MCAT Exam Costs and Financial Aid: All You Need to Know
The Medical College Admission Test, or MCAT, is a critical exam that aspiring medical students must take to gain admission to medical school. However, the cost of taking the exam can be a significant financial burden for many students, especially those from low-income families. Preparing for medical school involves a lot of hard work, dedication, and financial investment. One of the key components of the medical school application process is the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), a standardized test that assesses a student’s ability to reason and think critically about scientific and medical concepts. In this blog article, we will focus on the MCAT exam fees and what you need to know about them.
What is the MCAT?
The MCAT is a computer-based exam that assesses a student’s knowledge and skills in four key areas: Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems, Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems, Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior, and Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills. The exam is administered by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and is required for admission to most medical schools in the United States and Canada.
What are the MCAT exam fees?
The MCAT exam fees are the costs associated with taking the MCAT. The fees can be broken down into several categories, including registration, rescheduling, late registration, and score report fees. The fees vary depending on where you take the exam, the date you register, and the number of times you take the exam.
The MCAT registration fee varies depending on the location of the testing center and the time of year you take the exam. The standard registration fee for the MCAT is $320, but there are additional fees for testing in international locations. If you register late for the exam, there is an additional late registration fee of $90. You can register for the MCAT online through the AAMC website.
If you need to reschedule your MCAT exam, there is a fee associated with that as well. The rescheduling fee varies depending on the time of year you reschedule and can range from $95 to $160. It’s important to note that you must reschedule at least 15 days before your scheduled exam date to avoid forfeiting your registration fee.
Late Registration Fees
If you miss the regular registration deadline for the MCAT, you can still register late for an additional fee of $90. However, it’s important to note that late registration is subject to availability, and you may have to travel to a different testing center than you originally planned.
Score Report Fees
After you take the MCAT, you will receive a score report that includes your overall score and your scores in each of the four test sections. You can choose to have your scores sent to medical schools, other health professions schools, or other programs that require the MCAT. The first score report is included in your registration fee, but if you need to send additional reports, there is a fee of $40 per report.
What is MCAT Exam Financial Aid?
The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) offers the Fee Assistance Program (FAP) to help eligible students cover the costs associated with the MCAT exam. The FAP provides a reduced registration fee, free MCAT preparation materials, and free access to the Medical School Admission Requirements (MSAR) database.
Who is Eligible for MCAT Exam Financial Aid?
To be eligible for MCAT exam financial aid through the FAP, students must meet certain criteria. These criteria are based on the student’s income and financial resources. The eligibility requirements for the FAP are as follows:
- US citizens, US nationals, and US permanent residents are eligible to apply.
- Students must be currently enrolled in an undergraduate degree program at a US institution.
- Students must be able to demonstrate financial needs based on their income, the size of the household, and other factors.
In addition to these criteria, the AAMC encourages students who are underrepresented in medicine or who come from disadvantaged backgrounds to apply for financial aid.
How to Apply for MCAT Exam Financial Aid?
To apply for financial aid for the MCAT exam through the FAP, students must follow these steps:
- Create an AAMC account: Students should create an account on the AAMC website to start the application process.
- Submit financial information: Students will need to provide financial information, including income, household size, and expenses. The AAMC will use this information to determine eligibility for financial aid.
- Wait for application review: After submitting the application, students will need to wait for the AAMC to review their application and determine eligibility for financial aid.
- Receive confirmation: If approved for financial aid, students will receive a confirmation email from the AAMC with instructions on how to register for the MCAT exam at the reduced fee.
- Register for the exam: After receiving confirmation, students can register for the MCAT exam and receive the benefits of the FAP.
