Scheduling an MCAT Exam during COVID-19
Updated June 18, 2020
This update is based on current information about the spread of COVID-19 and the anticipated ability for in-person testing. The AAMC will provide further updates as circumstances change.
- MCAT scores for all exams held from June 19 – September 28 will now be reported in approximately two weeks to provide students testing in this date range the same two-week turnaround time and additional flexibility in rescheduling their test date. The score release for the July 18 test date will be moved from August 4 to August 3 so that students applying to the Early Decision Program in the 2021 Application Cycle can meet the August 3 EDP application deadline. (June 18, 2020)
- After reviewing state and local guidance, the AAMC and Pearson VUE have determined we are able to deliver the MCAT exam safely and in compliance with local requirements at this time. We are now administering the MCAT exam in all U.S. and Canadian locations. (June, 17, 2020)
- We know students have already faced so much uncertainty during the pandemic. And we recognize that the ongoing demonstrations are both important and necessary. We are hearing from some students who still want to be able to take the test and others who understandably want to be able to defer to another date. We are monitoring the curfews and safety conditions where students are testing, and you will be contacted as soon as we know if your test center is impacted and your exam will be canceled. We encourage you to make the decision you’re most comfortable with, and we want to provide you the flexibility to make that decision. Students who already know they want to postpone their exam to another date can reschedule at no cost by calling Pearson VUE directly at 866-281-7532. (June 4, 2020)
Testing plans during COVID-19
The AAMC is committed to providing examinees with the best testing experience possible during this very challenging time. The health and safety of examinees is the AAMC’s priority. Our test delivery partner, Pearson VUE, has implemented health and safety measures across test centers, including social distancing practices, rigorous cleaning regimens, and mask requirements for all examinees and test center staff. Exams will not be held if the conditions in test center locations are unsafe, according to state and local restrictions that would prevent the MCAT exam from being administered in those areas.
The AAMC has made significant changes to the testing plans for the remainder of 2020 to support a safer testing experience and offset the regional effects and possible resurgences of COVID-19:
- We have made changes to respond to the impact of the pandemic on different states and regions, as well as the impact on examinees’ ability to report MCAT scores.
- We have expedited score reporting for exams held from June 19 to September 28.
- We have shortened the exam to 5 hours and 45 minutes, which enables us to increase the number of appointments by 1.5 times the number we have in a typical year. This increase compensates for canceled exams and reduced test center capacity due to social distancing.
- We are offering three test appointments per day at test centers and have waived all rescheduling fees to provide more options and flexibility so you can adjust your plans as needed.
Considerations when selecting an exam date
After reviewing state and local guidance, the AAMC and Pearson VUE have determined we are able to deliver the MCAT exam safely and in compliance with local requirements at this time. The MCAT exam has resumed administrations in all U.S. and Canadian locations. Your health and safety is our top priority, and we will be monitoring the state and local guidance closely through the end of the testing year in September.
In general, it is important to consider the state and local safety, health, and travel guidance in your area when selecting a test date. We do not encourage students to travel far distances to test centers during this time.
Examinees testing with accommodations: If you have received approved accommodations, please follow the instructions outlined on the MCAT Accommodations Services homepage to schedule or reschedule your exam. If you have questions about your accommodations for the MCAT exam, please contact the MCAT Accommodation Services team at email@example.com.
Cancellation decision timeline
We will provide you as much advance notice as possible if your test date becomes at risk of being canceled to help you adjust your date proactively based on your needs and preferences. Our decision-making process and the actions that will follow include:
- Approximately 3-4 weeks in advance of an exam date: Examinees holding appointments that are “at risk” of cancellation – i.e., in test center locations where state and local guidance or other restrictions would prevent MCAT exams from being administered – will receive a notification email. Examinees’ appointments will not be canceled at this time. They will have the option to reschedule their exam at no cost or cancel their appointment in the MCAT Registration System for a full refund of their base registration fee.
- Approximately 10 days in advance of an exam date: The AAMC and Pearson VUE will make final decisions about canceling exams based on the current guidance and restrictions. Affected examinees will receive an email notifying them that their exam has been canceled and their appointment has been placed on hold. At that time, they can select a new appointment at no cost or cancel their appointment for a full refund of their base registration fee in the MCAT Registration System.
To support flexibility in making changes to appointments, rescheduling fees have been waived for the remainder of the testing year and examinees may cancel their exam for a full refund. The MCAT Registration System now supports rescheduling in the bronze zone.
Cancellation timeline: At this time, there are no exams at risk of being canceled due to public health guidance. The following on emergency cancellations still applies. (Updated June 17, 2020)
Emergency Cancellations: Despite our best efforts, we anticipate that the unpredictability of COVID-19 could result in cancellations with less than 10 days notice in some instances, as government guidance could change at the last minute. It is also possible that a test center might encounter other challenges related to safely delivering exams, such as staffing or supply shortages. We will work in partnership with Pearson VUE to minimize these occurrences and assist affected examinees in getting appointments rescheduled as soon as possible.
Medical school commitment to flexibility throughout the 2021 AMCAS Application Cycle
We continue to work closely with medical schools to help them prepare to receive many applicants’ MCAT scores later in the application cycle. Schools are acutely aware of the challenges prospective applicants are facing and will be flexible. Many are changing their timetables for application processing, inviting applicants to submit secondary applications before their MCAT scores arrive, and making interview invitations without MCAT scores. Medical schools have begun to update their admissions policies with COVID-19-related information in the Medical School Admissions Requirements (MSAR) online resource, accessible without a subscription. You may also download a PDF of the policies here.