The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is a standardized, multiple-choice examination designed to assess the examinee’s problem solving, critical thinking, writing skills, and knowledge of science concepts and principles prerequisite to the study of medicine.” Most medical schools require applicants to take the MCAT and it serves as a significant factor as they evaluate applicants. Learn more about what’s tested on the MCAT exam.

View the PDF Document: JHU MCAT Tips report to see how Hopkins students planned and studied for the MCAT as well as other activities they were involved in during that time. Before taking your MCAT exam, make sure to review AAMC’s Ten Tips for Test Day. Good luck!

What is the best way to prepare for the MCAT?

There is no right or wrong way to study and prepare for the MCAT exam. AAMC’s “How I Prepared for the MCAT Exam” testimonials showcase study tips and approaches employed by students who performed well on the MCAT exam. Each student profile includes study schedules, strategies, personal challenges, and dos and don’ts as narrated by the students themselves.

The Office of Pre-Professional Advising does not recommend one preparation study method over another—it’s best to do some research on the various options and decide what’s best for you. Some students choose to take a prep course while others study on their own or in small groups. If you are trying to decide whether a prep course offered by a commercial firm is right for you, consider your learning style and how you have studied for previous exams. Regardless of your chosen study plan, the key seems to be lots of practice exams to gain familiarity with the computer-based format, with time spent analyzing what you got right and wrong, and adjusting your studying based on your performance on the practice exams.

Free Planning and Study Resources

Prepare for the MCAT exam with free and low-cost AAMC MCAT Official Prep resources. In particular, note that one of the self-study resources recommended by the AAMC is the Khan Academy MCAT Video Collection, which contains sample content from all four sections of the exam and includes 1,100 videos and 3,000 review questions to help you study. The AAMC have also launched their own free course, accessible through your AAMC login.

Recognize that the material offered by the AAMC, additional printed materials, along with a rigorous undergraduate education, may make enrollment in such courses unnecessary. That said, here are some commercial options:

Note that that the Office of Pre-Professional Advising does not officially promote, sponsor, or recommend any test preparation company—we gather information for our students and make it available to them.


The Dental Admission Test (DAT) is a computer-based, standardized exam developed and administered by the American Dental Association (ADA). Complete information about the exam, including registration dates and deadlines, is available on the ADEA website. Register early for the best rates and choices of test location. For more information about DAT registration, preparation, and scores, please go to the ADA’s site.

It’s best to take the exam after you have adequately studied the requisite content and taken enough practice exams to feel comfortable with the timing and format of the exam. For more information about when to take the DAT and when it would be appropriate to retake the DAT, please refer to PDF Document: PDF Document: the 2024 DAT Guide.

What is on the DAT?

The DAT consists of 280 multiple-choice test items presented in the English language. It covers four areas of study: 1) natural sciences (biology, general chemistry, and organic chemistry); 2) reading comprehension (dental and basic sciences); 3) Quantitative reasoning (mathematical problems in algebra, numerical calculations, conversions, etc.); and 4) perceptual ability (two- and three-dimensional problem-solving).

Note: There is no physics or advanced biology on the DAT.

In the future, a section may be added to assess critical thinking skills. The Test Specifications list the topic areas covered in each of the four tests and are located in the Examinee Guide.

How many questions are in each section of the test?

The Survey of the Natural Sciences consists of Biology (40 items), General Chemistry (30 items), and Organic Chemistry (30 items) for a total of 100 items.

  • The Perceptual Ability Test is comprised of six subtests: apertures, orthographic projections, angle discriminations, paper folding items, cube-counting items, and spatial form development items. Each subtest has 15 items for a total of 90 items
  • The Reading Comprehension Test consists of 50 test items distributed across three reading passages.
  • The Quantitative Reasoning Test consists of 40 test items, 10 of which are word problems and 30 are computation problems.

Where can I find study materials?

The Examinee Guide includes sample test items and test specifications. Tutorials, located on the ADA website, are designed to familiarize examinees with the format of the questions on the computerized tests. Examinees are cautioned that obtaining or sharing confidential, unreleased test content violates Examination Regulations and carries significant penalties. Further, material obtained from sources such as Internet chat rooms, blogs or information-sharing sites may be inaccurate and/or out-dated and could mislead or disadvantage test-takers. Some helpful links include:

Test Prep Companies

Recognize that the material offered by the ADA, additional printed materials, along with a rigorous undergraduate education, may make enrollment in such courses unnecessary. That said, here are some commercial options:

DAT Resources

The best DAT test resources are found on the DAT webpage of the American Dental Association.