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When Should I Take the MCAT®?

By Kathy Heydasch
Updated May 17, 2024
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The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT®) is an entrance exam for medical schools mostly in the US. The majority of people who take the MCAT® are juniors or seniors preparing to graduate from a standard 4-year school. A well-prepared student will study for and take the MCAT® exam early so that there is a chance to re-take the test if the score is low. If one waits until the senior year of college to take the MCAT®, then one must take into consideration applications to medical school and when they will be evaluated.

May and June are a couple of the most common months to take the MCAT®. This allows for college courses to be completed which may be beneficial by providing the knowledge necessary for sections of the MCAT®. In addition, the scores of the MCAT® are available approximately one month following the taking of the exam, and by taking it early, one can have an early submission to highly-competitive medical colleges.

A person who decides to enter medical school needs to pick the undergraduate curriculum best suited to a career in the medical field. This curriculum should help one prepare to take the MCAT®. One must keep in mind that study time for the MCAT® will be limited if one’s undergraduate curriculum is difficult, especially during the senior year of college. A variety of study guides and online resources containing sample test questions are available to help one prepare for each section of the MCAT®.

Most people attempting to enter medical school will submit their applications to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) or a similar organization. This company will assist with the reporting of MCAT® scores and the submissions of applications to medical schools selected by the applicant. The AAMC will require an MCAT® score to accept an application.

People may take the MCAT® up to three times per year with no lifetime limit. The test assesses a student’s abilities in the areas of physical sciences, verbal reasoning, writing samples and biological sciences. The MCAT® requires nearly five hours of test taking, with different time allowances for different sections.

It is possible to take the MCAT® while overseas. Many countries have testing centers. If not, one can check with the US Embassy in the visiting country to ask about the possibility. The MCAT® is designed as a test for US colleges. Colleges in other countries may have similar but different testing requirements.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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