Pre-health Standardized Exams

When I say summer, you think… test prep!! Did I get that right? Wait, you were thinking of beaches and ice cream? Well, for some people, summer might be a nice break, but for many College of Biological Sciences students, summer is the perfect opportunity to gain experience in their intended field, take summer classes, or… prepare for dreaded exams. If you are trying to enter a health-related field after undergraduate education, the odds of needing to take a grueling multiple hour exam are high.  These exams will test your stamina, scientific knowledge, and critical thinking skills. But don’t worry, you’ve already started studying! Yup, by taking your major required courses, you’ve already begun the preparing yourself. So, props to you for taking the first step! The next thing to do is understand what exam you’ll be taking and how you can continue preparing for it. Depending on which field you wish to enter, there is a corresponding exam.

If you are interested in: Allopathic medicine, Osteopathic Medicine, or Podiatric medicine, you will take the Medical School Admissions test (MCAT) administered by the AAMC.

  1. The exam is 7.5 hours long (including breaks) and broken into 4 sections: Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems, Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems, Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior, and Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skill
  2. Some classes to take before the exam include: BIS 2ABC Introduction to Biology, CHE 2ABC General Chemistry, CHE 118ABC Organic Chemistry, PHY 7ABC General Physics, BIS 102 & 103 or 105 Biochemistry, NPB 101 Human Physiology, and PSC 1 General Psychology.
  3. If you find yourself with extra time, consider taking: BIS 104 Cell Biology, MIC 102 Microbiology, BIS 101 Genes & Gene Expression, EXB 106 Human Gross Anatomy, and PSC 41 Research Methods in Psychology.
  4. Other logistical information:
    1. Cost is: $315 (fee waivers available)
    2. Can be retaken: 3 times in a single testing year, 4 times in a two year period, and 7 times in a lifetime.

If you are interested in: Dentistry, you will take the Dental Admissions test (DAT) administered by the ADA.

  1. The exam is 5 hours long (including breaks) and broken into 4 sections: Survey of Natural Sciences, Perceptual Ability, Reading Comprehension, and Quantitative Reasoning.
  2. Some classes to take before the exam include: BIS 2ABC Introduction to Biology, CHE 2ABC General Chemistry, CHE 118ABC Organic Chemistry, STA 100 Statistics, and NPB 101 Human Physiology.
  3. If you find yourself with extra time, consider taking: BIS 101 Genes & Gene Expression BIS 102 & 103 or 105 Biochemistry, BIS 104 Cell Biology, MIC 102 Microbiology, EXB 106 Human Gross Anatomy, and EVE 100 Introduction to Evolution.
  4. Other logistical information:
    1. Cost is: $475 (fee waivers available)
    2. Can be retaken: 3 times but must be 90 days apart; to take more than 3 times, candidates must submit a request.

If you are interested in: Pharmacy, you will take the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) administered by Pearson Education.

  1. The exam is 4 hours long (including breaks) and broken into  sections: Writing, Biological Processes, Chemical Processes, Critical Reading, and quantitative reasoning.
  2. Some classes to take before the exam include: BIS 2ABC Introduction to Biology, CHE 2ABC General Chemistry, CHE 118ABC Organic Chemistry, PHY 7ABC General Physics, STA 100 Statistics, NPB 101 Systemic Physiology, BIS 102 & 103 or 105 Biochemistry, Calculus, and Statistics.
  3. If you find yourself with extra time, consider taking: MIC 102 Microbiology or EXB 106 Human Gross Anatomy.
  4. Other logistical information:
    1. Cost is: $210 (fee waivers available)
    2. Can be retaken: 5 times; to take more than 5 times, candidates must submit a request.

If you are interested in: Optometry, you will take the Optometry Admissions test (OAT) administered by the ASCO.

  1. The exam is about 5 hours long (including breaks) and broken into 4 sections: Survey of the Natural Sciences, Reading Comprehension, Physics, and Quantitative Reasoning.
  2. Some classes to take before the exam include: BIS 2ABC Introduction to Biology, CHE 2ABC General Chemistry, CHE 118ABC Organic Chemistry, PHY 7ABC General Physics, and NPB 101 Human Systemic Physiology.
  3. If you find yourself with extra time, consider taking: EXB 106 Human Gross Anatomy, BIS 101 Genes & Gene Expression, or BIS 102 & 103 or 105 Biochemistry.
  4. Other logistical information:
    1. Cost is: $465 (fee waivers available)
    2. Can be retaken: 3 times but must be 90 days apart; to take more than 3 times, candidates must submit a request.

 

If you are interested in: Veterinary Medicine, Physician’s Assistant, Dietetic Internships, Nursing (MSN), Physical Therapy, Genetic Counseling, or Occupational Therapy, you will take the Graduate Records Examination (GRE) administered by the ETS.

  1. The exam is 3.75 hours long (including breaks) and broken into 3 sections: Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning.
  2. Unlike other pre-health standardized exams, the GRE is not content based. Test prep books may be most useful solidifying core concepts. However, other Arts and Humanities or Social Science courses which emphasize critical thinking and reasoning may help.
  3. Other logistical information:
    1. Cost is: $205 (fee waivers available)
    2. Can be retaken: 5 times but must be 21 days apart within any continuous 12-month period.

For more information about any of these exams, how to create a study plan, or what resources are available to you, please contact Health Professions Advising (HPA).

Christina Duong
BASC Peer Advisor
Fourth Year: Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior major w/Spanish minor

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