What is the Difference Between the MCAT and the GRE?

Simply put, there is a big difference between the MCAT and the GRE tests. Keep reading to learn more about these important standardized entrance exams and how they are drastically different.

The Graduate Record Examination

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a standardized exam that graduate and business schools use as part of their admissions eligibility process. The GRE is a computer-based test that is offered through the Educational Testing Service (ETS). There are three main sections: analytical writing, verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning. Students are allowed 60 minutes during the Analytical Writing section to complete two 30 minute essays that evaluate their critical thinking and writing skills.

The 60 minute Verbal Reasoning section also contains two 30-minute sections that are designed to measure the student’s ability to analyze content, deduce information and assess complex relationships. There two 35-minute Quantitative Reasoning sections that test logical skills and mathematical reasoning. This involves algebra, geometry and even data cross-examination. Finally, there is a new 30 minute experimental section that contains either math or verbal questions.

Medical College Admission Test

The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is also a computer-based, standardized exam that graduate schools require students to take. However, the MCAT is only used for medical schools. The MCAT consists of four main parts: biology, chemistry, psychology and critical analysis and reasoning. The first section, biological and biochemical foundations, tests the student’s knowledge of things like cells, organs and complex tissue systems. The second section focuses on the chemical foundation of living organisms. This will involve questions about complex chemical interactions and molecular dynamics.

The third section delves into the psychological and sociological foundations of human behaviors. This will involve questions about biology, culture and society influence behaviors. The fourth and final section benchmarks the student’s mastery of scientific investigation and advanced reasoning skills. Students must be able to demonstrate advanced understanding of scientific principles, reasoning, problem-solving and research design. It will involve statistical reasoning and research-based mathematics concepts.

What are the Major Differences?

In the end, the difference between the MCAT and the GRE comes down to the focus and function of the exam. The GRE is basically an SAT style test for graduate students. Every year, more and more business schools required GRE scores for admission acceptance.

On the other hand, the MCAT is a required test for all prospective medical students. The MCAT assesses everything from problem solving to critical thinking to written analysis skills. Students must have comprehensive knowledge of basic and advanced scientific concepts and principles. Therefore, students must be familiar with everything from anatomy to genetics to physiology to socio-psychology.

In contrast, the GRE only contains similar cognitive assessments that analyze the student’s verbal, analytical and quantitative reasoning. In the end, the MCAT is a much more difficult and comprehensive test that is exclusive to only medical students. The GRE is a general test for graduate students.

In conclusion, the GRE examines the student’s analysis and reasoning skills. The MCAT also does this, but goes further through testing complex medical and scientific knowledge. The biggest difference between the MCAT and the GRE tests is the overall purpose.

See also: Can You Get a Graduate Degree in an Area Different From Your Undergraduate Degree?