Your ‘primary application,’ which you submit to the medical schools of your choice via AMCAS (American Medical College Application Service), can be submitted before receiving your MCAT scores but it is not considered official until your MCAT scores are received. It usually takes 4 – 6 weeks from when you sit for the exam to receive your score. There is also a “verification period” for confirming transcript information. The AMCAS application opens June 1 each year and the application deadlines for schools range from December 15 through February.
There are many factors to consider when deciding which MCAT date is best for you, however, it’s always a good idea to send an early application to medical schools that have a rolling admissions process – not doing so can be a deal breaker, even for a well qualified applicant. Additionally, MCAT spots fill up quickly so be ready to accept your second and third choices.
Go to https://www.aamc.org/students/applying/mcat/reserving/ and click on “Register for the MCAT exam” to take a look at the list of MCAT dates and to find out when and where the test will be offered in your state. Registration will usually open three to four months before the test date.
Here are 5 important MCAT test dates to consider and why:
- January 23rd is a good date because you can get the process rolling early, especially if you think that you might take the exam more than once this year. It will allow ample time to receive your scores, make a decision about whether to retake the MCAT, and to find an available spot on a later date.
- January 25th is the last MCAT for two months. In addition, the test is scheduled for 1pm. If you’re not a morning person, an afternoon MCAT could work well for you.
- March 22nd is a good time to take the MCAT because you can get your results before the AMCAS application opens in June. Although you don’t want to go in thinking you’ll retake the MCAT, this date gives you enough time to retake it and still get your application in reasonably early.
- Mid-July is a good time to schedule if you want to finish finals and have a few weeks to focus exclusively on studying for the MCAT
- September will be your last chance to take the test this year. So, if you really want to, go ahead but you might be at a disadvantage getting your application in so late.
Remember, to give yourself lots of time to master the material on the MCAT and to have your Personal Statement – a significant part of your application – reviewed by someone you can trust to give you good feedback. It’s not crucial to be the first applicant, it’s much more important to submit a good, solid application.
You are the best judge of which MCAT date is best for you. Choose one that fits your schedule and gives you plenty of time to go in well prepared and confident.