Admissions Exam Preparation

Preparing for the:

Preparing for the MCAT

The Medical College Admissions Test, or MCAT, is a 7.5-hour examination. The exam tests students in the following areas: Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems, with content from Physics, General Chemistry, and Organic Chemistry; Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills, analogous to a Reading SAT section; Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems, with content from Biology, Organic Chemistry, and Biochemistry; and Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior section, with content from Sociology and Psychology.

In preparing for the MCAT, the student should first become familiar with the content, depth and type of questions, how the test is scored and how the scores are used. The Official Guide to the MCAT Exam from the Association of American Medical Colleges is the best source to use for this purpose, although the student may decide to use other MCAT preparation booklets when actually reviewing for the test. A student should identify areas of greater and lesser academic strength in order to make best use of preparation time. A Health Professions Advisor can be helpful in this regard. Review all areas that are covered by the test, putting greater time and effort in the areas of greatest academic weakness. After a thorough review of the subject matter and practice sessions in the science problems and skills analyses areas, students should take several self-administered, full length practice MCATs to familiarize themselves with the rigors of time and pressure in taking the test. A test of this intensity and length is a physical challenge, and attention to good sense in exercise, diet and sleep habits in the time leading up to the actual test can be of significant value.

Preparing for the DAT

The Dental Admission Testing Program (DAT) administers a four-hour examination. The exam tests students in the following areas, in order: natural sciences, including biology, general chemistry and organic chemistry; perceptual ability; reading comprehension; and quantitative reasoning.

In preparing for the DAT, the student should become familiar with the content, depth and type of questions, how the test is scored and how scores are used. The DAT Program Guide on the ADA website is the best source for this information. Since the DAT is now given solely on computer, the student should take a practice test on their web site, located at: http://www.ada.org/dat.aspx

As with any standardized test, practice is important. (See Preparing for the MCAT, second paragraph). Fewer practice materials are available for the DAT, but MCAT practice manuals on the natural sciences and critical analysis and reasoning skills can be useful.

Preparing for the GRE

Most veterinary medical schools, PA, PT, and nursing schools require the GRE as the standarized test of choice.

A GRE practice manual will help you get used to the format of the test questions and to pace yourself. Since the GRE is given solely on computer, the student should take a practice test on their web site, located at: http://www.gre.org.