All essential and current information about the MCAT is on the AAMC's MCAT Home.
- When should I take the MCAT?
- How long will my MCAT score be valid?
- How do I register for the MCAT?
- What if I can't afford the registration fee for the MCAT?
- If I have a learning disability, can I get extra time to take the MCAT?
- Should I take a prep course for the MCAT?
- Can I retake the MCAT?
- If I do poorly in my science courses at Penn, but do well on the MCAT, will the medical schools discount my Penn grades?
You should submit the primary application for allopathic medical schools (AMCAS) by the end of June. It is ideal that you take the MCAT before June to allow for about 30 days to receive your score before applying.
For this reason, many people take the MCAT in May during the year they apply; however, some people take the exam earlier provided they are academically prepared and have ample time to study. The bottom line is that you should sit for the exam when you are ready and remember that it takes about one month to receive your score.
It is not uncommon for people to study for the MCAT while completing the required coursework for medical school.
You should not plan to sit for the MCAT as practice for a future test date. Scores from every test date are reported to schools and are used in different ways. Take the MCAT when you are ready. It is not a good idea to take the exam to prepare for a second sitting or to see what happens.
Most medical schools will accept scores that are up to three years old; however, each school has its own policy as to the oldest accepted MCAT score. Consult the Medical School Admission Requirements (MSAR) Online, published annually by the AAMC, or the websites of individual schools for information. Be sure to take the MCAT so that the scores will not expire before you matriculate.
You must register on-line, via the AAMC MCAT Home.
The AAMC offers a Fee Assistance Program (FAP) for students whose inability to pay the registration fee would prevent them from taking the test and applying to medical school. Students who are approved for the FAP can register for the MCAT at a reduced rate. More information can be obtained from the AAMC's FAP Home.
Information regarding requesting accommodations and the online application are found on the AAMC MCAT with Accommodations Home.
Many students find the structure of an MCAT prep course to be very helpful. The course gives a study regimen and makes it less likely that you will fall behind in reviewing for the test. However, you certainly are not required to take a prep course. Many people who are good at studying in a disciplined way have been successful using test prep books and doing several full-length practice tests. The Pre-Health Advising Office does not endorse or promote any test preparation services.
Ideally, you should take the MCAT one time as all scores are reported to medical schools. However, when you receive your scores, you may feel that you have not performed to your potential and consider taking the test again. This is a very good thing to discuss with a pre-health advisor.
No. If your GPA is not competitive the MCAT score will not allay concerns about your academic performance. A strong MCAT score is an important part of your application. The AAMC's MCAT score/GPA grids provide statistical information on GPA, MCAT score and acceptance rates.