The MCAT can be broken down into four main components:
The test aims to assess content at a level equivalent to an introductory undergraduate course.
Each section of the exam is 90-95 minutes long, containing 53-59 multiple choice questions associated with passages of text.
Before we dive into each section, it is worth explaining something else first.
Although not a section in itself, Scientific Inquiry and Reasoning Skills are assessed throughout the first three sections of the MCAT in combination with the specific knowledge-based content of each section. This is a key skill which is relevant to all of the different scientific principles and not something to be overlooked in the MCAT exam!
Scientific Inquiry and Reasoning Skills can be broken down into 4 subcategories:
The first section of the MCAT assesses your knowledge and problem solving skills in relation to biological and biochemical processes. This includes content such as growth and reproduction, energy and metabolism, adaptation and function of cell & organ systems.
This is the relative breakdown of disciplines in Section 1, which should give you some idea of where to focus your revision:
Magoosh has study guides on all the relevant biology topics covered in the MCAT, which you can check out on this page.
Section 2 tests the foundations of biological systems in physical and chemical terms. Content in this section includes mechanical, physical and biochemical functions in the human body, research methods and statistical concepts.
This describes the relative distribution of content in Section 2:
Magoosh has some useful study aids on spectroscopy, thermodynamics, kinetics etc, which you can check out on this page.
In Section 3, you are assessed on your knowledge and problem solving in relation to how behaviour and perceptions are influenced by psychological, social and biological factors. In particular, this section aims to assess your ability to deal with human and social issues of Medicine including communication, wellbeing and social stratification.
This is the relative distribution of concepts assessed in this section:
Magoosh has free MCAT study aids that cover the brain and neurons, plus eye and ear anatomy, which you can check out on this page.
The final section of the MCAT is a bit different to the previous three. Instead of assessing knowledge, it aims to test your comprehension, analysis and reasoning skills in relation to provided passages. The passages include content ranging from ethics, social sciences and philosophy.
The skills assessed here can be broken down into the following.
The material assessed in the MCAT can be further categories into 10 ‘foundational concepts’ and the AAMC website provides a comprehensive breakdown of this in their content outline document, which should help guide you in your revision.
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