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MCAT Exam 2024: Syllabus, Eligibility & Preparation Tips

Updated on 11 February, 2024

Pragya Sharma

Pragya Sharma

Sr. Content Editor

Anyone preparing to opt for higher studies to become a doctor, especially in foreign countries, must have heard of the Medical College Admission Test, or the MCAT. Did you know the MCAT exam has been a fundamental aspect of medical school admissions for over 90 years? It is administered approximately 25 times a year at over 3,000 testing centers worldwide. Let us dive deeper into the vital aspects of the MCAT exam, including its syllabus and preparation tips. 

All About MCAT 

The MCAT is a standardized exam designed to assess the readiness of aspiring medical students for the rigorous curriculum of a medical school. You must score well on it to practice medicine or be admitted to medical schools in Canada and America. Each year, over 85,000 students take the MCAT. 

Administered by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the MCAT test is a critical component of the medical school application process and is often used by admissions committees to evaluate a student's potential to succeed in a medical school. You must remember that the test can be taken only three times in one calendar year, four times over two years, and seven times over the course of your lifetime.

MCAT Syllabus

MCAT assesses an applicant’s problem-solving, critical thinking, and knowledge of natural, behavioral, and social science concepts and principles prerequisite to the study of medicine. 

The MCAT exam is a total of 7.5 hours, with 6 hours and 15 minutes dedicated to the actual test, 50 minutes allocated for breaks, and 25 minutes allotted for logistical tasks at the beginning or end of the exam. It has 230 questions, and the score ranges from 472 to 528.

The exam is divided into four sections:

  1. Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
  2. Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
  3. Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behaviour
  4. Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills

MCAT Registration and 2024 Exam Dates

The MCAT exam is conducted multiple times from January and March through September in the US, Canada, and other international locations. In fact, the registration for MCAT tests being conducted between January and June 2024 is currently open.

Carefully read the MCAT exam eligibility requirements before registering. To register for MCAT, you must:

  1. Decide on a test date and the location where you want to give your exam.
  2. Create an account with the AAMC.
  3. After creating your AAMC profile, select the "Start Exam Registration" option.
  4. Make sure to enter your personal information accurately on the MCAT exam registration form using the same details that appear on your government-issued identification, which you must present on test day.
  5. After completing all the forms, click 'Schedule an MCAT Exam.'
  6. Choose the date and location where you want to take the MCAT exam. If no seats are available for your preferred location and date, you can ask to be informed if a spot opens up.
  7. After you choose your test date and location, you can click "Proceed to Checkout" to pay for your MCAT exam registration, which is USD 335.

MCAT Preparation Tips

Preparing for the MCAT exam can be daunting, but you can increase your chances of success with the right approach. Here are some tips for MCAT exam preparation:

  • Start early: Give yourself plenty of time to prepare for the exam. You should start preparing for the test 3-6 months before the test date.
  • Familiarize yourself with the exam format: Understand the structure and content of the exam. It will help you become familiar with what to expect in the test.
  • Create a study schedule: Develop a study plan that suits your time and learning style. Ensure to cover all the exam content areas. Creating a timetable or schedule will allow you to become disciplined and be regular with your studies.
  • Use quality study materials: Invest in worthy MCAT exam preparation materials, such as textbooks, practice tests, and online resources.
  • Take practice tests: Practice tests help you simulate the exam experience. It will help you understand your strengths and weaknesses  and identify areas of improvement.
  • Focus on weak areas: Do not dread the parts which you are unable to grasp in one go. Persistently work on areas you need the most improvement in while maintaining your strengths.
  • Stay motivated: Keep yourself motivated by setting goals, rewarding yourself for achievements (even small ones), and seeking support from friends and family.
  • Take care of your health: Maintaining good physical and mental health is essential for exam preparation. Get enough sleep, exercise, and eat a healthy diet.
  • Seek help when needed: Don't hesitate to seek help from a tutor, study group, or mentor if you struggle with specific content areas.

MCAT requires serious commitment and dedication. By following these tips, you can develop a robust MCAT exam preparation strategy and increase your chances of acing the exam.

What is Good MCAT Score

The maximum possible score on the MCAT is 528. You will also receive a percentile rank and your score, which can help you compare your performance with other test-takers. The higher your percentile rank, the better you performed on the MCAT exam.

Percentiles according to the score released by AAMC for 2022-2023 are mentioned below. These percentile ranks are in effect from May 1, 2023 to April 30, 2024.


Total ScorePercentile Rank

Source: aamc.org


Total ScorePercentile Rank



Total ScorePercentile Rank


Per this data, a score of 520 and above should be good, as it puts you in the 97th percentile. You can also use the Medical School Admissions Requirements (MSAR) portal to learn more about an institution's average score requirements. Also, remember if your GPA is low, you will need a higher score on the MCAT exam to balance it. So, start preparing to clear the MCAT exam with flying colors, taking a step toward building a thriving career in medicine.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is MCAT tougher than NEET?

NEET is a mandatory exam to pursue a medical profession in India. On the other hand, MCAT is an admission test for international colleges in the US and Canada. More than 20.8 lakh students appeared in NEET 2023, whereas nearly 85,000 candidates appear for the MCAT yearly. Hence, the competition is tougher for the NEET.

What is the MCAT exam for?

MCAT is conducted to pursue higher medical studies in countries like the US & Canada. If you hold a bachelor's degree in medicine, you can appear for MCAT.

Can Indian students take MCAT?

Indian students can take MCAT if they hold a relevant MBBS degree. Also, the exam does not take place in India. So you’ll have to travel to take the exam.

What is the fee for the MCAT exam in Indian rupees?

The fee for MCAT registration is USD 335, which approximately amounts to INR 27,862 (conversion as on December 28, 2023).

Pragya Sharma

Sr. Content Editor

Pragya Sharma is a content developer and marketer with 6.5+ years of experience in the education industry. She started her career as a social media copywriter for NIELIT, Ministry of Electronics & IT, and has now scaled up as a 360-degree content professional well-versed with the intricacies of digital marketing and different forms of content used to drive and hook the target audience. She is also a co-author of 2 stories in an anthology based on the theme- women empowerment.

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The above tips are the Author's experiences. upGrad does not guarantee scores or admissions.