One of the fundamental questions that students applying to med school often ask is – what is the right time for the MCAT, or when should they opt for the MCAT, and does the time of test influence their success or failure? The answer to the question When to take MCAT is – The best time to take the MCAT is during the late Sophomore year and ideally between your sophomore and junior years. This is the perfect time when you would have done with all the med school requisites, and also, you will have enough time for preparation.
The late sophomore years are the earliest that you should opt for your MCAT exam. You need to take care of specific prerequisites when thinking about the MCAT. These are your statement, letters of recommendation, and, most importantly, your preparation. A formidable score on the MCAT is vital for getting into the bests schools along with your GPA. A good MCAT score is one of the most challenging things to aim for, and early preparation can help you with it.
When to take MCAT – Dates and Deadlines
The American Association of Medical Colleges, or AAMC, offers close to 30 MCAT dates every year. Some of these dates will suit you better than the rest. Also, ensure that you understand that “There is NO Best time for MCAT.” The dates are universal, and the best date will depend on your other schedules and how well you can manage the dates. You must be updated with all the MCAT exam dates and progress to organize your time and pre-plan your schedule effectively. All 30 dates are scheduled between April and September.
Before you choose one date for the MCAT exam, it is necessary to evaluate your preparation. Make sure you have enough time to study because that matters most. Opt for the dates depending on your study. MCAT is a challenging exam, and retaking it could be more fun. The latest time to plan for your final MCAT attempt is between January and April of the application year. For example, any candidate who wants to enroll in their dream college in August 2025 should attempt the exam by the beginning of 2024 and not after April 2024 because several formalities will consume much of your time even after qualifying for the test. Even AMCAS will only accept your application after May.
Why Should You Wrap Up the MCAT Exam by April?
This is a serious concern among students why is such a long window needed, and why is April the latest time for exams? Here are the reasons:
- After filling out your forms and knowing the exam dates, you can sit down to prepare for the test without any anxiety. Serious time is needed for formatting the application essay. If you delay the application and exam dates, you won’t have enough time for the application essay, which is derogatory to your reputation and scores.
- MCAT scores are the major determinants of which medical school you can expect to get an entry into. It is essential to wrap up the exam by April because you wouldn’t want to spend your time and money applying to the top medical school and then finding out that your scores do not make you eligible for the particular medical college.
- It usually takes more than a month after the exam for the council to release the exam dates. If you want to review your application and take full advantage of the atoms during the medical school admissions, you need to have the total scores. It is better to opt for the exam early so you have the scores at hand early for the rest of the process to go smoothly and hassle-free.
Scoring a perfect MCAT score is the primary objective. So, how hard is the MCAT? The exam isn’t relatively easy and is sometimes considered one of the most challenging global exams. It is opted for by international students, and often the questions are tricky to handle. But the key to acing the exam is consistent practice.
Technically you can opt for the MCAT exam at any time of the year, but it is best to take it during the summer months after the sophomore year and ideally during the April months. The application year, at times, corresponds with the junior year springtime. For some students, the time can correspond to the senior year or the gap year. The time of the exam is so crucial only for the entire process to go without any breaks.
Date Schedule Break Up of the MCAT Exam
So many students need clarification on the deadlines for the MCAT application dates. Here is an extended deadline for students to figure out well in advance when to take the MCAT test:
Summer of the Previous Year (The year before your application) – June to August
Span – This is the Preparation Phase. This is the time that should be dedicated to the preparation for the exam. Start collecting the resources. If you want to join coaching, this is the right time to start. If you want to save time during this phase, gather all the information about the exam before this phase.
Previous Fall (the year before application) – September
This time shall be your first MCAT attempt. Train your mind to accept that you won’t qualify for the exam on the first attempt, but at least you can gather clues regarding the exam.
Winter (Application Year) – January to April
You should retake the exam if you haven’t cleared it yet. Don’t be disheartened to retake the exam because it is damn hard, and you need adequate time for preparation, practice papers, revising the lessons, and so much more.
When to Avoid the MCAT Exam?
Now that we have discussed when to take the MCAT, let us talk about the worst time for the MCAT or when you should not opt for the exam. MCAT is a crucial exam; you want to ensure the timeline is met because it will be disadvantageous. Here are the scenarios when you should not opt for the MCAT, however much you may be tempted:
If you still need to study the content. The MCAT syllabus is vast and expansive. Only if you have covered more than 80% of the content for the exam should you opt for it.
If you are performing poorly in the practice tests for the MCAT, you should not opt for the exam. The poor scores indicate that you must devote more time to studying and practicing. It is useless to appear for the MCAT exam with poor preparation because it is hard, and students across the nation appear for it.
The scores are valid for two or three years after the exam. This rule applies to almost all the top med schools. However, some colleges may have different rules and regulations. It is always better to check the medical school’s website before deciding on the MCAT date. Always keep enough time at hand for the MCAT exam and subsequent processes to attend medical school.
MCAT is a crucial exam for attending the top medical schools. But you must figure out the right time to appear for the exam. You need enough study hours and align the exam according to your current academic calendar for the best results.