About the MCAT
The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is a standardized, multiple-choice examination, required for application to medical school in the United States and Canada. This exam attempts to assess the knowledge and skills necessary for success in medical school. The test consists of four sections:
Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior
Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills
Medical college admissions committees consider an applicant’s MCAT scores as part of their evaluation of applicants’ academic readiness for medical school. In order to be prepared to take the MCAT, we recommend that students complete the following:
1 year of General Chemistry and General Chemistry Lab
1 year of Cell and Molecular Biology and Biology Lab
1 year of Organic Chemistry and Organic Chemistry Lab
1 year of General Physics and Physics Lab
1 semester of Biochemistry
1 semester of Psychology
Registering for the MCAT
Early Registration Encouraged
Registration for the MCAT occurs online at the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). Please register early for the test date that you prefer, as test centers have limited capacity and seats fill up especially at sought after locations like the test sites in Manhattan.. For the exam and registration schedule, please view the current MCAT Administration Schedule.
The AAMC Fee Assistance Program (FAP) is designed to offset costs of the MCAT exam and the AMCAS application process for low income applicants.
Ideally the FAP should be applied for prior to registering for the MCAT exam in order to receive the full benefits of the program.
Fee Assistance Program (FAP) eligibility decisions are tied directly to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' poverty level guidelines.
To apply for FAP and read about the specific benefits: http://www.aamc.org/students/applying/fap/start.htm
When to Take the MCAT
You want to take the MCAT after you have completed the coursework that is covered on it and have had 3-4 months to prepare for the exam. You want to focus on preparing for a date that is no later than May of the summer you are applying to medical school.The MCAT is offered on multiple test dates throughout the year, including test dates in January, March, April, May, June, July, August, and September. For a full calendar of test dates and sites, please refer to the MCAT section of the AAMC website.
Medical schools only consider complete applications, and MCAT scores must be included in an application in order for schools to consider it complete. It takes four weeks for MCAT exams to be scored.Expiration of MCAT Results
Some medical schools will not accept MCAT test results that are more than three years old. If students plan to apply to medical school after spending several years doing something else, they need to determine the best time to take the MCAT. Please consult the Latest & Oldest MCAT Administration Dates Considered for school specific information.
The MCAT tests a student's knowledge of the required premedical sciences. However, focused preparation for the exam is necessary. MCAT courses are generally helpful, though often extremely expensive, and not essential for performing well on the exam. There are many low cost/no cost prep materials, websites, and apps available. However, if applicants are interested in taking a preparatory class but feel it would be a significant financial burden, they should inquire with the test prep company about financial aid or scholarships. Although many companies do offer these reductions in price, this is not widely publicized and students must ask specifically for this information.
The Association of American Medical Colleges publishes many helpful preparatory materials (some free and some for a fee). Additionally, a number of commercial prep books are available.
MCAT Prep Resources
Scoring of the MCAT
The MCAT provides one score for each of the four sections and one combined total score. The score scale for individual sections is a 118-132 with a midpoint of 125. Total scores range from 472-528 with a midpoint of 500.
Test-takers will also receive a percentile rank. This rank shows the percentages of test takers who received the same scores or lower scores on the exam . They show how your scores compare to other examinees. Each April, the percentile ranks are updated, compiling data from the most recent testing year.
Successful MCAT Scores
This varies from school to school. At state schools, expectations for in-state and out-of-state applicants may differ. A subscription to the annual Medical School Admissions Requirements Guide will provide you with detailed information on median MCAT scores for accepted applicants at individual medical schools.
Applicants who are considering re-testing should carefully weigh all of the risks and benefits of this choice. Additionally, before deciding to re-test, applicants should speak with a prehealth adviser. The following link Should I Retake the MCAT? may help in thinking through this decision. Testing Accommodations
Students with documented disabilities or medical conditions may be granted special testing accommodations for the MCAT. These accommodations are made at the discretion of the MCAT Program. Applicants seeking testing accommodations should complete the accommodations application at least three months prior to their desired test date. The decisions on most requests will be made within 60 days of receipt of the completed application.
For detailed guidelines about what is needed to apply please consult the MCAT Accommodations information and, for additional assistance, please consult your advisor within the Office of Disability Services.
About the DAT
The Dental Admission Test is required by all US schools of dentistry. The exam is a 4.5 hour long, multiple-choice exam administered solely on the computer at testing centers throughout the country. It consists of four separate sections that cover the following:
Survey of natural sciences (biology, general chemistry and organic chemistry) 100 items
Perceptual ability (2- and 3-dimensional problem-solving) 90 items
Reading comprehension 50 items
Quantitative reasoning (math skills) 40 items)
Registering for DAT
You must register and pay for the DAT before scheduling your test date.
The DAT is administered on computer and can be scheduled on almost any day of the year.
A limited number of partial fee waivers per calendar year are available to DAT candidates who have significant financial hardship. The waiver covers 50% of the DAT fee, which includes the fee for the test and any official score reports requested at the time of application.
Fee waivers are granted on a first-come, first-served basis at the beginning of each calendar year to eligible candidates who have submitted the required documents.
Fee waiver requests will be granted beginning on January 1, and are generally exhausted within two or three months. For more information as well as the form needed to apply, please see: DAT Info.
When to take the DAT
Applicants should plan to take the DAT no later than the spring or early summer during the year in which they plan to apply to dental school.
Expiration of DAT
This will vary by school. Please check with individual dental schools for more information about their policies.
DAT Scores range from 1 to 30. A score of 19 typically signifies average performance on a national basis. Successful applicants normally score slightly above the average range.
A report of scores is provided to all candidates immediately upon completing the test.This report includes your scaled scores. The official score report may however take 3-4 weeks to be sent to AADSAS.
Applicants may retake the test up to three times per year. You must have at least 90 days between examinations. Students are advised to be as prepared as possible on their first try.
Students with documented disabilities or medical conditions may be granted special testing accommodations for the DAT. These accommodations are made at the discretion of the DAT Program and must be requested before test registration. Applicants must request the accommodation as well as provide documentation of the disability and its effect on the candidate's ability to participate under standard testing conditions. For more information about required documentation please read the Testing Accommodations Guide on the ADA website and seek assistance from your adviser within the Office of Disability Services.
For more information about the DAT, please consult DAT Info
About the GRE
The Graduate Record Examination GRE) is the test required by most veterinary schools (some also require the Biology GRE; some will accept the MCAT in place of the GRE). The GRE is a two hour exam that measures verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning (including algebra and geometry), critical thinking, and analytical writing.
The GRE is an online exam that can be taken at test centers or at home. Applicants may schedule to take the test at almost any time. For more detailed information about the GRE content please refer to GRE Info.
Registering for the GRE
Students should register online at the GRE Registration.
ETS provides a Fee Reduction Program for individuals who demonstrate financial need, or are unemployed and receiving unemployment compensation, or are participants in national programs that work with underrepresented groups, first gen or low income college students.
When to take the GRE
Applicants should plan to take the GRE in the spring or early summer of the year in which they plan to apply to veterinary or other health professional programs.
Expiration of GRE
American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) institutions may not accept standardized test scores that are older than two to three years. Please check with individual schools for more information.
Scores Reported on the GRE® General Test
130–170, in 1 point increments
130–170, in 1 point increments
0–6, in half point increments
You can take the test once every 21 days, up to five times within a calendar year. This applies even if you canceled your scores on a previous test. Before retesting, you should consult with a prehealth adviser.