Students must take a standardized test as part of their application to health professions school. Each test differs somewhat in the subject matter. They all test reading comprehension, critical thinking skills, problem-solving ability, and subject area knowledge.
Students should take the exams after they have taken classes in the subject areas covered. For example, medical applicants will have taken General Chemistry, and some or all of Biology, Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry and Physics before they take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). Some students self-study for the Psychology and Sociology section of the exam and others choose to take classes. In addition, the MCAT tests critical analysis and reading skills -- if you feel like you need work in this area, you are encouraged to take classes that will help you to build these skills.
- HPA MCAT Handout (google doc)
- HPA MCAT FAQ
- HPA MCAT Panel Notes
AAMC MCAT Basics
The AAMC creates and administers the MCAT, and provides the most up to date information about the exam on their webpage, including these highlighted pages:
The AAMC provides many free or low-cost study materials. The AAMC's official question packs and sample tests are highly recommended:
MCAT Test Prep Companies & Resources
About half of our applicants take prep courses, while the other half self-study using AAMC and other resources. Beyond studying content, we recommend taking a diagnostic exam for a baseline to use to guide your prep; practicing with online problems and sample exams that replicate the actual MCAT testing conditions, then analyzing your strengths and areas to improve with each set of practice material and adjusting study and preparation strategies accordingly.
- Altius (offers free practice exam)
- Berkeley Review
- Blueprint (formerly NextStep Test Prep): offers free diagnostic and one free full length exam
- Gold Standard (offers free 1/3 length exam, sample study plan)
- GroSeries - podcast hosted by a med student, recommended especially for psyc/soc (Apple podcast) (Spotify)
- Jack Westin - free weekly review sessions, question banks, other resoruces.
- Kaplan (offers free practice exam; sample 3-month study plan)
- Princeton Review (offers free practice exam)
- Student Doctor Network 100 day MCAT Study Schedule
- U World (7 day free access)
*note that HPA does not officially promote, sponsor or recommend any test preparation company - we gather information for our students and make it available to them.
Standardized Test Prep Books
Students may borrow test prep books from our HPA Library. Many students also use the library to comparison shop for the resources that they ultimately purchase.
- Examkrackers, 1001 Questions supplement
- The Gold Standard
- Next Step
- Princeton Review
- The Gold Standard
- The Official Guide to the GRE, ETS