Last Updated: March 23, 2021

MCAT- Frequently Asked Questions

The Medical College Admission Test or MCAT is administered by the AAMC and is a standardized test that helps institutions assess problem-solving skills along with the knowledge students possess about natural, behavioral, and social science-related topics which are necessary for the study of medicine.

The exam is completed in a multiple-choice format and has its scores mentioned separately for the four different sections of the test. The test is widely accepted in nearly every U.S. medical school and has started to be accepted by schools in Canada also. The importance of this exam in securing admission to a good medical school has also created the need to know more about the test. This page will provide answers to most of the frequently asked questions on the test.

What is the eligibility requirement to take the MCAT?

Students who are planning to apply for health professional schools like M.D- granting programs, D.O- granting programs, Podiatric, Veterinary medicine, and other health-related programs are eligible to take the test.
International applicants who are either pursuing their MBBS degree or have completed their MBBS degree are eligible to register for the exam without any additional requirements.
Students who do not plan to pursue a course in the medical field will be allowed to register for the examination as long as they obtain special permission by mailing to mcat@aamc.org informing the reasons for taking the exam.

How often can a candidate take the MCAT?

Unlike other standardized tests, there are limits to the number of times one can attempt the MCAT. Even missing the test after applying will count as an attempt thus reducing the number of times one can attend the test. In a single testing year, one can take the MCAT up to 3 times. In 2 consecutive years, MCAT can be taken only up to 4 times and a candidate can only take the MCAT for a total of 7 times in their lifetime.

What is an optional break-in MCAT?

The breaks provided between the sections in MCAT are called optional breaks because these breaks can be skipped by the students if they wish to move on to the next section. It should be noted that the time from the previous section or of the optional break will not be carried forward to the next section.

Does re-taking the test improve one’s chances?

Examinees generally choose to retake the exam to improve their scores and gather a better idea of the exam after the first attempt. To leave this possibility open, it is recommended by AAMC that students take the test earlier in the testing year so that they can view their scores and then decide whether retaking the test is necessary.

How can one know if a test day or location becomes available?

While registering for the MCAT, students will be asked to mention their preferred test date and location. If it is listed as “Not Available”, they can sign up to be notified if and when the preferred test date becomes available at a later date.

When can a candidate apply to retake the MCAT?

The registration system gets updated within 24 hours of the candidate taking the test. Once the information that the candidate has taken a test has been updated into their account, they can apply for retaking the test for any appointment that isn’t past the Bronze Deadline.

Is it possible to view seat availability without losing the current seat reservation?

Yes, candidates can view other seat availability by going back to the MCAT Registration System without losing their current seat. The current seat will remain valid until the fee has been paid for the new seat. There will be an additional fee to reschedule the test date.

Where can a student take the MCAT exam?

MCAT is a computer-based exam that is conducted at Thomson Prometric testing sites throughout North America and around the world. These testing sites are equipped with climate and sound-controlled systems, ergonomic chairs, guest lockers, state-of-the-art equipment, noise reduction headphones, and standardized proctoring.

What is the fee for MCAT?

The fee for registering for MCAT can be up to $310. The scores will be reported to the candidate and can be authorized to be sent to schools in AMCAS and another 6 institutions that do not participate in AMCAS without any additional cost.

Are candidates allowed to bring scratch papers for MCAT?

No, candidates are not allowed to bring scratch papers to the test center. Scratch papers and pens will be provided to the candidate by the test center.

What are the different sections in MCAT?

The different sections in MCAT are Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems, Critical Analysis, and Reasoning Skills, Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems along Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior.

What are the subjects tested in MCAT?

MCAT tests the knowledge candidates have in Biology, Biochemistry, Physics, Inorganic and Organic Chemistry along with the interplay between Psychology, Sociology, and Biology with an emphasis on research methods.

What is a raw score and scaled score in MCAT?

A raw score is the number of questions that have been answered correctly in the four different sections of the test. These raw scores are converted into a scaled score ranging between 118 and 132 where they are the lowest and highest scores respectively.

Does MCAT have negative scoring?

No, there is no penalty or negative marking for wrong answers. Wrong answers are scored exactly like unanswered questions.

When will the candidate be able to receive scores?

MCAT scores are released after 30-35 days of the test date. The delay in the release of the results is due to the fact that AAMC considers the concerns submitted by the students regarding the exam questions and testing conditions enough to review and investigate each of them.

What does the percentile rank mean?

The percentile ranks provided in the score report is the score that mentions the percentage of students who performed below the examinee during the exam. For example, students with an 85 percentile will have scored higher than 85 percent of the test-takers in that session of the exam.

How are MCAT scores used by medical schools in the admission process?

MCAT scores are used by admission officers in different ways in different colleges. Some colleges prefer to weigh all the scores students have received to date equally and note improvements. Some other schools prefer to take only the recent set of scores. There are schools that take the average of multiple scores received by students and schools that only consider the highest scores received by the students.

Is rescoring possible in MCAT?

Yes, if the candidate feels that there has been a scoring error, they can request the MCAT score to be rescored by hand. The candidate will be informed about the result as a response letter which either confirms the older score or informs them of the corrected scores in each section. The raw scores obtained will not be mentioned under any circumstance.

How many times is MCAT conducted in a year?

The MCAT is conducted over 20 times per year through a candidate can only take it for a maximum of 7 times in their lifetime.

What is the test duration of MCAT?

The MCAT exam is 6 hours and 15 minutes long without breaks. With the addition of breaks, the exam is 7 hours and 33 minutes long with each section having a maximum of 95 minutes.


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