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Washington and Lee University

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Admissions Exam Preparation

Preparing for the:

PREPARING FOR THE MCAT

The Medical College Admissions Test, or MCAT, is a 4.5-hour examination. The exam tests students in the following areas: Physical Sciences, including Physics and Inorganic Chemistry; Verbal Reasoning; Biological Sciences, including Biology and Organic Chemistry; and a Writing Sample, two half hour essays on assigned topics.

In preparing for the MCAT, the student should first become familiar with the content, depth and type of questions, how the test is scored and how the scores are used. The MCAT Student Manual from the Association of American Medical Colleges is the best source to use for this purpose, although the student may decide to use other MCAT preparation booklets when actually reviewing for the test. A student should identify areas of greater and lesser academic strength in order to make best use of preparation time. The health professions advisor can be helpful in this regard. Review all areas that are covered by the test, putting greater time and effort in the areas of greatest academic weakness. After a thorough review of the subject matter and practice sessions in the science problems and skills analyses areas, students should take several self-administered, full length practice MCAT to familiarize themselves with the rigors of time and pressure in taking the test. It should not be forgotten that a test of this intensity and length is a physical challenge, and attention to good sense in exercise, diet and sleep habits in the time leading up to the actual test can be of significant value.

PREPARING FOR THE DAT

The Dental Admission Testing Program (DAT) administers a four-hour examination. The exam tests students in the following areas, in order: natural sciences, including biology, general chemistry and organic chemistry; perceptual ability; reading comprehension; and quantitative reasoning.

In preparing for the DAT, the student should become familiar with the content, depth and type of questions, how the test is scored and how scores are used. The DAT Application and Preparation materials booklet is the best source for this material, and is available in Mrs. Higgins’ office. Since the DAT is now given solely on computer, the student should take a practice test on their web site, located at: http://www.ada.org/sections/educationAndCareers/pdfs/dat_tutorial.pdf.

As with any standardized test, practice is important. (See Preparing for the MCAT, second paragraph). Less practice materials are available for the DAT, but MCAT practice manuals on the natural sciences and reading comprehension areas can be useful.

PREPARING FOR THE GRE

Most veterinary medical schools now require the GRE as the standardized test of choice. In addition to the general test, some schools also require the Biology subject test. See the current Veterinary Medical School Admissions Requirements (in the Science Library) to determine what is required for schools of interest to you.

A GRE practice manual can be obtained to get used to the format of the test questions and to pace yourself. Since the GRE is now given solely on computer, the student should take a practice test on their web site, located at: http://www.gre.org.