MCAT Financial Aid Options
Fortunately, financial aid options are available to help cover the costs of the MCAT exam. Here are a few options you might want to take into consideration:
Fee Assistance Program (FAP)
The Fee Assistance Program (FAP) is a program designed to help students who would otherwise be unable to afford the cost of the MCAT exam. The program offers a reduced registration fee of $130, free access to MCAT prep materials, and a waiver for the AMCAS application fees for up to 20 medical schools. To be eligible for FAP, you must meet certain income requirements, and you must be a US citizen or a legal resident of the US or its territories.
Scholarships and Grants
Many organizations and institutions offer scholarships and grants specifically for students who need financial assistance to take the MCAT exam. Some scholarships may cover the entire cost of the exam, while others may provide partial financial support. You can search for scholarships and grants through online databases, your school’s financial aid office, or by contacting medical schools directly.
Private loans are another option to consider if you need additional funding to cover the costs of the MCAT exam. Private loans usually have higher interest rates than federal loans, but they may offer more flexible repayment options. Before taking out a private loan, make sure you fully understand the terms and conditions of the loan. These might include the interest rate, repayment period, and any fees associated with the loan.
MCAT Study Materials
One of the first expenses students will encounter when preparing for the MCAT is study materials. There are a variety of options available, ranging from free resources like Khan Academy to paid study guides and textbooks. Students can expect to spend anywhere from $0 to $500 or more on study materials, depending on their preferences.
Free resources like Khan Academy can be an excellent starting point for students who want to get a feel for the test and identify areas where they need improvement. However, these resources may not be comprehensive enough to fully prepare students for the exam. Paid study guides and textbooks can provide more in-depth coverage of the material but come at a higher cost.
Taking practice exams is a crucial part of MCAT preparation. Practice exams can help students identify areas where they need improvement and become familiar with the format and structure of the test. Practice exams can range in cost from free to several hundred dollars.
Free resources like the official AAMC practice exams are an excellent starting point for students. However, these exams may not provide enough practice to adequately prepare students for the test. Paid practice exams from companies like Kaplan and Princeton Review can provide more practice, but they come at a higher cost.
MCAT Prep Courses
MCAT prep courses can be an effective way for students to prepare for the exam. These courses can provide a structured study plan, access to experienced instructors, and additional resources like practice exams and study materials. However, these courses can also be quite expensive, with costs ranging from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. Online courses can be a more affordable option for some students, with prices typically ranging from $500 to $2,500. In-person courses tend to be more expensive, with costs ranging from $1,500 to $5,000 or more.
If you find that you need more help studying for the MCAT after using the available resources and taking the diagnostic test, you can choose to pay for personalized coaching through a tutor or prep course. The MCAT can be difficult to study for alone, and some students may struggle with the pressure. Tutoring or prep courses can be helpful for those who prefer one-on-one coaching for their most challenging subjects or those who are struggling with specific types of questions. The cost of MCAT tutoring and prep courses varies depending on the level and type of coaching chosen. MCAT prep courses can range from $300 to $5000, with more intensive 6-month programs costing over $1000. Alternatively, students can opt for cheaper self-paced study materials bundled with online videos or webinars or choose a specific number of tutoring classes to target their weakest areas and only pay for the help they need.
Preparing for the MCAT is a significant investment of time, energy, and money. Understanding the MCAT exam fees is an important part of the preparation process, as it can help you budget your resources and avoid unnecessary costs. By being informed about the registration, rescheduling, late registration, and score report fees associated with the MCAT, you can focus on preparing for the exam and achieving your dream of becoming a doctor. The cost of taking the MCAT exam can be a significant financial burden, but there are financial aid options available to help you cover the costs. If you’re struggling to afford the MCAT exam, consider applying for the Fee Assistance Program, searching for scholarships and grants, or taking out a private loan. With a little research and planning, you can make sure you’re prepared to take the exam without breaking the bank.
Studying for the MCAT is never easy, which is why we at Jack Westin have developed some of the most comprehensive and affordable MCAT prep options. From our complete MCAT Courses to our FREE Weekly Live Sessions, we help students navigate the MCAT from start to finish.