By: Alessandra Santiago

While it is still too early to sign up for the 2020 MCAT dates according to the AAMC, now is the time to consider when you will take the MCAT,  in addition to taking a look at the budgetary obligations associated with taking the exam.

Your first step is to head over to the AAMC website to take a look at the dates the MCAT will be held. You may notice that there are only five test dates offered between January-March 2020, so register early if you are planning on taking the exam at the start of the year. Monitor the AAMC Twitter Page for announcements as to when registration windows open for the next batch of test dates.

In general, it is a good idea to take your MCAT before May; since it takes 30 days to report your MCAT score, your primary applications to medical schools may be incomplete without it if you take your test later in the summer. Taking the MCAT in June is the absolute latest we would recommend taking the exam.

Your second step is to register for an account through the AAMC website in order to enroll in one of the offered exam dates. Once you’ve done that, you can view what testing centers are available on your desired date. It is important to register for your exam early: the later you sign up, the further afield you may need to look to find an available center.

This year, the AAMC will open registration for January-June 2020 dates on October 16, 2019. For test dates between July-September 2020, registration will open in early February (at the time of this article, that date has not yet been announced). If you know when you would like to take your exam, try registering as soon as registration opens to secure a spot in a location near you!

In addition to exam registration, the financial component of the MCAT is something to consider while you have a few months to plan ahead. In general, students are advised to prepare financially for the MCAT as well as the overall process of applying to medical school given how costly both ventures can be. We will go into further detail about your application budget in a later article.

The financial break-down for the MCAT is distilled into the following items:

Depending on what route you take—whether or not you elect to enroll in a preparatory course—the cost of the MCAT can exceed $3,000. It is wise to prepare for this cost early, and you can find information about the associated fees for the MCAT on the AAMC scheduling resources page.

Note: as you get closer to your test date, the registration and rescheduling fees will increase. If you reschedule your testing date within a month of your initially selected date, you will not be offered a refund for your registration fee.

If affording the cost of registering for the test is a concern, the AAMC offers a Fee Assistance Program to students eligible for test prep resources and registration cost reductions for low-income students. To qualify, students must submit proof of individual and family income.

Take a look on the AAMC website to see if you and your family qualify for aid.

Assignment #4: If you want to sign up for a Spring 2020 MCAT date, sign up as soon as registration opens on October 16, 2019. Register for an AAMC account for the 2020 application cycle. If you want to register for the MCAT from July 2020 onward, sign up in early February. Start budgeting now for the test as well as any additional preparatory materials.

Stay tuned for our next article on selecting what schools to apply to, set for release on October 21st! If you are interested in learning more about the application process or how to navigate the Pre-Med journey, visit our Getting Into Med School: Tips and Tricks Blog.