MCAT Exam

Prepare for the MCAT with our Study Guide.

The successful completion of the MCAT Exam is required for admission into the majority of United States’ medical schools, and some Canadian medical schools.

You are allotted a total of 7.5 hours to complete 230 discrete and passage-based exam questions.

If you require special testing accommodations for conditions that are covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act, you are welcome to make this request.

Extended test time, additional breaks, or extended breaks, are some of the accommodations that can be provided.

What test sections are covered on this exam? How many questions are there for each section?

  • Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems – 59
  • Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems – 59
  • Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior- 59
  • Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills – 53

Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems

The first of the three foundational concepts assessed within this section is understanding the special qualities of biomolecules and how they relate to structure and function of cells, as well as their role in life processes.

Specifically, this concept is concerned with proteins and their amino acids, genes transmitting genetic information to proteins, transmitting inherited information from generation to generation, and bioenergetics and fuel molecule metabolism.

The second foundational concept assessed within this section is understanding how molecules, cells, and organs interact to carry out their functions.

Specifically, this concept is concerned with the organization of molecules, cells, and groups of cells in organisms that are single cellular and multicellular, prokaryotes and viruses, and cell division, differentiation, and specialization.

The third foundational concept assessed within this section is understanding how tissues and organs work together to preserve the internal environment in spite of the external changes.

Specifically, this concept is concerned with the workings of the endocrine and nervous systems, and main organ systems.

Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems

The first of the two foundational concepts assessed within this section is understanding the various ways living organisms function.

Specifically, this concept is concerned with living systems and energy, translational motion, forces, work, & equilibrium, importance of fluids with regard to blood circulation, gas exchange and movement, electrochemistry and electrical circuits, interaction between light and sound, and structure of atoms and chemical behavior.

The second foundational concept assessed within this section is how understanding the principles of chemical reactions better one’s knowledge of molecular dynamics in living systems.

Specifically, this concept is concerned with water, the interactions between molecules, separation and purification, biologically-relevant molecules, chemical thermodynamics and kinetics.

Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior

The first of the five foundational concepts assessed within this section is understanding the relationship between social, biological, psychological aspects and their effect on how people think, perceive, and react to the world.

Specifically, this concept is concerned with identifying the environment and reacting to it.

The second foundational concept assessed within this section is understanding the relationship between social, biological, psychological aspects and behavior.

Specifically, this concept is concerned with individual impact on behavior, social processes that affect behavior, and attitude and behavior.

The third foundational concept assessed within this section is understanding the relationship between social, biological, psychological aspects and the way one thinks about him/herself, others, and interactions with others.

Specifically, this concept is concerned with how one identifies him/herself, the way one thinks socially, and the way one interacts with other people.

The fourth foundational concept assessed within this section is understanding how differences in society and culture impact an individual’s well-being.

Specifically, this concept is concerned with knowing social structure and the processes and characteristics of demographics.

The fifth foundational concept assessed within this section is understanding how social stratification and ability to obtain resources impact an individual’s well-being.

Specifically, this concept is concerned with social inequality.

Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills

The three skills assessed within this section are foundations of comprehension, reasoning within the text, and reasoning beyond the text.

Foundations of comprehension deals with one’s understanding of the basic elements of the text, and the ability to infer meaning.

Reasoning within the text is combining various elements of the text to better one’s comprehension.

Reasoning beyond the text is using and evaluating ideas of the passage for new contexts.

How do I register for the exam?

You must register for this exam online.

What is the cost of taking this exam?

The cost of this exam is $315. This amount includes sending your scores to the medical schools you designate.

What are the testing dates and locations?

Each year, there are many testing dates available from January to June, and then again from July to September. The MCAT can be taken at one of hundreds of test sites around the world.

What should I do the day of the exam?

Arrive on time, and bring a form of identification that includes your name, signature, and photo.

At check-in, you will be required to submit your ID. Test center personnel will take a photo of you, and digitally scan your palms, as part of the check-in/security procedure.

Items such as a phone, purse, and books will be prohibited from the testing area.

What happens after I take the exam?

Approximately 30 days after taking the exam, you will receive your score report.

This report will be broken down into scores for each section, as well as the total score.

The score range for each section is 118-132, while the total score range is 472-528.

What happens if I don’t pass the exam?

Within a one-year time period, you can take the MCAT three times. Within two years, you can take it four years. Seven attempts is the maximum one can take in his/her life.