There are many different components that go into a complete medical school application. Learn what these pieces are, why medical schools ask for them, and what each part says about your qualifications as an applicant.
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.
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 2024 for entrance to medical school in 2025, you should take the exam in 2024). 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.