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Are You Up for the Challenge? Find Out What Subjects Are on the MCAT

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The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is one of the most important stages in the journey of becoming a healthcare professional. Before you start studying to take the test, the first step is to learn what subjects will be reviewed on the test. Don’t worry; if you’re an aspiring medical school student, you’ve seen them all before in your undergraduate pre-med program. Now, the challenge is learning how to take the test and honing any subjects you find difficult.

Read on to learn what the MCAT comprises and how you can ace this test. 

Get to know the MCAT

The MCAT is an exam conducted by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). Results of this exam help med schools examine a student’s readiness to take on this next step. The exam evaluates an aspirant’s scientific subjects and critical reasoning, but we’ll get into the details below. 

The MCAT requires great concentration and stamina—and not just while you’re studying for it. This standardized, computer-based, multiple-choice exam lasts seven-and-a-half hours (of which the content time is six-and-a-half hours), so take it from us: you’ll need some comfortable scrubs or athleisure to sit in for the whole time. 

Like every other exam, it can be far less stressful when you are well-prepared. Make a study plan, gauge your progress by taking practice tests, and get experience answering questions with distractions in the background by working at cafes or the library some days. 


Four sections of the MCAT 

The MCAT is segmented into four sections, of which three focus on the sciences, and the fourth tests critical reasoning skills. 

  1. Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems:

This section concerns processes of living organisms such as reproduction, metabolism, and response. 

  • 59 multiple-choice questions
  • 95 minutes
  • Covers biology, biochemistry, and chemistry (organic and inorganic)
  1. Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems:

This section tests your knowledge of the human body’s functions, along with chemical and physical principles.

  • 59 multiple-choice questions
  • 95 minutes
  • Covers biochemistry, general chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, and biology 
  1. Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior:

This section is all about human psychology and how humans react to these facets of society. This involves research and stats.   

  • 59 multiple-choice questions
  • 95 minutes 
  • Covers sociology, biology, and psychology
  1. Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills:

This section tests your critical thinking and problem-solving abilities. You’ll be asked to read passages and answer corresponding questions by applying critical reasoning.   

  • 53 multiple-choice questions
  • 90 minutes 
  • Tests analytical skills with questions on passages from humanities and social sciences disciplines

How is the MCAT scored?

A little test-taking strategy can go a long way. So, knowing how the MCAT is scored can help you ace the exam. 

Each section is given a weighted score, which is then added together to give your total MCAT score. So, if you receive five different scores, don’t panic. Pro scoring tip: incorrect answers and blanks are counted the same way, so when in doubt, guess it out! 

So, what’s a good MCAT score? For each section, 118 is the lowest weighted score and 132 is the highest weighted score. This means the highest possible total weighted score is 528. But, a solid score is considered anything above the year’s average score. 


As we said, a bit of strategizing can’t hurt. So, here are some commonly asked questions about this test that can help you strategize as you study and on “game day.” 

How many questions are on the MCAT exam?

The MCAT has a total of 230 multiple-choice questions, with each section containing from 53 to 59 questions. 

What is the MCAT subject percentage breakdown?

Although the percentage may vary, you can refer to the following: 

Section 1: 

  • 65% introductory biology
  • 25% first-semester biochemistry
  • 5% general chemistry
  • 5% organic chemistry

Section 2: 

  • 30% general chemistry
  • 25% first-semester biochemistry
  • 25% introductory physics
  • 15% organic chemistry
  • 5% introductory biology

Section 3: 

  • 65% introductory psychology
  • 30% sociology
  • 5% biology

Section 4: 

  • 50% social sciences 
  • 50% humanities

What are high-yield MCAT topics?

As you can see in the percentage numbers above, some subjects just get a bit more attention on the MCAT. If these subjects are difficult for you, you may want to focus extra on them. The highest number of questions on the test are about biology, followed by psychology and biochemistry.


Prepare to become the best doctor!

Is the MCAT difficult? Yes. Is it impossible? No. 

Treat the test as you would any other challenge in life and prepare well. All this MCAT prep will pay off and you’ll feel more confident when sitting for the exam.

Make a study plan that suits your schedule and style of learning, and give yourself plenty of time to prepare for the test. Don’t rush to take the exam on a certain date if you don’t feel comfortable on test day. 

Track your progress, and be honest about your strengths and weaknesses. Don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t ace your first practice exam. Instead, use the experience as an opportunity to identify the focus areas. Another key point is not to pressure yourself to take the test at lightning speed when you start practicing. Be patient, and eventually, you’ll nail time management. 

Whether you’re asking, “is the MCAT multiple-choice” or “what are the most comfortable scrubs,” we have all the answers. Put in all your hard work to prepare for your MCAT, and we’ll cover you on your test day, literally!

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