About MCAT

Get essential information, tips, and strategies to help you on your MCAT journey in our guide below.

Exam Overview

Exam Length

6 Hours, 15 Minutes (With Additional Break Time)

Exam Format

Computer-Based, Multiple-Choice

4 Sections

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

Rank to Aim For

60th Percentile and Above

Before the Exam

  • Recommended College Courses

    Introductory Biology, Psychology, Sociology, and Biochemistry, as well as General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, and Physics. If you have time, courses in Physiology, Microbiology, and Genetics would also help you prepare for the MCAT.

    Learn more about the material on the MCAT in the AAMC outline.

  • MCAT Offerings

    The MCAT is only offered on select dates throughout the year. See the 2018 MCAT dates here.

  • Next Offering 

    January 20, 2018

    Registration Deadline:

    January 4, 2018

  • How Do I Register?

    Register online at the AAMC website before the registration deadline. There is a registration fee depending on your location and when you register. 

  • How Much Should I Study?

    We highly recommend you dedicate 300-400 hours to studying for the MCAT. You can assess how ready you are by looking at how you perform in each MCAT sections' full-length practice exams.

    Make a calendar or other schedule for your MCAT study time, dividing your study hours up to ensure you can stay on track and have plenty of time to practice.

  • Randy's Tip

    “Make sure you know your Physics. That topic can be particularly tricky for students taking the MCAT.”

    - Randy Van Peursem, MCAT Mentor

  • Dr. Tim's Tip

    “Frequent short study sessions over time are far better than cramming.”

    - Tim Huffman, PhD, MCAT Mentor

  • Dr. Renea's Tip

    “Practice reading about different types of subjects! The CARS section isn’t testing what you read, but how you read it.”

    - Renea Gernant, PhD, AdaptPrep CARS Coordinator

  • What Else Should I Be Doing?

    Prior to taking the MCAT, you should work on completing your personal statement and your primary med school applications. Most MD programs use the AMCAS to apply. DO programs use the AACOMAS.

Exam Day

  • Exam Format

    • Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems:
      44 Passage-Based Questions, 15 Standalone Questions
    • Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills:
      53 Passage-Based Questions
    • Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems:
      44 Passage-Based Questions, 15 Standalone Questions
    • Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior:
      44 Passage-Based Questions, 15 Standalone Questions
  • What to Bring with You

    • A Government-Issued Photo ID
    • Food and Drink – This is a 7-hour exam, and you won't be able to leave the testing center!

    You will also have your fingerprints collected and your photo taken at the testing center before you begin the exam.

  • Dr. Elizabeth's Tip

    “The MCAT doesn’t just test your knowledge - it tests your endurance. Know what foods keep you satisfied for a long time. Know how much sleep you need. Prepare accordingly for the physical challenge of the MCAT.”

    - Elizabeth Heeg, PhD, MCAT Mentor

After the Exam

  • Getting Your Exam Results

    MCAT results are sent on specific dates depending on when you took the exam. See the schedule on the AAMC website.

    The current MCAT format is only a few years old, so your total MCAT score isn’t as important right now as your percentile rank relative to others taking the exam. You want to score in as high a percentile as you can to maximize your chances of getting into the medical school you want. The MSAR can help you research in which medical schools your MCAT score helps you be competitive. Your Pre-Med advisor at your college likely has access to the MSAR, or you can you can purchase a copy from the AAMC.

  • Moving Forward

    If you’re happy with your MCAT score and percentile ranking, now’s the time to start completing your secondary applications.

    You should also work on your interviewing skills. Your medical school interview is your next big step to getting in, and having a poor interview can lead to you not being accepted and having to wait until the next application cycle.