MCAT® Exam

What is it?

The Medical College Admission Test® (MCAT®) is a standardized multiple-choice test that has been a part of the medical school admissions process for more than 80 years. It tests your problem solving and critical thinking skills, as well as your knowledge of scientific concepts and principles necessary to the study and practice of medicine.

What is it?

The Medical College Admission Test® (MCAT®) is a standardized multiple-choice test that has been a part of the medical school admissions process for more than 80 years. It tests your problem solving and critical thinking skills, as well as your knowledge of scientific concepts and principles necessary to the study and practice of medicine.

What does it tell schools about me?

The MCAT exam tests the skills and knowledge that medical educators, physicians, medical students, and residents have identified as key prerequisites for success in medical school and for practicing medicine. The MCAT exam is one tool that admissions officers use to select future medical students. It will be considered in combination with the rest of your application.

What does it tell schools about me?

The MCAT exam tests the skills and knowledge that medical educators, physicians, medical students, and residents have identified as key prerequisites for success in medical school and for practicing medicine. The MCAT exam is one tool that admissions officers use to select future medical students. It will be considered in combination with the rest of your application.

When should I take the exam?

Our best advice is to take the exam when you feel most prepared and ready. However, in most cases, you should take the MCAT exam in the calendar year prior to the year in which you plan to enter medical school. For example, if you are applying in 2017 for entrance to medical school in 2018, you should take the exam in 2017). For more details on this, see the MCAT FAQs.

When should I take the exam?

Our best advice is to take the exam when you feel most prepared and ready. However, in most cases, you should take the MCAT exam in the calendar year prior to the year in which you plan to enter medical school. For example, if you are applying in 2017 for entrance to medical school in 2018, you should take the exam in 2017). For more details on this, see the MCAT FAQs.

How can I prepare?

The AAMC has free and low cost resources to help you understand, study, and practice for the exam. While there is no right or wrong way to prepare for the exam, creating a study plan is a great way to help you keep on track and organized. To help you get started, the AAMC has developed a guide to help you create your own study plan and created a resource that highlights 21 different past examinees study schedules, strategies, and tips for how they prepared for the exam.

How can I prepare?

The AAMC has free and low cost resources to help you understand, study, and practice for the exam. While there is no right or wrong way to prepare for the exam, creating a study plan is a great way to help you keep on track and organized. To help you get started, the AAMC has developed a guide to help you create your own study plan and created a resource that highlights 21 different past examinees study schedules, strategies, and tips for how they prepared for the exam.

Primary Application

What is it?

The American Medical College Application Service® (AMCAS®), the AAMC's centralized medical school application processing service, and the Texas Medical and Dental School Application Service (TMDSAS) (used by public medical schools in Texas) are the two main primary application services for MD-granting programs in the US. The AMCAS application has nine sections that are detailed below. Your AMCAS application is sent only to the medical schools you designate in your application. 

What is it?

The American Medical College Application Service® (AMCAS®), the AAMC's centralized medical school application processing service, and the Texas Medical and Dental School Application Service (TMDSAS) (used by public medical schools in Texas) are the two main primary application services for MD-granting programs in the US. The AMCAS application has nine sections that are detailed below. Your AMCAS application is sent only to the medical schools you designate in your application. 

What does it tell schools about me?

The AMCAS application collects and shares information about you, including your Personal Comments Essay where you may discuss why you chose medicine as a career, steps you have taken to prepare for medical school, your Work and Activity experiences and college coursework, and how your letter writers perceive you as a student and a future physician.

What does it tell schools about me?

The AMCAS application collects and shares information about you, including your Personal Comments Essay where you may discuss why you chose medicine as a career, steps you have taken to prepare for medical school, your Work and Activity experiences and college coursework, and how your letter writers perceive you as a student and a future physician.

When should I apply?

The AMCAS application cycle opens in early May for matriculation into medical school the following calendar year. For example, if you wish to begin medical school in 2020, you will apply with AMCAS in 2019.

When should I apply?

The AMCAS application cycle opens in early May for matriculation into medical school the following calendar year. For example, if you wish to begin medical school in 2020, you will apply with AMCAS in 2019.

How can I prepare?

Reviewing the AMCAS Tools and Tutorials, AMCAS How To Apply page, and consulting with your prehealth advisor are great ways to prepare for the AMCAS application.

 

It is also a good idea to check if you are eligibile for the AAMC's Fee Assistance Program prior to submitting your application. If approved, this program waives the AMCAS application fees for up to 16 medical schools.

How can I prepare?

Reviewing the AMCAS Tools and Tutorials, AMCAS How To Apply page, and consulting with your prehealth advisor are great ways to prepare for the AMCAS application.

 

It is also a good idea to check if you are eligibile for the AAMC's Fee Assistance Program prior to submitting your application. If approved, this program waives the AMCAS application fees for up to 16 medical schools.

Background Information

What is it?

Background information makes up the first three sections of the AMCAS applicaton, including:

- Identifying Information,

- Schools Attended, and 

- Biographic Information.

 

In these sections you will enter your your name, date of birth, schools attended, citizenship, ethnicity and race, and more.

