For Students, Alumni and Employers


Exam Information

MCAT Program Office
P.O. Box 4056
Iowa City, IA 52243
(319) 337-1357

Exam Preparation


Supplemental to your academic record. If there is a significant difference between your test score and your academic record, a question will likely be raised determining your admission. Many times if your academic record is superb, the school will offer an interview in hopes of clearing up the discrepancy. If your academic record is superb and you score low on the MCAT, you may want to consider re-taking the test after significant preparation so that you can overcome the uncertainty that the interviewer may have about your ability to handle the academic demands of medical school.


Verbal Reasoning (85 minutes)
A 500–600 word text is presented. Medical Schools will look for a response addressing the following:

  1. Comprehension of the essence of the text
  2. Utilization of the information from the text
  3. Determination of the validity of the information of the text
  4. Integration of new data on the context of that which is in the text

Physical Sciences (100 minutes)
Measures an applicant’s comprehension of basic concepts and problem-solving ability in physics, chemistry, and math

Writing Sample (60 minutes)
Given a one-line statement of a policy or opinion on a topic that can come from a broad-range of issues – asked to write two 30-minute essays. The response should be thoughtful, detailed, and logically expressed. The applicant is presented with 3 tasks:

  • Provide an in-depth interpretation of the meaning of the statement.
  • Provide a detailed rebuttal of the point of view expressed in the statement
  • Demonstrate how one can resolve the statement and the opposing viewpoint that was offered.

Biological Sciences (100 minutes)
Topics of molecular biology, cell structure and function, genetics, and evolution as well as the organization of the body systems. Topics in organic chemistry is covered in 77 questions because it forms the bases of many biological (biochemical) reactions.

Retaking the MCAT

There is no limit to the number of times you may take the MCAT. The application procedure for retaking the MCAT is identical to that for the original testing. However, students who have previously taken the MCAT three (3) times must request special permission to take the test again. The request should include evidence of the student’s attempts to apply to a health professions school and must accompany the registration materials.

If you feel that your scores are low, or that the scores do not accurately reflect your abilities, you may wish to take the MCAT again. It may be beneficial to discuss your decision with your premedical advisor. The Association of American Medical Colleges recommends retaking the MCAT only under one or more of the following conditions:

  • an unusual discrepancy between college grades and MCAT scores;
  • inadequate coursework to prepare for material included on the test;
  • a misunderstanding of the directions or incorrect recording of answers on the answer document;
  • serious illness at the time of the test; or
  • a recommendation by a member of the medical school admission committee that the MCAT be retaken.

According to the survey of medical admission officers, multiple sets of scores may be used in one of several ways. Some schools consider only the most recent set of scores. Others take an average of the scores. A larger number of schools consider multiple sets of scores equally and note improvements. Finally, some schools use only the highest set of scores or the highest individual section scores. Of the three methods, the second (using all sets of scores equally and noting improvements) is the most common. You may wish to consult an institution’s admission office directly for information about its procedures.