores available
  • Biological Science and Verbal Reasoning scrutinized most
  • Applications w/ late summer MCAT are held for review until scores are received
  • MCAT scores for tests taken in January are only considered for those on alternate list
mcat score policy continued
MCAT Score Policy, continued

Wayne State University

  • Most recent scores are given most weight--highest scores may be considered
  • Retake is recommended if any section is <8
  • Applications are not reviewed w/o MCAT scores
  • Only scores through September may be used for same application year

Oakland University

  • Focus is on improvement (upward trend)
  • Applications are not reviewed w/o MCAT scores
  • Applicants should score at least a 26 to be competitive
  • Only scores through September may be used for same application year
mcat score policy continued22
MCAT Score Policy, continued

Michigan State University COM (DO)

  • MCAT scores constitutes 25% of decision making process
  • Best set of scores used if <3 years old
  • Focus on improvement for retakes
  • Late summer MCAT test puts students at a disadvantage due to rolling admissions
changes on the horizon mr5
Changes On The Horizon: MR5
  • Major review underway.  New MCAT expected to launch in 2015
  • Depending on your application timeline, this change may or may not affect you: Talk to your pre-med advisor!
  • Proposed MCAT changes include testing on behavioral and social studies principles

addition of some measures of integrity, service orientation, and other personal characteristics to facilitate a more holistic review.

  • See details about the MR5 project:https://www.aamc.org/initiatives/mr5/
new official mcat self assessment package for spring 2012
New Official MCAT Self-Assessment Package for Spring 2012
  • Helps student identify strengths/weaknesses to guide test prep
  • Self-Assessment in each section of exam:

--Complete actual MCAT items

--Assess confidence in topic/cognitive skill

  • Compares individual performance to other MCAT examinees
more information
  • Official MCAT website:


  • Talk with your advisor!