When should I take the MCAT?

The brief answer to this is “when you are prepared to do so.” But what does “prepared to do so” actually mean?

  • When you have completed your pre-med requirements. The MCAT tests applicants on their basic science knowledge, so you must have completed your core pre-med science requirements. In addition, the MCAT includes a section on psychological and sociological concepts, as well as critical analysis and reasoning, so it’s recommended to take intro sociology, intro psychology, and humanities coursework.
  • When you have given adequate time to studying for the MCAT. For most applicants, this means three to six months of MCAT prep.
  • When you have given adequate time to taking practice tests and reviewing your practice exam answers. Practice tests are imperative for success, so you will want to take as many full-length practice tests as possible. When taking practice tests, plan to replicate your actual test day: wake-up at the same time as test day, eat the same breakfast you envision having on test day, pack the same snacks, organize the proper materials, etc. Afterwards, it’s equally important to spend plenty of time reviewing your answers and learning from your mistakes.
  • When you are not rushed to take the MCAT right before applying. The most popular times to take the MCAT are the summer or winter before applying. This allows time to retake the test if need be. The latest I recommend taking the MCAT is April of your application year. (Remember: applications open in May, and it takes a full month to get your MCAT results. So if you take an April test, you’ll get your score in May, before submitting your application.) You want to see your score before applying; applying without an MCAT score means you do not know if you are truly prepared and competitive to apply for that cycle.

Let’s discuss your unique situation and MCAT questions at our next appointment.