MCAT Exam - Full Form, Exam Dates, Eligibility, Syllabus, Fees


Sristy Sharma
Updated on Sep 05, 2022 08:31 AM IST

The MCAT exam is a popular entrance test, especially among students aspiring for a medical career in the US. Learn all about the MCAT exam and how is it uniquely different than all other medical entrance tests. 

MCAT Exam - Full Form, Exam Dates, Eligibility, Syllabus, Fees

MCAT Exam: There is no country other than the US where the integration of technology into medicine is as advanced. This brings us to the question of 'how do we get into US medical colleges?'.

Well, it is through the MCAT exam that prospective medical students are considered to study medicine in the US. Apart from the US, the exam is used for admission to medical courses at universities in Canada and other specific locations across the world. 

Explore here all about the MCAT exam, including its full form, exam dates, centres, eligibility criteria, syllabus, and exam fees.

What is MCAT Exam?

The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), as the name suggests, is a standardised test for admission to medical colleges, particularly in the US. 

The MCAT exam is designed by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and is administered by Pearson VUE, which also conducts PTE Academic. The authority conducts the exam in 14 countries throughout the year. The calendar year followed by AAMC for the MCAT exam is October through September. 

The exam is famed to have a holistic approach to admissions to medical colleges. It not only tests the aptitude for medical sciences but also evaluates if they have the social and moral fibre to become medical professionals.

Consult experts on how a degree of MD from a US medical college can benefit your career.

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Who is Eligible for MCAT Exam?

The eligibility criteria for the MCAT exam are not too extensive. The exam can be attempted by anyone who has completed their bachelor’s degree. This is the single most important eligibility requirement of the MCAT exam.

The MCAT exam is used by US medical colleges for admission to MD courses. Hence, a bachelor’s degree is an obvious requirement. However, it is not compulsory for the bachelor’s degree to be related to the medical field. The reason behind it is that the AAMC prefers to keep an open offer to all graduate students to pursue a career in medicine. Their past academic background does not have any effect on their eligibility to pursue higher medical studies. 

MCAT Exam Registration Process

To register for the MCAT exam, students need to follow the steps below:

Step 1: They have to register as a new user on the AAMCC website.

Step 2: Use the login credentials to log in as a user.

Step 3: Click on ‘Apply for MCAT’.

Step 4: Provide all the necessary information and other details during the registration process.

Step 5: Explore all the accommodations available for MCAT candidates and select the ones they are eligible for.

Step 6: Provide evidence in support of accommodations application and submit them.

Step 7: On receiving the confirmation letter for applied accommodations, call Pearson VUE. This call must be made at least 15 days before the chosen exam date.

Step 8: Pearson VUE will assign an official for one-on-one assistance to select the exam centre and exam date.

Step 9: Confirm the MCAT exam date and centre, and prepare for the exam.

MCAT Exam Fees in India

AAMC charges an additional MCAT registration fee for international students along with the standard MCAT exam fee. However, there is a Fee Assistance Program available for students from weaker financial backgrounds, which holds them back from attempting the MCAT exam. The registration fee is charged at a discounted rate for such applicants.

Other than the registration fee, AAMC also charges for additional services, such as rescheduling. International applicants can cancel their registration, however, they are not entitled to any refund on such cancellation. In the case of US applicants, refunds are available depending on the timing of the cancellation.

Here is the detailed structure for MCAT exam fees 2022:

MCAT Exam Fees

Amount (in USD)

Standard Applicants

Fee Assistance Program Applicants

Standard MCAT Registration Fee



Additional MCAT Registration Fee for International Applicants



MCAT Rescheduling Fee - 60 days or more before exam



MCAT Rescheduling Fee - 30-59 days before exam



MCAT Rescheduling Fee - 10-29 days before exam



Payments made by the applicants can be chargeable of taxes, such as VAT, GST, Sales tax, etc., applicable in the chosen country at the time. If the applicant reverses any payment charge, or if the payment is declined, then an alternative payment method has to be provided. Inability to do so will result in registration cancellation or scores withholding, including the scores of previous attempts.

The AAMC accepts payments for MCAT exam fees through the following methods:

  • Credit Cards with American Express, VISA, or MasterCard logo.

  • Debit Cards with VISA, or MasterCard logo.

MCAT Exam Centres in India

The MCAT exam is not conducted in India. Hence, candidates who wish to take the exam need to fly to any neighbouring country or the USA to attempt the exam.

