Even if you have a high grade point average, worked as a volunteer in a hospital and have years of experience in the medical field, you must take MCAT to get into medical school. The number of students applying to these programs started increasing during the recession and continues rising today. Each medical school will look at your score, your activities, grades and other factors when deciding if you deserve a spot in its program.
Format of the Test
If you took any standardized test in the past, including the SAT or ACT, you generally know what to expect on the MCAT. Though this is a computerized test that is similar to those other exams, it consists of four separate sections. You will complete each section before moving onto the next and receive a score in each section. Biological and biochemical foundations of living systems, chemical and physical foundations of biological systems and critical analysis and reasoning sills are all sections on the test. You must also complete a section on psychological, social and biological foundations of behavior.
The MCAT system will grade your completed examination and notify you of your scores within 35 days or less. Your report will show you the score you received in each section and the total score you received after combining all scores. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the lowest score you can receive is 118 and the highest score you can receive is 132 on each section. When you take MCAT to get into medical school while still in college, the content and information is still fresh in your mind, which may help you score better than if you waited to take the test.
Preparing for the MCAT
The best time to take the MCAT is generally late in your junior year or early in your senior year. This gives you time to take more advanced science and math courses, which will give you better familiarity with some of the topics found on the test. You may want to take the test early in your junior year to see how well you did before taking the test a second time as a senior. Doing practice tests and going through a test prep course help you learn more about the test and go over the type of questions found on the exam.
Requirements for Getting Into Med School
While you must take MCAT to get into medical school, you cannot rely solely on your scores to get into a good medical school. Two things that medical schools look for are the extracurricular activities listed on your application and your grade point average. Some of the activities that can help your application stand out include research work, volunteering in a local hospital and other activities you did in the medical field. Schools also want to know that you took a high number of math and life science classes and that you scored above average in those courses.
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Every medical school in the country with a good reputation requires that students take the MCAT and submit their scores when applying. The best time to take MCAT to get into medical school is when the topics and subjects are still fresh in your mind, which is why many take the exam as a junior or senior.