The *MCAT is required by allopathic and osteopathic medical schools and is offered 25 times a year (January to September). Some podiatric medicine and veterinary medicine schools require the MCAT, as well. The MCAT examination includes three multiple choice sections: Physical Sciences, Verbal Reasoning, Biological Sciences; and a Writing Sample. The exam is computer based and lasts just over five hours. Applicants must register well in advance as seats fill up quickly.
Four separate scores are reported, indicating one’s performance on each section. Scores are reported on a scale ranging from 1 (lowest) to 15 (highest) for the three multiple choice sections. The writing sample consists of two 30-minute essays; the mean score is converted to a letter grade, J through T, with J the lowest, and T the highest score.
You will receive a copy of your MCAT scores in the mail approximately (30) thirty days after you have taken the test. You also have the option of obtaining your scores online, which is faster. The American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) will automatically send MCAT scores to the participating schools to which you applied if you release them.
Ideally, you should complete the MCAT during the spring just before your application to medical school in June. At the earliest this will be in your third (junior) year. Those who plan to take some time off between graduation and medical school should sit for the MCAT during spring (March-May) of the year before they wish to matriculate.
You should sit for the MCAT when you are ready and never for practice. You should have completed all general prerequisites.
* Starting in 2015, a new version of the Medical College Admission Test® (MCAT®) will roll out. Click here for the MCAT Preview Guide 2015.