Since Indian students will have to choose another country to attempt the exam, the following precautions are advised:

  • They must ensure to apply for a visa class that enables them to appear for the MCAT exam when visiting the country.

  • The exam centres, dates, and time must be noted and understood as per the local time zone of the chosen country.

  • Accommodation and travel reservations must be made from India only to avoid any additional stress when arriving in the chosen country.

  • The arrival and departure must be scheduled at least two days before and after the MCAT exam dates.

  • Students must take time to know the city and region, the traffic situations, and possible routes to the exam centre.

  • They must make a visit to the exam centre to learn about the possible transportations and the average time required to reach there.

  • Students must ensure to arrive at the exam centre at least 30 minutes before the entry starts.

  • Enquiry must be made whether a secure storage locker facility is available at the test centre, and if it is then important documents like passport, visa, vaccination card, etc. must be carried along to tackle any contingencies.

  • Scanned copies of all important documents must be carried in DigiLocker.

  • All the rules and guidelines must be followed word to word.

The countries in which the MCAT exam is conducted are given below:

Countries where MCAT is Conducted

US and US Territories of Guam Peurto Rico, and US Virgin Islands



China: Hong Kong








South Africa




MCAT Exam Dates

Since the MCAT exam is not conducted in India, students have to refer to the exam dates allotted for the country chosen by them to attempt the exam. The countries have different exam dates, timings, and even exam sessions. It is advised that the exam schedule of each country on a particular date is properly understood before finalising the registration.

Apart from the original exam dates and details, students have to ensure to keep themselves regularly updated with any change in dates, rules, or even timings. For instance, the MCAT exam scheduled for January 15, 2022, in Qatar was cancelled. Although students were sent emails, it is still advised to keep a personal eye on the happenings and confirm them through the official website of the MCAT exam.

Here are the upcoming MCAT 2022 exam dates of every allotted country:

Country/MCAT Exam Centre

MCAT 2022 Exam Dates


August 26, August 27, September 1, September 2, September 9, September 10


August 25, August 26, August 27, September 1, September 2, September 3, September 9, September 10


September 1, September 9

Peurto Rico

August 25, August 26, August 27, September 1, September 2, September 3, September 9, September 10

US Virgin Islands

August 26, August 27, September 9, September 10


September 1

China: Hong Kong

September 1, September 2


August 26, September 1, September 2, September 9


August 26, September 1, September 2, September 9


August 26, September 1


September 1, September 2


September 7, September 8, September 9, and September 10


August 26, August 27, September 1, September 2

South Africa

September 1, September 2


September 1


August 26*, August 27, September 1, September 2*, September 9*


September 1, September 2

Note: The last day to schedule an exam date is 10 days before the said date.

MCAT Syllabus and Exam Pattern 

The MCAT exam is a comprehensive exam, which tests the candidates in four sections, namely:

  • 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

The first three sections are based on the 10 big ideas of the medical sciences, such as cell division, social demographics, and diseases, etc. They require candidates to demonstrate their ability to tackle and solve real-life situations while role-playing as physicians. These three sections test candidates by combining the concepts of medical sciences and the social aspects of a human ecosystem.

The fourth section is a writing section that requires candidates to write essays on the given questions, statements, arguments, or topics.

The MCAT syllabus, thus, includes:

  • Concepts of Biology, Chemistry, and Physics.

  • Impact of social demographics, prevalent lifestyle trends, and economic circumstances on the health conditions of society.

  • Role and responsibility of a Physician in a professional, ethical, and moral manner.

  • Application of critical reasoning and problem-solving skills in medical sciences.

  • Concepts of Behavioral Sciences.

MCAT Exam Results

The overall MCAT score is simply a total of section-wise scores. The exam uses a scaled scoring process to calculate MCAT exam scores. The process has been put in detail below:

Step 1: Raw scores are calculated for each section. Every correct answer is worth one mark, and there is no penalty or negative marking for wrong and unanswered questions.

Step 2: The sectional raw scores are scaled on the basis of exam demographics. The parameters included to work out the scaling are the average raw score, total number of test takers, and standard deviation prevalent in the distribution of scores. 

Step 3: The scaled scores of all the sections are added to derive a total MCAT score. 

The section-wise scores are scaled on a range of 118-132. This makes the possible overall MCAT score range to be on the scale of 472-528.