What is it?

Background information makes up the first three sections of the AMCAS applicaton, including:

- Identifying Information,

- Schools Attended, and 

- Biographic Information.

 

In these sections you will enter your your name, date of birth, schools attended, citizenship, ethnicity and race, and more.

What does it tell schools about me?

This gives admissions committees more context about your background, access to resources and services, and family background. For example, you may include the education level of parents, or whether you are the first in your family to attend college.

What does it tell schools about me?

This gives admissions committees more context about your background, access to resources and services, and family background. For example, you may include the education level of parents, or whether you are the first in your family to attend college.

Coursework & Official Transcript(s)

What is it?

Coursework is section four of your AMCAS application where you will enter each college course you have taken and the grade you recieved. You will also send all of your official college transcripts to AMCAS, which are the academic records from each college or university you attended that include the courses you took and the grades or credit you received.

What is it?

Coursework is section four of your AMCAS application where you will enter each college course you have taken and the grade you recieved. You will also send all of your official college transcripts to AMCAS, which are the academic records from each college or university you attended that include the courses you took and the grades or credit you received.

What does it tell schools about me?

Coursework entries and official college transcripts are parts of the story about how you prepared yourself for medical school academically, such as:
 

  • Did you take upper level science courses?
  • What were your grade trends and coursework patterns?
  • Do you have experience with writing-intensive courses?
  • Did you challenge yourself with higher-level coursework in and outside your major?
  • Did you formally study another language or take coursework in another language?
  • Did you get a broad liberal arts background?
  • Did you take community college courses or coursework at another institution(s)?
  • Did you take postbacc or graduate level courses?
  • Did you have or overcome academic challenges?

What does it tell schools about me?

Coursework entries and official college transcripts are parts of the story about how you prepared yourself for medical school academically, such as:
 

  • Did you take upper level science courses?
  • What were your grade trends and coursework patterns?
  • Do you have experience with writing-intensive courses?
  • Did you challenge yourself with higher-level coursework in and outside your major?
  • Did you formally study another language or take coursework in another language?
  • Did you get a broad liberal arts background?
  • Did you take community college courses or coursework at another institution(s)?
  • Did you take postbacc or graduate level courses?
  • Did you have or overcome academic challenges?

Work and Activities

What is it?

In section five of your AMCAS application you'll have an opportunity to highlight up to 15 separate Work and Activity experiences, including: extracurricular activities, medically-related experiences and exposure, employment, volunteer work, internships, and/or research.

 

You may also identify up to three of these Work and Activity experiences that you consider to be the most meaningful. This designation will allow you an additional 1,325 characters to explain why this experience was particularly meaningful to you.

What is it?

In section five of your AMCAS application you'll have an opportunity to highlight up to 15 separate Work and Activity experiences, including: extracurricular activities, medically-related experiences and exposure, employment, volunteer work, internships, and/or research.

 

You may also identify up to three of these Work and Activity experiences that you consider to be the most meaningful. This designation will allow you an additional 1,325 characters to explain why this experience was particularly meaningful to you.

What does it tell schools about me?

The transformative nature of your experience, the impact you made while engaging in the activity, and the personal growth you experienced as a result of your participation.

What does it tell schools about me?

The transformative nature of your experience, the impact you made while engaging in the activity, and the personal growth you experienced as a result of your participation.

Letters of Evaluation

What is it?

A confidential letter sent directly to the application service by a person (or your undergraduate institution’s committee) on your behalf. You will indicate who your letter writers are, what types of letters will be sent to AMCAS, and which schools should receive each letter in section six of your AMCAS application.

What is it?

A confidential letter sent directly to the application service by a person (or your undergraduate institution’s committee) on your behalf. You will indicate who your letter writers are, what types of letters will be sent to AMCAS, and which schools should receive each letter in section six of your AMCAS application.

What does it tell schools about me?

Letters of evaluation should highlight your personal qualities, characteristics, competencies, and capabilities as a future physician, from the perspective of someone who knows you.

What does it tell schools about me?

Letters of evaluation should highlight your personal qualities, characteristics, competencies, and capabilities as a future physician, from the perspective of someone who knows you.

Personal Statement & Essays

What is it?

The personal statement in section eight of your AMCAS application is your opportunity to distinguish yourself from other applicants. Essay questions on your secondary applications will help to bolster the other components of your application and further inform the admissions committee about how you maybe a good fit for their institution.

What is it?

The personal statement in section eight of your AMCAS application is your opportunity to distinguish yourself from other applicants. Essay questions on your secondary applications will help to bolster the other components of your application and further inform the admissions committee about how you maybe a good fit for their institution.

What does it tell schools about me?

This is your best opportunity to tell the medical school something about yourself that they wouldn’t necessarily learn by looking at the other parts of your application. You can describe things such as challenges, obstacles or distrance traveled. Distance traveled is how admissions officers and prehealth advisors refer to those life challenges you've faced and conquered.

What does it tell schools about me?

