Between January and September 2020 there will be 30 test administrations for the MCAT. If you have not yet taken the MCAT, you should try to do it by mid-summer if you plan to apply this summer. Most medical schools have rolling admissions, filling their seats with applicants whose application files are completed first. To postpone taking the test until late July creates problems, because it delays consideration of your whole application until the MCAT scores are received about a month later. Some schools will not accept an MCAT taken in September of the application year. In addition, taking a September MCAT means you must apply to medical schools before you know your MCAT score. A top score combined with excellent grades means that you should apply to the best schools; a lower score means that you should apply to less competitive schools.
Registration for the MCAT is online at https://www.aamc.org/students/applying/mcat/reserving. The MCAT is offered only at designated test centers. As there are limited seats at each test site, you should register for your preferred date as soon as registration becomes available.
The registration form includes an opportunity to release your scores to your health professions advisor, Gigi Simeone. Please authorize this release.
The regular registration fee for 2020 will be $315. No fees are waived. However, students whose total family income is 300 percent or less of the federal poverty level for their family size are eligible for a fee reduction by submitting the Fee Assistance Program (FAP) application on the AAMC website at https://www.aamc.org/students/applying/fap/about. The application and supporting documentation must be received and approved by the AAMC before you register for the MCAT. (Check the FAP website for the exact deadline.) If you are granted fee assistance, it will extend through to the end of the following calendar year, which would normally cover both MCAT and application fees.
If you have a disability or medical condition that you believe requires an adjustment to standard testing conditions, we encourage you to apply for testing accommodations. A decision on most requests will be made within 60 days of receipt of a complete application. All initial applications for accommodations must be submitted electronically via MCAT Accommodations Online system on the AAMC website.
For detailed information about the accommodations application and registration process, visit the MCAT Exam with Accommodations of the MCAT website.
In return for the MCAT registration fee, your test scores are sent to all AMCAS schools to which you are applying. You must use the MCAT Testing History (THx) and Online Score Release system at https://services.aamc.org/mcatthx/ to send your scores to non-AMCAS allopathic and osteopathic schools. You receive a personal report of your scores.
Keep in mind that MCAT scores are generally good for 2-3 years, so don't take the MCAT now if you are planning not to apply for several years.
2. Preparation for the MCAT
What is the best way to review for the MCAT — with a commercial course or on your own? One method is not inherently better than the other. Swarthmore students have achieved high MCAT scores both after independent review and from taking one of the commercial courses. The best method for you depends on your learning style and work habits. If you generally are well organized, can plan a study schedule on your own or with one or two friends and stick to it, you may have no need for a commercial course. You should plan on beginning your review at least three months before the exam. Your texts and notes from introductory science courses provide a good basis for review. In addition, you may find the following publications very helpful in guiding your study and providing practice exams:
Online resources from the AAMC include free resources, such as 1,100 videos and 3,000 review questions on Khan Academy and an on-line tool: "What's on the MCAT Exam."
Here is the link for the AAMC practice materials available for the MCAT: https://www.aaamc.org/students/applying/mcat/
In addition, you may wish to purchase one of the commercial MCAT review books available at the College Bookstore or amazon.com
If you prefer a structured course-type review or if you do not feel comfortable with standardized test formats and would find content review and pointers on test taking useful, you may want to consider a commercial review course.
We have an agreement with Kaplan Test Prep Services to make their MCAT courses available to Swarthmore students and alums at a significantly reduced price. MCAT prep courses are normally more than $2000, but as a result of our agreeemnt with them, Kaplan will offer the following:
MCAT Prep In Person - $999.000; MCAT Prep Live Online - $999.00; MCAT Prep Self Paced - $444.00
These courses are offered to Swarthmore students and alums ONLY, and the discounts apply ONLY to these three MCAT prep modalities. We are not endorsing Kaplan, or any other commercial test-prep company, nor do we recommend that you take a prep course. Many students study on their own, and do fine. But for those of you who plan to take a course, this will offer it at a more reasonable cost.