How Does Your Performance Depend on Your MCAT Test Date
Getting a decent MCAT score is highly important if you want admission into an accredited Medical school in the United States or Canada. MCAT is the standardized admission test that measures your level of cognition in the fields of Physical and Biological Sciences, in addition to checking your critical thinking /verbal reasoning abilities, and written communication skills. A good amount of preparation and practice is called for, if you want to crack the test. Equally important is that you understand about the MCAT exam thoroughly and choose an MCAT date that best works for you.
MCAT Test Dates
Choosing the right MCAT date for your test is important as it could determine your performance and future. For example, it is possible that you have an early test date, but you are underprepared; or you have chosen a September date, but you could not do well, and you do not have any more chances left in the year.
Since 2007 January, MCAT is a computer-based test and is administered several times a year starting January through September, across international test locations. As against the previous pen-paper-based version of MCAT exam, this CBT MCAT offers aspiring Medical school candidates with more number of MCAT dates and locations to choose from. More candidates are now accommodated for each administration and each candidate can get up to three chances of taking MCAT exam in a calendar year. You also get to check the availability of a seat for a preferred MCAT date online while registering. Here are a few important points about MCAT test dates:
- All MCAT dates are scheduled considering the application deadlines of participating Medical schools in US and Canada. However, individual Medical school application deadlines might vary.
- Registrations are done online through the AAMC MCAT website and are open much early (60 days in advance), so that you get an opportunity to choose the MCAT date and center you prefer.
- Late registration is allowed upto seven days before the MCAT date. This feature allows you to take last minute decisions.
- You could reschedule an MCAT date, provided a seat is available for the date and location you choose, and new the date falls within the same calendar year. That is, a March 2012 MCAT date can be rescheduled to another in 2012, but not to 2013.
MCAT Date and Your Performance
It is advised that you choose the best MCAT date according to your level of confidence and preparedness, in addition to other factors like Medical school application deadlines, seat availability, and your need for retakes. Your personal or work commitments and your undergraduate classes are also deciding factors when you choose an MCAT date. For example, students might prefer weekend dates as they do not want to miss their classes.
- A minimum of three months of preparation is recommended by most people for taking the MCAT exam. So, by choosing an MCAT date that gives you at least three months to work on, you can confidently sit for the exam.
- An early MCAT date is good, if you are really sure about your preparation. The thought that you are free of tension for the rest of the year might boost your performance under such a circumstance.
- AAMC data show that individual applicants' MCAT scores tend to better when they retake the exam in the same year. Hence, considering your circumstances, if you wish to take a chance, choose an MCAT date so that you get to retake the exam in the same year. An early winter or spring date is recommended in such cases. Early summer dates might be too late, for several Medical schools start their application process by mid June.
- If you choose a later MCAT date, say in summer, chances are that you get more time to prepare and you do well. You can do this if you are confident; however, you need to make sure you are not missing on any school application dates. You also need to consider that in case you do not perform well in this take, you might not have another chance the same year.
- If you could not prepare well for a chosen MCAT date, you have the option to cancel the registration or reschedule it to another date. You might not get a refund in case of cancellations, or might want to pay extra for each change to the schedule you make. (For more details, check the official MCAT policy available at https://www.aamc.org/students/download/63060/data/mcatessentials.pdf.) However, this facility provides you with some amount of flexibility so that you can you can perform well in the MCAT exam without missing a year.
- Even if you do not appear on a registered MCAT date for some reason, you could apply for another date after 48 hours of the exam you missed (provided dates are available in the same calendar year and a seat is available). This feature stands good in case of emergency situations or last minute issues.
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