How Do I Know if I Should Void the MCAT?

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Session 58

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

This podcast is a collaboration with Blueprint MCAT (formerly 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 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. But it doesn’t get recorded.

Bryan further explains that, with a void, it essentially never happened. Nobody gets to know it happened, except in two places:

  • First, your checkbook: you still have to pay for the test. So voiding it means several hundred dollars you never get back.
  • Second, in terms of the annual and lifetime limits: You can only take the MCAT three times in a year, at most four times in any two years, or seven times in your life. So even if you void, that counts towards one of your lifetime limit of seven.

So, to clarify, medical schools will not be able to see that you voided the MCAT.

When you void your MCAT, it essentially never happened.Click To Tweet

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

There are students who 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.

If you’re approaching your test day and you don’t feel prepared, you can reschedule and push it back so you don’t have to have this void on your record. Then you don’t have to waste $300 on what is functionally a practice exam. This just strikes him as the height of silliness.

Cutoff Dates for Rescheduling the MCAT

However, there is now a window for rescheduling 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 you’re not ready to take it.”

You should know within two or three weeks of your exam if you’re on track and ready to roll. 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.

You should know within two or three weeks of your MCAT test date if you're on track and ready to roll.Click To Tweet

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 about where you should be.

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

The mechanics of voiding the MCAT is that it’s done at the end of the day. If you leave in the middle of the test, they’re going to score your test. So to void the exam, you have to get all the way up to the end. There will be a question about 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.

Voiding is a very specific, conscious choice you have to make. And they will even ask you to confirm twice.Click To Tweet

What If You’re Unsure Whether You Should Void?

Bryan’s rule of thumb here is that if you’re even asking yourself 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 for this is because premeds 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.

Nobody Feels Like the MCAT Went Well

It’s been Bryan’s experience with the hundreds of tutoring students and thousands of classroom students he’s 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 the MCAT went well.

There's no correlation between your subjective perception of how it went and your objective performance.Click To Tweet

It’s okay if you left three or four questions blank. 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 sure, go ahead and void your score.

[10:30] Taking Full-Lengths Under Realistic Conditions

I think the above scenario would happen mostly to students who don’t take full-length practice tests under real test 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 your MCAT practice tests under real test-like conditions? Did you sit your butt in the seat for seven hours? If you’re in the middle of your test day and you realize you needed to do that a bunch for practice and you haven’t, then it’s time to void and retake.

[Related episode: What to Expect on Your MCAT Test Day]

[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 whether you should void, it’s probably not the best idea to void. But if you’re asking why you’re actually there because you’re nowhere near prepared, then go ahead and hit that void in the end.

Finally, check out Blueprint MCAT (formerly Next Step Test Prep). They offer premiere one-on-one tutoring services for the MCAT. You get a two to three-month custom study plan, the pretest diagnostic, content review books, strategy and practice books, a CARS passage book, and more. You also get all of their full-length exams. All this for only $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. Check out Next Step here.

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