Start preparing for your MCAT well in advance (at least 3 months before the test date). Make a time-table of your MCAT preparation schedule and try to stick to it. This will make your MCAT preparation more organized and planned. Start your preparation with introductory biology, chemistry, physics and organic courses step by step. Simultaneously prepare short notes of whatever you understood. This will help you when you revise the course outline before the MCAT test. Try to understand the basic concepts rather than memorizing them. Here are some useful MCAT preparation tips.
- The verbal reasoning section tests your understanding of concepts rather than memorization of details. The Physical Sciences section is generally a scoring section. A good practice of the entire syllabus of Physical and General Chemistry before the MCAT exam, would help you immensely in scoring well in this section. Try to cover-up very common topics like Work-Energy, Newtonian Mechanics, electrochemistry and acid/base chemistry thoroughly. For the biological sciences section topics such as general reaction mechanisms, physiology and cell biology are important and concentrate well in these topics.
- Writing sample section has two essays to write. The ability of candidates to effectively present their thoughts is tested. Two readers will evaluate the essays and sometimes there may be a third reader also. Therefore, convincing the target audience by effectively presenting your views is very important. Keep in mind that your written communication skills are the only factor to be evaluated through your essays. The topics generally are not related to medical subjects.
A good MCAT score certainly would pave way for admission into a good Medical school, but it is not the one and only decisive factor for securing admission in best of the medical schools in USA. Most of the
committees take your MCAT scores and GPA together to determine a point total for you. Read further on MCAT score.
- Some of these calculations look at your science GPA with the science sections of the MCAT, while your non-science or overall GPA may be linked with your Verbal Reasoning score. Each individual medical school has a different system, but many of these link your MCAT scores in a multiplicative way with your GPA. This has very important proposition. As you know, it is very difficult to raise your GPA to a significant degree in a short period of time. However, you can significantly raise your MCAT scores, and hence your "average points" on your admissions analysis by intensive MCAT preparation over a short period of time.
- Each section of MCAT receives its own score. Verbal Reasoning, Biological Sciences, and Physical Sciences are each scored on a scale ranging from 1 to 15. Medical schools will receive these scaled scores as your MCAT scores. In addition to your scaled scores, your score report will reflect the national mean score for each section, standard deviations, national scoring profiles for each section, and your percentile ranking.
- Your sample essays will be scored alphabetically on a scale ranging from J to T, with T as the highest. The average scaled score for each Verbal Reasoning, Physical Sciences and Biological Sciences section is approximately 8. The average scaled score for the writing sample is N. You will need scores between 10 and 11 to be considered competitive by most of the U.S medical schools. And if you are aiming for the top medical schools, your goals should be 12 and above.
- Usually, MCAT scores are valid for 3 years, but this varies from school to school. So it is advisable to contact the schools of your choice to find out their guidelines and policies of MCAT scores and admission.