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Medical College Admission Test Eligibility, Scores, Syllabus

Filed in School News by on March 4, 2021

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Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is widely considered to be one of the most difficult academic tests in existence. It is the official test a person must pass in order to be admitted to a school of medicine in the United States. Some medical colleges in Canada also use the exam.

Applying for medical school? Find the latest Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) tips and advice in this article.

Medical College Admission Test

Brief History of Medical College Admission Test

The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is a computer-based standardized examination for prospective medical students in the United States, Australia, Canada, and Caribbean Islands. It is designed to assess problem-solving, critical thinking, written analysis, and knowledge of scientific concepts and principles.

Prior to 2006, the exam was a paper-and-pencil test; since 2007, all administrations of the exam have been computer-based.

The MCAT is a five and three-quarters-hour test and is offered in April and August of each year. The Verbal Reasoning, Physical Science, and Biological Science scores are reported on a scale from 1 (low) to 15 (high).

The Writing Sample is reported on a scale from J (low) to T (high), representing the sum of the two essay scores. Although there is no limit to the number of times the test may be taken, special permission must be obtained after the third time.

The MCAT plays a substantial role in the medical school admissions process. How much emphasis is placed on MCAT scores varies from school to school? Other factors that are considered include grades (overall and science), the interview, letters of recommendation, research, activities, experience in medicine, application essays, and state of residence.

MCAT Prep and Review

All questions are multiple-choice. The MCAT is not an adaptive test, which means that a student can’t shorten the length of the test by answering harder questions correctly. Each section is scored separately, and these scores are combined to create a total score Section scores range from 118 to 132, and total scores range from 472 to 528.

Most students take the MCAT in their junior or senior year of college. It’s important to take it in time to have the scores available when one begins applying to medical schools, but it’s also important not to take the test before one is ready, as a low score will be a serious handicap when it comes to winning admission to.

Competition is fierce, and it gets tougher every year. There may be some relief in sight, as there is talk of several more medical schools opening in the not too distant future.

If that actually comes to pass, getting into medical school might become a little less difficult. Even then, though, it won’t be easy, and the best way of maximizing one’s chances will still be to earn a high score on the MCAT.

Medical College Admission Test

Medical College Admission Test Syllabus

The logic of scientific inquiry is a prerequisite for scoring well on all 3 sections related to scientific concepts. It includes (but is not limited to) understanding of scientific concepts and the basics of scientific inquiry.

  • Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems

The following content categories are included in this section:

  1. protein structures and amino acids as building blocks
  2. genetic transmission of information: gene to protein
  3. heredity and the processes that enhance genetic diversity
  4. bioenergetics and fuel metabolism
  5. cells/molecule assembly in single/multi cell organisms
  6. prokaryotes and viruses: structure, physiology, and genetics
  7. cell division
  8. nervous and endocrine systems
  9. organ systems: functions and structure
  • Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems

The following content categories are included in this section:

  1. work, energy, forces, equilibrium in living systems
  2. the role of fluids in blood circulation and gas exchange
  3. electrochemistry
  4. interaction of light and sound with matter
  5. nuclear decay and chemical behavior of atoms
  6. water: nature and solutions
  7. molecules and the interaction among them
  8. the concept of purification
  9. function and structure of biological molecules
  10. kinetics and thermodynamic principles
  • Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior

The following content categories are included in this section:

  1. environment sensing and understanding
  2. response to the world
  3. causes of behavioral change
  4. effects of social activity on human behavior
  5. distinctive behaviors
  6. identity & the concept of self
  7. the social line of thought and interactions
  8. social imbalance
  9. understanding of the social fabric
  10. demographic systems
  • Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills

This section is primarily related to testing your understanding of the written text, geared towards the reasoning skills considered vital to a successful medical career.

Humanities passages can be derived from a host of disciplines such as:

  1. art and architecture
  2. literature
  3. ethics
  4. philosophy
  5. pop culture
  6. religion
  7. cultural studies

Science passages can be derived from a host of disciplines such as:

  1. economics/history/geography
  2. anthropology
  3. linguistics
  4. psychology and sociology
  5. archaeology
  6. political science
Medical College Admission Test

Medical College Admission Test Eligibility

  • Any candidates interested in pursuing a career in Allopathic, Osteopathic, Podiatric, and Veterinary can appear for the MCAT test.
  • Students from U.S. and Canada must have a UG degree to be eligible for the exam.
  • International candidates must be pursuing or have completed MBBS to sit for MCAT.
  • Students taking the MCAT for purposes other than pursuing a career in medicine are required to get special permission from AAMC authorities.

MCAT Application Forms

Students intending to apply for medical school in United States and Canada must register for MCAT.

  • Visit the official website
  • Create an AAMC account by providing the information asked
  • A verification email will be sent to the registered email id
  • Click on the link provided in the verification email and sign in
  • Click on Start Exam Registration to make an appointment
  • Provide information asked;
    • Personal Information
    • Biographic Information
    • Academic Background
  • Agree to terms & conditions
  • Select exam schedule and test center
  • Pay the application fee using VISA or MasterCard credit card
  • A confirmation email for the appointment will be sent to the registered email ID.

Important Read:

MCAT Study Guide

To complement the MCAT book, they also offer extensive MCAT flashcards for even more MCAT test prep help.

How is the MCAT scored?

Each individual section on the exam is scored using a 118 to 132 range, with a median score of 125. You’ll receive a score for each section, plus an overall score. Total scores will be centered at 500, with ranges from 472 to 528. Learn more about your MCAT score.


It costs $315 to take the MCAT (and $370 for late registration 1–2 weeks before your test date). This initial MCAT registration fee includes the distribution of your MCAT scores to medical schools.

Be aware that there are additional fees for cancelling or rescheduling the test. AAMC does offer a a Fee Assistance Program  for test takers who, without financial assistance, would be unable to take the MCAT.


MCAT registration is done online through the Association of American Medical Colleges. We recommend that you register early to secure your MCAT test date and location.

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