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The Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) is a huge step in continuing your education in most medical fields. Almost every future doctor has to take the MCAT to get into medical school, so the stakes are high. Although daunting, the MCAT can be successfully completed with the proper studying and preparation.

What is the MCAT?

The MCAT is the exam nearly every medical school in the United States requires students to take for them to be considered for admission. The exam reports a comprehensive score as well as scores from four more specific areas:

  1. Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
  2. Chemical and Physical Foundations of Living Systems
  3. Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior
  4. Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills

Preparing for the MCAT

Most colleges will require that pre-medical students take courses that prepare students for the MCAT as a part of their undergraduate curriculum. If you plan on taking the MCAT, you should spend plenty of time familiarizing yourself with concepts covered on the exam. There are many different resources to help you plan and prepare for the test.

One of the best ways to gauge yourself is to take an MCAT practice test. Taking a practice test will:

  • Allow you to become familiar with the format of the MCAT.
  • Allow you to get used to the types of questions you will be answering.
  • Allow you to time yourself and practice the timing of the test.
  • Allow you to take a break from old-fashioned studying by applying what you have learned to actual questions.
  • Allow you to see what you know and what you need to keep studying.

When to Take the MCAT

Most students take the MCAT during the same period that they are applying to medical school. For example, you may begin applying to medical school in 2019, so you should plan on taking the exam during that same year. You should also keep in mind that you may want to retake the test. In this case, you would want to schedule an earlier test day, so you have time to prepare.

Why Take It?

If you want to go to medical school, then you have to take the MCAT in almost every case. You may be thinking of attending an M.D. program or a D.O. program, both of which will likely require the MCAT for admission.

The MCAT isn’t just limited to those two programs though. If you are looking into entering podiatry (D.P.M.), then you will likely need to take the MCAT. If you are aspiring to be a doctor of veterinary medicine (D.V.M.), then the MCAT may be an appropriate exam for you. There are other health related fields that may accept MCAT scores as well.

By taking the MCAT, you are showing future schools that you are driven and motivated. The MCAT is not designed to be an easy test, so passing it is impressive. You have proven that you are willing to work hard to achieve your goals and that you have the ability to memorize and understand many different concepts from many different disciplines.