The MCAT (or Medical College Admission Test) is required by most Medical Schools to be taken in the spring or summer before application (which takes place in the fall).

The principal sections of the MCAT are Verbal Reasoning, Biological Sciences, Writing Sample, and Physical Sciences.

The Verbal Reasoning section takes place first and is 85 minutes long. Although it is scaled on a 1-15 scale, the highest score possible was a 13 (thus the scale was skewed) until 2002. For the 2003 MCAT, a score of 14 or 15 will be possible. This section consists of a series of approximately nine to eleven passages on natural science, social science, and humanities topics, followed by multiple choice questions testing the student's vocabulary, reasoning, and analytical skills.

The Physical Sciences section consists of a similar series of passages, usually a few more than the Verbal Reasoning section. It takes place second, and lasts for 100 minutes. The Physical Sciences section includes General Chemistry (analytical chemistry, stoichiometry, solution chemistry, electrochemistry, nuclear chemistry, environmental chemistry, acid-base chemistry, chemical kinetics, and chemical thermodynamics) and Physics (kinematics, statics, dynamics, electricity and magnetism, electromagnetic waves, sound, and optics). This section also includes discrete questions not based on a passage. It is scored on a scale of 1 to 15.

The Writing Sample consists of two essays, timed separately at 30 minutes each. The student is given a statement, such as "People get the government they deserve." They are then asked to explain the statement, describe a situation in which it isn't true, and discuss what determines when it is and isn't true. This section is scored on a scale of J-T, with J the worst and T the best.

The Biological Sciences section is the final one and follows a format similar to Physical Sciences. It tests organic chemistry (structure, reaction mechanisms, spectroscopy) and biology (viruses and bacteria, evolution and ecology, physiology). It is also scored on a scale of 1 to 15.

The composite MCAT score consists of the sum (not the average) of the three numbered sections, with the letter score appended. Thus the best possible score is a 45T.

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