When applying for medical school, you will have to prepare for a lot of requirements, from personal statements to letters of recommendation. This can all be so daunting! That said, there is one thing premeds know they need to plan ahead for, which is the MCAT.
You might be wondering: When is it right to undergo the MCAT registration process and take the test? You want to get a great score on the MCAT to improve your odds, which is why you need to take the time and study efficiently with MCAT practice tests.
Read on for our recommendations.
When Should I Take the MCAT?
You can take the MCATs anytime you believe you are physically and mentally ready. However, you can’t just take the MCATs anytime. You may take it earlier on during college (not TOO early), and also opt to take it at the latest and final time.
- The Earliest Time to Take MCAT
The earliest time you may take the MCAT is in the late parts of your sophomore year, or during summer break as you head on to your junior year. By this time, you have already completed most of the medical school prerequisites, which will minimize how much content review you’ll need to take on by yourself.
If you are taking the test earlier, then there are a lot of test date options so you can plan ahead. Most of the test dates would be between April to September, so depending on when you applied, give yourself a lot of time to study. It’s best to study for around 2-4 months, depending on how well you know the subjects and if you can dedicate all your effort to taking the MCAT.
- The Latest Time to Take MCAT
What about the latest time to take the MCAT? Plan to take your MCAT between January to April on your application year. Why?
- You want to spend more time preparing for your application essays, such as your personal statement, and secondary essays. If you don’t dedicate time to doing this, it can also affect your admission status.
- Your MCAT scores are a major factor that will determine what medical schools you can and should apply to. This prevents you from wasting time and effort applying to medical schools you are not eligible for because of your MCAT score.
- What Year Should You Take MCAT?
There is no best time or year to take the MCAT, as this will depend on how well you know the subjects included in the test. Furthermore, it also depends on the time and current workload you have. As you wouldn’t want to exhaust yourself juggling school and work obligations while studying for something big!
However, there are times when you SHOULDN’T take the MCAT, and that is if you score poorly on practice tests, haven’t studied on the topics, or have spread yourself so thin with different priorities.
The best time to take your MCAT is only when you believe you are most prepared, as there’s no solution that fits everyone. Consider how your current knowledge and timeline, then you can weigh the pros and cons of taking MCATs earlier or later during college.