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When Should I Take the MCAT&Reg;?

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  • Written By: Kathy Heydasch
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 09 November 2016
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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.

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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.

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