One of the most asked questions about the MCAT is: How Long is the MCAT? The answer to this question is: The MCAT exam is seven and a half hours long. If you are planning to appear for the MCT exam, be prepared to dedicate an entire day to the testing site because it would demand the same. Without any breaks and other additional sections, the “total content time” of the exam is 6 hours and 15 minutes. But with the additional breaks and optional sections, the total “seated time for MCAT” is 7 hours and 27 minutes, roughly 7 hours and 30 minutes.
There are several factors to remember when appearing for the MCAT exam. MCAT, or the Medical College Admission Test, is one of the most important exams to guarantee your admission to your medical college. This exam demands future doctors showcase their talent and thoroughly test their knowledge. There are several essential aspects of the exam, and as a sincere candidate, it is crucial to know the facts in detail before you opt for the exam. The exam is quite complex, and so are the regulations. So, candidates must understand all the points effectively and well.
How Long is the MCAT? – Duration of the Exam
MCAT is one of the most comprehensive exams ever. The exam lasts about seven and a half hours, approximately 450 minutes. So, a candidate has to devote the whole day to the exam. Since this is a computer-based test, the candidates must report to the official testing sites and appear for the seven-and-a-half-hour exam. The exam is administered multiple times throughout the year. You can attempt the test at your own convenient time.
During the pandemic, the AAMC reduced the exam duration to 5 hours and 45 minutes, and the pattern continued during the two consecutive COVID-19 pandemic years. With the regression of the pandemic situation, the MCAT length is back to its standard length. Here is the time duration breakdown for the MCAT exam:
|MCAT Section||Time Length||Total Time|
|Certification for the Test||4 minutes||4 minutes|
|Tutorial for the test (optional)||10 minutes||14 minutes|
|Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Sciences||95 minutes||1 hour and 49 minutes|
|Break (Optional)||10 minutes||1 hour and 59 minutes|
|Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills||90 minutes||3 hours and 29 minutes|
|Mid-exam break (Optional)||30 minutes||3 hours and 59 minutes|
|Biological and BiochemicalFoundations of Living Systems||95 minutes||5 hours and 34 minutes|
|Optional break||10 minutes||5 hours and 44 minutes|
|Psychological, Social and Biological Foundations of Behaviour||95 minutes||7 hours and 19 minutes|
|Void Questions||3 minutes||7 hours and 22 minutes|
|Day-end survey||5 minutes||7 hours and 27 minutes|
This MCAT breakdown time analysis chart shows the time break up for the exam. Other than this core time, the candidate must be at the center sometime before the exam commences for other formalities such as ID proof verification. They may also take some time after the exam is over to leave the test center. In entirety, the whole day is needed for the exam.
Here are some of the essential points to remember for the final exam day
- You should always arrive at the testing center at least 30 minutes in advance. Arriving some time before the exam will help the candidate prepare themselves and stay steady and calm. Have enough time to communicate with the test center authority if needed. Also, you won’t be immediately allowed to leave the center when you finish the exam. You have to wait until the checking process is completed.
- The MCAT is an extensively long exam. So, the candidates must eat during the exam during the designated break times. Don’t even think of skipping meals during the exam period because your blood sugar level may fall, severely hindering your examination.
Keep on eating small meals during the breaks. It is better if you also eat chocolates because they can instantly boost the blood glucose level and help your brain perform better.
- A candidate can only bring their eyeglasses and an MCAT-approved ID to the examination room and nothing more. The MCAT is a computer-based test, so the candidates don’t need to bring any pen or paper. Candidates can bring cell phones with them, but on entering the exam hall, the authorities will seal the phone, and you won’t be allowed to use it until the exam is over. Other gadgets, such as smartwatches, are not allowed inside the exam center.
- The test centers are directed to take care of your belongings. They will provide you with earplugs, a notebook booklet, and a storage key for the locker for easy student access. MCAT is one of the most organized exams you will ever appear for. With the help of the authorities, the exam will turn out to be smooth and hassle-free.
The exam authority is quite helpful, and there is no need for stress. They will cooperate with you to help you appear for the test. All you have to do is stay calm and steady your patience since it is an extended test. To help accommodate the final test atmosphere, mock tests can be helpful.
The following vital question regarding MCAT is the exam format. The exam is segregated into four individual sections.
Since 2015, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has revamped the exam format to focus on the recent changes in science and medicine.
Since then, the section format of the exam has also been changed. The four sections of the MCAT exam are as follows:
- Biological and Biochemical Foundations of the Living Systems
- Chemical and Physical Foundations of the Biological Systems
- Psychological, social and biological foundations of Behaviour
- Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills
Each of these units is essential for the recent medical science. The reason that the sections were revamped is to prioritize the recent excellence in science. A candidate has to perform satisfactorily in all the sections to expect a rank in the top MCAT percentile.
Wrapping It Up
How Hard is the MCAT? It is difficult to answer the same. The MCAT is one of the most challenging exams to appear for. It is pretty critical in terms of content, and it will surpass all the effort you have ever put into work as a premed. With sustained and dedicated practice, it is possible to attain the perfect MCAT score even on the first attempt. Coaching and the best guidance can help you perform the best in the exams.