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Tests and Application

MCAT & Application Process

Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)

The MCAT is required by allopathic, osteopathic and podiatric medical schools. This standardized test is directed at an introductory level of knowledge for science courses and comprehensive skills in reading and writing. To do well on these tests students must have analytic skills and problem solving ability. Adequate preparation for these tests is essential. A student should aim to take the test only once. Although some professional schools will consider only the highest score or the most recent score, other schools will average all test scores. To adequately prepare for these tests, students must not only be knowledgeable about content, but must also be familiar with the test format and develop the resilience and stamina needed to concentrate for these marathon length exams. Most standardized tests have a deadline for applying that is about 6 weeks prior to the scheduled test date. Students must allow another 6 to 8 week for the test scores to be forwarded to the professional schools when determining when to take the test and apply to professional school.

The MCAT is offered only in a computerized format and is offered 22 times during the year. Applicants must register for this exam on line at their local Prometrics Testing Center. The verbal reasoning, biological reasoning and physical science sections are graded out of 15 points and the writing section is graded on a letter scale from J to T. The highest total score one can achieve on the MCAT is a 45; the national average is currently at 30.

MCAT Testing Dates

A calendar of testing dates is maintained on the Medical College Admission Test section of the Association of American Medical Colleges web site. Along with the calendar are official procedures, guides and valuable tips for preparing and taking the exam.

Application Service (AMCAS)

Centralized application services are used to apply to most allopathic, osteopathic, and podiatric programs. Students who apply to any of the professional programs submit just one application through the service. The centralized service verifies the information provided on the application and submits the application to the professional schools designated by the applicant. The verification process may take up to 6 weeks and this time should be factored in when trying to meet application deadlines. Most professional schools require additional information – called a secondary or supplemental application – from the applicant once they receive the student’s application from the centralized service.

Specific information on deadlines, fees, and participating institutions can be found at these websites:

Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC)
American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service (AACOMAS)
American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine Application Service (AACPMAS)
American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS)