Coronavirus (COVID-19) and The MCAT Exam

The AAMC continues to monitor guidance regarding the coronavirus from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), and state and local health authorities, and we are reviewing and modifying operations and processes during this rapidly changing situation. Your health and safety are our priority during the COVID-19 pandemic and robust health and safety measures will be in place at all test centers when testing resumes. This webpage provides updates on the MCAT testing program’s response to COVID-19 and FAQs.

Updated: May 19, 2020

2020 MCAT TESTING CALENDAR (MAY 29 – SEPTEMBER 28, 2020)

We know how disruptive the COVID-19 pandemic has been to MCAT examinees during these critical weeks and months as they prepare for their journey to medical school. The AAMC is expanding the testing calendar to help students impacted by recent cancellations as a result of COVID-19. Three new dates have been added to the calendar (June 28, September 27, and September 28) and three test appointments will be held per date. The AAMC has temporarily shortened the MCAT exam to increase capacity and follow social distancing practices in all test centers.

MCAT registration is now open for the updated 2020 MCAT Testing Calendar (May 29 – September 28).

This update is based upon current information, as of May 8, 2020, about the spread of COVID-19 and the anticipated ability for in-person testing. The AAMC will provide further updates should circumstances change.

 

SHORTENED EXAM FOR MAY 29 – SEPTEMBER 28 ADMINISTRATIONS

A shortened exam will be administered from May 29 to September 28 to accommodate three test appointments per test date at test centers. The exam will be 5 hours and 45 minutes. Examinees will still be tested on all four sections of the exam and will be responsible for demonstrating the same knowledge and skills at the same levels of difficulty as on the full-length exam.

Examinees will receive the same scores on the shortened exam as they do on the full-length exam. They will receive five scores from the shortened version of the exam: one from each of the four sections and one combined total score, just like examinees who took the full-length test. Learn more.

 

TEST RESCHEDULING AND CANCELLATIONS

All rescheduling fees for all exam dates have been waived until further notice to provide examinees with the flexibility to prepare for their new exam date and follow health and safety guidance in their local communities. If your exam was canceled due to COVID-19, you may elect to reschedule or receive a refund. Please submit an Emergency Refund Request. See the FAQs on Cancellations and Rescheduling for more information.

 

HEALTH AND SAFETY

Your health and safety are our top priority. When testing resumes, robust health and safety measures will be in place at all test centers, and examinee workstations will be six feet (2 meters) apart. Face masks are now required while testing at a Pearson VUE-owned test centers. Please see Pearson VUE’s website for detailed health and safety information. 

 

ACCOMMODATIONS

For information on COVID-19 and MCAT Accommodation Services, please visit the Accommodations Homepage.

 

SUPPORTING STUDENTS DURING COVID-19

The AAMC is committed to supporting examinees throughout the MCAT testing and application process.

  • We have waived all MCAT rescheduling fees so you can adjust your test date to accommodate your preparation and health and safety needs. See FAQs on Cancellations and Rescheduling.
  • We have extended all subscriptions to MCAT preparation products through the end of the year to provide access to materials to support your adjusted exam date. Visit www.aamc.org/mcatprep.
  • As of April 20, 2020, the AAMC Fee Assistance Program has expanded its eligibility guidelines to help more students with financial need qualify for benefits. Visit www.aamc.org/fap.
  • MSAR is updating medical school admissions policies with COVID-19 information readily available to students without a subscription. Visit www.aamc.org/msar.

MCAT FAQs

Cancellations and Rescheduling

You will receive a cancellation notice from the AAMC or Pearson VUE by email if your test center is closed. If you do not receive a notice by email, your exam will proceed as planned.

Yes, we added three additional dates and are offering three test appointments per day on all administration dates. The standard start times for the exam are at 6:30 a.m., 12:15 p.m., and 6:00 p.m. There may be some variations by test center.

If your test center is closed, your appointment will be placed on hold. You have several options, detailed below, that are accessible through the MCAT Registration System.

  • Reschedule: Log into the MCAT Registration System and reschedule your exam to another date at no cost. All MCAT rescheduling fees have been waived until further notice. 
  • Cancel: If you received a cancellation email, you may cancel your exam for a full refund of your base registration fee. Please note that the system will not automatically give you a full refund. Any balance due will be refunded within two weeks without requiring any further action on your part. Please allow the full two weeks for the remaining refund to be credited to your account. 

