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A definitive guide to getting a good MCAT score

What is the MCAT test, and what subjects are included in the MCAT exam and test schedule, when should I take the MCAT, how hard is the MCAT, what is a good MCAT score, how to study for the MCAT, how many times can you take the MCAT, what’s best MCAT prep books, the medical school rankings, etc.

That’s all the key questions we need to answer.

We will provide you with a lot of free MCAT prep info, MCAT practice
resources and the collected medical school rankings data in the US on MCAThub.com.

With the definitive guide on MCAT, you can expect a better understanding of your exams, which will increase your chances of entering your chosen medical school.

Now, let’s dive into the details.

What is the MCAT?

  • The MCAT means Medical College Admission Test, is a standardized, multiple-choice exam administered by the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges).
  • The MCAT exam is a prerequisite for admission to almost all medical schools in the United States and Canada.
  • Every year, more than 80,000 students submit their MCAT scores to apply for medical schools in the United States. However, what is the good MCAT scores?
  • After years of development, the MCAT exam has evolved into a reasoning-based exam. But it requires extensive basic knowledge to answer questions accurately.
  • MCAT will evaluate your knowledge and skills in natural, behavioral, and social science concepts and principles, as well as the ability of problem-solving and critical thinking required by medical schools.

What are the 4 parts of MCAT?

MCAT is divided into four sections covering the following subjects:

  1. Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
  2. The psychological, social, and biological foundations of behavior
  3. Chemical and physical foundations of Biological Systems
  4. Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills (MCAT CARS)

Below is an approximate chart of MCAT questions breakdown

MCAT questions breakdown

The proportion of subjects included in the MCAT test

This table shows the wide range of MCAT subjects, you can see each MCAT subjects and it’s test time, number of questions in each MCAT subjects, and the proportion of subjects contained in each section.

MCAT Section and TimeNumber of Questions in Each MCAT SectionProportion of subjects included
Biological and Biochemical 95 mins59 questions: 10 passages with 44 passage-based questions, and 15 discrete (stand-alone) questions65% Biology, 25% biochemistry, 10% organic and inorganic chemistry, basic research and statistics skills
Psychological, social, and biological 95 mins59 questions: 10 passages with 44 passage-based questions, and 15 discrete (stand-alone) questions60% concepts in psychology, 30% sociology and 10% biology that provide behavioral and socio-cultural determinants of health; basic research methods and statistics.
Chemical and physical 95 mins59 questions: 10 passages with 44 passage-based questions, plus 15 discrete (stand-alone) questions48% organic and inorganic chemistry, 25% physics, 25% biochemistry, 2% biology, basic research methods, and statistics skills.
MCAT CARS 90 mins53 questions: 9 passages and all of the questions are passage-basedComprehension, analysis, and reasoning in ethics, philosophy, cultural studies, population health, social sciences and humanities.

When should I take the MCAT?

Not surprisingly, in the beginning, many students would ask “when should I take the MCAT”. It’s also not surprisingly, in our daily life, it seems difficult to find time to prepare for the MCAT exam.

Generally, it is better to prepare for MCAT one year before enrollment. For example, if you plan to attend medical school in 2021, you can join MCAT before 2020 or earlier.

How long to study for the MCAT?

In general, you should begin your MCAT preparation at least six months before the test date (MCAT Test Dates 2020). There’s a lot of preparations you have to do.

A better plan is when you take MCAT at the beginning of your undergraduate studies in freshman, sophomore, or junior year.

But, the best time to take the MCAT is when you are ready to work for it.

How hard is the MCAT?

Some medicine school admissions experts have found that pre-medical doctors who have achieved good grades in college not mean easily achieving high scores in MCAT.

The fact is that MCAT is more difficult than traditional college exams. One main reason is that MCAT is a comprehensive interdisciplinary exam that covers multiple scientific disciplines, such as chemistry, biology, and physics. In addition to testing scientific knowledge, MCAT also tests language skills by requiring candidates to read and interpret language in the social sciences and humanities.

How hard is the MCAT?

There is a statistics data in a few years ago, which showed that 52,550 students applied for a homeopathic medical school. But only 20,631 students were accepted. The average MCAT scores of admitted students are between 510-512.

So, you can imagine how hard the MCAT is. However, MCAT is not an obstacle that medical experts can’t overcome.

As long as you master some essential MCAT skills shared on mcathub.com and prepare for it in advance, it will still be easier to pass the MCAT test.

What is a good MCAT score?

According to medical school admissions experts, to answer what is a good MCAT score, it like many other aspects of the medical school admissions process.

The real answer to what is a good MCAT score depends on the situation, the definition of a high MCAT score will depend on part applicant’s target medical school.

The admissions committee conducts an “overall review” when assessing applicants, which means they take into account all the requirements of your medical school, including grade, extracurricular activities and achievements, journey to medicine, suitability, letters of recommendation, and MCAT scores. Then decide whether to invite you to an admissions interview.

Generally, it’s good if your MCAT score or practice score is close to or higher than the average MCAT score of accepted students in medical school

According to the American Association of Colleges, the average MCAT score of American medical school students who enrolled in the 2017-2018 school year is approximately 510.

SO, the answer to what is good MCAT score depends on your MCAT score and the strength of the other parts of your application, and the school you intend to apply for.

MCAT Percentiles 2018–2019

Check out the MCAT percentiles 2018–2019 as following, this is some sample MCAT percentiles from the latest MCAT percentile ranks released by AAMC.

MCAT total scoreMCAT percentile rank

Average MCAT Scores 2017–2018

Currently, all applicants have a mean MCAT score between 504 and 505. Following is the mean MCAT score by section.

MCAT CPBS126.2127.6
MCAT CARS125.7126.9
MCAT BBLS126.4127.9
MCAT PSBB126.5128.0
Total MCAT504.7510.4

How many times can you take the MCAT?

AAMC plans to keep current MCAT exam records for at least 15 years. The following table shows the frequency of students taking the MCAT test.

PeriodNumber of Times Permitted to Take the MCAT
Single testing yearUp to 3 times
Two consecutive-year periodUp to 4 times
LifetimeUp to 7 times

It should be noted that voided exams and the “not attended” will count as the number of exams taken. There is no waiting time before rejoining MCAT.

So, it’s better to cherish each chance to take the MCAT exam.

What’s the best MCAT prep books?

How to study for the MCAT?

The medical school rankings.

More info articles are coming.

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