When students say they’re afraid of their MCAT exams, it is entirely understandable. The fate of their medical school admission and their dreams rest entirely on MCAT- one of the toughest standardized existing ones.
But, while you’ve spent months in your junior years to prepare for the MCAT, how do you know if you’re feeling 100% confident in your MCAT prep or when to take the MCAT test?
The answers lie below in this post. So continue reading!
When to Take the MCAT Exam? – The Appropriate Timeline
A most decisive question indeed- when to take the MCAT exam feeling 100% up-to-it? For some degree of reassurance to MCAT students, the AAMC offers 30 test dates every year. And obviously, some dates of application year will prove appropriate for students depending on their location and, most importantly, on their preparation-proficiency.
The truth is, there is no such thing as the perfect date to take the MCAT for your medical school admissions. And it all boils down to how a student feels prior to their MCAT test date. After finalizing the date, make a proper study schedule and follow it strictly.
However, There Are Some Tips to follow when deciding when to take the MCAT. Follow them closely!
Tip 1: Give 3-Months Test Prep (At Least) Before Thinking Of Sitting For The MCAT Exam.
The admission test consists of 4 crucial categories- each of which comes with complications of their own. Plus, one needs to prepare each section of the MCAT course to the best of their ability to score well and uniformly in all of them.
Students must know that examiners prefer candidates who can attain quality and uniform MCAT score(s) in each of the sections. And that cannot happen unless one invests a realistic and sufficient amount of time preparing for all categories and relevant questions.
Ideally, 3-months (or 100 days) should be the standard timeline in which students should adhere for in-depth coverage of every iota of subject information. With that, students should devote ample time and dedication to complete as many practice papers and full-length MCAT mock tests.
Doing so only amps up their self-confidence and familiarity with the MCAT exam format! Plus, it also gives them scope to identify their weaknesses and rectify them by reinforcing their depth of knowledge in each section.
There is no shortcut to success in an MCAT exam. And the only rational way to get through it confidently and score big is by devoting lots of time and attention to completing the syllabus and working with these available test-prep mock papers.
Tip 2: Focus On Your Full-Length Practice Tests and Content Review Results
When students ask- when to take the MCAT exam feeling 100% confident, most online tutors advise them to look into these 3 aspects.
- Completion and mastery in all your MCAT content – Ideally, students must complete all present MCAT content thoroughly and attain 90-95% mastery. Unfortunately, there is no magic formula to succeed. One has to prepare the old-fashioned way by grasping their subject topics of prep course and testing their know-how via their practice tests. You can find lots of online to go with.
However, one method that has given success to so many students is using top MCAT prep books and online AAMC- appropriate practice test papers. You can work with the practice questions given at the end of each chapter of top review books.
So, it’s simple. The more number of test papers one solves, the more adept they will answer quickly and correctly. This also helps boost their overall confidence and even allows them to retain information more distinctly.
- Their self-satisfaction and gut feeling – In addition to working with free MCAT practice test papers for their school application testing year, you should be able to tell whether your hard work is reaping the benefits or not. Whenever you complete a test paper or chapter or a particular section, you need to see how you feel about your preparation.
Are you perfectly happy, or does your gut feeling tell you otherwise! Every student is different in the way they prepare for their MCAT test day. And after putting in such hard work, it invariably comes down to your prep-satisfaction and inner confidence to score impressively.
As said above, the aim should be to achieve 90-95% MCAT content mastery. If you think you are still a bit behind, then keep at it. You will get there eventually.
Tip 3: Also Evaluate the Full-Length Score Trends from Month-To-Month
Believe it or not, but the numbers you score from your mock tests and chapter-end q-bank also determine whether you are ready for your MCAT test.
Many top-rating MCAT tutors recommend evaluating the full-length practice tests consistently through-out the 3-month study schedule. They further state that it is not about scoring as high as you can, but targeting that perfect score which you want.
Here’s A Better Way to Explain This.
Properly monitor the scores in your 1st month’s full-length exams 1 and 2. See the difference between them. If the score release(s) from your first two papers are 489 and 494, it’s impressive simply because you improved by 5 points!
In your 3rd full-length MCAT practice test, you score 496; it means the difference between the 2nd and 3rd paper is only 2 points. This means for some reason, you could not increase as much as you would want.
While these test scores suggest you improve, it also points out a crucial flaw in your study. Your target score should be 520 (or anything above). And the fact that you aren’t able to cross 500 in your first 3 attempts suggests you need to work harder from the 2nd month onwards.
But then again, there is nothing to worry about. Scoring 496 in your 1st month’s full-length test isn’t bad at all. And in the following months, and by putting in a bit more effort, you can close the gap in due time.
Tip 4: Lastly, The Month For Taking The MCAT Exam Doesn’t Matter That Much!
In addition to the above information, students asking- when to take the MCAT exam, they must know it doesn’t matter which month they choose. Irrespective of whether they opt for August or September or January if one has completed all their prerequisite coursework and every practice test they could find, those students should be ready.
Ideally, January does seem like the right month to take the MCAT exam- but only if one is 100% ready. Applying to MCAT medical school test at one’s convenient test center in January does come with lots of perks too. Students get lots of break time to study for the MCAT test.
Also, it gives them a welcome reprieve from the distraction of classes and finals to hone their knowledge further and be their absolute best for their big day.
So, in finally answering the question – when to take the MCAT exam; it all depends on one’s preparation and ability to tackle any topic question from their MCAT syllabus.
Remember, AAMC offers 30 test dates every year. And, there is no need to be hung up on one particular date. Be flexible and work hard to complete everything in your MCAT exam syllabus. Your MCAT score will decide in which med school you will pursue your dream.
And once you are, your confidence and depth of knowledge will take over and allow you to reach your target score, no matter when you decide to sit for your medical college admission test!
If you are a student who loves biology, then you can also look at these career opportunities other than medical professional here-