MCAT Exam 2021

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MCAT

Considered amongst the most prominent medical entrance exams in the world, the Medical College Admission Test [MCAT] is a standardised examination that evaluates a candidate’s skills of critical thinking, problem-solving and medicine-related knowledge. As a medical ability-testing admission test, it is offered by the Association of American Medical Colleges [AAMC]. Further, institutions utilise the exam scores to adjudge the suitability of the candidate with the nature and requirements of the offered programs. While the degrees may vary, MCAT is most widely adopted for admissions into courses after MBBS or other first-cycle medical degrees. An important fact prospective candidates must make note of is that if you wish to begin medical practice in India after completing your course from abroad, qualifying the FMGE exam is mandatory.

Covid19 Guidelines for MCAT

In accordance with Covid 19, AAMC has extended MCAT official Prep products to students till 30 September 2021 for all those whose exam was to be held in the month of January to March but was cancelled due to the pandemic.

Eligibility Criteria for MCAT Exam

The only binding eligibility criteria for taking the MCAT exam is that you must be planning to apply to a health professions school. Further, as international students, one must be enrolled or hold an MBBS degree. In cases where applicants do not intend to apply at a health professions school or are already enrolled in medical courses excluding MBBS, ‘special permission’ must be obtained. In order to request special permission, one needs to drop a mail to mcat@aamc.org clearly mentioning the reason for taking the exam. After this, the MCAT program office will assess and review the request accordingly and reply to it in typically five business days. It is recommended that prospective candidates keep in mind the applicable registration deadlines.

MCAT Accepting Universities

If you wish to pursue medical science courses as an international student, here is a list of universities and their respective departments accepting Medical College Admission Test scores for admission.

University Location Degrees Offered
Boston University School of Medicine USA MD/MPH;
MD/JD;
MD/MBA;
BS/MD;
MD/PhD
Case Western Reserve University
School of Medicine
USA MD/MBA;
MD/MPH;
MD/JDMD/PhD
Columbia University Vagelos College of
Physicians and Surgeons
USA MD/PhD
Duke University School of Medicine USA MD/PhD
Emory University School of Medicine USA MD/MBA;
MD/MPH;
MD/PhD
Faculty of Medicine Université Laval Canada N/A
Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College USA MD/PhD
Georgetown University School of Medicine USA MD/MBA;
MD/MPH;
MD/PhD
Harvard Medical School, Harvard University USA MD/PhD
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine USA MD/MBA;
MD/PhD

How to Register for the MCAT Exam?

The MCAT is administered at international test locations and can be registered using this link. Follow the steps listed below to register for this exam.

  • Create your AAMC ID and password by creating your account.
  • Enter relevant details of contact, background and education.
  • Select your test date and location.
  • Sign the Examinee agreement.
  • Schedule the MCAT exam as per your suitability.

More information with respect to scheduling and costs is listed in the following paragraphs.

MCAT Exam with Accommodations

Medical College Admission Test Exam with Accommodations is a specific opportunity that AAMC offers to persons with disabilities. Under this, if any student has a disability or medical condition that requires any adjustment in the standard test procedure, you can apply for the MCAT exam with accommodations in it. However, you must send in your application as soon as possible for your desired date as the entire procedure takes at least 60 days.

Scheduling the Test

The MCAT exam is available across the United States and Canada along with a few major locations worldwide. Unfortunately, it is not available in India and candidates need to fly to their nearest location in order to appear for it. Here is a list of international destinations you can check including Thailand and Singapore which are nearby and can be considered.

Australia France China: Hong Kong
Germany  Israel Lebanon
Japan Singapore Taiwan
United Kingdom Thailand South Africa
Qatar

2021 Registration Fees

Take a look at the following table which enlists the registration fees for MCAT 2021. Taxes and other charges may be added on appropriate rates as applicable. 

Particulars Gold Zone
[Deadline: 29 days prior to test date]
Silver Zone
[Deadline: 15 days prior to test date]
Bronze Zone
[Deadline: 8 days prior to test date]
Initial Registration $320 $320 $375
Fee for date/test centre rescheduling $95 $160 NA
Cancellation Refund $160 N/A N/A
International Fee $115 $115 $115

2021 Fee Assistance Program Fees

Candidates with fees assistance are required to register for the Medical College Admission Test as per the following charges.

