Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)
The vast majority of U.S. and Canadian medical schools require applicants to submit MCAT scores as part of their supporting materials. It is important to be aware of the MCAT policy for the medical school in which a student applies. The MCAT is valid for three years, but each school is free to set its own policy. The policy for all schools may be found here.
What is on the MCAT?
In 2015, the MCAT was significantly revised to include more interdisciplinary passages that require examinees to combine their knowledge with their scientific thinking and reasoning skills to solve problems that demonstrate readiness for medical school.
Below are the four test sections of the revised MCAT exam.
- Biological and Biomedical Foundations of Living Systems
- Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
- Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior
- Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills
For more information, see the MCAT overview on the AAMC website.
What courses do I need before taking the MCAT?
To be adequately prepared for the MCAT, you should have completed the following courses:
- BIOL 1107/L and BIOL 1108/L
- CHEM 1211/L and CHEM 1212/L
- CHEM 2211/L
- BCMB 3100 or BCMB 4010 & 4020
- PHYS 1111/L and PHYS 1112/L
Students are encouraged to also take STAT 2000 or BIOS 2010, PSYC 1101, SOCI 1101, GENE 3200, and a course in Physiology (CBIO 3710, VPHY 3100, PMCY 3000 or CBIO 2200 & 2210).
When and where is the MCAT offered?
The MCAT is usually offered several times each month between January - October of each calendar year. Registration typically opens in mid-October.
Most students take the MCAT in the Spring/Summer between their Junior and Senior year (with April, May, and June being the preferred months).
Fortunately, students have several locations in which to take the MCAT including Atlanta, Macon, Augusta, etc. Please note that as of 2018, AAMC has partnered with Pearson and now only offers the MCAT at their testing centers. This means that Athens is no longer a test site. You can register for the MCAT here.
How is the MCAT scored?
Each sub-section of the MCAT is scored on a 118-132 scale, with a mid-point of 125. The total score for the MCAT will range from 472 to 528. Scores will also be placed into percentile rankings based on the performance of all test-takers in a given month of administration.
MCAT score releases take approximately 1-month. Review the MCAT score release calendar before registering for your MCAT date.
MCAT scores expire after 3-years. Keep that in mind as you plan gap-years.
How long is the MCAT?
The entire exam is estimated to take ~7-8 hours to complete. Each section is divided into 90-95 minute blocks, with a 30 minute mid-exam break and two 10-minute optional breaks. Examinees can start the next section in the exam early if they finish the previous section early, or if they want to skip one of the breaks. The remaining time from a section finished early or a skipped break will not carry over into the next section of the exam.
Can I receive financial assistance to pay for the MCAT?
Yes! The AAMC Fee Assistance Program assists those who, without financial assistance, would be unable to take the MCAT. This program also provides assistance for paying for the AMCAS medical school application and access to the Medical School Admissions Requirements (MSAR) handbook.
The Fee Assistance Program cannot be applied retroactively, so it is important you apply for assistance before paying for the MCAT or AMCAS.
How many times can I take the MCAT?
You should always plan to take the MCAT only once. However, it is not uncommon for applicants to take the MCAT twice. You must do better in subsequent attempts. Further, many medical schools do not accept scores after three attempts.
Do not take the MCAT for practice! There are several resources for practice tests available for free or for purchase.
How should I study for the MCAT?
You may elect to self-study or take a guided MCAT-prep course (or both!) to prepare for the MCAT. What you decide is completely dependent on your own financial situation and beliefs in your study skills. It is not mandatory to take a prep-course; in fact, many UGA students do quite well on the MCAT through self-study alone. The key is to devise a plan, stick to it, and take multiple (at least 5-6) full-length practice exams.
It is advised that students take 12-13 hours during the semester they are studying for the MCAT.
The AAMC offers various products, resources and tools to assist students with the MCAT exam and there are a wealth of other private options, including Kaplan, Princeton Review, ExamKrackers, Khan Academy, etc.
The Pre-Health Advising Office does not endorse or recommend any MCAT prep course/company. Students should use due diligence in determining the best preparation for the MCAT.