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WATCH: From Pre-Med to M.D.: What You Need to Know
Considering Pre-Med or ready to start the medical school admissions process? If so, this webinar is for you! Our expert panel discusses navigating the path to med school, including undergrad academic and research priorities, studying for the MCAT, the application process, and insider knowledge into the field – including busting many commonly held myths.
MCAT and Medical School Planning
No path to becoming an M.D. is the same, but there are key components to every application. First up, the MCAT.
The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) offers the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) as a computer-based test required for admission to medical school. The MCAT is often weighed heavily in admissions decisions, with nearly all medical schools in the United States and several in Canada requiring MCAT scores. The intent of the MCAT is to test applicants on core concepts in science, social science, and verbal reasoning that have been identified as key prerequisites for success in medical school.
Take the MCAT no later than the spring before the year you plan to matriculate. For example, if you plan to go to medical school in fall 2024 you need to take the MCAT no later than spring 2023.
The MCAT is an intense test that incorporates not only the physical sciences but also psychosocial topics and critical analysis. The total duration of the exam is 7 hours 30 minutes (6 hours 15 minutes without breaks). See below for a breakdown of timing by section.
Standard MCAT Format:
|Section||Number of Questions||Section length||Content|
|Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems||59 Questions||95 minutes||Physics, general chemistry, organic chemistry, and biochemistry|
|Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills||53 Questions||90 minutes||Passage-based reading comprehension|
|Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems||59 Questions||95 minutes||Biology and biochemistry|
|Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior||59 Questions||95 minutes||Neuroscience, psychology, and sociology|
The MCAT total score ranges from 472 to 528 and consists of four sections scored from 118-132: Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems; Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems; Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior, and Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills.
Score review & cancelation:
Medical schools generally accept scores dating back two or three years. Scores can be sent to other centralized application services (AACOMAS, CASPA, SOPHAS, etc.) or individual institutions in two ways:
- Electronically through the Score Reporting System, or
- Mailing a copy of your official score report
Students are not able to cancel their scores; all scores from every time a student has taken the MCAT will be sent to schools. If a student does not feel as though they did well on the test, they are able to VOID their scores, and the test will not be scored at all nor will your participation be reported to schools.
To request accommodations, you and your evaluator—a qualified professional supporting your request—will need to suggest the accommodations you deem appropriate for your situation. Some examples of accommodations include the following:
- Extended testing time
- Food and drink
- Stop-the-clock breaks
- Pregnancy/nursing-related accommodations
- Separate testing
- Accessibility accommodations including an adjustable-height workstation, adaptive mouse, or text enlargement
Some testing accommodations, such as those that involve a human aide (e.g., paper exam/proctor, reader, etc.), may be impacted by limits in availability, in order to comply with relevant social distancing measures.
Accommodation requests are made in your AAMC profile. For information regarding how to submit your request, please click here.
The MCAT currently offers 31 test dates per year, primarily concentrated over the spring and summer. There are no tests offered in February, October, November, or December.
|Test Date||60 Day Deadline||30 Day Deadline||10 Day Deadline||Score Release Date|
|September 9||July 11||August 10||August 30||October 13|
Click here to view the full list of test dates for the MCAT exam.
MCAT Registration & Exam Fees
The initial exam fee for the MCAT is $330. You can schedule an exam up to 10 days prior to the test. There are additional fees for rescheduling and cancelation. For information regarding MCAT fees and payment, please click here.
Targeting Schools Based on MCAT Score & GPA
When building a list of medical schools, it’s important to consider what the median GPA and MCAT scores are for the target schools you’re interested in. The Medical School Admissions Requirements (MSAR) is a valuable database for medical school applicants looking to browse, search, sort, and compare medical schools in the U.S. and Canada. Memberships are available in 1 or 2-year subscriptions. For more information, or to register for the MSAR, please click here.
The AMCAS (American Medical College Application Services) is what most medical schools in the United States use as their primary application method. For up-to-date information regarding the AMCAS application, please visit their website here.
Application Fees & Deadlines
The AMCAS application processing fees are $175 for the initial application, which includes one medical school designation. For additional medical school designations, the cost is $45 per school. Applicants should make sure to verify with each medical school they intend to apply to, as not all schools accept the AMCAS.
The AMCAS centralized application opens on May 2nd and you can hit submit on May 30th. Most medical school deadlines range from September – December. For a list of AMCAS application deadlines by medical school, please refer to the AMCAS search tool here. Please note that deadlines are subject to change, and applicants should verify dates directly with medical schools.
Personal Statement & Secondaries
Your personal statement and school-specific secondaries are distinguishing elements of your medical school application. These give you the opportunity to showcase your unique experiences, skills, and passions to admissions boards. Your personal story is what sets you apart from other applicants and can impact your chances of getting into medical school. The 5300-word personal statement is part of the AMCAS application. Once submitted, students receive secondary essay prompts and interview opportunities directly from school-specific portals.
Experience and Extracurriculars
According to the AMCAS, admissions committees want to see passion and “quality over quantity”. Section 5 of the application is where you will enter any relevant work experience, activities, publications or awards.
For detailed information on this section of the application, please refer to the AMCAS website here.
Letters of Recommendation
Section 6 of the AMCAS application contains “Letter Request Form” information. This form is automatically generated for you and contains your unique AMCAS applicant ID, Letter IDs, your mailing address, and information for your letter writers. AMCAS does not send these forms to your letter authors. For more information detailing Letters of Recommendation, please click here.
Medical School Interviews
Received an interview invite from a medical school? Congratulations! This is indeed a huge achievement, but it’s just the beginning. Now, you need to put your best foot forward to prove to the admissions committee that their program is perfect for you. For the 2024 academic year, most medical schools are conducting interviews virtually. To review the MSAR’s 2024 Interview Procedures by school, please click here.
Our team of expert MCAT tutors and Medical School advisors, many of whom have served on admissions boards at top medical school programs, are here for every stage of your journey:
- Pre-Med advising for college students, including course selection and outside activities
- MCAT Preparation
- Application, Personal Statement & Secondaries
- Interview Preparation
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