When should I take the MCATs, or other standardized exams?
For students planning to go straight from their undergraduate program into a professional school, these tests are typically taken in the spring or summer of your Junior year. The MCATs are offered year round, and are taken on computer at designated test centers. The same is true of GREs and DATs. In general, you should have completed the exams on or before the time you begin submitting applications. Medical schools won’t consider your application until the MCAT scores are received (several weeks after the test). Applications are normally submitted during the summer between your Junior and Senior year for a direct path from college to medical school.
Can I take the MCATs in late summer of fall instead of spring?
Although you can take the MCATs later in the year, schools won’t consider your application until they have the scores. Most medical schools use a rolling admissions process, where they begin offering acceptances as early as September in some cases. This means that students who take the exam in spring or early summer will get first consideration. If you are not applying to medical school right away (scores are good for 3 years), then it doesn’t matter which date you choose.
How should I prepare for the MCATs?
Each student should prepare in a way that best suits their needs. There are many books available to help study for the MCATs. The American Association of Medical Schools, which administers the MCATs, sells practice exams that you can take on-line. There are also formal prep course out there, such as Kaplan and Princeton Review. These work for some students but not others. They are also expensive (approximately $1300) so we recommend talking to other students before making that decision. Ultimately, you need to realistically evaluate how you need to prepare for this exam.