Professional Exams

Graduate health programs require applicants to take professional exams as part of the application process. In most cases, students should plan to take the exams before applying to programs.

 

MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test) – required for MD, DO, and podiatry programs.

Covers:

  • Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems;
  • Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills;
  • Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems;
  • Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior.

Scoring: 472 to 528 points total (118 to 132 points per section).

The exam displays a tentative score as soon as it is completed. Official scores are reported 30 days later.

Length: 7 1/2 hours with three breaks.

How to prepare:

  • Begin a semester before taking the exam. Treat exam prep as a three credit course (study 9-12 hours per week).
  • Many students study with a combination of Khan Academy online materials and books by Kaplan, Princeton Review, or other providers. Take a commercial course if you need additional structure to help you study.
  • Take diagnostic exams at AAMC.org to figure out how to allocate your study time. Take one practice test at the beginning of the semester, one a couple of months later, and one a week or two out from your exam date.
  • Because the exam is done online and requires you to read texts, practice reading longer texts online. You can find a variety of materials to practice reading at www.longform.org.

Cost: $310.

For further information on the MCAT, see: https://students-residents.aamc.org/applying-medical-school/taking-mcat-exam/.

 

GRE (Graduate Record Exam) – required for PA, PT, OT, DVM programs.

Covers:

  • Verbal Reasoning;
  • Quantitative Reasoning;
  • Analytical Writing (essay).

Scoring: 130 to 170 points each for Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections; 0 to 6 points for Analytical Writing section.

The exam displays a tentative score as soon as it is completed. Official scores are reported 10-15 days later.

Length: 3 1/2 hours with three breaks.

How to prepare:

  • Begin a semester before taking the exam. Treat exam prep as a one to two credit course (study 3-6 hours per week).
  • Many students study with a combination of Khan Academy online materials and free Official GRE test prep materials at ets.org.
  • Take diagnostic exams at ets.org to figure out how to allocate your study time.
  • Because the exam is done online and requires you to read texts, practice reading longer texts online. You can find a variety of materials to practice reading at www.longform.org.

Cost: $205.

For further information on the GRE, see: https://www.ets.org/gre/.

 

PCAT (Pharmacy College Admission Test)

Covers:

  • Biological Processes;
  • Chemical Processes;
  • Critical Reading;
  • Quantitative Reasoning;
  • Writing (essay).

Length: 3 1/2 hours.

Scoring: 200 to 600 points per section; 0 to 6 points for Writing section.

The exam displays a tentative score as soon as it is completed. Official scores are reported up to five weeks later.

How to Prepare:

  • Use online practice tests and study guides at pcatweb.info. Materials cost between $50 and $90 each.

Cost: $210.

For further information on the PCAT, see: http://www.pcatweb.info/.

 

DAT (Dental Admission Test)

Covers:

  • Natural Science;
  • Perceptual Ability;
  • Reading Comprehension;
  • Quantitative Reasoning.

Length: 4 1/2 hours.

Scoring: 1 to 30 points total.

The exam displays a tentative score as soon as it is completed. Official scores are reported up to four weeks later.

How to Prepare:

  • DTS offers a diagnostic test for $37 at ada.org.

Cost: $445.

For further information on the DAT, see: http://www.ada.org/en/education-careers/dental-admission-test.

 

OAT (Optometry Admission Test)

Covers:

  • Natural Sciences;
  • Reading Comprehension;
  • Physics;
  • Quantitative Reasoning.

Scoring: 200 to 400 points for each section.

The exam displays a tentative score as soon as it is completed. Official scores are reported about oneĀ  week later.

How to Prepare:

  • Free test prep at www.ADA.org/en/OAT.

Cost: $435.

For further information on the OAT, see: http://www.ada.org/en/oat.