Which Exam Will You Take?
There are two primary factors to consider in deciding whether to take the current MCAT exam or the MCAT2015 exam. The first question is when you want to start medical school. The medical school admissions cycle begins the year before you start medical school. Specific application deadlines vary by medical school, but most application cycles begin in the summer. Many medical schools require MCAT scores before applications are considered. It’s important to know the application deadlines of the schools to which you’ll apply to ensure that your scores are delivered on time. Remember that MCAT scores are released 30-35 days after your test date.
The second factor to consider in deciding which exam to take is when you’ll be ready to test. While there are no courses required to be successful on the MCAT exam, your coursework will help you build the knowledge and skills you’ll need to do well. To ensure that you are prepared and ready for the exam, get familiar with the content for which you’ll be responsible. Content outlines for the current exam are available. For the MCAT2015 exam, we suggest you consult with the Preview Guide for the MCAT2015 Exam (Second Edition) .
*Most medical schools will accept scores from the last 2 or 3 years. About 40% of schools accept scores that are up to 2 years old; another 40% accept scores up to 3 years old. A few medical schools accept scores that are 4 or more years old. Check the Medical School Admission Requirements® guide for complete details: www.aamc.org/msar
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What’s the same and what’s different about the current MCAT exam and the MCAT2015 exam?
There are many similarities between the two exams, and there are some differences. You can use this chart to help you, and we’ve outlined the similarities and differences here, as well.
Both exams test content that’s taught in year-long introductory courses in biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics at most colleges.
Both ask you to demonstrate that you can use what you know to solve scientific problems.
Both test verbal reasoning skills by asking you to analyze information provided by passages from the humanities and social sciences.
Both are computer-based and administered at testing centers around the US, Canada, and a few international locations.
The MCAT2015 exam additionally tests concepts that are taught at most colleges in first-semester courses in biochemistry, psychology, and sociology.
MCAT2015 asks you solve problems by integrating concepts from multiple disciplines and using basic research methods and statistics skills in the same ways that scientists do.
Because it reflects admissions officers’ current best thinking about the knowledge and skills you’ll need to start medical school, the MCAT2015 exam tests more subjects and is about two hours longer than the current MCAT exam.
It’s important to note that although there are no required courses for the MCAT exam, some medical schools have pre-medical course requirements. Check out the Medical School Admission Requirements® (MSAR®) guide for more information at: www.aamc.org/msar.
How will you know if a medical school accepts current MCAT scores or MCAT2015 scores?
Each medical school has its own policy about the oldest MCAT scores it will accept. About 40% of medical schools accept scores that are two or fewer years old; another 40% accept scores that are three years old. A smaller percentage of medical schools accept scores that are four or more years old. To find out the requirements for the medical schools to which you’ll apply, consult the Medical School Admissions Requirements® (MSAR®) guide at www.aamc.org/msar.
Is there someone who can help you make a good decision about which MCAT exam to take?
Yes! Talk to the pre-health advisor at your school. Your advisor can offer guidance on when to apply to medical school and which courses you should complete to learn the concepts and skills tested by the current and MCAT2015 exams.
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