COVID-19 Changes to the MCAT Exam
Updated May 5, 2020
To lessen the impact of MCAT cancellations due to coronavirus (COVID-19) and in an attempt to provide testing to as many examinees as possible who want to test in 2020 during the pandemic, the AAMC is temporarily shortening the MCAT exam and offering multiple administrations per test date. A shortened version of the MCAT exam will only be administered from May 29 through the end of the 2020 testing year.
The exam time will be reduced from a total “seated” time of 7 hours and 30 minutes to 5 hours and 45 minutes. The number of scored questions remains the same. Other elements of the exam have been reduced or removed to shorten the seated time, such as the tutorial and end-of-day survey.
We encourage examinees to use the “Practice with Exam Features” tool in the free resources section of the MCAT Prep Hub to familiarize themselves with the exam’s functionality before test day in lieu of the tutorial.
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. Examinees 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. Please see our webpage on how the exam is scored for more information.
Below is the new test day schedule. Exams will be administered three times a day at test centers to accommodate the immediate need for increased testing capacity and flexibility as the pandemic unfolds. Standard start times will be 6:30 a.m., 12:15 p.m., and 6:00 p.m. each day. There may be some variations by test center.
Test Day Schedule for Exams Held May 29 - September 28, 2020
Number of Questions
|Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems||48||76 minutes|
|Break (optional)||10 minutes|
|Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills||48||81 minutes|
|Mid-Exam Break (optional)||10 minutes|
|Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems||48||76 minutes|
|Break (optional)||10 minutes|
|Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior||48||76 minutes|
|Void Question||2 minutes|
|Total Content Time (includes administration screens)||5 hours and 15 minutes|
|Total “Seated” Time*||Approx. 5 hours and 45 minutes|
*Total seated time does not include check-in time upon arrival at the test.
|Section||Number of Questions||Question Type|
|Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems||48||
|Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills||48||
|Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems||48||
|Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior||48||
Protecting your 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 can bring masks and gloves to the exam.
- Hand sanitizer will be available.
- Enhanced disinfecting practices will occur at the test centers before and after each seating.
Please visit Pearson VUE’s website for a comprehensive list of health and safety measures in place at test centers.
As the spread of COVID-19 slows and expands in the United States and across the globe, the availability of testing may be affected. The AAMC will follow strict guidance from local health authorities in testing locations to protect the health and safety of examinees. Please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the World Health Organization for more information about the COVID-19 pandemic and current health and safety guidance.