Effective April 1, all rescheduling fees will be automatically waived until further notice, regardless of exam date. Please note:

  • If the silver zone deadline for your scheduled exam has not passed, you can reschedule your exam online without incurring a fee. You will no longer need to wait to be refunded.
  • If the silver zone deadline for your scheduled exam has passed, you must call Pearson VUE at 866-281-7532 to reschedule, again at no cost.

Click here to access the updated 2020 MCAT Testing Calendar.

Yes, we added three additional dates and are offering three test appointments per day on all 21 remaining administration dates. The standard start times for the exam are at 6:30 a.m., 12:15 p.m., and 6:00 p.m. There may be some variations by test center. More information about start times, including start times for examinees who currently have 8:00 a.m. appointments, will be provided prior to registration opening.

We are continuing to monitor international guidance as the pandemic unfolds and the testing needs of students internationally. Please refer to the international testing calendars for the most current status in your country.

In order to most efficiently utilize test center space, appointments will begin as soon as the previous session has ended, and workstations have been cleaned. If an appointment earlier in the day is shorter or longer than 5 hours and 45 minutes, such as an accommodated appointment that has extra testing time for instance, the subsequent appointment could begin at a non-standard start time. Keep in mind you still may have your original time of 8:00 a.m. or you may see an 8:00 a.m. option. No exam will begin prior to 6:30 a.m. or after 6:00 p.m. local time.

We are making cancellation decisions with close attention to changing health and safety guidance in states and counties. We will not make cancellation decisions earlier than 10 days out because local health and safety guidance changes frequently. This is to avoid prematurely canceling an exam and causing examinees to lose their ability to test on their scheduled date and time.  We will notify examinees testing in areas that are at risk of cancellation 3-4 weeks before their test date and provide them with the date they will receive notification by if their exam is canceled.

Shortened Exam

The AAMC has an important responsibility to ensure the validity, security, and integrity of the MCAT exam. Even with center-based administrations, a small number of individuals attempt to gain an unfair advantage on their exam by bringing prohibited items into the testing room or giving or receiving assistance. Small numbers of examinees reveal test questions and answers or reconstruct topics after the exam. Simply stated, online proctored testing cannot have in place the same security protocols as an in-person proctored exam.

Additionally, all examinees must have a sustained, uninterrupted internet connection. Administering an online exam could provide a disadvantage to examinees who do not have access to the necessary high-speed internet connection required for online testing.

Lastly, test questions include many complex figures, graphs, and equations that require high resolution to be displayed properly, and it is critical to display high-resolution test content accurately and in the same way for all examinees. It is also important that the technology students use to take the MCAT exam is standardized and provides the best opportunity for examinees to show how well they understand the concepts tested on the exam. The MCAT exam measures examinees’ ability to apply their knowledge to the solution of scientific problems.

The shortened exam provides about the same time per question as the full-length exam.  You can continue using the same practice materials for the full-length exam to help you with your pacing.

Students will receive the same scores on the shortened exam as they do on the full-length exam. You will receive five scores from the exam: one from each of the four sections and one combined total score. Please visit our webpage on how the exam is scored to learn more. 

Please visit the webpage on the shortened exam that provides the schedule for the test day and other important information.

Students will still be tested on all four sections of the exam and will be responsible for demonstrating the same knowledge and skills at the same levels of difficulty as on the full-length exam. While there will be a small reduction in the number of test questions in each test section, the shortened exam will maintain the same format as the full-length test.  The list of foundational concepts, content categories, skills, and disciplines tested on the MCAT exam can be found in the What’s on the MCAT Exam? study tool.

No. The AAMC is implementing a temporarily shortened MCAT exam to increase capacity and follow social distancing practices in the test centers due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. These changes are only in place through the remainder of the 2020 MCAT testing calendar.

We encourage you to use our free Practice with Exam Features tool to become familiar with the exam’s functionality. You can access the tool by selecting the red “MCAT Official Prep Hub” button on our website and logging in with your AAMC credentials. Go to the Free Resource section of the Hub and the Practice with Exam Features tool will be the second resource listed.

