The MCAT (or Medical College Admission Test) is required by most Medical School
s to be taken in the spring
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
, solution chemistry
, nuclear chemistry
, environmental chemistry
, acid-base chemistry
, chemical kinetics
, and chemical thermodynamics
) and Physics (kinematics
, electromagnetic wave
, 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
). 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.