Since the scaled scoring technique is applied, the percentile ranks of MCAT scores have a huge importance in determining the position of the overall MCAT scores. The MCAT percentile rank applicable for March 1, 2022-April 30, 2023 is presented below:

Overall MCAT Score

MCAT Percentile Rank































Note: The MCAT exam results are issued within 30-35 days from the date of exam.

Who Accepts MCAT Exam Scores?

MCAT exam scores are accepted by medical colleges in various countries for admission to MD degree courses. Some of the countries where MCAT exam scores are popularly accepted are:

  • US

  • Canada

  • Australia

  • Caribbean Islands

Since the majority of countries have their own entrance exams for medical colleges admissions, the MCAT exam has limited applicability. However, the exam is indispensable for students aspiring to pursue an MD degree in the US.

The majority of nations require students to have a medical sciences academic background to pursue an MD degree. However, AAMC removes this requirement for all the MCAT test takers, including those aspiring for an MD degree. Though the students from an academic background different from medical sciences will have to put in a lot of effort to clear the MCAT exam, they have a hope to hold on. 

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What is the full form of the MCAT exam?

The full form of the MCAT exam is Medical College Admission Test. It is a computer-based entrance exam for students who want to get into medical colleges in the US, Canada, Australia, and Caribbean Islands. The exam can be attempted by students who wish to study master’s or doctorate courses in medical sciences in accepting countries.

Can I cancel my MCAT exam registration?

Yes, you can cancel your MCAT exam registration at any time before your exam. There is a Gold Zone Deadline, which falls 29 days before the scheduled exam date. If you cancel your registration before this deadline, you can get a refund of your registration fee. However, cancellation after this deadline will not result in a refund. 

How much time do I need to prepare for the MCAT exam?

You will need dedicated preparation for three to four months to prepare for the MCAT exam. However, if you are a working or under-training student, you need to start preparing at least five to six months before the exam date to ensure a good score on the MCAT exam. Alternatively, you can ensure preparation of at least 250 hours and up to 350 hours to score well in exams. 

Can I prepare well with MCAT exam sample papers?

Yes, you can prepare well with MCAT exam sample papers. However, they must be used in the last leg of preparation rather than throughout. It is best to begin the MCAT preparation with books and other study materials, such as research papers and descriptive studies. When you have already completed the majority of your concepts, then you can move on to sample papers.

What is the passing score for the MCAT exam?

There is no set passing score for the MCAT exam. The admission cut-off score is decided by medical colleges based on the difficulty level and overall performance of test-takers in the MCAT exam that year. Generally, a cutoff score equivalent to the 80th percentile is asked by the top medical colleges, which can be easily achieved with a 510 or above score in the MCAT exam.

Is the MCAT exam difficult?

Yes, the MCAT exam is fairly difficult for the test takers. The exam covers a multitude of medical sciences topics and also addresses technical aspects of certain specialisation fields in depth. Test takers need to go through the syllabus in depth to be able to answer even the most direct questions, and hence the lengthy syllabus of the exam makes it difficult to crack.

What is the average MCAT score?

The average MCAT score is 495-505. The majority of test takers manage to get around 60th to 75th percentile in the MCAT exam. In order to get admission to top medical colleges, a score equivalent to the 80th percentile or above is required. The score range of 515-522 will be equal to the 90th percentile or above in the MCAT exam.

Is the MCAT exam harder than the NEET exam?

No, the MCAT exam is not harder than the NEET exam. It is extremely difficult to clear the NEET exam in India and become a doctor. Moreover, the NEET exam will get you admission to MBBS courses, while the MCAT exam will clear you for an MD degree if you already have a bachelor’s degree in any other course.

Does the MCAT exam ask descriptive questions as well?

No, the MCAT exam does not ask descriptive questions along with objective questions. The test is objective wholly and all the questions are in multiple-choice format. The questions asked in the MCAT exam cover various topics of Chemistry, general and organic, Biochemistry, Biology, Physics, Psychology, and Sociology. There are also some reasoning and logic questions included in the exam.

How long does the MCAT exam last?

The MCAT exam lasts for over six hours and 15 minutes. The length of the MCAT exam will leave you exhausted if you try to attempt it without preparation. It is a rigorous and patience-testing exam. In order to ensure your focus throughout the exam, you must prepare with mock tests and MCAT-like question papers. This practice must begin at least 1.5 months before the exam date.

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