The American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) and The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service (AACOMAS)
Students apply to medical schools through AMCAS for allopathic medical schools and AACOMAS for osteopathic medical schools. Centralized applications simplify the process by requiring applicants to submit only one set of application materials. There are a few U.S. schools that do not participate in a centralized application (you apply to those schools directly).
The AMCAS or AACOMAS application is available on the website around May each year. The earliest the completed AMCAS can be sent in is June 1. Applying early (between June 1 and July 15 or so) means that your application will get to the medical schools early for their consideration. In any case, be sure you send it in before the application deadlines at the schools where you're applying.
Application Fee Assistance is available. Students may apply for waivers through The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) or AACOMAS Fee Assistance Program (FAP) but be aware that application deadlines come early. Refer to the application website for more information.
The MCAT is the required entrance exam for medical school. It aids medical schools in identifying medical school candidates who are broadly educated in the social sciences and humanities as well as the sciences. The MCAT "assesses mastery of basic concepts in biology, chemistry and physics; facility with scientific problem solving and critical thinking; and writing skills." (MCAT Student Manual, p. 1).
There are four sections on the exam: Verbal Reasoning (passages from many different disciplines--85 minutes); Physical Sciences (physics and general chemistry--100 minutes); Writing Sample (60 minutes); and Biological Sciences (biology and organic chemistry--100 minutes). Each section, excluding the Writing Sample, is scored on a scale of 1 (lowest) to 15 (highest).
The MCAT is changing in Spring 2015. Please consult with your pre-medical advisor for further information.
The MCAT is taken when you have completed, or have in progress, all the premed prerequisite courses (general chemistry, organic chemistry, biology and physics). Registration for the MCAT is only done online. For registration and administration dates visit the MCAT website.
Preparation for the exam can be in a number of ways. There are professional preparatory courses, prep books, and software available. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) sells several full-length practice exams. Becoming familiar with the exam itself is very important to a student's success. An individual's method of preparation should consider your learning style, organizational ability, self-discipline, and finances. MCAT preparation varies from one individual to another.