Particulars Gold Zone
[Deadline: 29 days prior to test date]
Silver Zone
[Deadline: 15 days prior to test date]
Bronze Zone
[Deadline: 8 days prior to test date]
Initial Registration $130 $130 $185
Fee for date/test centre rescheduling $50 $75 NA
Cancellation Refund $65 N/A N/A
International Fee $115 $115 $115

Exam Pattern

The MCAT exam pattern consists of 230 multiple choice questions which need to be completed in a total of 7.5 hours. It tests the overall hold of the applicant over not only fundamental biology and chemistry, and behaviour related concepts but also their critical analysis and problem-solving skills. A typical exam day would comprise other tasks in addition to the testing portions. More information over topics covered in each question is presented in the following paragraphs.

Section Questions [MCQ] Time Allotted
Test-day Certification 4 minutes
Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems 44 [passage-related]15 [non passage-related] 95 minutes
Break [optional] 10 minutes
Critical Analysis and
Reasoning Skills
53 [passage-related] 90 minutes
Mid-Exam Break [optional] 30 minutes
Biological and Biochemical
Foundations of Living Systems
44 [passage-related]15 [non passage-related] 95 minutes
Break [optional] 10 minutes
Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior 44 [passage-related]15 [non passage-related 95 minutes
Void Question 3 minutes
Satisfaction Survey [optional] 5 minutes
Total Content Time 6 hours and 15 minutes
Total “Seated” Time* Approx. 7 hours & 30 minutes

*This does not include check-in time on arrival at the venue of the test centre.

MCAT Syllabus

The current pattern of the MCAT exam covers a variety of topics that test one’s understanding of medicine on a conceptual basis. A more elaborate description has been listed below as mentioned in the official MCAT website.

Section Topics/Skills Tested
Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems Preliminary level biology, inorganic chemistry and organic chemistry fundamentals;

Biochemistry concepts at the level taught in the first semester of
biochemistry courses at most universities;

Topics of cellular and molecular biology at the level studied in many colleges and universities in introductory biology sequences and 1st-semester of biochemistry courses;

Foundational research methods and statistics concepts as described by many baccalaureate faculty to be important for success in introductory science courses;

Individual scientific inquiry and reasoning, research methods, and data-based and statistics skills as applied to the natural sciences

Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills Analysis, critical reasoning and comprehension skills through critical thinking tasks in passages;

Topics of philosophy, ethics, population health, studies of diverse cultures along with diverse social sciences and humanities disciplines

Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems Preliminary level biology, inorganic chemistry and organic chemistry fundamentals;

Biochemistry concepts at the level taught in the first semester of
biochemistry courses at most universities;

Topics of cellular and molecular biology at the level studied in many colleges and universities in introductory biology sequences and 1st-semester of biochemistry courses;

Foundational research methods and statistics concepts as described by many baccalaureate faculty to be important for success in introductory science courses;

Individual scientific inquiry and reasoning, research methods, and data-based and statistics skills as applied to the natural sciences

Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior Fundamental topics of psychology, sociology and biology that form a base to study behavioural and sociocultural components of health in medical school;

Concepts taught at many institutions in 1st-semester psychology and sociology courses;

Concepts of biology relating to mental processes and behavior taught in introductory biology at many colleges and universities;

Foundational research methods and statistics concepts as described by many baccalaureate faculty to be important for success in introductory science courses;

Skills of scientific inquiry and reasoning, research methods, and
data-based and statistics skills as applied to the natural sciences

How to study for MCAT 

Preparing for the MCAT exam is not an easy task. The exam is taken by students across the country and gaining good marks in the exam is something that everyone wants. So, here are some tips that can help you to study for the MCAT exam:

  1. First of all, gather all the information regarding the exam from the syllabus to exam date.
  2. Assess your current knowledge by taking a full length practice exam. The AAMC offers FREE Sample Papers for students with feedback and correct answers in each section.
  3. You can also buy practice papers from AAMC for preparation.
  4. Gather all the resources you need for the exam from the official website.
  5. Start preparing your weak points first but give some time to strengthen your already strong concepts.
  6. Use flashcards, study in groups, or other ways that can help you prepare well.
  7. Practice sample papers every week to assess your preparation.
  8. Take a full length practice test a few days before your exam and see your strengths and weaknesses now.
  9. Only work on the weak points that are not very lengthy and do not cause much pressure on your mind

Read this comprehensive MCAT study practice plan especially curated by AAMC.

Free Resources for MCAT

AAMC offers several resources for students to prepare for MCAT. Some of these are free of cost while some are extremely affordable resources:

  • Free Sample Test by AAMC
  • Sample QUestion Guide
  • Free Khan Academy MCAT Prep videos
  • Free tips for preparation by MCAT
  • Roadmap to MCAT Content

Download the detailed MCAT Syllabus Here.

