Do You Know What Happens When You Go For Your MCAT Exam?

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If you are planning on applying to any medical school in the U.S. you will find that almost all schools will require you to have first taken the Medical College Admission Test – or MCAT – before submitting your application. This is a standardized national test administered by the Association of American Medical Colleges. The test is designed to test medical school applicants’ knowledge of fundamental science concepts, as well as their critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Here’s what you can expect when you go for your MCAT exam:

Duration of the test

The test is 5 ½ hours long. It comprises of 4 sections with an allotted 10 minute break between the sections. You will have to time your breaks yourself. If you leave the room for more than 10 minutes you may come back to find the next section already in session. While you are not allowed to leave the room during each section, you can go out and have a snack or go to the restroom during the allotted breaks. However you cannot use the phone and you are not allowed to study during that time.

Students during on-placement clinical teachingWhat you can/cannot take with you into the testing room

You aren’t allowed to take much when entering the room. What you definitely need is a valid, government issued picture ID or your passport or driver’s license.

The only other thing you are allowed to take in with you is a pair of ear plugs to use if you tend to get distracted at the slighted sounds. You are not allowed to take anything to eat or drink into the test room but you can keep some food or drink in the locker that will be provided to you so you can grab a bite during the 10 minute break.

No writing materials are allowed either – no pens, no pencil, no paper. The center will provide you with whatever you require to answer the exams.

What the testing site is like

The testing site is set up in a highly regulated manner. You enter into a lobby with several lockers where students can deposit all of their belongings before entering the exam room. From the lobby you enter a room with many computers each of which is partitioned off from the others so no matter how many other students there are in the room with you, each one is completely separated from the other, so there is no chance of any interaction between students.

Before you can get admission into the testing room you will show your picture ID, have your fingerprint scanned, and show that are not carrying anything with you into the exam room except perhaps the earplugs.    

A few things to consider before going in for your MCAT

Get as much practice as you can by availing of the materials available on the AAMC website. While there is a tutorial at the beginning about how to use the various features and functions, knowing in advance how to highlight information, mark the answers or cross out questions can give you a huge time advantage.

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