Health Professions Advising



What Should I Expect on Test Day?

Once again, you should visit the MCAT website and read the MCAT Essentials to review all the test day procedures and regulations, but here are a few salient points. The MCAT is a computer-based exam offered at small, climate-controlled Thompson Prometric testing sites worldwide. You should arrive to the test center approximately 30 minutes prior to the start of the test. You will need to provide personal identification in the form of a current, valid government-issued ID containing your photo and signature (i.e. a driver's license or passport). The name on your ID must match the name you used during registration exactly. After you present your ID, the test center employees will take your picture and capture your fingerprint electronically. Finally, you will be assigned a testing station, which you must use throughout the duration of the test.

You will not be permitted to bring food, drinks, or personal items into the test room unless you need them for a medical condition (a secure area will be provided for you to store your things). The test center will provide you with scrap paper, pencils, and ear covers and a timer will be displayed on the computer monitor. Every time you enter or leave the test room, you must sign in and out and have your fingerprint scanned again. (Note that the timer will continue counting down during this time.) You will have three optional 10 minute breaks during the exam. If you would like to eat or drink during these breaks, you may want to bring some snacks with you as the testing center may not be near any eating establishments. You may also want to dress in layers so you are prepared for varying room temperatures.

Should I Re-Take the MCAT?

Scores will be released online through the MCAT Testing History (THx) System approximately 30 days after the test date (click here for the tentative score release schedule) free of charge. If you feel that your scores are low or do not accurately reflect your abilities, then you may wish to take the MCAT again. Before making this decision, you should first speak with Leslie North. In general, the AAMC recommends that you retake the MCAT only if:

  • There exists an unusual discrepancy between your college grades and MCAT exam score.
  • Your coursework in areas covered on the test was inadequate.
  • You misunderstood the directions or incorrectly recorded your answers.
  • You had a serious illness at the time of the test.
  • A member of a medical school admission committee recommended that you retest.

Remember that the MCAT is only one of several factors that medical school admission committees use to evaluate your candidacy. Even if you don't do as well as you would have liked on a particular section, good grades in that particular subject may help to make up for it. This is especially true for the writing section. Doing poorly on writing section will not kill you as schools may look to other indicators in your academic record or your application essay for further information about your writing ability. On the other hand, a strong writing score and essay will be a big plus. Furthermore, being a competitive candidate is not all about grades and test scores. Your extracurricular activities may really help you stand out.