What is MCAT Exam?: A Step-by-Step Guide

Updated on 02 August, 2023

Mrinal Mandal

Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert

‘Wherever the art of medicine is loved, there is also a love for humanity.’ This irrepressible quote by Hippocrates should ring true in your case, if you’ve chosen to pursue this noble profession. So what should be your first move? MCAT Registration, considering how it helps you get admission into leading medical schools in the US and Canada. 

And it’s a great time to embark on a medical career in the US, considering how the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates 3% of job growth for physicians and surgeons between 2021 and 2031. Simultaneously, 23,800 openings for these professions are forecasted each year throughout this decade, while the median pay in 2021 stood at a handsome $208,000 annually. All things said and done, becoming a doctor or medical professional is indeed a life-altering decision. Here is a guide on how to register for MCAT and some other helpful details. 

Know More About : MCAT Syllabus | MCAT Eligibility |

What is MCAT? 

The MCAT examination is a multiple-choice and standardized computer-based test which has been an integral part of the admission procedure for leading medical schools in the US and Canada for close to a century. More than 85,000 students appear annually for the examination as per the official website. Almost all medical schools across Canada and the USA accept MCAT scores, while many other graduate programs also take these scores in place of other standardized examinations. The examination is divided into four sections, which should give you an idea of the MCAT syllabus to follow. 

These are the following: 

  • 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 test is administered by the AAMC several times every year between January and September at several sites throughout Canada and the US, along with other select global locations. The examination may be taken three times in a calendar year and four times in two years. The maximum limit is seven times in a lifetime. The MCAT score report comprises individual section scores (for all four sections) and a combined total figure. Each section score varies between 118 and 132. The total score ranges between 472 and 528. Scores are usually reported by 30-35 days after the date of the examination. 

Eligibility Criteria for MCAT Examination 

An aspirant is considered eligible to appear for the MCAT if he/she is planning to apply to any health profession school.

This includes the following: 

  • Programs that grant MD
  • Programs granting DO
  • DPM or Podiatric
  • DVM or Veterinary Medicine
  • Any other health-linked program taking MCAT scores for admissions 

Upon registering for the MCAT, you have to agree to an official statement that verifies your intentions of applying to a health professions school. But what are the MCAT eligibility criteria for Indian students or other international aspirants? 

Here are some key points worth noting: 

  • There are no extra criteria for international aspirants. 
  • Those currently pursuing/holders of MBBS degree programs or any equivalent may register without any need for special permission. 
  • You may require transcripts accepted by any accredited Canadian post-secondary/U.S. Territorial/U.S. institution. The AMCAS GPA also has to be calculated thereafter. 
  • Those taking coursework as non-degree students will require 30 credit hours or even more for their progress, completing the same before applying. 
  • Verified citizenship and visa status. 
  • Language proficiency proof. 

Special permission is needed for those not planning to apply to any health profession school or those enrolled presently as medical students (with the exception of MBBS or equivalent). This is possible by sending an email to mcat@aamc.org. 

Is MCAT Available In India? 

Unfortunately, MCAT is unavailable in India for aspirants. It is only offered in the following international locations, apart from the US and Canada: 

  • China
  • Australia
  • France 
  • Israel
  • Germany
  • Japan
  • Qatar
  • Lebanon
  • Singapore
  • Thailand
  • South Africa
  • Taiwan 
  • UK (United Kingdom)

However, Indian aspirants can always fly to their nearest locations in order to take the examination. 

MCAT 2023 Registration Process

You should check the MCAT registration dates carefully. The examination is available several times this year between January and March till September. Registration is already open for the July-September MCAT testing dates. Scheduling is also available currently for the dates between March and June. You have to first register for your AAMC account in order to complete registration by filling up all your details and paying the testing fees. 

MCAT Registration Cost 2023

Here is a snapshot of the registration costs for MCAT in 2023: 

  • Standard Registration Charge- $330
  • Fee Assistance Program Registration- $135
  • Those testing outside the US will have to pay an additional $120 as the international fee which is non-refundable upon the cancellation of registration. 

MCAT Registration Cost 2023 for Rescheduling & Cancellation

Here are the rescheduling and cancellation costs for MCAT: 

  • 60 or more days prior to the examination- $50 in rescheduling fee (test center and/or date) and $165 in the cancellation refund. 
  • 30-59 days prior to the examination- $100 as the rescheduling fee and $165 as the cancellation refund. 
  • 10-29 days prior to the examination- $200 in rescheduling fee. There is no cancellation refund for this period. 

The Fee Assistance Program Change fees are $20 and $70 in rescheduling fees and cancellation refunds for 60 or more days prior to the examination. They are also $40 and $70 in these categories, respectively, for 30-59 days prior to the test. They are also $80 and $0 in rescheduling fees and cancellation refunds for 10-29 days prior to the examination. 

MCAT Exam Pattern 

The examination pattern for the MCAT is the following: 

  1. Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems- 59 questions and 95 minutes. 
  2. Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills- 53 questions and 90 minutes (all passage-based questions). 
  3. Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems- 59 questions and 95 minutes. 
  4. Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior- 59 questions and 95 minutes. 


MCAT registration is a great way to embark on a fulfilling global medical career by striving to get admission into a leading medical school. Ensure that you adhere to all the regulations concerning the examination while checking the official website periodically for updates. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the MCAT exam very difficult?

The MCAT examination is difficult, although it is not impossible to crack. A high percentage of aspirants successfully clear the MCAT every year, and this means that the examination can be cracked with hard work, passion, and effort. 

Is MCAT math hard?

The MCAT math is not as hard -heavy as you would originally imagine. It is an examination that mostly focuses on the conceptual aspects with negligible mathematical calculations/computations involved. The math concepts asked in the examination are fundamental, including trigonometry, arithmetic, and algebra. 

Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert

Mrinal Mandal is a study abroad expert with a passion for guiding students towards their international education goals. He holds a degree in mechanical engineering, earned in 2018. Since 2021, Mrinal has been working with upGrad Abroad, where he assists aspiring students in realizing their dreams of studying abroad. With his expertise and dedication, he empowers individuals to navigate the complexities of international education, making their aspirations a reality.

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