Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Emails and Information Security
I already took the PMQ last year. Can I take the PMQ again this year?
Yes. MCAT exam registrants are eligible to participate in the PMQ every MCAT year. For example, if you registered for a 2016 MCAT exam and subsequently register for a 2017 MCAT exam, you may take both the 2016 PMQ and the 2017 PMQ.
Is taking the PMQ a requirement for the MCAT exam or for application to medical school?
No, the survey is not required and is, therefore, voluntary. However, the AAMC encourages you to take the PMQ. The PMQ data are important in that it can help inform local and national policies (e.g., student loans and debt reduction programs) that could impact the future of medical school expansion and the diversity of the healthcare workforce.
Does the PMQ ask for any personal information that could put me at risk?
The PMQ does not ask for any personally identifiable information. Because you already submitted personal information during the secure MCAT exam registration process, the PMQ does not require any additional personal information. Instead, the survey asks for information about your undergraduate experiences, future career plans, and estimated costs of your undergraduate education. All responses submitted in the PMQ are also secure.
How can I stop getting email reminders to take the PMQ?
Once a participant completes the PMQ, reminders are no longer sent to that survey participant. This is true even if one chooses the "I do not wish to participate in the survey" option at the beginning of the survey. If you do not wish to participate in the survey, the quickest way to stop receiving reminders is to open your survey and click the "I do not wish to participate" option. If you believe you have completed the questionnaire, but you are still receiving email reminders in error, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: In your email, be sure to include the email address that you used when registering for the MCAT exam.
Who uses PMQ data, and why?
Researchers from the AAMC, medical schools, and other educational organizations may request PMQ data to monitor national trends in medical education, understand the needs of those considering medicine and other health professions, and anticipate the needs of prospective students. The PMQ may also be used to help undergraduate advisors on college campuses assess the impact of career advising resources.
Are PMQ data stored securely? What are the AAMC’s data security policies?
The PMQ information is retained in perpetuity by the AAMC in a secure database and kept confidential. This means that we make every effort to keep your information confidential, and we only share data with those who have agreed to keep the data confidential. This includes AAMC project staff, who are trained in data security, and other education researchers. Whenever your PMQ responses are released, no personally identifiable information, such as your name, will be revealed. There may be times when federal or state law requires disclosure of PMQ data. This is very unlikely, but if it ever happens, we will make every effort to protect your personal information.
I'm having problems taking the survey. My responses don't show up, or I cannot go forward.
This problem is most likely due to settings in your browser. The survey requires a Web browser that has both cookies and Java enabled. Try changing your browser settings to enable cookies and Java. If that fails, try to use a browser on a different computer.
I saw questions on the PMQ about my estimated college debt. Will my responses be used by admissions committees or considered in my fee reduction application or financial aid requests?
No, your responses will never be forwarded to medical school (or other) admissions committees and will not be compared with information you may provide in fee-waiver applications or financial aid requests. PMQ data are only released in a de-identified format, where the data are stripped of any information that could identify you with your responses. This makes it safer for you to answer all questions as honestly as possible, including the questions about educational debt. To inform policy, it is vital that we learn about the growing costs of education and whether these costs are inhibiting anyone from pursuing medicine as a career.
Can I see the results of the PMQ?
The results of the 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 PMQs have been posted to the main PMQ webpage. If you are especially interested in the results to a particular question, let us know at email@example.com.
I've heard the PMQ referred to as the "Premedical Student Questionnaire” or the “Pre-MCAT Questionnaire.” Is the Post-MCAT Questionnaire a different survey?
The surveys are the same. The PMQ used to be called the Premedical Student Questionnaire. The name was changed in 2008 to acknowledge the fact that people take the MCAT exam for various reasons—not just to apply to medical school, but also to apply to physician assistant, veterinary medicine, and other programs. In 2013, the PMQ was changed from the Pre-MCAT Questionnaire to the Post-MCAT Questionnaire. This means the PMQ is now administered following the MCAT exam, rather than prior to the MCAT exam.
Has the PMQ been IRB-reviewed?
Yes. Whenever the AAMC conducts research using personally identifiable data (human subjects research), the research is reviewed according to AAMC policies governing research. If you have any questions about this review, or your participation in the research, please contact the AAMC Office of Human Subjects Research Protection at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Receiving Email from PMQ
To ensure that you receive all authorized emails regarding the PMQ, be sure to add "aamc.org" to your "approved sender" list in your email account.
Also, check your "Junk" folder for an email from aamc.org that might have been misidentified as spam. If you find our email there, mark it as "not spam" or remove it from the list of blocked senders.
This ensures that your email provider will not block emails sent to you from the AAMC, including the PMQ survey link, which is unique to each MCAT exam registrant.