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Questions related to Admission Tests MCAT/DAT/GRE

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Questions related to Admission Tests MCAT/DAT/GRE

Since January of 2007, the MCAT has been delivered exclusively on computer at Thomson Prometric

computer-based testing sites.
Info regarding MCAT Exam

  • Test administrations are offered 24 times per year.

  • Morning and afternoon sessions are available on weekdays and Saturdays.

  • Students may take the MCAT exam up to three times per year (but may be registered for only one testing date at a time).

  • Scores are reported in 30 days

26. When should I take the MCAT/DAT/GRE and how do I register?


It is recommended that you take the MCAT when you are most ready, but it is helpful to have a score in hand before submitting your application. We recommend that you plan for an MCAT ideally no later than April or May of the year you plan to begin the application. Remember, earlier applications are encouraged. If you take an August exam, your scores won’t be released until mid to late September, putting you behind applicants whose MCAT scores are available at the beginning of the application process. Completion of the Premedical curriculum is essential to your preparation for the MCAT, and, therefore, this test should NOT be taken before you have the requisite lecture classes completed (or mostly completed for those taking final course in Spring).

The DAT (Dental Admissions Test) and GRE (Graduate Record Exam) are now administered exclusively via computer; the written tests are no longer administered. Candidates may be scheduled for the Computerized DAT or GRE on almost any date. Applicants should plan to take these exams in the spring or summer prior to submission of an application to Dental or Veterinary School.

Once a DAT application is received, the Department of Testing Services will send a notice to the candidate that he or she can schedule an appointment. The application fee is $385. To obtain an application, please register online at If a student wishes to retake the DAT, he or she must wait 90 days between test administrations. An examinee will need special permission to take the exam more than three times.


To information on registration for the GRE go here: The exam fee is $160.

27. What is a good MCAT score?
MCAT scores are interpreted within the broader context of your grades, your background, and your academic motivation and achievement. The rule of thumb is that a 10-11 or better on each of the three sections is a viable score and none of the component test sections should be below an 8 or 9. If your scores are lower than you expected and you are considering retesting, please consult your premedical advisor.
28. Should I take a review class for the MCAT/DAT/GRE?
The decision to take a review class is an individual one. It may help you stay focused on your preparation, and it will also provide you with practice tests that can help you to be prepared for the actual exam. Regardless of how you choose to prepare, your entrance exams should be taken seriously and you should prepare accordingly. DO NOT TAKE THE EXAM JUST FOR PRACTICE WITHOUT STUDYING.
29. Does applying late or taking the MCAT in September potentially hurt my chances for Admission?
Yes, absolutely!! Many admission processes are rolling, and decisions are made through the fall and early winter. All admissions processes involve a rolling system for inviting candidates for interviews. If they don’t see your application until later in the season, you will be competing for far fewer available interview spots. Late applications will affect your chances and will certainly affect the timing of decisions; you are far more likely to end up on a waiting list if you apply late. Taking the August MCAT means that you must apply blindly (which means choosing which schools to apply to without the benefit of knowing your MCAT score). If you take an even later exam, you will have to apply before even knowing how you felt after taking the exam. It also means schools won’t be able to begin your review until September or even later. By October, many early applicants have already gone on interviews. An August or September MCAT can put you at a disadvantage at some schools.

Premedical Advisory Committee Application

Applicant Checklist

(not for submission)

 Application Part I (online webform)

 Transcript (if coursework completed outside of Columbia)

 Personal Resume (separate document)

 Photo

 Activities Grid

 Activities Graph

 Autobiography

 2 Most meaningful experiences

 1 Expanded Statement (1 page)

 Supplemental Information Form (Questions 1 – 16)

 Schedule Committee Interview with Office of Preprofessional Advising

 Access Decision Form for Committee Evaluation

 Disciplinary release for Judicial Affairs

 Letters of Recommendation (Deadline: June 2nd, 2014)

 Submit PDF copy of submitted AMCAS/AACOMAS/AADSAS/VMCAS

Guidelines for Recommendation Letters for Pre-Health Students

To Letter Writers:
We thank you for agreeing to write a letter of recommendation for an aspiring health professional. We realize that you are taking valuable time from your busy schedules to contribute. We wanted to give you some guidelines to help you make this task more manageable. If you have any questions please feel free to contact the Office of Pre-Professional Advising 212-854-8722.
Role of the Premedical Advisory Committee (PAC):

The role of the Premedical Advisory Committee is to evaluate Columbia undergraduates and alumni who are applying to a health professional school, most often, medical, dental or veterinary medical school. The outcome of the committee evaluation process is a comprehensive letter that is sent to all of the schools to which the student has applied.

PAC letter of evaluation

This letter is written on a student’s request and only after the student completes a pre-applicant process. The pre-applicant process includes submission of letters of recommendation, resume, autobiography, supplemental information form, as well as an interview with the PAC.

The final committee evaluation includes a comprehensive letter of evaluation written by the Premedical Advisory Committee followed by the letters of evaluation that the student submits as a part of the committee application process.
A letter written for a pre-health student will not only be viewed by the Premedical Advisory Committee but will also be sent along to the health professional schools which the student has applied. Please be sure that your letters are written professionally and if possible on official letterhead.
What are we looking for?

The PAC relies heavily on information provided by the student’s letters of recommendation. We are looking for specific evaluations of the applicant's abilities in the area in which you supervised his/her work. When you comment on these abilities, please be specific. For example, citing the topic of a student's seminar paper or the subjects on which s/he was most vocal in class discussion helps to make a recommendation more convincing. We have found that the most useful letters include the following:

  1. Explanation of relationship between applicant and referee

  2. Information on applicant’s personal characteristics (i.e., integrity, reliability, determination, motivation, honesty, professionalism, leadership, character, maturity, etc.)

  3. Information regarding applicant’s social skills (i.e., interpersonal skills, ability to interact with others in groups, ability to establish peer relationships)

  4. Comparative information: How does this student compare to others whom you have taught or with whom you have worked?

  5. Assessment of applicant’s academic potential: (if applicable to relationship) – Is this student ready for the rigors of their intended program of study? Do they have good critical thinking and problem solving skills?

Where should I send this letter?
NEW! Letter writers may email recommendations to, provided the document (PDF preferred) appears on letterhead with a scanned handwritten signature.
All letters should be addressed generally (i.e. Dear Admissions Committee) and should be sent to the following address:

Columbia University

Office of Preprofessional Advising

Center for Student Advising

403 Lerner Hall, 2920 Broadway,

MC1201, NY, NY 10027

To meet student’s needs for the application process, we ask that you submit your letters no later than June 2nd.

This timing is extremely important in order for the PAC to complete the Committee Evaluation in a timely fashion. If for any reason you are unable to meet this deadline, please contact the Office of Preprofessional Advising (212) 854-6378.

Thank you for supporting one of our prehealth students.

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