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MCAT

Exam Registration

You must register for the MCAT online. To go to the AAMC’s MCAT registration page, click here.

If you have any questions about the MCAT registration process, send an email to mcat@aamc.org or call them at 202.828.0400.

When to Take the Exam

The MCAT is offered at Thomson Prometric test centers on approximately 22 different test dates throughout the year. It can be taken on weekends or weekdays and in the morning or the evening.

Online registration opens approximately 6 months before the test date. Regular registration closes 2 weeks before the test, and late registration closes 1 week before the test. Do yourself a big favor and avoid a hefty late fee by registering for the exam well ahead of time. That way you’ll increase your chances of securing a seat at your first-choice test center and on your first-choice test date, too.

Test Timing

Plan on taking the MCAT at least one full year ahead of your target date for beginning medical school. The spring semester of your junior year is an ideal time to schedule the test.

We recommend taking the exam in April or May for the following reasons:

  • You’ll have ample time to retake the exam later in the year if your score is low.
  • The sooner you have your MCAT score in hand, the sooner you complete your applications.
  • Having the MCAT out of the way will leave you more time to focus on your AMCAS application, interviews, classes, etc.

The most important factor in timing your MCAT, however, is to take the test when you feel you are well-prepared and can do your best on it. You should complete your med school pre-requisite courses before trying to tackle the test. You should also familiarize yourself with the test format and material. Avoid taking the test before you are prepared for it. The MCAT is an arduous (and expensive) exam. You will definitely spare yourself the ordeal of having to take it a second time if you prepare yourself to do well on it the first time around.

January Test Scores

It is technically possible for a medical school applicant to re-take the MCAT in January and then provide a new (and presumably higher) test score during the medical school admissions cycle. Different schools have different policies on which applicants they will accept January test scores from. Some schools will accept them from alternate and waitlisted candidates only; others will consider them on a case-by-case basis; many will not consider them at all. Check to see what the policies of the schools you are targeting.

The exam writers are looking to measure your critical thinking, problem solving, and writing skills. Not surprisingly, these are the same skills that will be tested further in med school. (You can click here to see what the typical medical school curriculum looks like.)

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