We are committed to seeing that individuals’ accommodation needs are met under the new shorter exam format. All examinees who are scheduled to test with accommodations will receive the same or equivalent accommodations on the shortened exam to the extent possible given current health and safety precautions associated with the pandemic. If you have questions regarding the impact on your accommodations, please visit the Accommodations homepage or contact MCAT Accommodations Services at accommodations@aamc.org

The Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems section includes:

  • A total of 48 questions
    • 8 passage-based sets of questions (4-6 questions per set)
    • 12 independent questions

The Critical Analysis and Reasoning section includes:

  • A total of 48 questions
    • 8 passages (5-7 questions per passage)

The Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems section includes:

  • A total of 48 questions
    • 8 passage-based sets of questions (4-6 questions per set)
    • 12 independent questions

The Psychological and Sociological Foundations of Behavior section includes:

  • A total of 48 questions
    • 8 passage-based sets of questions (4-6 questions per set)
    • 12 independent questions

 

Application Cycle and MCAT Scores

Yes, MCAT scores will be reported within approximately two weeks for exams held from June 19 through August 1. MCAT scores from other test dates will be reported to examinees and medical schools in the typical time frame of about four weeks.

Medical schools are aware of changes to the MCAT administration dates, and the AAMC is working with schools as they begin to prepare for later test score availability for the upcoming application cycle. We have encouraged medical schools to be flexible with their review policies during this atypical admissions cycle. Please visit MSAR to learn how specific schools are adjusting their policies and deadlines during the COVID-19 pandemic. No subscription is required to access this information.  

Additionally, AMCAS has delayed the first transmission deadline to medical schools by two weeks. Schools will receive the first applications submitted in AMCAS on July 10.  

Our testing plan has been designed to increase testing capacity and flexibility for examinees during the pandemic. We have increased test appointments by 1.5 times the number we have in a typical year to account for differing health and safety guidance geographically as some examinees will be able to test earlier and some later in the testing calendar. As a reminder for examinees who live in areas with strict stay-at-home guidance and non-essential business closures, there are many appointments available throughout the summer and fall and they can reschedule at no cost as many times as needed to adjust their plans. We will communicate cancellations to examinees approximately 3-4 weeks in advance to balance providing examinees with enough notice of their cancellation with not canceling exams prematurely.

Medical schools know this is a stressful and highly unusual year for applicants and will be flexible with applicants. Applicants should communicate directly with the schools they are applying to so admissions officers know when they will be taking their MCAT exam, in addition to noting their future exam date in their AMCAS application. Medical schools are also adapting quickly to the challenges of COVID-19, and while we can’t predict what will happen in the future, we will work with the medical school admissions community on solutions to solve those challenges as they arise. 

 

Health and Safety

Examinee health and safety is our top priority. When MCAT testing resumes, there will be multiple health and safety measures in place at all test centers, including: 

  • Social distancing: examinees will be seated six feet (2 meters) apart in the test center.
  • Examinees will be required to wear face masks while testing at a Pearson VUE-owned test center.
  • Examinees will be allowed to wear disposable gloves in the test centers.
  • Hand sanitizer will be available.
  • Enhanced disinfecting practices will occur at all test centers.

Please visit Pearson VUE’s website for a comprehensive list of health and safety measures in place at all test centers.  

Please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or World Health Organization for more information on COVID-19 and the most current health and safety guidance.

Test Preparation

Impact on Test Year 2020 Examinees 

*March 27 update: If you had an MCAT reservation on or after March 11, 2020 and your MCAT Prep products expire between March 1 and September 30, 2020, access to those products will be extended to September 30, 2020 in the MCAT Official Prep Hub. 

The extension is intended to aid the following examinees who have products expiring between March 1 and September 30, 2020:

  • Anyone whose exams were canceled or rescheduled due to the recent coronavirus test center closures
  • Anyone who voluntarily canceled or rescheduled an exam reservation on or after March 11th (even if you do not have a current reservation)
  • Anyone who currently holds an MCAT reservation for the remaining 2020 MCAT testing year

Impacted examinees, who purchased MCAT Official Prep products through the AAMC Store or received products through an AAMC access code, will receive a notice with more details when product expiration dates have been adjusted. We are continuously monitoring reservation changes in student accounts; please allow one to two weeks for product expiration dates to adjust in the MCAT Official Prep Hub. If you believe you meet the above criteria and do not see a product extension after two weeks, please email MCATPrep@aamc.org.  

