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Blog / 7 Questions To Help You Decide When Do You Take The MCAT

7 Questions to Help You Decide When to Take the MCAT

Written by Keenan on Jun 21, 2023

7 Questions to Help You Decide When to Take the MCAT

Most students know that the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) is an incredibly difficult exam. Each year, over twenty thousand students apply to medical school. 

With so many students looking to get into medical school, it’s important to start from the beginning, when do you take the MCAT?

What is the Best Time to Take the MCAT?

The MCAT is offered throughout the year ranging from January to September. The best time to take the MCAT is a somewhat subjective question. The main goal of the MCAT isn’t to finish it, but to score well. That means if you need to take a gap year between undergraduate and applying to medical school, take it!


Most traditional students take the MCAT either during the Spring of their Junior or Senior year of undergraduate. The earliest you can take the MCAT is after your Sophomore year.

MCAT TIP: Seek to take the MCAT early in the year. Preferably prior to mid-May to best fit with the AAMC Application Cycle.

Each student is different. For some, completing the exam earlier will allow them to focus on their application as a whole. For others, the MCAT will be the most difficult part of the medical school journey, which will require more time to prepare and study. 


What are the Dates for the MCAT?

The AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) announced 30 MCAT test dates for 2022. Starting in January there are four test dates, and then a break before testing resumes in mid-March. Starting in March, tests are administered until September.

Tests are held once a day at 8 A.M. except for August 26, September 2, and September 9 where they will be offered twice per day (7:30 A.M. and 3:00 P.M. start times).


Test Date 60 Day Deadline 30 Day Deadline 10 Day Deadline Score Release Date
January 14 Nov. 15, 2021 Dec. 15, 2021 Jan. 4 Feb. 15
January 15 Nov. 16, 2021 Dec. 16, 2021 Jan. 5 Feb. 15
January 20 Nov. 21, 2021 Dec 21, 2021 Jan. 10 Feb. 22
January 21 Nov. 22, 2021 Dec 22, 2021 Jan. 11 Feb. 22
March 12 Jan. 11 Feb. 10 March 2 April 12
March 25 Jan. 24 Feb. 23 March 15 April 26
April 8 Feb. 7 March 9 March 29 May 10
April 9 Feb. 8 March 10 March 30 May 10
April 29 Feb. 28 March 30 April 19 May 31
April 30 March 1 March 31 April 20 May 31
May 13 March 14 April 13 May 3 June 14
May 14 March 15 April 14 May 4 June 14
May 19 March 20 April 19 May 9 June 21
May 27 March 28 April 27 May 17 June 28
June 4 April 5 May 5 May 25 July 6
June 17 April 18 May 18 June 7 July 19
June 18 April 19 May 19 June 8 July 19
June 24 April 25 May 25 June 14 July 26
June 25 April 26 May 26 June 15 July 26
June 30 May 1 May 31 June 20 Aug. 1
July 16 May 17 June 16 July 6 Aug. 16
July 29 May 30 June 29 July 19 Aug. 30
August 5 June 6 July 6 July 26 Sept. 7
August 20 June 21 July 21 Aug. 10 Sept. 20
August 26* June 27 July 27 Aug. 16 Sept. 27
August 27 June 28 July 28 Aug. 17 Sept. 27
September 1 July 3 Aug. 2 Aug. 22 Oct. 4
September 2* July 4 Aug. 3 Aug. 23 Oct. 4
September 9* July 11 Aug. 10 Aug. 30 Oct. 11
September 10 July 12 Aug. 11 Aug. 31 Oct. 11


* There will be two testing sessions offered on August 26, September 2, and September 9. Exam start times will be at 7:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. each day.


When Do You Want to Start Med-School?

To determine when you want to take the MCAT exam, figure out what year you would like to start medical school. It is recommended to start adapting to MCAT essential requirements at least 1.5 years ahead of that date. For instance, if you want to start med school in Fall 2023 you should have the MCAT exam done by Spring of 2022.

Plan Based On Your Current Situation

-The Traditional Student

The traditional route is becoming less common as more students take time for a gap year prior applying. The traditional student aims to take the MCAT during the spring or summer of their Junior year. 

-The Gap Year (or Two) Student

This path is similar to a traditional student, however they will want to take the MCAT the year after their senior year. This is ideal for someone who knows they want to take a year off to strengthen their application, get another degree, or take time off. 

-The Non-Traditional Student

This type of student has the most flexibility when taking the MCAT. It’s important to take note of your personal schedule when preparing. For instance, if you are generally busy in your profession during the spring, don’t take the test in the spring. If you are not really sure, it’s key to understand the MCAT takes time to prepare for, so take stock of everything on your schedule and plan accordingly. 

Have you finished your prerequisites?

It’s important to know that prerequisites matter. It’s suggested you have two semesters of biology, physics, chemistry, and organic chemistry under your belt prior to taking the MCAT. 

Have you set deadlines for your study schedule?

The MCAT is exhaustive, with numerous areas of content you will need to understand. Plus, there are practice tests that you are going to take. As you can imagine, falling behind in your prep work most likely will happen. A customized study schedule will help with this. By creating actionable deadlines with a study plan, you will have a better understanding of where to focus and when. 

Where are you in the Application Process?

AMCAS begins submitting applications in early June. 
Keep in mind that MCAT scores are released about a month after the test date and many schools will not look at your application until your MCAT scores are available, thus, you will be balancing not only your MCAT preparation but also your applications. 

MCAT TIP: Build a solid plan, and stick to it While every study plan can be different, it’s essential to take the MCAT when YOU feel ready. It’s key to not rush this process.

The Best Time to Take the MCAT

Beyond the MCAT

The key to beating the MCAT is by knowing content and applying it to the passages and questions it presents. Therefore, not only is it imperative to get a solid review of the tested content, but also to follow that up with acquiring the critical reasoning skills to overcome the MCAT’s most difficult questions. 

There’s no perfect time to take the MCAT. It’s a challenging exam no matter when you take it. Some feel prepared to take the MCAT after their sophomore year while others decide to wait until their senior year of undergrad. 

Every student has vastly different knowledge skills, schedules, and outside influences. While it’s easy to have a playbook on when the best times are to take the MCAT, it’s up to you to decide when you’re ready and confident to complete the exam. 

Approaching the MCAT with Jack Westin

At Jack Westin we believe that every student deserves a chance to do their very best on the MCAT. Because of this we offer a variety of free resources, from our AAMC Google Chrome Extension, Daily Question Bank, and MCAT Diagnostic Test.

In addition to our extensive free offerings, we also have incredible MCAT courses including our Complete MCAT Course, MCAT CARS Strategy Course, CASPer Strategy Course, and MCAT Science Strategy and Content Course

Regardless of where you are in your studies, we offer the best MCAT resources. Bar none.

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