Is the MCAT Multiple Choice?

Is the MCAT multiple choice? The answer is yes. There is no free response or writing section on the exam. You might think that the MCAT isn’t too bad but that’s not quite true. Most pre-medical students would agree that the MCAT is a tough exam even though it is multiple choice. However, knowing this fact can allow you to be strategic in your approach to the MCAT.

No Free Response

As stated above, the MCAT only have multiple choice questions, which is different from most college science exams. You might recall drawing out arrow pushing diagrams for a chemical reaction in organic chemistry or writing out your force calculations on a free body diagram in physics. You won’t have to do either for the MCAT. Note that this does not mean having the knowledge to do so is not helpful for answering questions on the MCAT. It’s just that the typical questions students get in their college courses can’t always be tested in a multiple choice format. In addition, while many standardized exams have a writing section, the current MCAT exam does not. Don’t worry, medical school admissions committees will have plenty of opportunities to see your writing in your medical school application.

No Guessing Penalty

You may recall some multiple choice tests having guessing penalties. Students taking these exams then have to be strategic in choosing which and how many questions to answer to attain the highest score that they can. The good news is that the MCAT has no guessing penalty so you should never leave an answer choice blank.

Process of Elimination

One great aspect of multiple choice tests is that you can get the right answer without actually knowing the correct answer. As there is no guessing penalty, all pre-medical students should be guessing on the questions that they cannot figure out the answer. On the MCAT, there are four possible answers per question so students will get lucky on about a quarter of the questions that they guess on. Better yet, if the student reads the answer choices and can eliminate at least one wrong answer choice, then their chances of getting that question correct increases considerably. In fact, all questions on the MCAT can even be answered by finding three wrong answers, instead of trying to look for the correct answer. This is the power of process of elimination.

Hopefully, you now have a better idea how to approach the MCAT exam as a multiple choice test. If you are looking for additional information to help you prepare for the exam, we recommend that you read more about the biggest study mistakes on the MCAT, top five strategies for MCAT success, and don’t forget that Magoosh also offers MCAT prep to assist you in all your MCAT needs.

Have other MCAT questions? Check out Magoosh’s MCAT FAQ!

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  • Ken

    Ken is a former blog writer for Magoosh who left to focus on developing novel and effective ways to help students achieve success on the MCAT exam.

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