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MCAT Information

Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) All medical schools require the MCAT administered by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). There are three multiple choice sections to the MCAT: Physical Sciences, Verbal Reasoning, and Biological Sciences, and one writing section.

The Physical Sciences and Biological Sciences sections assess knowledge of basic concepts in biology, chemistry, and physics, and generally have a brief informational passage accompanied by a question. The Writing section asks you to read two statements and respond in essay format to the statements by exploring the meaning and implications of the statements.

The multiple choice sections are reported on a scale ranging from 1 to 15, with 15 being the highest. The writing sample is reported on an alphabetic scale from J (lowest) to T (highest). A score of "X" means the sample was not ratable.

Two sample scores are below:


Physical Sciences

Verbal Reasoning

Writing Sample

Biological Sciences












How important is the MCAT?

Cornell students V and P in the table above took the MCAT on the same date at the same time. Both had a G.P.A. of 3.8 in the sciences and both were BMB majors. Who was admitted to medical school? "P" has embarked on a career as a physician. A total score less than 28 or any single score below 9 may harm your chances of being accepted into a medical school. If this happens, postpone your application; take the MCAT again. Life will not end!

How can you prepare for the MCAT?

The MCAT is physically and mentally rigorous; you will need to prepare for it. You can prepare on your own for the MCAT, through commercial review courses such as the Kaplan and Princeton Review, and/or through Cornell's MCAT review course in the spring. Whatever you choose, the AAMC's MCAT Student Manual is essential for you to thoroughly review. Stop by the Dimensions Resource Center to review it, or check it out at the AAMC web site.

The AAMC has practice tests for a fee. These tests are designed to give you practice with the format of the MCAT but should not be considered "sample tests". The site also lists past topics for the Writing Sample. The Dimensions Resource Center also has the latest Kaplan MCAT review text, as well as biological and physical sciences flashcards.

Cornell offers a MCAT review course for interested students in the spring each year. This course will take place over several Wednesdays and Saturdays and includes test-taking strategies, writing critique, sample MCAT tests, and personal feedback. The course will be available to students at a reduced rate, including a content review texts and access to MCAT practice exams.

How do you apply to take the MCAT?

Register to take the MCAT via the MCAT web-site. The web site also offers test prep materials, sample questions, and recommended and required readings. DO NOT MISS THE DEADLINE! The exam costs $175. If you apply to an AMCAS participating schools, your scores are automatically sent if you request release of your scores at the time of registration for the MCAT.

Many students retake the MCAT. There are many factors to consider before deciding to retake the test. Keep in mind the schools you apply to will see all of your scores and you should be prepared to discuss your reasoning for retaking the exam.

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