Medical College Admission Test Questions: Everything You Need to Know about the MCAT

Medical College Admission Test

Certainly recognized as a formidable titan among academic evaluations, the Medical College Admission Exam (MCAT) stands tall. A necessity for those aspiring to grace the hallowed halls of U.S. medical schools, its stewardship falls under the vigilant watch of the Association of American Medical Colleges.

With its presence in a plethora of Prometric Testing Centers dotting the American landscape, the MCAT beckons applicants about 14 times annually. With a storied tenure over 75 years, its allure draws in upwards of 70,000 zealous candidates each rotation of the calendar, despite the limited offer of a mere 20,000 fresh medical student berths within America’s borders.

Understanding the MCAT

The MCAT’s complexion has seen recent metamorphoses of noteworthy magnitude. At present, the endurance of candidates is tested through a near eight-hour intellectual marathon—a stark elongation from its erstwhile five-hour sprint.

The discarded essay, once deemed a proving ground of compositional skill, has met its demise, as pedagogic sages have declared its obsolescence in gauging medical school triumphs. A trailblazing addition charts new territories; this novel segment tests the candidate’s propensity to navigate across the cultural and sociological tapestry that stitches the ever-diversifying American demography.

A demand of modern physicians, these competencies were scarcely imagined by their predecessors. And while yesteryear’s MCAT presented itself 25 times per annum, today’s iteration parades only 14 opportunities.

Test structure

Four pillars uphold the exam’s structure:

  1. Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills (53 questions/90 minute constraint)
  2. Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems (59 questions/95 minute constraint)
  3. Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems (59 questions/95 minute constraint)
  4. The innovative Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior (59 questions/95 minute constraint)

All MCAT Test questions adheres to a multiple-choice format, and unlike adaptive tests where acing tougher questions can abbreviate the experience, the MCAT offers no such shortcut. Independent scoring for each segment materializes, with amalgamated results yielding a composite score. Sectional tallies range from 118 to 132, culminating in aggregate scores spanning from 472 to 528.

Juniors or seniors in college typically seize the opportunity to undertake the MCAT, a strategic move that aligns with having scores in hand when the medical school application season commences. Yet, caution is advised – diving into this test unprepared could saddle one with a subpar score, thereby hampering one’s prospects in the ultra-competitive medical school admissions race.

The annual quota for medical school spots is notoriously tight, utterly dwarfed by the legion of applicants eager to embark on the path to medicine, rendering the admission process exceedingly stringent. The crème de la crème of medical institutions enforce an extra layer of selectivity, often reserving acceptance for those elite few with MCAT and GPA achievements residing in the highest strata.

Competition remains relentless, intensifying with each turn of the calendar. Rumblings suggest a silver lining may be on the horizon with potential new medical school openings. Should that come to fruition, weaving through the medical school admissions tapestry might present slightly less of a challenge. Still, the journey will demand resilience and excellence, and securing a distinguished MCAT score will persist as the paramount strategy to tip the scales in one’s favor.

Using Practice Tests To Prepare For The MCAT

Embarking on the journey to conquer the MCAT begins with a thorough exploration of top-tier MCAT preparation materials and practice examinations. The marketplace boasts an array of options when it comes to equipping yourself with these essential tools, so diligent research is paramount. My personal discovery is that leveraging high-fidelity MCAT practice tests has significantly enhanced my study habits, strategic planning, and punctuality, while simultaneously deepening my grasp of the intricate concepts tested on the MCAT.

Moreover, establishing clear objectives for oneself and crafting a strategic study blueprint is pivotal as you navigate the waters of MCAT preparation. Frankly, this aspect might eclipse all else in terms of importance. Beyond just attempting MCAT practice tests, it is vital to meticulously dissect your scores, pinpointing your areas of proficiency as well as those that necessitate further refinement.

Upon gaining a lucid understanding of your proficiencies, the specific content domains, and the types of questions warranting additional review, schedule dedicated sessions to fortify each identified area of vulnerability.

Notwithstanding the demands of an arduous academic schedule, professional commitments, and family responsibilities, the cumulative hours invested in MCAT study sessions and in tackling the premier MCAT practice tests will directly correlate with an improved performance and a stronger foundation for entering medical school.

With considerable preparation and rigorous practice test sessions under your belt, it’s time to gear up for the ultimate rehearsal. A handful of days preceding your scheduled MCAT, it’s advisable to undertake a comprehensive, full-length MCAT simulation. Subsequent analysis of your performance and any missed queries serves as an invaluable gauge of your readiness, spotlighting remaining areas that demand your concentration, particularly concerning time management, question nuances, or subject matter specifics.

Mastering time allocation is crucial in your MCAT prep journey. Nevertheless, being well-equipped with the finest MCAT practice exams at your disposal, you’ll notice incremental improvements each day, positioning you to triumphantly tackle the exam.

Examples with Explanations of MCAT Test Questions

MCAT Example Question 1

A buffer solution is made by adding 0.1 mol of acetic acid (CH₃COOH) and 0.1 mol of sodium acetate (CH₃COONa) to enough water to make 1L of solution. The dissociation constant (Ka) of acetic acid is 1.8 x 10^-5. What is the pH of the resulting buffer solution?

(A) 3.74

(B) 4.74

(C) 5.74

(D) 6.74


  1. B) 4.74


To solve this problem, we use the Henderson-Hasselbalch equation, which is given by:

pH = pKa + log([A⁻]/[HA])

where pKa is the negative logarithm of the acid dissociation constant (Ka), [A⁻] is the concentration of the conjugate base, and [HA] is the concentration of the acid.

First, we need to find pKa by taking the negative log of Ka:

pKa = -log(Ka)

pKa = -log(1.8 x 10^-5)

pKa = 4.74

Since the molar amounts of acetic acid and sodium acetate are equal, the ratio of [A⁻]/[HA] is 1, and the log(1) is 0. 

Then the equation simplifies to:

pH = pKa + log(1)

pH = pKa

pH = 4.74

Thus, the correct answer is (B) 4.74.

MCAT Example Question 2

In a double-slit experiment, monochromatic light with a wavelength of 600 nm is used. The distance between the slits is 0.15 mm, and they are located 1 m from the screen. What is the distance between the central bright fringe (central maximum) and the first bright fringe adjacent to it on the screen?

(A) 4 mm

(B) 6 mm

(C) 8 mm

(D) 10 mm


  1. A) 4 mm


To solve this question, we use the formula for the double-slit experiment regarding constructive interference for bright fringes:

Δy = (λD) / d


Δy = distance between the central bright fringe and the first bright fringe

λ = wavelength of the light

D = distance from the slits to the screen

d = distance between the slits

Now, we plug in the values given in the problem:

Δy = (600 x 10^-9 m * 1 m) / 0.15 x 10^-3 m

Δy = (600 x 10^-9 m) / (0.15 x 10^-3)

Here we convert 0.15 mm to meters by multiplying by 10^-3 (as there are 10^3 mm in a meter):

Δy = (600 x 10^-9 m) / (150 x 10^-6 m)

Δy = 4 x 10^-3 m, or 4 mm

The distance between the central bright fringe and the first adjacent bright fringe is therefore 4 mm. Hence, the correct answer is (A) 4 mm.

Keep in mind, the real MCAT queries are devised to probe your grasp of the scientific principles, not just in isolation but also necessitating you to synthesize facts from multiple fields of study. It’s crucial to be poised to wield your know-how within a framework geared towards cracking problems.