MCAT (Medical College Admission Test)

The Medical College Admission Test® (MCAT®) is a standardized examination that has been part of the medical school admissions process for more than 80 years. Virtually all medical schools in the United States and many in Canada require applicants to submit recent MCAT exam scores as part of their application packet, and many health professions and graduate programs now accept MCAT scores in lieu of other standardized tests. Considering its widespread acceptance, it is no surprise that more than 75,000 students sit for the exam each year.

The MCAT tests examinees on the skills and knowledge medical educators and physicians have identified as key prerequisites for success in medical school and the practice of medicine. Content is divided into three scored multiple-choice sections, and one unscored multiple-choice section.

In conjunction with its member U.S. medical schools, the AAMC develops and administers the MCAT multiple times each year from late January through early September at hundreds of test sites throughout the United States and Canada, as well as selected locations throughout the world.

Exam Content

The MCAT tests for mastery of basic concepts in biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics. Additionally, it serves to assess examinees’ capacity for problem solving and critical thinking.

Increasing diversity within the study of medicine is something the AAMC and our members actively promote and endeavor to advance. It is hoped that the content included and the skills tested will encourage people from broad educational backgrounds to apply, and that premedical students will be compelled to explore a wide variety of course offerings outside the natural sciences.

The four sections of the exam, in the order they appear, are:

  • Physical Sciences
  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Biological Sciences
  • Trial Section

The chart below provides an overview of the entire MCAT exam by segment for 2013.

Section # of Questions Time Allotted
Tutorial (optional)   10 minutes
Examinee Agreement   10 minutes
Physical Sciences 52 70 minutes
Break (optional)   10 minutes
Verbal Reasoning 40 60 minutes
Break (optional)   10 minutes
Biological Sciences 52 70 minutes
Void Question   5 minutes
Break (optional)   10 minutes
Trial Section (optional) 32 45 minutes
Satisfaction Survey (optional)   10 minutes
Total Content Time   4 hours / 5 minutes
Total "Seated" Time*   Approx. 5 hours / 10 minutes


*Total seated time does not include check-in at the test center