The MCAT exam is offered January through September, and there are roughly twenty-five MCAT test dates to choose from. Aim to take the MCAT as early in the year as possible, preferably no later than mid-May before AMCAS application submissions begin in early June. Completing the exam earlier will allow you to complete your AMCAS application early, and the earlier you submit your application, the better.

Choosing Your MCAT Date

Of course, not all applicants’ academic schedules realistically allow them take an early bird test. If you have coursework to complete or more studying to do, it’s fine take the MCAT later in the year when you are prepared. Consider these questions to choose the right date for you.

When to take MCAT

1. Where are you in the application process?

AMCAS begins submitting applications in early June. It is important to submit AMCAS applications as soon as possible because most schools offer rolling admissions. Keep in mind that MCAT scores are released about a month after the test date. Many schools will not look at your application until your MCAT scores are available.

2. Have you finished your pre-reqs?

If you have not finished most of the prerequisites for the test—two semesters each of biology, physics, general chemistry, and organic chemistry—you probably should not sit for the exam. Take advantage of The Princeton Review’s free MCAT practice test and find out how you would score on a practice exam before you take the real thing!

Take a Free Practice Test

3. How will you make time to prep?

It is possible, although it’s certainly not the best idea, to take the last semester of one of the required science courses concurrently with studying for the MCAT. If you find yourself in this situation, it is vitally important to lighten your course load so that you will be able to adequately study for the exam while maintaining a strong GPA. Pre-meds might choose a summer test date if they want to concentrate on their studies and give themselves part of the summer to prep.

4. Will you take the MCAT more than once?

If you think you might end up retaking the MCAT, it’s best to schedule your first MCAT as early as possible. That way you will have time to receive your MCAT scores, make a plan to prep for MCAT #2, and register for a seat. If you did not take the MCAT earlier or need to improve your MCAT scores, aim to take take the MCAT as early in the summer as possible

5. What about logistics?

Keep in mind that there is a limited number of testing locations and seats for each MCAT date. Seats fill up quickly!


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