MCAT Test Pattern

The MCAT is about a five-hour test. There are four sections, though the Trial Section is optional.

The schedule for the test day and allocated times for each section are as follows:

Section

Application Forms Now Available

No. of questions

Time allotted

Optional tutorial

10 minutes

Examinee Agreement

10 minutes

Physical Sciences

52

70 minutes

Optional break

10 minutes

Verbal Reasoning

40

60 minutes

Optional break

10 minutes

Biological Sciences

52

70 minutes

Void Question

5 minutes

Optional break

10 minutes

Voluntary Trial Section

32

45 minutes

Optional Satisfaction Survey

12

10 minutes

Total Test Time

4 hours 5 minutes

Total Seated Time

About 5 hours 10 minutes


Physical Sciences

The Physical Sciences section covers basic concepts in the physical sciences along with problem-solving abilities. This section also includes chemistry and physics questions.

Verbal Reasoning

The Verbal Reasoning section of the MCAT is designed to assess your ability to understand, evaluate and apply information and arguments presented in prose texts. The test consists of several passages, each about 600 words long, taken from the humanities and social sciences and from areas of the natural sciences. Each passage is accompanied by five to seven multiple choice questions based on the information presented in the passage. Since the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences include a vast range of subjects and since courses in these areas differ greatly in content, test questions will not cover a specific set of topics. You will not be tested for specific subject knowledge in the disciplines covered on the test.

Biological Sciences

Questions in the Biological Sciences section are drawn from biology and organic chemistry, with a slightly greater emphasis on biology. Tested biology concepts include cell division, muscular and skeletal systems, the lymphatic system, respiratory and circulatory systems, enzymatic activity, viruses and the nervous system.

Trial Section

The Trial Section is a new segment for 2013 that is replacing the Writing Sample section. The Trial Section is voluntary and takes 45 minutes. Questions include either a set on sociology, psychology or biology, or biology, chemistry or biochemistry and physics. It is not necessary to prepare for this section, though AAMC attempts to assign relevant questions pertaining to courses you've taken. This section is not scored.

Paper

Time in minutes

Format

Topics

Physical Sciences

70

52 total questions

7 passages

4-7 questions each

13 independent questions

General chemistry

General physics

Problem-solving

Verbal Reasoning

60

40 total questions

7 passages

5-7 questions each

Humanities

Social sciences

Natural sciences

Critical thinking

Reasoning skills

Biological Sciences

70

52 total questions

7 passages

5-7 questions each

13 independent questions

Biology

Organic chemistry

Problem-solving

Trial Section (optional)

45

32 questions

Biochemistry

Biology

Chemistry

Physics

OR

Psychology

Biology

Sociology

Sources

"2013 MCAT Essentials," AAMC, https://www.aamc.org/students/download/63060/data/mcatessentials.pdf

"Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)," AAMC, https://www.aamc.org/students/applying/mcat/

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