Exam-Day Essentials

On the day of your Medical College Admission Test exam, you must remember to bring the following points.

  • Eyeglasses-subject to visual and physical inspection by test administrators
  • MCAT Accepted ID
  • Earplugs provided at the test centre [personal earplugs are not permitted]
  • Storage Key [provided at the test centre]
  • Noteboard Booklet [provided at the test centre]
  • Fine-point marker [provided at the test centre]

You have the option to void your exam at the end if you wish to not be scored.

Exam Scoring

The scoring structure of the MCAT exam consists of individual section scoring as well as overall scoring. Here are a few points which throw light on the scoring pattern.

  • All correct answers to each of the four multiple-choice questions are added up to arrive at a raw score.
  • No negative marking.
  • The calculated raw scores are scaled up to a measure ranging from 118 being the lowest to 32 being the highest. The scaling process is done through equating which takes into consideration the varying difficulty level of question papers as well.
  • Section scores are added up to calculate a total score ranging from 472 to 528. 
  • On the basis of overall scores, a percentile rank is also reported indicating the percentage of candidates scoring higher or lower than the concerned candidate.

Courses after MCAT

In particular, MCAT scores are used for admissions into varied programs such as:

  • Doctor of Medicine [M.D.] granting programs
  • D.O. granting programs
  • Podiatric (D.P.M)
  • Veterinary medicine (D.V.M)
  • Other health-related programs which accept MCAT exam results to satisfy a test score admissions requirement.

What Should You Aim For on the MCAT?

An above-average score on the Medical College Admission Test can make the difference for you in terms of breaking into a top medical school. While, on paper, it serves as one of the several criteria of candidature evaluation, a considerable number of medical colleges across the United States and Canada rely quite heavily on MCAT scores. Here is a rough estimate of what each band score means with respect to percentile.

Percentile Scaled Total MCAT score
Top 10% of all test takers 514 to 528
Top 25% of all test takers 508 to 513
Top 50% of all test takers 500 to 507
Below 50th percentile of all test takers 499 or below

MCAT VS NEET

Both MCAT and NEET are competitive exams for medical courses. However, if you are planning to take any of these tests, you must know the difference between the two competitive exams for a better understanding:

Comparison NEET MCAT
No. of Applicants Approx 15 lakh students Approx 85,000
Required for MBBS in India MD in US/ Canada/ Australia
Eligibility Class 12th Bachelor’s degree
Difficulty Level Tough Moderate

Important FAQs

Here are some essential FAQs that may help you in gaining a better understanding of the MCAT exam.

How often do US medical schools offer admission to international students?

While there is no restriction on accepting international students at US medical schools, it is not widespread practice and the number remains quite low. The terms of international students admission varies from institution to admission. Particularly, there were a total of 49 schools, in 2019, which accepted international students.

There are certain limits to the number of attempts one can appear for the MCAT. 

There are certain limits to the number of attempts one can appear for the MCAT. 
In a single testing year, it can be taken up to 3 times. 
In a two consequent year period, it can be taken for up to 4 times
In a lifetime, it can be taken for up to a maximum of 7 times.

What is the minimum period I should wait to retake the MCAT exam?

Registration for the MCAT exam can only be done after at least 24 hours after your exam.

How long does it take to receive the MCAT scores?

It takes anywhere between 30 to 35 days after the test day to send out the scores to candidates. The time period allows for test-takers to submit any relevant concerns about the conducting of the exam or testing conditions. 

What is the optimal time to take the MCAT exam?

If you plan to attend medical school in the fall of 2021, it is strongly advised to take the MCAT exam in mid-2019 and at least by September of 2019.

What does ‘optional break’ imply?

If you wish to continue your exam right away and move onto the next section immediately after completing the previous section, you may do so. The provision of Optional break is provided to assist those candidates who wish to take a breather between exam sittings. However, the remaining time of breaks if you return early does not carry over to the next break and lapses then and there.

How can Official AAMC MCAT Prep Products be accessed?

Log on to www.aamc.org/mcatprep and click on ‘MCAT Official Prep Hub’ available on the right side of the web page. After that, you just need to sign in to get access.

An above-average score on the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) exam opens the door to countless opportunities in the health and medicine sector. Needless to say, it takes a lot of effort and motivation for preparation. If you are exploring degree programs in Medical Science, take the assistance of our experts at Leverage Edu who can guide you in choosing the right course and university along with lending you a helping hand throughout the admissions process taking care of all the essentials you need to fulfil to get successfully selected.

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