Sitting on the June page of my calendar like a fat angry buffalo is the MCAT, perhaps one of the most important and terrible tests I will ever have to take in my lifetime (those thinking pre-med, listen up!). The test will be taxing (physically, mentally, and probably emotionally) but the sweet, sweet rewards of medical school and beyond lie on the other side of the struggle. It won’t be easy, but hey, Bill Cosby made it! (okay, it was his character, Dr. Huxtable)
Here’s just a short blurb with everything you need to know about the MCAT.
The MCAT, or Medical College Admissions Test, is an ancient standardized test issued by the Association of Medical Colleges. It’s standard for most medical schools in the United States and a good indicator of a person’s problem solving and critical thinking skills (instead of just regurgitating content!). The basic idea behind it is that a doctor isn’t expected to remember the exact names of specific enzymes in a regulatory pathway, but is instead continually presented with situations that require applying this kind of knowledge and quick thinking. Just knowing all of the content won’t guarantee a good score!
The MCAT is divided into four sections:
15 points – Physical Sciences (Physics and Inorganic Chemistry, 52 questions, 70 minutes, murder)
15 points – Verbal Reasoning (40 questions, 60 minutes) (Haaaa-lelujah)
J-T grade – Writing Sample (2 essays, 30 minutes each) (something Millsaps has really helped me to prepare for)
15 points – Biological Sciences (Biology and Organic Chemistry, 52 questions, 70 minutes) (I love my major, biology!)
Including the breaks and registration, the total time you spend at the test center is a whopping 5 hours and 25 minutes. (Whew!) Quite a marathon, but don’t let that scare you off! Your normalized score will be totaled and hopefully look like the maximum score of 45T (and not the sad, sad score of 3J). Preparing for this test has basically been splitting my study time between studying content and just practicing passages (probably the more useful tactic). This seems all too much sometime to balance with school, but I’ve got to have the discipline of a doctor and remember what’s important!
Wish me luck!