How Do I Take the MCAT Exam?

Updated February 21, 2017

Aspiring doctors need to take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) as part of the application process for medical school. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) handles registrations for the test. Students need to plan well in advance to take the MCAT exam. AAMC administers the test in limited locations and only a few times each year. Students should review the available options and register to sit for the MCAT with enough time remaining to prepare for this challenging exam.

Read the version of the "MCAT Essentials" policy guidelines for the current testing year. This document gives details on MCAT registration, policies at the MCAT test centres and procedures to follow after the test. You will have to confirm that you read this document at the time of registration.

Use the MCAT testing schedule to decide when to take the test. Apply within the time limit for regular registration to avoid paying late fees. You should apply as early as possible to ensure your choice of testing centres. Some centres may sell out all available seats. You would then have to travel a longer distance to take the MCAT.

Plan to use a credit card for payment of exam fees. AAMC accepts only credit cards issued by VISA or MasterCard. The current fee is £149 for regular registration. You must pay an additional £42 if taking the test at an international testing site. Prepare to pay an additional £35 for late registration and £35 for changes to the test date or testing centre. You must make all payments in U.S. funds.

Register with the AAMC website and log in to register for the MCAT online. Fill out the application. Use the exact name that appears on the photo identification card you will use at the test centre. Choose your testing centre when registering. You can find the list of testing locations as part of the online registration process. You must also verify your intent to enrol in a health professions school. Pay the test fees and print out your receipt.

Request any changes or cancellations within the time limit for regular registration. You may request a change to the test date or centre. Test takers may use late registration only for the initial registration for that MCAT exam date. Use the following contact information to request an MCAT change or cancellation:

Association of American Medical Colleges Medical College Admission Test 2450 N St., NW Washington, DC 20037 (202) 828-0690

Make any necessary lodging accommodations if the test centre is in a different city. Show up at least a few minutes early and bring your identification card. The proctors will not allow you to take the exam unless the name on your government-issued photo identification card matches the name on your MCAT registration. AAMC states that a driver's license and passport are acceptable forms of identification.


Apply for the Fee Assistance Program (FAP) if you have financial difficulties in paying for the test. Submit an FAP application before registering for the test. The FAP reduces the regular test fee to £55.


Apply for a test early in the year if you anticipate having to take the test multiple times. Test takers can take the MCAT up to three times per year, but the test may sell out on later dates.

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About the Author

Jimmy Boyd has a law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School. He has been writing articles on law and a variety of other topics since 2004. His work appears at, eHow and