Professional School Test

The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)
Graduate Record Exam (GRE)
Veterinary College Admissions Test (VCAT)
Optometry Admissions Test (OAT)
Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT)
Allied Health Professions Admission Test (AHPAT)

The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)

The MCAT is a standardized exam used by allopathic and osteopathic medical schools, schools of podiatry and some veterinary schools as an aid in predicting an applicant’s potential for success in the basic science component of a graduate level curriculum. The MCAT is given twice a year, in the spring (usually mid April) and the fall (mid August). The latest you can take an MCAT test is the fall of the year before you expect to matriculate in medical school (e.g., applicants for the 2003 entering class must take the MCAT no later than the Fall administration of 2002). However, you should plan to take the MCAT in the spring preceding your application. Registration packets for the test may be obtained in the Premedical Education office, Williams Science room 221. The registration material must be mailed back well before the deadline, for in the event of a mix-up, such as failure to sign the application, failure to enclose the registration fee (which is presently $210) or failure to provide a picture, the form will be returned. The AAMC offers a Fee Reduction Program lowering the MCAT testing fee for eligible individuals to $55. The deadline for registration is normally 30 days prior to the test.

Note: Many of the testing services are moving towards online applications. Please check with the office of Premedical Education for more information.

Applicants often ask about the advantages of taking the test during the spring versus the fall. In the typical schedule for undergraduates, the test is taken during the spring semester of your junior year so that test scores are available before you submit applications to medical schools. This is highly recommended since some schools begin to fill classes prior to the release of Fall MCAT scores. The chief advantage to this schedule is that you can repeat the test in the fall if your scores are lower than they should have been or than you wanted them to be. Both scores are released to medical schools and the majority of admission committees evaluate all scores equally. Taking the spring MCAT also gives you an alternate date in the event of unforeseen circumstances such as getting sick on the test date. In addition, taking the test in the spring allows you to have your completed application considered by the medical schools at the earliest possible date. Medical schools send out their first acceptances by October 15, which means that some candidates who have taken the Spring MCAT would already have been accepted to medical school before their peers who had taken the Fall MCAT had even received their test results.

Graduate Record Exam (GRE)

The GRE is the standardized exam required by most US veterinary schools and all masters in public health programs. Most of these educational programs require only the general test, which is tailored to your performance level and provides precise information about your abilities using fewer test questions than traditional paper-based tests. The test measures verbal, quantitative and analytical reasoning skills that have been developed over a long period of time and are not necessarily related to any particular field. A few require the Writing assessment, which measures your proficiency in critical reasoning and writing. Additionally, a few veterinary schools require a subject test, which measures your achievement in specific subject areas and assume undergraduates have extensive background in those disciplines. Check the requirements for the schools to which you wish to apply.

Veterinary College Admissions Test (VCAT)

Only schools in Missouri, Tennessee and Alabama require the VCAT. All other schools of veterinary medicine require the MCAT or GRE. If you are planning to apply to veterinary school, a good strategy is to plan on taking the general GRE. However, be sure to check with the individual school to which you intend to apply and see whether or not additional or alternate requirements are necessary. These might include the GRE biology subject test, and/or GRE writing assessment.

Dental Admission Testing (DAT)

The Dental Admission Test (DAT) is conducted by the American Dental Association and has been in operation on a national basis since 1950. The DAT is administered on computer on almost any day of the year. The testing program is designed to measure general academic ability, comprehension of scientific information and perceptual ability. There are four examinations included in the DAT:

Sciences Perceptual Ability Reading Comprehension Quantitative Reasoning

Biology: Cell and Molecular Biology, Diversity of Life, Vertebrate Anatomy and Physiology. General Chemistry: Stoichiometry and General Concepts, Gases, Liquids and Solids, etc.

Angle discrimination, form development cubes, etc.

Ability to read, organize, analyze, and remember new information. Ability to comprehend thoroughly when studying scientific materials.

Mathematical Problems: Algebra, Numerical calculations, Conversions, Probability and Statistics, Geometry, Trigonometry and Applied Mathematics.

 

Organic Chemistry:
Mechanisms, Chemical and Physical Properties of Molecules and Organic Analysis, etc.

 

Optometry Admissions Test (OAT)

The Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) direct the Optometry Admissions Test (OAT) for applicants seeking admission to schools and colleges of optometry. The testing program is designed to measure general academic ability and comprehension of scientific information. There are four tests included in the OAT:

Sciences Perceptual Ability Reading Comprehension Quantitative Reasoning

Biology: Cell and Molecular Biology, Diversity of Life, Vertebrate Anatomy and Physiology.

General Chemistry: Stoichiometry and General Concepts, Gases, Liquids and Solids, etc.

Units and vectors, linear kinematics, statics, dynamics, rotational motion, energy and momentum, simple harmonic motion, waves, fluid statics, thermal energy and thermodynamics, etc.

Ability to read, organize, analyze, and remember new information. Ability to comprehend thoroughly when studying scientific materials.

Mathematical Problems: Algebra, Numerical calculations, Conversions, Probability and Statistics, Geometry, Trigonometry and Applied Mathematics.

 

Organic Chemistry:
Mechanisms, Chemical and Physical Properties of Molecules and Organic Analysis, etc.

 


Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT)

The Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) is a specialized test administered by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP). The test helps identify qualified applicants to pharmacy colleges by measuring general academic ability and scientific knowledge necessary for the commencement of pharmaceutical education.

There are five content areas measured by the PCAT:

    • Verbal Ability – Measures general, nonscientific word knowledge using antonyms and analogies.

    • Quantitative Ability – Measures skills in arithmetic processes, including fractions, decimals, and percentages, and the ability to reason through and understand quantitative concepts and relationships, including applications of algebra (but not of trigonometry or calculus).

    • Biology – Measures knowledge of the principles and concepts of basic biology with major emphasis on human biology.

  • Reading Comprehension – Measures ability to comprehend, analyze and interpret reading passages on scientific topics.

Allied Health Professions Admission Test (AHPAT)

The Allied Health Professions Admission Test (AHPAT) is a measure of general academic ability and scientific knowledge that helps identify qualified applicants to academic programs in allied health. There are five content areas measured by the AHPAT:

    • Verbal Ability – Measures general vocabulary and verbal reasoning using synonyms and antonyms.

    • Quantitative Ability – Measures ability to reason through and understand quantitative concepts and relationships using nonverbal exercises in arithmetic fundamentals and problem solving.

    • Biology – Measures knowledge of the principles and concepts of basic biology with major emphasis on human biology.

    • Chemistry – Measures knowledge of the principles and concepts of basic chemistry. Topics include atoms and molecules, formulas, equations, bonding, element and periodic relationships, states of matter, solutions, chemical equilibrium, acids, bases, electrochemistry, kinetics and nuclear and organic chemistry.

    • Reading Comprehension – Measures ability to comprehend, analyze and interpret reading passages dealing with science-oriented topics.


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