What's Tested on the MCAT: Math

What’s Tested on the MCAT: Math

The MCAT requires you to solve math problems based on knowledge of chemistry, physics, and statistical reasoning, among other things. One of the challenges of the MCAT is that you won’t be allowed to use a calculator of any kind on Test Day. Although the current MCAT has very few heavy calculations, there are many questions that require you to demonstrate your ability to manipulate some math.

Math on the MCAT

There is no specific “Math Section” on the MCAT, but every section has the potential to ask you to perform certain calculations. While it might seem that most of the MCAT math-based questions will be in the Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems section of the test, there can be questions requiring you to perform calculations, work with statistics, or manipulate experimental data in the other science sections as well.

To be prepared for the MCAT, you should be adept at doing the following types of math without the use of a calculator.

  • Basic arithmetic

    You’ll have to be prepared for addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, proportions, ratios, percentages, and estimations of calculated values.

  • Basic algebra

    You’ll have to be familiar with concepts like isolating a variable, slope-intercept and simultaneous equations.

  • Conversions

    Be ready for/to convert metric-metric, metric-English (conversion factors will be provided), and dimensional analysis.

  • Exponents

    You should also be prepared for related concepts like scientific notation and estimates of square roots.

  • Exponentials

    …and logarithms (base 10 and natural), and semi-log and log-log graphs.

  • Trigonometry

    You’ll be tested on topics including sine, cosine, and tangent functions as well as inverse functions, and sine and cosine values of common angles.

  • Coordinate geometry

    Be sure to review slope-intercept calculations, as well as vector addition and subtraction.

  • Basic statistics

    Be ready for questions including mean, median, mode, standard deviation, and interpretation of p and r values.

You can learn more about what is tested on the MCAT in the Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems here. The most important factor you should consider about math on the MCAT is how well prepared you are for the content and the critical reasoning required on the test as a whole. To learn more about how to prepare for the test, click here.

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