What is the MCAT, when should I take it, and how do I prepare for it?

Here you can find answers to common questions.

Up to date information regarding the MCAT is available at https://www.aamc.org/students/applying/mcat/.   Most medical schools require applicants to take the MCAT.

The MCAT is given many times a year.  In most cases, you should take the MCAT exam in the calendar year prior to the year in which you plan to enter medical school. For example, if you are applying in 2016 for entrance to medical school in 2017, you should take the exam in 2016).

If you can't decide whether to take the exam early in the year or later, ask yourself two questions:

  • Will I take the exam just once, or is there a possibility I might want to take it again?
  • Have I mastered the material or do I need additional coursework or study?

If you think that you will take the MCAT exam more than once in a given calendar year, you might want to make your first attempt early in the year. This should allow you sufficient time to receive your scores, make a decision about your second attempt, and find an available seat later in the testing year.

If you have coursework to complete, additional studying to do, or if you have a major conflict that won't allow you to be in the right frame of mind for the exam, we suggest that you wait until you are better prepared. This may mean you make your first attempt later in the year. That's okay, too. You're the best judge of your preparedness.

Additional information regarding preparation for the MCAT and practice tests may be found at https://www.aamc.org/students/applying/mcat/preparing/ Some students find that it is helpful to take a preparation course for the MCAT.