What is the MCAT and why do you need to take it if you want to be a doctor

by Rob Taylor

MCAT stands for Medical College Admission Test and is used by many medical schools in the United States and Canada as an admission tool. Many medical schools in Canada, such as McGill, require that students take the MCAT almost a year before the entrance date of their medical programs.

The MCAT is made up of multiple-choice questions that test an applicant’s problem solving, critical thinking and writing skills, as well as their knowledge of the science and principles that make the foundation of a career in medicine.

The MCAT is not something that you may take at any time of the year and the locations where you may take the test are limited. According to the MCAT Web site, there were 600 test centres located throughout the United States and its territories and Canada for the 2004 tests. Students could take a paper test or a test by computer April 16 or August 24, 2004.

In 2004, there were testing centres for international students in Australia, England, France, Germany, India, Japan, Lebanon, Qatar and Singapore. It was administered in paper format only in Lebanon, Qatar, New Castle, and Daba. In all other locations, students had to take the computer-based testing format.

Not every school requires that students take the MCAT before being admitted. For example, in Ontario, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine does not require the MCAT.

A good resource for students interested in taking the MCAT is the Association of American College’s MCAT Web site - http://www.aamc.org/students/mcat. This site contains scheduling information about the MCAT as well as practice tests and sample questions.

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