MP 58: How Do I Know if I Should Void the MCAT?

Session 58

A lot of students plan on going into the MCAT ready to void it, some think about voiding it during the test. We discuss when you should actually void the MCAT.

This podcast is a collaboration with Next Step Test Prep to make sure you have the information you need to succeed on your MCAT test day.

[01:44] What Is Voiding?

When you take the MCAT, sit in the testing center, and you void it, that test doesn't get recorded. It still counts as a take for how many MCAT tests you can take in a year or in a lifetime. The different sections are for the AAMC. But it doesn't get recorded.

Bryan further explains that when you think about a void, it essentially never happened. Nobody gets to know it happened except in two places. First, your checkbook. Well, you have to pay for the test. So voiding it means several hundred dollars you never get back. And there are limits. So you can take the MCAT three times in a year or at most four times in any two years. Or a lifetime limit of seven. So even if you void, that counts towards one of your lifetime seven limit.

[02:57] Using the Actual MCAT as a Practice Test

There are students that purposefully go into a test knowing they're going to void it. Bryan thinks this is a ludicrously overpriced practice test. If somebody said to you they'd give you a practice exam but it's going to cost you $300 or whatever, would you ever buy it? Of course, not. You can actually reschedule and push it back so you don't have to have this void on your record. You would not have wasted $300 on what is functionally a practice exam. This just strikes him as the height of silliness.

However, there is now a window for rescheduling in the test which has a cutoff date. I had a student who wanted to reschedule and she missed the window to reschedule. So she had to either take the test or not show up. So she was in a situation where I said go take it, but void it because she was not ready to take it.

It's almost barely a week or two before the test where you could still recoup some of the cost and reschedule your exam. But if you literally realize the day before the test that you're not ready, of course you could go in, take it and void it just for practice.

Go back and listen to Episode 40 where we talked about the last minute tips for the MCAT including those last three weeks or so before your test date. This will help you have a feeling on where you should be.

[05:08] Considering Voiding in the Middle of Test Day

The mechanics of voiding it is that it's done at the end of the day. If you're going to leave in the middle of the test, they're going to score your test. So to void the exam, you have to get to it all the way up to the end. There will be a question whether you want your exam voided or not. If you don't answer it, the timer will run out after five minutes and your exam will be scored.

Bryan's rule of thumb here is that if you're even asking yourself the question whether you should void your exam, the answer is no. But if the question you're asking yourself is when you can void the exam, then go ahead and void it. The reason is because premeds who are used to getting straight A's. There's a certain touch of neuroticism there. They can tend to have that OCD where they have to get everything right.

It has been Bryan's experience with the hundreds of tutoring students and thousands of classroom students he has worked with over the years. People walk out of the test feeling so knocked out. But you can't make the judgment based on some subjective feeling that it didn't go well. Nobody feels like it went well.

It's okay if you left three or four questions blank. But if it's two entire passages with about eleven or twelve questions blank, that's when you start saying it was abnormal for you. Or if you have that moment in the middle of the test where this realization just hits you that you're nowhere near where you need to be, then go ahead and void your score.

[10:30] Taking Full-Length Under Real Practice Conditions

I think this would happen mostly to students who don't take a full length practice test under real practice conditions. They take the different sections and they do well in them. But the first time they actually sit down for seven and a half hours is the real test day. That just destroys them.

Did you actually take them under real test-like conditions? Did you sit your butt in the seat for seven hours? So if you're in the middle of a full test day and realize you needed to do this a bunch for practice and you haven't then it's time to void and retake.

[11:30] Final Thoughts

Don't go into the test wanting to void. When you're in the middle of the test, if you're asking yourself should you void, it's probably not the best idea to void. But if you're asking why you're actually there and you're nowhere near prepared then go ahead and hit that void in the end.

Finally, check out Next Step Test Prep. They offer premiere one-on-one tutoring service for the MCAT. You get a two to three-month custom study plan, the pretest diagnostic, content review books, strategy and practice books, CARS passage book, and more. You also get all of their full-length exams. All this for $400 more than a live online course. So it's like paying $17 an hour extra for those. Get a tutor who can help you cater your studying plan to your specific needs, not to the class average. Use the promo code MCATPOD to save some money.

Links:

MP 40: Last Minute MCAT Tips Leading Up to Test Day

Next Step Test Prep (Promo Code: MCATPOD)

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