The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is the standardized exam required for admission to medical schools in the United States and Canada. College Admissions personnel use the MCAT as a predictor of your success in medical school.
See our guide to 2021 MCAT test dates and score release dates below.
The MCAT tests students' knowledge of science and their critical thinking, analytic, problem-solving, and writing skills. The MCAT has four integrated sections:
- Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
- Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
- Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior
- Scientific Inquiry, Critical Analysis, and Reasoning Skills
Each section on the exam is scored using a 118 to 132 range, with a median score of 125. You'll receive a score for each section, plus an overall score. Total scores average 500, with ranges from 472 to 528. Learn more about what is a good MCAT score.
MCAT Registration and Eligibility
According to the AAMC, “you are eligible to take the MCAT exam if you are planning to apply to a health professions school.”
To register for the MCAT, follow these steps:
- Create an account on the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) website before registration opens.
- Keep track of your username, password, and security questions.
- Provide the personal information needed, ensuring that the data you provide matches the government-issued ID you intend to use as identification on the day of your test.
- Remember that after you've filled out all the personal info, you'll be allowed to register for a test date and pick your preferred location.
- Click on "Find Seat" to see what's available at your chosen location.
- If there are seats available, you can register for that test date. If not, search for other locations until you find an open seat.
- Keep in mind that you'll need your credit card information to pay the registration fee.
MCAT 2021 Test Dates
|MCAT Test Date||MCAT Score Release Date|
|Friday, January 15, 2021||Tuesday, February 2, 2021|
|Saturday, January 16, 2021||Tuesday, February 2, 2021|
|Thursday, January 21, 2021||Tuesday, February 9, 2021|
|Monday, January 25, 2021||Tuesday, February 9, 2021|
|Saturday, March 13, 2021||Tuesday, April 13, 2021|
|Friday, March 26, 2021||Tuesday, April 27, 2021|
|Saturday, April 10, 2021||Tuesday, May 11, 2021|
|Friday, April 23, 2021||Tuesday, May 25, 2021|
|Friday, April 30, 2021||Tuesday, June 1, 2021|
|Saturday, May 1, 2021||Tuesday, June 1, 2021|
|Friday, May 14, 2021||Tuesday, June 15, 2021|
|Saturday, May 15, 2021||Tuesday, June 15, 2021|
|Thursday, May 20, 2021||Tuesday, June 22, 2021|
|Friday, May 28, 2021||Tuesday, June 22, 2021|
|Friday, June 4, 2021||Wednesday, July 7, 2021|
|Friday, June 18, 2021||Tuesday, July 20, 2021|
|Saturday, June 19, 2021||Tuesday, July 20, 2021|
|Saturday, June 26, 2021||Tuesday, July 27, 2021|
|Wednesday, June 30, 2021||Friday, July 30, 2021|
|Saturday, July 17, 2021||Tuesday, August 17, 2021|
|Saturday, July 22, 2021||Tuesday, August 24, 2021|
|Friday, July 30, 2021||Tuesday, August 31, 2021|
|Saturday, August 7, 2021||Wednesday, September 8, 2021|
|Friday, August 13, 2021||Tuesday, September 14, 2021|
|Saturday, August 21, 2021||Tuesday, September 21, 2021|
|Thursday, August 26, 2021||Tuesday, September 28, 2021|
|Thursday, September 2, 2021||Tuesday, October 5, 2021|
|Friday, September 3, 2021||Tuesday, October 5, 2021|
|Friday, September 10, 2021||Tuesday, October 12, 2021|
|Saturday, September 11, 2021||Tuesday, October 12, 2021|
Standard start times will be 7:30 a.m., and 3:00 p.m. each day. Scores are released by 5:00 p.m. ET on the scheduled date.
MCAT Test Day Schedule
The MCAT is a 7½ hour, computer-based test with the reputation of being one of the most challenging standardized tests.
|Examinee Agreement||8 minutes|
|Tutorial (optional)||10 minutes|
|Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems||95 minutes|
|Break (optional)||10 minutes|
|Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills||90 minutes|
|Mid-Exam Break (optional)||30 minutes|
|Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems||95 minutes|
|Break (optional)||10 minutes|
|Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior||95 minutes|
|Void Question||5 minutes|
|Satisfaction Survey (optional)||5 minutes|
|Total Content Time||6 hours, 15 minutes|
|Total Seated Time||Approximately 7 hours, 33 minutes|
MCAT Test Cost
It costs $320 to take the MCAT. This initial MCAT registration fee includes the distribution of your MCAT scores to medical schools. Check out the latest MCAT Fee Information.
MCAT Testing Centers & Test Locations
There are test locations for the MCAT in every U.S. state and Canadian province. Check here to find your test location.
When is it best to take the MCAT?
When you take the MCAT depends on a few different factors, which you can determine by asking yourself some questions:
- Are you planning to apply for med school after your fourth year of college, or are you planning on taking a gap year?
- How much preparation time do you think you'll need?
- Have you completed all the courses that will be on the MCAT?
Ideally, you should choose a date that allows you to have plenty of time to study. You'll also need to determine when the score release date is so you can submit your MCAT score early in the medical school application process.
If you take the MCAT the spring of your junior year, you’ll have time to retake the MCAT in the summer or following fall, if necessary.
How should you prepare for the MCAT?
Many students benefit from three to six months of MCAT preparation. Most students who do well on the MCAT spend between 200 and 360 hours preparing for the exam.
- Determine your baseline score and strengths and weaknesses by taking a free online MCAT practice test.
- Address your weaknesses first. Focus on the sections, topics, or question types you need help with the most before moving on to comprehensive prep.
- Make a checklist of exam topics. Use the PDF version of the What’s on the MCAT Exam Tool as a checklist of topics that will be on the exam.
- Block off large chunks of time to study and prepare. Don’t study in little bits. Dedicate time for the exam.
- Consider taking a prep course to keep you on track with your test deadline. Choose a course that works with your schedule and goals. If you’re prepping while going to school and also working in a lab, online test prep that’s flexible and convenient could be your best bet.
- Practice as much as you can. You’ll figure out how the questions are phrased, and you’ll pick up on patterns.
- Keep a notebook or log of concepts you are weak on and want to practice continuously. At the end of each practice session, look up the correct answers questions you missed and write them down here. Review the notebook at the beginning of each study session.
- Self-Evaluate Your Work. Don’t just answer the questions and tally your score at the end. Use the results to teach yourself how to improve. What kinds of questions do you consistently miss? What types of passages slow you down?
- Take breaks. It’s important to give yourself a rest and focus on other things once in a while.
- Use strategies to approach each section of the exam.
Last Updated: 1/8/2021