Detailed analysis of various sections of MCAT exam

Exam: Test Prep MCAT Test - Medical College Admission Test: Verbal Reasoning, Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences, Writing Sample


The MCAT exam (Medical College Admission Test) is a test like any other but this one is specifically prepared for students who are preparing to enter into ideal medical schools. It is a computer-based exam and is mostly for students in USA and also Canada. This exam was introduced almost a hundred years ago, in the year 1928, with the aim of reducing the high rate of student dropouts in the medical schools. It was introduced with a unique design, mainly to rate or gauge the ability of the students in critical thinking, written analysis, problem solving and also knowledge of scientific principles and concepts. Since it was introduced, the Medical College Admission Test used to be done manually, that is using a pen and paper. The use of paper stopped from August 19 in the year 2006. The paper was made into a computer-based exam from the year 2007, on January 27th. The MCAT has widely developed since it was introduced, advancing to a more sophisticated paper.

Today you will find that the paper is administered in various Prometric centres. Prometric is a company based in the Unites States that is in the test administration industry. MCAT is offered 25 or more times each year at this centres. The majority of candidates who sit for this paper are commonly undergraduate who are in colleges, either in their senior or junior year, before they apply to a medical school. The exam nowadays can either be done in the morning or in the evening, since the duration of the exam was reduced to 4.5 to 5 hours long. When preparing for the paper, you will find that it consists of mainly four sections. The four sections each are designed to evaluate different skills and ability of the candidate. These sections are:

  • Physical Sciences
  • Verbal reasoning
  • Biological Sciences
  • Trial Sections

The sections are listed as they are ordered in the exam. Each of this sections assesses different skills in the student. Let us look at each section.

1.  Physical Sciences (PS) section

This is the first part of the exam. The physical science section consists of a total of 52 questions and is allocated a total of 70 minutes. Within the time allotted, the candidate is required to complete the multi-choice part, which includes the following:

There will be a part with 13 independent questions. Here you will be required to read each question and choose the most correct answers from the choices provided below the question.

The remaining part is a set of seven passages. Each passage set contains 4 to 7 questions. One is required to read the passages and then answer the multi-choice questions related to each set.

This section mainly assesses on the memorization of scientific parts. You may find that one's problem-solving abilities will come advantageous since you will be challenged in General Physics and Chemistry. Some of the topics tested are Phase and Phase Equilibria, Bonding, Solutions Chemistry, Stoichiometry, Electronic Structure and Periodic Table and many other Chemistry and Physics topics.

2.  Verbal Reasoning

This is the second part of the MCAT exam. This section comprises of 40 questions, and the candidate will be required to do them within the 60 minutes allocated. The 40 questions are subdivided into two parts, this parts include:

A seven-set passage which contains 4 to 7 questions sets, based on the passages. The candidate will be required to read the passages thoroughly and then answer the multiple-choice questions that are related to each passage.

The test section contains 13 separate questions. Here, the candidate will simply read each question and choose the correct choice below it.

The verbal reasoning section is not that hard. When preparing for this paper, there are several skills that the candidate should be prepared in. This includes evaluation, synthesis, reading comprehension and also application. Once you fully understand these skills, the verbal section will not give you a hard time.

3.  Biological Sciences

This is the last section of the MCAT paper. It is known to be hard, and when not fully prepared, you will have a difficult time in this section. This part comprises of a total of 52 questions, which will be allocated 70minutes. This part is also made of two main parts. This includes:

One part comprises of 13 individual questions. Same as the other sections, the candidate is supposed to read each question and choose the right choice below.

The nest sections have a set of 7 passages. Each set has a total of 4 to 7 seven questions. The candidate taking the exam is required to read each passage carefully and answer the questions related to it by choosing the correct choice below.

In the Biological Sciences section, the candidate should be prepared in Biology and Organic Chemistry. Some of the topics encountered in this section include Molecular Biology, Excretory System, Digestive System, Nervous and Endocrine Systems, Microbiology and so much more.

4.  Trail Section

This is an optional part of the MCAT paper. At the beginning of the year 2013, Writing Sample (a section of the MCAT) was removed, and the trial section was introduced. The optional trial section will assess the candidate in either biology, psychology and sociology or chemistry, biochemistry and biology. This part of the MACT was in effect from 2013 to 2014. The trial section will not be included in the total score of the exam. It has a total of 32 questions, which should be answered within 45 minutes. The trial section is not a must do section, and the applicant can decide whether to do it or not. 

These are the main section of the MCAT exam. One needs adequately to prepare for each section so as to get a score that will ensure they get in a good medical college or centre.


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