About the MCAT
Our overview to the exam that will increase your chances of getting into your desired medical school.
The Basics
Exam Overview
Exam Length
Exam Length
6 Hours, 15 Minutes (With Additional Break Time)
Exam Format
Exam Format
  • Computer-Based
  • Multiple-Choice Questions
  • Combination of Passage-Based and Standalone Questions
4 Sections
4 Sections
  • Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
  • Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills
  • Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
  • Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior
Before the Exam

Recommended College Courses

Introductory Biology, Psychology, Sociology, and Biochemistry, as well as General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, and Physics. If you have time, courses in Physiology, Microbiology, and Genetics would also help you prepare for the MCAT.

Learn more about the material on the MCAT in the AAMC outline.

MCAT Offerings

The MCAT is only offered on select dates throughout the year. See the upcoming MCAT dates here.

How Do I Register?

Register online at the AAMC website before the registration deadline. There is a registration fee depending on your location and when you register.

How Much Should I Study?

We highly recommend you dedicate 300-400 hours to studying for the MCAT. You can assess how ready you are by looking at how you perform in each MCAT sections' full-length practice exams.

Make a schedule for your MCAT study time, dividing your study hours up to ensure you can stay on track and have plenty of time to practice.


Randy's Tip

“Make sure you know your Physics. That topic can be particularly tricky for students taking the MCAT.”

- Randy Van Peursem, MCAT Mentor


Dr. Tim's Tip

“Frequent short study sessions over time are far better than cramming.”

- Tim Huffman, PhD, MCAT Mentor


Dr. Renea's Tip

“Practice reading about different types of subjects! The CARS section isn’t testing what you read, but how you read it.”

- Renea Gernant, PhD, AptarePrep CARS Coordinator

What Else Should I Be Doing?

Prior to taking the MCAT, you should work on completing your personal statement and your primary med school applications. Most MD programs use the AMCAS to apply. Some programs use the AACOMAS.

Exam Day

What to Bring With You

  • A Government-Issued Photo ID
  • Food and Drink - This is a 7-hour exam, and you won't be able to leave the testing center!

You will also have your fingerprints collected and your photo taken at the testing center before you begin the exam.


Dr. Elizabeth's Tip

“The MCAT doesn’t just test your knowledge - it tests your endurance. Know what foods keep you satisfied for a long time. Know how much sleep you need. Prepare accordingly for the physical challenge of the MCAT.”

- Elizabeth Heeg, PhD, MCAT Mentor

After the Exam

Getting Your Score

MCAT results are sent on specific dates depending on when you took the exam. See the schedule on the AAMC website.

The current MCAT format is only a few years old, so your total MCAT score isn’t as important right now as your percentile rank relative to others taking the exam. You want to score in as high a percentile as you can to maximize your chances of getting into the medical school you want. The MSAR can help you research in which medical schools your MCAT score helps you be competitive. Your Pre-Med advisor at your college likely has access to the MSAR, or you can purchase a copy from the AAMC.

Moving Forward

If you’re happy with your MCAT score and percentile ranking, now’s the time to start completing your secondary applications.

You should also work on your interviewing skills. Your medical school interview is your next big step to getting in and having a poor interview can lead to you not being accepted and having to wait until the next application cycle.