What Is The MCAT And Why Is It Important?

The MCAT exam, or the Medical College Admission Test, is the exam that prospective applicants to medical schools across the United States are required to take. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), a nonprofit organization that strives to uphold the integrity of medical schools throughout the United States creates, distributes, and scores MCAT exams.

The Medical College Admission Test is so important because it allows admissions offices at medical programs to determine how well applicants are likely to perform among their ranks. Medical colleges' coursework is rigid and known to be one of the most demanding course loads of any type of graduate program in the world. These schools are also able to gain more applicants if they make sure that people accepted into their ranks have high test scores, thereby making their programs more exclusive.

No matter who you ask, you'll find that properly preparing for the MCAT exam often takes as much time as a full year of medical school coursework. After all, it is the most important item on applications to medical colleges. To score in the upper third of people who take the MCAT, which isn't that high of a score, you'll need at least a 506.

Let's dive into a few tips and tricks for doing well on the Medical College Admission Test.

Keep Track of All Practice Questions

To effectively assess your mastery of important concepts, you should track your performance in answering practice questions. You may find that a concept you had mastered two weeks ago is one that you currently don't understand, for example. If you were to cross the questions involving that concept off of the list of questions you need to practice, you'd find yourself unprepared when it comes time to take the test.

The best way to track your performance in answering practice questions is to create a spreadsheet. It's also important to only practice questions from official Medical College Admission Test prep textbooks.

Taking Reputable, Thorough Prep Courses Online

The cost of the MCAT is currently $315. Although this price is unarguably expensive, the cost of preparatory courses found across the Internet blows the price of taking the MCAT out of the water.

Low-end prep courses with limited MCAT study material cost as little as $160, though they sometimes range upwards of $2,000. The cost of these courses is so high because they cover so much material and the fact that most hopeful physicians are more than willing to fork over obscene sums of money to improve their chances of getting into the medical programs of their dreams.

Taking thorough, reputable MCAT prep courses online has been shown to reliably boost test-takers' scores.

Begin Studying Well Over a Year Before Taking the Exam

Since the MCAT is so competitive, you can't do yourself wrong by beginning studying for the MCAT at least a year before you plan on taking it. Studying for such an important test is much easier when you're not constantly loaded down by bales of stress and worry.

You simply won't absorb as much information or as many concepts as you will if you study as early as possible. Remember - it's never too early to start studying for the MCAT.