When Can I and When Should I Register for the MCAT?

Session 63

The MCAT registration opens up this year on October 18th. You need to be ready to sign up for a seat to make sure you can take the test when you want to!

This week, we talk about when you can and when you should register for the MCAT. MCAT scores came out recently for the last batch of students. And for students anxiously chomping at the bit for registering for next year (2018) – that opens around mid-October.

Listen in as Bryan and I dish out what students should be doing right this minute, in preparation for registering for the exam as soon as possible.

Check out all our other podcasts on MedEd Media Network and for some help with prepping for the MCAT, find out what Next Step Test Prep has to offer. Use the promo code MCATPOD to save some money.

[01:30] Register as Soon as You Can!

If you’re looking to take the MCAT before registration has opened, all you can do is plan. But if you’re planning to take the MCAT and it’s possible to register, do it instantly. Do it as soon as you know.

[02:03] Know When to Take It

Think about the overarching study plan. For example, you’re going to take the MCAT in April before you have your final exams (if you’re in school). Or since you’re working while prepping for the MCAT, you’re going to take it roughly in July based on when your work schedule allows you to prepare.

So basically, have the idea of when you want to take it, so that you know as soon as it’s possible to register, you can hop in there right away.

The reason for this is that you don’t want to get locked out of a location. You don’t want to end up having to drive all the way across the state, or worse, fly somewhere to take the MCAT. So register early.

[02:48] New MCAT Administration

AAMC announced that they’ve switched their contractor (computer centers where you take the MCAT) from Prometric to Pearson. For students, that change should be largely transparent. This shouldn’t mean anything for those students who have not yet registered for the MCAT.

[03:30] Geography Concerns

That said, there are some obvious changes. Prometric and Pearson are two different companies. They have locations in different places. In Arizona, where Bryan is, there’s Prometric center that’s just a ten-minute drive away. But now a Pearson is like a 30-40 minute drive. So there’s a geography concern there.

[03:50] Change in Mechanics

The mechanics of how they administer the test will be very similar. But Bryan says that once they get reports from students, they might be able to find some little cosmetic differences. This could be in terms of check in procedures and so on.

[04:12] Keyboard Shortcuts Available

Moreover, there is an interesting announcement from AAMC and Pearson where they are going to offer keyboard shortcuts for navigating the test. However, they’ve been non-specific about what that means. There’s no essay on the MCAT anymore, so there’s no need for using Ctrl C or Ctrl V.

Bryan suspects that the new Pearson administration of the MCAT will let you hit the forward arrow or back arrow to navigate between questions.

The big concern students want to immediately know though is, does “keyboard shortcut” mean Ctrl F? Does it mean you can “find on page” keyboard shortcut? As in this time of recording, we don’t have any answer yet. But Bryan is 99.9% sure that the answer is no.

The reason is that a substantive change like this would literally skew test results. The hallmark of standardized testing in the MCAT is no exception here. You don’t change anything about the difficulty, content, or administration of the test that makes it any easier or harder.

So even though Pearson has announced some kind of nebulous keyboard shortcut fact, Bryan suspects it won’t change much in terms of the experience of the test takers.

[05:55] Next Step Test Prep

Check out what Next Step Test Prep has to offer including full-length MCAT exams, an MCAT course with 100 hours of vidoes, ten live office hours every week, access to all of their practice exams and AAMC material, and so much more. Use the promo code MCATPOD to save some money.


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