AAMC practice tests will not be shortened to match the length of the shortened exam, but the full-length practice exams and shortened test provide about the same time per question. Your practice products can still help you with pacing on the shortened exam and offer more practice questions to help you prepare. The MCAT Official Prep free resources and products will also continue to help you learn about the exam’s interface and features and give you the opportunity to review the Test-Day Certification at your own pace. Access MCAT Official Prep free resources and products through the MCAT Official Prep Hub; select the red button and sign in using your AAMC username and password.

The shortened exam will maintain the same format as the full-length test. Students will still be tested on all four sections of the exam and will be responsible for demonstrating the same knowledge and skills at the same levels of difficulty as on the full-length exam. You can continue using the same practice materials to help you with your pacing. The list of foundational concepts, content categories, skills, and disciplines tested on the MCAT exam can be found in the What’s on the MCAT Exam? study tool.

AAMC practice exams will not be shortened to match the length of the shortened exam, but the full-length practice exams and shortened test provide about the same time per question. Your practice products can still help you with pacing on the shortened exam and offer more practice questions to help you prepare. The MCAT Official Prep products and free resources will also continue to help you learn about the exam’s interface and features and give you the opportunity to review the Test-Day Certification at your own pace. 

Due to our current remote work status, the AAMC has suspended the shipment of The Official Guide to the MCAT Exam (included in the Complete Bundle) and the print version of the MCAT Official Flashcards ordered through the AAMC Store until further notice. All online products, including the Online-Only Bundle and Online Flashcards, are available. To be notified of when print products become available, please fill out this online form

Students can also access free, online study resources through the MCAT Official Prep Hub.

Test Security

  • Yes. If your government issued ID expired after March 1, 2020 and it meets all other required ID criteria, you may present the expired ID on May 29th or June 5th and it will be accepted.
  •  If you have a second government issued ID (passport, license) that is NOT expired, please use that document on test day.

If your government issued ID expired prior to March 1, 2020 and does not include an expiration date, signature, photograph, is not in English or otherwise does not meet the criteria outlined here, you must request an ID Exception.

Requests for ID exceptions are submitted through Service Requests in the MCAT Registration System and must be received 5 days prior to your exam date.

Please check back for the most up to date information after June 1.

  • If your state is open and your ID expired after March 1, 2020, please make every attempt to renew or apply for renewal as soon as possible. Many state offices are processing online renewals for driver licenses and identification cards. Please retain any receipts and online renewal/temporary paperwork you may be provided.
  • We are working with PearsonVUE to establish fair and timely policies to support those whose identification has expired since March 1, 2020. If the DMV/passport offices are closed in your state, and your ID expired after March 1, 2020, please check back for the most up to date information after June 1.

If your government issued ID expired prior to March 1, 2020 and does not include an expiration date, signature, photograph, is not in English or otherwise does not meet the criteria outlined here, you must apply for an ID Exception.

Requests for ID exceptions are submitted through Service Requests in the MCAT Registration System and must be received 5 days prior to your exam date.

Important information on Test Delivery

The AAMC’s test delivery partner, Pearson VUE, has set up a website to share information on health and safety measures in progress at test centers, as well as country-specific, state-specific, and county-specific information about test center operations and requirements. We encourage you to review this information to learn more about processes in place at global and local test centers. 

COVID-19 Changes to MCAT Exam Administrations: May 29 – September 28, 2020

 

Information to help you schedule an MCAT exam during COVID-19

During this is a stressful time, you likely have many questions about registering for or rescheduling your MCAT exam and selecting the best test date. This page will help you navigate this process.

MCAT Essentials (Updated)

Don't Forget to Read the Updated MCAT Essentials for Testing Year 2020

Updated 2020 MCAT Calendar (U.S.)

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View the 2020 U.S. Schedule for the Medical College Admission Test® (MCAT®).

Updated 2020 MCAT Calendar (Canada)

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2020 MCAT Covid Calendar - Canada