Students must take a standardized test as part of their application to health professions school. Each test differs somewhat in subject matter. They all test reading comprehension, critical thinking skills, problem-solving ability, and subject area knowledge.
Students should take the exams after they have taken classes in the subject areas covered. For example, medical applicants will have taken General Chemistry, and some or all of Biology, Organic Chemistry and Physics before they take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). Be aware that in addition to testing in the sciences, the MCAT tests Verbal Reasoning skills -- if you feel like you need work in this areas, you are encouraged to take classes that will help you to build these skills.
In spring 2015, the MCAT will be changing to reflect changing competencies deemed important in future physicians by medical schools. We summarize this information briefly in a handout, a Question of the Week and our winter 2013 newsletter. The AAMC provides the most up to date information about the exam on their webpage.
More information about standardized tests is covered in our Questions of the Week, and in great detail in the Applicant Handbook.