You can get into the medical school of your choice by acing the MCAT, have a successful undergraduate career, and by making sure your application stands out amongst the others.
How to Ace The MCAT and Get into the Medical School of Your Choice
What Is The MCAT and What Do You Need to Study?
The Medical College Admissions Test is a computer-based standardized examination for prospective medical students. Anyone applying to medical school must first pass the MCAT and receive a good score. The exam will test your knowledge of physical and biological sciences as well as verbal reasoning.
The test takes several hours to complete, and it is only administered fourteen times a year at Prometric Testing Centers. The test consists of four sections that include:
- Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills: Similar to reading comprehension sections on other standardized tests. Passages come from a variety of humanities and social sciences disciplines.
- Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems: tests basic biology, organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, and biochemistry
- Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems: tests basic biochemistry, biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics
- Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior: tests introductory psychology, sociology, and biology
How to Prepare for the MCAT
When you are preparing for the test, you will want to make sure you register early so you can secure your test date and location. This will allow you plenty of time to study for the exam. You should plan on studying for at least twelve weeks.
When preparing for the MCAT, make sure you are aware of the changes to the MCAT. The MCAT changes to know include the test now takes eight hours to complete (the old one took around five hours). The essay, or Writing Sample, is no longer part of the test. This portion of the test was eliminated because medical education experts said it was no longer useful in predicting success in medical school. A new section has been added to find out if test takers have the aptitude and understanding needed to deliver medical services across many cultures and sociological groups.
Also, in 2015, the AAMC, added a new section called Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior. This section tests your ability to understand sociological, biological, and psychological influences on behavior and social interests as well as how people process stress and emotion.
When studying for the MCAT, you should invest in study guides and other materials to help you prepare for the test. Make sure you set up a study schedule and stick to it. Included in this study schedule should be taking as many practice exams as you can. This will help you identify your strengths and weaknesses,so you know what areas to focus on. Also, consider signing up for a prep class either on-line or in-person. A prep course will help you know what to expect on test day and give you tips and tricks to effectively complete the exam.
How to Choose the Right Med School
Choosing the right medical school is a big part of your career path to becoming a doctor. First, you will want to look for a school that has the medical program you want to focus on. Some schools emphasize research or specialty medicine, while others focus on primary care. Also, make sure the school offers research opportunities.
Next, you will want to look into what it will cost to attend the school. Knowing how much will you owe is vital when deciding on a school. You should also look into if there is access to financial aid, loans, and other programs to help you pay for school.
Then, you should find a school that embraces the values that you believe in. Is the atmosphere of the school something you can thrive in? Check to see if the school is calm and collaborative or cut-throat and competitive.
Finally, look at the student life on campus. You can talk to current students or recent alumni of the school. Remember, you will be spending at least the next four years at this school.
What Is the Medical School Application Process?
When it comes time to apply to medical school, you want to be aware of the fact that they admit students on a rolling basis. This means that they continue to offer admission to qualified students until all available spots are filled. Because of this, you will want to submit your application as early as possible. Applications that are submitted early in the cycle will be reviewed first and give you a better chance of acceptance.
Your primary application to medical school starts with you submitting a single application through one of three centralized application services: AMCAS (for MD admissions), TMDSAS (for Texas Medical Schools), AACOMAS (for DO admissions). The primary application provides medical schools with information for the initial screen process that includes your transcripts, MCAT scores, personal statement, and letters of recommendation.
Once your primary application is submitted, there are two possible outcomes. It it will be rejected, or the school will send you its secondary application. The secondary applications usually include a variety of essays on assigned topics.
Once your secondary medical school application is reviewed, you will either be rejected, invited to the campus for an interview or your application will be put on hold until after the first round of interviews. This list will be reviewed as other candidates accept or decline offers. Your interview is an opportunity to show that you are willing and capable of working hard enough to accomplish an important goal and will make an excellent medical school candidate.
Acing the MCAT is just the first step into getting into the medical school of your choice.