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In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, significant shifts were felt in the medical education sector, notably impacting the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). As quarantine restrictions led to the postponement of MCAT exams, aspiring medical professionals faced uncertainty and frustration. Adjusting to the MCAT’s landscape post-pandemic requires recognizing these changes and using the additional study time productively. Despite the challenges, this situation prepares future doctors for real-world scenarios in their medical careers.
MCAT Exams: Essential Information
The MCAT exam is pivotal for prospective doctors. This standardized test assesses knowledge of natural, behavioral, and social sciences, along with critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Familiarity with the exam format, covered content, and effective strategies is essential for success.
All the following updates are based on current information from the official AAMC. Visit their website for more official MCAT information.
- Registration for the 2023 MCAT exam opened on October 25 and 26, 2022. The AAMC will open registrations for various test centers in the US and select international locations on February 17, noon ET. The rest of the test centers will open for registration on February 18, noon ET. A map provided by AAMC offers more details.
- Scores for the 2023 MCAT exam will be released on these dates:
- January test dates: February 10, 2023
- March test dates: April 14, 2023
- June test dates: July 12, 2023
- September test dates: October 10, 2023
- Exam length: The MCAT exam duration has been reduced from 7 hours and 30 minutes to 5 hours and 30 minutes.
- Number of questions: The MCAT exam now has fewer questions. Each of the Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems, Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems, and Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior sections contains 60 questions. The Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills section now comprises 40 questions.
- Science sections: The three science sections are now 76 minutes long each, instead of 85 minutes. Thus, the average time to answer each question in these sections is now 1.26 minutes, instead of 1.31 minutes.
- Reasoning Skills and Critical Analysis section: This section is now 81 minutes long, instead of 90 minutes. Consequently, the average time to answer each question in this section is now 2.02 minutes, instead of 2.10 minutes.
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The AAMC has updated MCAT rescheduling fees for all test takers. After June 30, 2023, the fees will be as follows:
- 60 or more days before the exam: \$50
- 30-59 days before the exam: \$100
- 10-29 days before the exam: \$200
Additional details about rescheduling fees include:
- Cancellation refunds: If you cancel your MCAT registration, you will receive a refund of your registration fee, minus the rescheduling fee.
- Bronze deadline: This is the last date to reschedule your MCAT exam without paying a fee, which is 10 days before your scheduled test date.
- Emergency rescheduling: In the event of an emergency, you may be able to reschedule your exam without paying a rescheduling fee. Contact the AAMC to request an emergency rescheduling.
MCAT Exam Preparation
Preparing for the MCAT requires a well-structured plan and commitment. Start by understanding the test’s structure and covered subjects, such as Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Biochemistry, Psychology, and Sociology. Utilize official MCAT guidebooks, sample questions, and practice tests to understand the question patterns and rigor. Regular revision, practice tests, physical well-being, and mental health are also essential components of successful exam preparation.
Free Med School Prep Materials
The American Medical Association (AMA) offers a free Med School Prep Checklist to students nationwide. Navigate to the official AMA website and provide the requested information to receive your personalized med school prep materials. If you’re interested in additional resources, a list of top-rated, premium prep materials is available on their site.
MCAT Test Day: What to Expect
On MCAT test day, arrive at least 30 minutes early at the testing center. After check-in and security screening, you will be guided to your testing room. The MCAT is a long exam, so bring water and a snack. The exam contains 230 multiple-choice questions divided into four sections. Stay calm, focused, and remind yourself that you are prepared. Here are some additional tips:
- Arrive early for check-in and security procedures.
- Bring a valid ID, a bottle of water, and a snack.
- Wear comfortable clothing.
- Stay calm and focused throughout the exam.
- Remember, you are prepared.
Navigating the post-pandemic era, especially as an aspiring medical professional, can seem daunting. But with thorough preparation, use of available resources, and an unwavering commitment, success in your MCAT is within reach. As you prepare for the MCAT, remember: you are not alone. Here’s to your future success in medicine – we’re cheering for you!
Kaplan’s MCAT Complete 7-Book Subject Review 2022–2023 reflects the latest, most accurate, and most testable materials on the MCAT. Streamlined and intuitive layouts facilitate easier review.