What you need to know about the MCAT and other pre-medical requirements.

Becoming a physician takes hard work, dedication and a commitment to tackling academic challenges. Admission to medical school is competitive, and medical schools review a candidate’s eligibility on multiple factors such as GPA, MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) scores, and service and volunteer experience. Pre-Med is considered an area of interest, in addition to your chosen major. Medical schools accept a variety of majors, as long as a student fulfills all requirements for admission.

What Is the MCAT and When Should I Take It?

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) is a standardized, multiple-choice examination designed to help medical school admissions offices assess your problem solving, critical thinking, and knowledge of natural, behavioral, and social science concepts and principles prerequisite to the study of medicine.

Typically, students take the MCAT in the spring of their junior year so their scores are submitted in time for the opening date for medical school applications. It is imperative that students take all of the requisite pre-med coursework prior to taking the MCAT, otherwise they will be at a severe disadvantage. It is recommended that students take some form of MCAT prep course the semester leading up to the exam. Never take the MCAT for practice. For further information on the MCAT, visit the AAMC.

In April 2015, the AAMC launched a new version of the MCAT exam. Scores are reported in four sections:

  • Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
  • Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
  • Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior
  • Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills

How Do I Apply?

Students applying to one of the many Texas Medical Schools should review the application handbook provided by TMDSAS. Those applying to any private medical schools in Texas, or schools outside of Texas should review the application process and requirements provided by the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS). Students applying to U.S. colleges of osteopathic medicine should review the application instructions and general admission requirements provided by the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM).