In today’s episode, we talk about what to expect on your MCAT test day, what to bring to the MCAT, and some tips leading up to test day for optimizing your experience.
Knowing what’s going to happen on test day is important to help alleviate those stresses that build up. Knowing the basic process smooths out the whole experience for you.
Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.
What to do in the days before your MCAT test day:
- Visit your testing location.
- Know where you’re going to park, how to get there, etc.
- Make sure you are registered.
- Register as early as you can to get a seat for the date you want.
- If you need to travel to take your MCAT in another city, check out MCAT Logistics If You Need to Travel to Take Your Test.
- Different tests may be going on in the test center, so don’t freak out thinking you’re in the wrong place.
For the studying side of last-minute preparation, check out Last-Minute MCAT Tips Leading up to Test Day.
What to bring to the MCAT:
- Bring your ID. You get a ton of notifications from AAMC to make sure the name that appears on your ID is exactly the same as the name you used to register for the MCAT. Make sure that happens!
- You get a locker key when you arrive, and you’re expected to put everything else you brought in the locker.
- Can I bring my phone on my MCAT test day? You can put your cellphone in the locker as long as it’s turned off. But generally, leave your cellphone at home or in the car.
- Don’t bring your phone into the testing room with you.
MCAT test day schedule: What to expect
- You’ll have to sit in the waiting room with your locker key and your ID (the only two things you’re allowed to carry around all day) for about 15-20 minutes.
- You’ll also get a one-page laminated sheet with test instructions.
- They’ll call your name and bring you into a little side room (in between the waiting room and testing room) where they do the security check. They will scan your fingerprints and take your picture. Then you sign your name and the time you’re starting the test.
- They’ll open up the door to the testing facility and ask you to stand by the door. Then the proctor will take you to your cubicle.
- As you sit down, you’ll see the testing screen in front of you. Confirm your name and begin the tutorial for how you take the exam.
- Don’t skip the tutorial. Go through it just get yourself settled in.
- Begin the test itself. It will look, feel, smell, and taste just like your practice exams.
How to use your breaks during the MCAT:
- You get 10 minutes for the first break, 30 minutes for the second break, and 10 minutes for the last break.
- First, go through the checkout process. Go back to the security room and re-scan your fingerprint.
- Get up and move around to get your blood moving and freshen up your brain.
- Drink water and get a mouthful of food.
- Use the restroom. Even if you don’t need to, just splash some water onto your face to refresh your brain and keep your energy up for the exam.
Links and Other Resources
- Check out my book about the MCAT, co-written with Blueprint MCAT (formerly Next Step Test Prep): The Premed Playbook: Guide to the MCAT.
- Related episode: How Will an Unbalanced MCAT Score Affect Me?
- Related episode: What MCAT Score Do I Need If I Have a Low GPA?
- Need MCAT Prep? Get tutoring, classes, and full-length practice tests at Blueprint MCAT (formerly Next Step Test Prep)!