The MCAT

The M-C-A-T!

Come on, all premeds know that this is the most important “test of their lives”. It is going to “make or break” their chances of getting into a medical school. Every Columbia premed MUST at least receive a 33 on the MCAT or “Gosh – will I end up for four years in the Caribbean somewhere? Maybe I’ll have to go into finance instead.”

Chill. Relax. Breathe.

The MCAT is very important, yes. It’s another required stepping stone that every pre-med encounters before applying to medical school. But, no- it’s not the “most important test” of your life. That test may come one day when you fall in love, when you get married, when your child asks you “How do you babies get made? “, or when you are (finally!) a doctor and you are repeatedly faced with real-life ethical issues on how to treat a certain patient.

That said it’s important to prepare for the MCAT as best you can, but to keep perspective of its relevance as an entrance exam that will get you to a medical school. As for the score you get? Prepare well, study hard, take some time to chill out and relax, and then think about that later. Already got your score? Smile-you did your best given the circumstances. Talk to your advisor or dean about it to see where you stand and whether it’s worth taking the exam again. Things happen for a reason, (or so they say), so take this in stride and keep your head held high.

How should you prepare? Everyone’s got their opinion, and frankly speaking, that’s because people learn differently. Maybe you’d prefer to take a prep course, or do you learn better by studying on your own? Are you at a disadvantage by not taking a prep course? How early should you start preparing for the exam? When should you take the exam? Is there a “golden number” on the MCAT that will open up the heavy gates to those top medical schools? All these questions and more are addressed in our MCAT “Student Advice” section, which is a compilation of words of wisdom from Columbia juniors, seniors, and alumni (current medical students) who have already taken the exam and want to share their thoughts with you. We’ve also prepared a list of relevant websites that may be useful before and after you take the exam. Stay informed. And, of course- good luck!

MCAT-related websites

MCAT Prep Info

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