This is your best opportunity to tell the medical school something about yourself that they wouldn’t necessarily learn by looking at the other parts of your application. You can describe things such as challenges, obstacles or distrance traveled. Distance traveled is how admissions officers and prehealth advisors refer to those life challenges you've faced and conquered.

Secondary Application

What is it?

An additional school-specific application completed after a medical school receives your primary application. It helps explain why you’re interested in that particular institution; how your goals, experiences, and plans align with their mission and goals; and how/what you would contribute and develop as a learner at that institution. Basically, it’s an opportunity to answer the question, “Why this school?”

What is it?

An additional school-specific application completed after a medical school receives your primary application. It helps explain why you’re interested in that particular institution; how your goals, experiences, and plans align with their mission and goals; and how/what you would contribute and develop as a learner at that institution. Basically, it’s an opportunity to answer the question, “Why this school?”

What does it tell schools about me?

From the school’s perspective, it’s an opportunity to ask for more institution-specific information such as, evaluating your fit with their mission, assessing your reasons for applying and other school-specific questions.

What does it tell schools about me?

From the school’s perspective, it’s an opportunity to ask for more institution-specific information such as, evaluating your fit with their mission, assessing your reasons for applying and other school-specific questions.

Interview

What is it?

An in-person meeting between you and one or more individuals representing a medical school. The interveiw format may be one-on-one, a panel, or Multiple Mini Interviews (MMIs).

What is it?

An in-person meeting between you and one or more individuals representing a medical school. The interveiw format may be one-on-one, a panel, or Multiple Mini Interviews (MMIs).

What does it tell schools about me?

If you achieve this phase, it means that the school is interested in finding out about you, and whether you would be a good fit with their institution. It is an opportunity for them to see how you present yourself, how you communicate, and your ability to respond to questions. It is also your opportunity to assess how you feel about the medical school and its environment, and to ask additional questions.

What does it tell schools about me?

If you achieve this phase, it means that the school is interested in finding out about you, and whether you would be a good fit with their institution. It is an opportunity for them to see how you present yourself, how you communicate, and your ability to respond to questions. It is also your opportunity to assess how you feel about the medical school and its environment, and to ask additional questions.

How can I prepare?

It's a good idea to work with a prehealth advisor or mentor, and practice with a mock interview, to help you prepare. We also have interview resources on our website and blog posts from students about their interview experiences.

How can I prepare?

It's a good idea to work with a prehealth advisor or mentor, and practice with a mock interview, to help you prepare. We also have interview resources on our website and blog posts from students about their interview experiences.

Social Media / Internet Search

What is it?

This is anything about you online, such as news articles, or anything that you've posted publically on social media sites, blogs, or websites.

What is it?

This is anything about you online, such as news articles, or anything that you've posted publically on social media sites, blogs, or websites.

What does it tell schools about me?

Increasingly, admissions officers may view these sites to learn more about your opionions, biases, social behaviors, and judgements. This can be both positive and negative. Read more about how social media can affect your application and be sure to do a search of your name so you know what schools may find.

What does it tell schools about me?

Increasingly, admissions officers may view these sites to learn more about your opionions, biases, social behaviors, and judgements. This can be both positive and negative. Read more about how social media can affect your application and be sure to do a search of your name so you know what schools may find.

Financial Information

What is it?

This is a snapshot of your ability to finance or pay for your education. Note: Your ability to afford medical school will not factor into the admissions decision.

What is it?

This is a snapshot of your ability to finance or pay for your education. Note: Your ability to afford medical school will not factor into the admissions decision.

What does it tell schools about me?

Medical schools use this information differently. Some may use it to help distribute need-based aid and scholarship funds, or to develop a financial package to help you finance your education. Learn more about the financial aid application process.

What does it tell schools about me?

Medical schools use this information differently. Some may use it to help distribute need-based aid and scholarship funds, or to develop a financial package to help you finance your education. Learn more about the financial aid application process.

Criminal History Search

What is it?

The Criminal Background Check is a search and report of your criminal history. The report is used to ascertain the ability of conditionally accepted applicants to eventually become licensed physicians in the future, enhance the safety and well-being of patients, and to ensure the public's continuing trust in the medical profession. The AAMC recommends that all U.S. medical schools procure a national background check on applicants upon their conditional acceptance to medical school.

What is it?

The Criminal Background Check is a search and report of your criminal history. The report is used to ascertain the ability of conditionally accepted applicants to eventually become licensed physicians in the future, enhance the safety and well-being of patients, and to ensure the public's continuing trust in the medical profession. The AAMC recommends that all U.S. medical schools procure a national background check on applicants upon their conditional acceptance to medical school.

What does it tell schools about me?

This confirms your integrity, and whether you have been forthcoming and truthful about your criminal history within your application or during your interview(s). It also communicates to medical schools your potential ability to become a licensed physician. Some medical schools may require an additional form asking you to disclose additional information.

What does it tell schools about me?

This confirms your integrity, and whether you have been forthcoming and truthful about your criminal history within your application or during your interview(s). It also communicates to medical schools your potential ability to become a licensed physician. Some medical schools may require an additional form asking you to disclose additional information.