The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) administered by the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) is a required application item for all United States medical schools and some Caribbean medical schools.
As of 2015 AAMC launched a new version of the MCAT exam. Scores are now reported in the following four sections:
- Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
- Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
- Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior
- Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills
Of all the Caribbean schools listed in our database, only nine of them require the MCAT. Unlike US schools where a certain MCAT score is required for acceptance, most Caribbean medical schools do not have a minimum score requirement, but only a requirement that you have taken the exam and that you have obtained a score.
Traditionally, the schools that have US Federal funding require an MCAT score. However, requiring an MCAT score has no indication of a school's program quality.
TIP #3- Carefully Review MCAT requirement advertisements
As indicated above, the schools in the Caribbean that require MCAT generally hold higher level accreditations and multiple recognitions. As a matter of perception, this would indicate that the schools that require MCAT would have a better quality program. In order to obtain that perception, schools that generally do not require MCAT would advertise by using the terms “MCAT Optional” or “MCAT highly recommended”. These schools really do not require MCAT, but by advertising in such a manner they can try to change that perception.
TIP #4- Schools should not bend their admission rules
An accredited school should have the same standard of admission for all students. In medical school, exceptions cannot be made for “impressive backgrounds”. A school that is willing to undermine its published criteria is likely to put its accreditation in jeopardy as well (if they had one to begin with). If a school has flexible admission criteria, in likelihood, they are not accredited.
TIP #5: What is the requirement if the school does not require the MCAT?
If the school does not require the MCAT, find out what criteria they published online and the minimum criteria they are accepting. If they do not require a minimum GPA, or they accept GPA as low as 2.0, and if they do not require ANY science background, you may end up in a class with students who are simply not prepared for medical school. This will impact your education as the professor will have to reduce the quality and the complexity of education to try to simplify the material for that student. By doing so, the student who can comprehend the material at a pace required by the medical school will be shorted the quality education.
TIP #6: Are the published criteria and the info from your admission advisor the same?
Your school’s admission advisor is supposed to be a well-rounded expert on medical education in the Caribbean. When applying to any school in the Caribbean, always compare what they write on the website and the information that is publicly available, with what the admission advisor is saying. If the advisor contradicts or minimizes some important facts, this is a red flag.