Getting ready for the MCAT

The most important test I’ll ever write?

Even though it’s been more than a week since my last exam, I can’t relax and fully embrace summer vacation. Some of my marks haven’t been posted yet, but that’s not the problem. And I’m pretty sure that I’m not suffering from Post-Exam Stress Disorder, which is usually caused by physics or chemistry exams (I only had biology courses this semester). The reason I can’t relax is because I’m now studying for one of the most important tests that I’ve ever written: the MCAT.

For most schools across Canada, a high GPA and solid extracurricular experience are usually given more weight than the MCAT. Some schools don’t even consider MCAT scores, such as the University of Ottawa and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. McMaster University only considers the Verbal Reasoning portion of the test, and although the University of Toronto requires applicants to write the MCAT, their score isn’t included in the overall academic calculation. Instead, it’s just used as a “flag” during the admissions process, with less than minimum marks possibly disqualifying the application.

When it comes to medical school admissions, an applicant’s MCAT score isn’t a universally-important deciding factor. But it’s still going to be one of the most important tests I’ve ever written.

For one thing, the MCAT is much more important to med schools in the States and abroad. And even if some schools don’t consider the MCAT in their admissions process (or they only use cut-off scores), it’s still important for many Canadian schools, such as the University of Western Ontario. This is especially true outside of Ontario- the University of British Columbia, the University of Calgary, and the University of Manitoba all consider MCAT scores, just to name a few.

So unlike my last summer vacation, the next couple of months won’t just be a combination of part time jobs and relaxing- I’ll also be preparing for the MCAT. And stressing out about the physical sciences section.