The vast majority of medical schools require students to take the MCAT. The purpose of the test is to ascertain a student’s understands of biological and physical science principles, as well as verbal, writing, and analytical ability. The MCAT is a multiple choice, computer-based test.
The MCAT is offered between 25 and 30 times a year from January to September. Students should take the MCAT as soon as possible after completion of the junior year (if planning to apply senior year), but should not be taken prior to completing all of the pre-requisite science courses. By taking the MCAT early, students can re-take the test if they wish to and still allow for submission of the medical school application in a timely fashion.
The MCAT is scored in three catagories (biological and chemical principles, as well as verbal reasoning). The highest possible score in each of the these three sections is 15, making the highest score possible a 45. Many consider a good, solid minimum score to be around 30 with each subscore being in the 10 range.
Every year, the AAMC publishes the Medical School Admission Requirements (MSAR) in which all medical schools report a variety of information, including the scores on the MCAT for accepted students. Dean Trayford keeps a copy of this annual publication for students to peruse.
You should plan on discussing your score with Dean Trayford, the advisor for the health professions in Kollett Hall. If you are considering retaking the MCAT, be sure to discuss the matter with the Dean Trayford.
Students with learning disabilities can receive accommodations for the test. Students must meet with Dean Denyse Wilhelm in Kollett Hall regarding this accommodation.
Take the MCAT only after you have thoroughly prepared for it.
Never, never take the real test for practice. Instead take as many practice tests you can from books and CDs.
Be disciplined about studying for the MCAT. Structure your time so that you are spending enough hours preping for the exam.
Spend the money on a good prep book. There are also released real MCAT exams available for practice. Check with Dean Trayford in Kollett Hall about getting paper copies of these.
The Verbal Reasoning section of the MCAT is actually given a lot of weight by medical schools. Do as much reading as possible during your time at Wheaton, and read all kinds of material.
Learn and practice test-taking skills. It is one thing to know the materials you will be facing on a test, but it is also important to acquire good test-taking skills.
Remember, your score on the MCAT will have a major impact on your ability to get into medical school. Take the time to practice. You want to do well the first time you take it so you don't have to take it again!