The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)

The MCAT is required for admissions to essentially all MD and DO programs.


  • Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems 
  • 59 items, 95 minutes
  • Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
  • 59 items, 95 minutes
  • Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior
  • 59 items, 95 minutes
  • Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills
  • 53 items, 90 minutes

All questions are designed to test one of the following four skills: 

  • Knowledge of scientific concepts and principles
  • Scientific reasoning and evidence-based problem solving
  • Reasoning about the design and execution of research
  • Data-based and statistical reasoning


MCAT Scoring

Test takers receive five scores from their MCAT exams: one for each of the four sections and one combined total score. The AAMC produces a score report that brings together MCAT scores, percentile ranks, confidence bands, and score profiles in a way that highlights applicants' strengths and weaknesses. You can view a sample score report here and read detailed information on MCAT scores from the AAMC here

Section Scores: Each of the four sections are scored from a low of 118 to a high of 132, with a midpoint of 125. Test takers receive scores for each of the four sections.

Total Score: Scores for the four sections are combined to create a total score. The total score ranges from 472 to 528. The midpoint is 500. 

Percentiles: Percentile ranks are reported for the total and section scores so examinees can see how they compare to others who have taken the exam  Every year the AAMC updates the percentiles based on the scores of all examinees during that and previous years. These annual updates will ensure that the percentile ranks reflect current and stable information about all examinees scores. 

What do my scores mean? MCAT scores are an important element of your medical school application but not the only factor that matters. Admission committees generally review applications holistically and review your MCAT score in the context of all the other activities you have pursued, the thoroughness and thoughtfulness of your application narrative, your letters of recommendation and the overall arch of your life and practical experience.  As you review your score, it may be important to note that the median MCAT score for those admitted to MD programs is approximately 511 and for DO schools is approximately 503. All schools accept applicants with a range of MCAT scores and these ranges can be seen on the Medical School Admission Requirements (MSAR) for each individual MD program in the US. 

Preparing for and Timing the MCAT

The MCAT requires content knowledge which you acquire in your courses and subsequent preparation for the exam itself. Test takers should complete all necessary courses and dedicate at least 2-3 months of intensive exam preparation before taking the MCAT. We strongly recommend you use the excellent Official AAMC Prep Resources to help you prepare.  Only take the exam when you feel you are prepared and are scoring well on practice exames. All scores are permanent and will be visible on your to all medical schools to which you apply. 

Applicants often take the MCAT in early fall (August-September) in the year before applying to medical school, mid-winter (January), or late spring (April-May) just prior to the beginning of the application process in June. There are a few things to consider when scheduling your MCAT

  • It is only offered at specific times of the year check the MCAT calendar when planning
  • It takes about four weeks for your scores to be released.
  • Schools will only accept MCAT scores for a specific amount of time, often 3 years. This varies per school and the specifics for each school are listed on this document. 

Taking the MCAT with Accommodations

If you have needed accommodations, such as additional time on exams and assignments while in college, you may benefit from accommodations on the MCAT as well. All details about possible accommodations and the documentation you need to provide are on the AAMC MCAT Exam with Accommodations page. If you take the exam with accommodations there will be no notation about this provided to medical schools.