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What is the MCAT?

The Medical College Admission Test (commonly referred to as the MCAT) was administered for the first time in 1947 by the Association of American Medical Colleges, the AAMC. Founded in 1876, the AAMC is a non-profit association, formed with the mission of transforming health through improved health care, medical research and medical education. The MCAT is a standardized, multiple-choice examination, taken by candidates who are seeking a career in the medical sector. The MCAT challenges candidates critical thinking and problem-solving skills, also evaluating their knowledge of social, behavioural and natural science concepts. The MCAT is used by medical school admissions offices to determine the strongest candidates for the new academic year and is a highly anticipated event in any hopeful medical school candidate’s academic journey. The vast majority of medical schools in the US and Canada require the submission of MCAT examination scores from their prospective candidates, with the majority of schools not accepting MCAT scores that are longer than 3 years old. Revised in 2015, the current MCAT is comprised and scored in four main sections:

–       Biology and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems

–       Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems

–       Psychological, Social and Biological Foundations of Behaviour

–       Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills

 

 

What is the MCAT examination comprised of?

The MCAT is a seven and a half hours long exam, taken on a singular day, with a lunch break and smaller breaks distributed throughout the day. There are 230 questions across all of the sections within the MCAT and these cover a variety of topics across the sciences.

Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems:

Foundation Concept 1: The first foundational concept is centred around Biomolecules and the properties that determine the function and structure of cells, necessary for life to survive.

Foundation Concept 2: The second foundational concept is based around the organization of cells, organs and molecules and the effect this has on living organisms.

Foundation Concept 3: The third foundational concept covers the systems of tissues and organs in the body, alongside the involvement of internal and external environments of multicellular organisms.

 

Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems:

Foundation Concept 4: The fourth foundational concept is centred around the function of complex living organisms and the internal processes, signals and changes that occur in terms of physical principles.

Foundation Concept 5: The fifth foundational concept challenges knowledge on chemical reactions that form the basis for principles of molecular dynamics in living systems.

 

Psychological, Social and Biological Foundations of Behaviour:

Foundation Concept 6: The sixth foundational concept covers sociocultural, psychological and biological factors and the way that these principles affect people’s perceptions and reaction to the world around them.

Foundation Concept 7: The seventh foundational concept is based on the ways in which behaviour can be influenced and changed by psychological, sociocultural and biological factors.

Foundation Concept 8: The eighth foundational concept delves into how the above-mentioned factors affect individuals’ perceptions of themselves and others and the subsequent changes that occur in our interactions with others.

Foundation Concept 9: The ninth foundational concept is centred around determining how our wellbeing’s around influenced by cultural and social differences.

Foundation Concept 10: The tenth foundational concept looks at the strategies that society has in place and how restraints on access to resources affect wellbeing.

 

Scientific Inquiry and Reasoning Skills:

Skill 1 – Knowledge of Scientific Principles: The first skill requires you to demonstrate an understanding of principles and concepts in science and note the relationships between concepts that are closely related.

Skill 2 – Scientific Reasoning and Problem-Solving: The second skill asks you to reason theories, models and principles in science, evaluating predictions and scientific explanations.

Skill 3 – Reasoning and the Design and Execution of Research: The third skill requires an understanding of scientific research components, including reasoning pertaining to ethical research issues.

Skill 4 – Data-based Statistical Reasoning: The fourth skills asks that you analyse data in graphs, figures and tables, drawing reasoned conclusions from the data.

 

Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills:

Skill 1 – Foundations of Comprehension: The first skill in this section requires you to decipher information from text, finding meaning from secondary contextual sources.

Skill 2 – Reasoning Within the Text: The second skill asks you to uncover components in written text, finding belief, purpose, intent, bias and assumptions that the author may have.

Skill 3 – Reasoning Beyond the Text: The third skill requires you to explore thoughts across a variety of contextual resources, evaluating the impact that new factors, conditions and information has on the texts.

 

 

What score should I be aiming to achieve?

When you receive your results, they will arrive as a report with five scores, including individual scores for the sections covered in the MCAT and an overall score for the whole test. The maximum MCAT score that one can achieve is 528, with the lowest sitting at 472. Average MCAT scores for those who participated in the 2020-21 US MCATs and applied to US medical schools was 506, with the average accepted score sitting at 512. This makes it evident that achieving an above average grade will provide you with the best security when applying for medical schools, particularly the most respected and rated schools. The good news is that you can re-sit your MCAT, as many as three times in the same year, of four times across two consecutive years, with a maximum of seven sittings in a lifetime.

 

 

How do I prepare for the MCAT?

Taking online practice tests can be beneficial for many reasons. Being able to effectively manage your time keeping whilst also adjusting to the wording of questions and the varying levels of difficulty will enable you to feel more confident on arriving to your MCAT date. Self-assessment of your general areas where you could develop your knowledge further will enable you to be self-aware in your studies, supplementing what you need to practice more and strengthening your pre-existing strengths. Reviewing the AAMC resources and content windows will enable you to narrow down our revision to a refined and purposeful selection of materials. Taking a prep course alongside your current studies can enable you to stay on track, maintaining your revision whilst learning alongside others. Ultimately, the more time you spend practicing, the more confident and prepared you are likely to feel when taking your MCAT, a feeling which should be reflected in your score outcome. Online and in-person tutoring can enable you to receive one on one, specially tailored support, enabling you to feel supported in your endeavours and to receive individualised resources and sessions that can develop your knowledge and expand your strengths.

 

 

Top 10 Medical Schools Across the Globe:

#1 Harvard University, Massachusetts, US

#2 University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

#3 University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

#4 Stanford University, California, US

#5 Johns Hopkins University, Maryland, US

#6 Karolinska Institute, Solna, Sweden

#7 University of California, California, US

#8 Yale University, Connecticut, US

#9 University College of London, London, UK

#10 Imperial College London, London, UK

 

 

Useful resources:

https://www.sgu.edu/blog/medical/how-long-is-the-mcat/

https://students-residents.aamc.org/about-mcat-exam/about-mcat-exam

https://www.aamc.org/who-we-are/aamc-history

https://meded.hms.harvard.edu/admissions-mcat

https://www.medsci.ox.ac.uk/study/medicine/graduate-entry-medicine/faqs

https://www.undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/courses/medicine

https://med.stanford.edu/md-admissions/academic-requirements.html

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/som/education-programs/md-program/application-process/prerequisites-requirements-and-policies.html

https://education.ki.se/application-and-admission

https://www.med.unc.edu/admit/requirements/academic-requirements/

https://ocs.yale.edu/blog/2022/02/15/mcat-medical-college-admissions-test/

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/medical-school/study/undergraduate/mbbs-admissions/entry-requirements

https://www.imperial.ac.uk/medicine/study/undergraduate/medicine-mbbs-programmes/schoolinfo/

https://www.studentdoctor.net/2016/05/03/the-new-mcat/

https://students-residents.aamc.org/taking-mcat-exam/taking-mcat-exam 

 

 

If you would like to arrange MCAT consultancy or enquire about our schools placement service in England as well as schools entrance tests please call us on Tel: +44 (0) 207 665 6606 or you can send us an email via our contact form.

 

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