MCAT Registration Alternatives
An MCAT score is a must to apply for admission to all the accredited medical schools in the US and Canada. Conducted by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the MCAT exam is administered many times a year, across various locations in and outside the US. As almost all medical schools start taking admission applications by early summer or so, it is advised that prospective students get their MCAT scores early enough. Accordingly, it is better to take the MCAT exam either in fall or late by spring. Early registration MCAT is highly encouraged by AAMC, so that candidates can get the desired dates and test centers and there are no last minute issues.
Registration and reserving a seat can be done online only and the official AAMC MCAT site is the place for registration MCAT. This page has all the information you require for registering and reserving a seat for a preferred MCAT test date. The official MCAT site has links to the registration system, dates and deadlines, test locations, a PDF demo on how to register, details of accommodated testing, details on registration fee and the fee assistance program, etc.
Registration MCAT is done using a dedicated system, which requires a user name and password to access it. Here is an abbreviated set of instructions to registering yourself for MCAT:
- On the official AAMC MCAT page (https://www.aamc.org/students/applying/mcat/reserving/), click the Register for MCAT Exam link. The MCAT Scheduling and Registration system login page opens up.
- Provide the user name and password to log in, if you already have one. (If you have already started AMCAS application or taken MCAT earlier, use the same user name and password that you have used already. Or register and get the ID and password.) The Portal or Home page opens up.
- Enter your details accurately, if they are not already populated. Make sure everything is correct, as wrong details can disqualify your entry later on.
- Go through the various sections like Background, Consents, until you finish providing all required information.
- Now, proceed to find a test date and test location as you prefer, within US or outside US.
- Make the payment as displayed, using a Visa or MasterCard. Remember your seat is confirmed only after you make the payment successfully. For details on the registration MCAT process, check the MCAT Registration and Scheduling demo available at https://www.aamc.org/students/download/261872/data/2012mcatschedulingandregistrationdemo.pdf
The initial registration MCAT has to happen online only using the official MCAT Scheduling & Registration system. However, you can get alternatives after this, if required. That is, if you are not able to take the exam on the initially registered date/location, or you want to retake the exam, etc. AAMC offers some alternative options, by charging extra for each change:
- You can reschedule an initially registered date to another convenient one in the same calendar year, provided a seat is available. Rescheduling a 2011 test to another date in 2011 is possible, but not to a 2012 date, for example.
- You can also change the initially registered location, provided a seat is available at the new center you choose, for the chosen date.
- You can retake the exam. Though only one registration MCAT is possible at a time, three takes are allowed in a year. And there is no waiting period defined between tests.
- Rescheduling or cancelling is permitted upto 14 days before the actual test date. And this can be done by logging into the MCAT Scheduling & Registration system. Also remember that since registrations are accepted in two blocks every year, from Jan through May and June through September, you cannot immediately reschedule an exam date in the first block (say, January 21) to another in the second block (say, September 03). For this, you may have to first cancel your Jan 21 registration MCAT, and then wait for the second block registrations to open.
- In case you do not take a registered exam for any reason, fresh registration can be requested after 48 hours of the exam you missed.
To conclude, registration MCAT has to be done online and early enough so that the medical school admission process is not affected. Though there are alternative options available in case of an issue, like changing the test center or test date, a thorough understanding of the whole system, the processes and the deadlines is called for so that the whole medical school admission processes run smoothly.
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