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The COVID-19 pandemic has affected millions of lives and halted numerous industries all over the world. The pandemic has made huge changes to the Medical College Admission Test or MCAT. With the MCAT exams delayed due to quarantine restrictions, medical students are left frustrated and confused on what to do while trying to survive the pandemic.
In this article, we’re going to look at some ways you can be a productive student and prepare for your MCAT exams while waiting for everything to go back to normal again. This guide will also help you stay focused and determined while preparing for your MCAT exam during a pandemic.
MCAT Exams and COVID-19: Facts Examinees Should Know
Before we dive into how you can focus and prepare for your MCAT, we’ve compiled some facts you need to know about MCAT and how they’re handling the pandemic.
All of these updates are provided by the official AAMC and are based on the current information about the spread of the pandemic, dated February 1, 2021. You can visit their website (link here) for more official information about the MCAT exams.
- The opening for MCAT registrations will be held on the 17th and 18th of February. AAMC will open the registrations for various test centers in some parts of the United States and a few international locations on the 17th of February, noon ET. The rest of the test centers will be open for registration on the 18th of February, also at noon ET. You can view this map provided by AAMC and learn more.
- There is some good news for students whose exams were canceled due to COVID-19 in January 2021. AAMC is extending access to MCAT Official prep products until the 30th of September, 2021. Additionally, any products that are going to expire between December 30, 2020 – September 29, 2021, will be extended. MCAT registration for 2021 exams will open for the January and March exam dates on the 10th of November, 2021 at noon ET. All scores of the January 2021 exams will be reported two weeks earlier compared to the previous four weeks. This assists students who want to take the MCAT exam and still want to submit their scores for 2021 applications.
The MCAT exam itself has been shortened. The approximate time is now 5 hours and 45 minutes instead of 7 hours and 30 minutes. This is to ensure that the exams can take place three times a day. All three MCAT science sections are reduced to 76 minutes per section. Both the Reasoning Skills and Critical Analysis sections have been reduced to 81 minutes each. Additionally, the number of questions for each section has also been reduced. This means that the average time to answer each question should not have changed.The COVID-19 pandemic has affected millions of lives and has made huge changes to the Medical College Admission Test or MCAT. With the MCAT exams delayed due to quarantine restrictions, medical students are left frustrated and confused on what to do.Click To Tweet
To further assist the students/examinees during the COVID-19 pandemic, the AAMC has changed some of its rules and policies. They are committed to keeping the students and their communities as safe as possible while letting the students finish their exams. All MCAT rescheduling fees will be waived so students can reschedule their test dates to accommodate healthy, safety, and preparation needs. The AAMC Fee Assistance Program has expanded its guidelines for eligibility. This is to help a lot more students that may need financial assistance and other benefits provided by the program.
MSAR is updating its medical school admissions policies with more COVID-19 information. This information is readily available for students that do not have a subscription.
Preparing for the MCAT Exams During COVID-19
Having to prepare for your exams while dealing with a global pandemic can induce high amounts of stress on anyone. In this section, we’re going to look at what you can do to help yourself out.
Prepare for the Shortened Exam Times
Students shouldn’t prepare for the shortened exam times the same way as they did the normal MCAT schedule. Once an exam date is set, you’ll have to choose your test time. This choice entirely depends on the student.
Are you either a morning or a night owl? Which time of day are you most focused on? These are the things you should consider when picking your test time. Ensure that you’re at your peak performance during the test time you’ve chosen.
Receive Your Free Med School Prep Materials
The AMA has provided a Med School Prep Checklist for students all over the country for free. This is to help lessen the stress of preparing for the big day amidst these trying times. All you have to do is visit the official website and fill out the information required. Once done, your med school prep materials will be sent to your email promptly. If you want to go for paid ones,check this list of top-rated prep materials here.
What to Expect During Test Day
As expected, the test day on the MCAT exam will be extremely different compared to all the exams you’ve seen or experienced before. Here are several things you should expect before attending.
- The number of examinees in one room will be limited to 10 or fewer individuals.
- Per social distancing guidelines, examinees will be situated 6 feet apart (2 meters) apart in the examination room.
- All examinees and staff have to wear face masks. Your face mask should properly cover both your mouth and nose. Gloves are optional to wear but are subject to inspection.
- You can bring your hand sanitizer but it must be inside a clear container and is subject to inspection
This is the information you need to know about taking the MCAT during COVID-19. We know these are trying times and having to take an important exam on top of that can be very stressful. We hope that this article has made you more informed on the situation.