When it comes to conquering the MCAT, it’s best to know your enemy. We dispel some of the most popular misconceptions surrounding the MCAT below.

MCAT myths

MYTH #1

You need knowledge of upper–division sciences in order to do well on the MCAT.

FACT

According to the AAMC, you only need an introductory level of knowledge of physics, biology, organic and inorganic chemistry, biochemistry, psychology and sociology for the MCAT. Some passages may describe upper-division topics, but correctly answering the questions will not require upper-division knowledge.

MYTH #2

You don't need to prepare thoroughly for the MCAT if you're doing well in your pre-med courses.

FACT

Nearly 50% of all MCAT test takers sit for the MCAT a second time due to inadequate preparation the first time, and many of those people are doing just fine in their science courses. Believe it or not, most students who do well on the MCAT spend between 200 and 300 hours preparing for the exam. Control the things you can control, namely your test prep for this exam. Trust us, you don't want to have to take it a second time.

MYTH #3

The MCAT tests science skills. You don't need to worry as much about the verbal section.

FACT

Good reading skills are very important for the MCAT, even in the science sections. For example, humanities majors outperform biological sciences major on every part of the MCAT, not just the verbal section! Medical school admissions officers actually weigh the verbal reasoning section the heaviest of the entire MCAT, because they view it as a measure of a student's ability to learn and communicate.

MYTH #4

There is a "magic number" that you must score on the MCAT in order to get into a competitive medical school.

FACT

Total scores for MCAT are centered at 500, with ranges from 472 to 528. Your score alone will not predict your acceptance or rejection from a competitive medical school. There is a wide range in scores that medical schools deem to be acceptable, and they will also look at your other application elements before making a final determination. If your MCAT scores are lower, you'll most likely need a higher GPA and a more substantial clinical/research record to compensate. You can find MCAT scores, GPA breakdowns, and acceptance rates for many schools in our Best Medical Schools book or in our med school profiles.

Want to see how you measure up? Take a free full-length MCAT practice test with us and get a personalized score report that shows your  strengths and weaknesses. Ready to prep? Check out our flexible online MCAT prep .

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