Protecting Your Health and Safety on Test Day
Health and Safety
A NOTE FROM THE AAMC
October 7, 2020
This page describes the protocols in place during the 2020 testing season. We continue to listen to students’ concerns and suggestions, closely monitor the scientific data, and assess our processes to identify any opportunities for improvement to protect the health and safety of MCAT examinees.
We are assessing our processes along with the emerging knowledge to identify any opportunities for improvement to protect the health and safety of MCAT examinees. Health and safety guidelines for administration of the MCAT exam in January-March 2021 will be updated in December so that we may take the most current recommendations based on scientific knowledge when determining protocols in partnership with experts and Pearson VUE.
The AAMC’s priority during center-based testing is keeping examinees healthy and safe. The AAMC and Pearson VUE worked with infectious disease and medical education experts and followed guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop strict protocols for sanitation and maintaining physical distancing at test centers. Pearson VUE requires that MCAT examinees and Pearson VUE test center staff wear face masks in all areas of the test center. * Current data suggest that wearing face masks, washing hands, and social distancing can help keep people safe in indoor spaces.
Pearson VUE test centers have implemented the following COVID-19 precautionary measures for MCAT administrations:
- Requiring examinees sign to acknowledge that they meet the below and that they will follow health and safety guidelines while testing
- Limiting the number of people in each MCAT test session.
- Observing social distancing between individuals in waiting rooms, at check-in, and in the testing room
- Requiring the use of face masks for all staff and MCAT examinees. *
- Approving the use of gloves while testing (upon inspection)
- Having hand sanitizer available during testing. Examinees will be asked to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer when they enter the testing room.
- Increased cleaning and disinfecting regimens in between all testing appointments
Requiring examinees sign to acknowledge that they meet the current health requirements and that they will follow health and safety guidelines while testing
Protecting your health and safety begins at check-in:
- You must read and comply with the posted on the test center door, which specifically states that you must have not been exposed to or tested positive for COVID-19 or have experienced symptoms within the last 14 days.
- You will be asked to sign the ePad, and you will be informed that by signing, you acknowledge that you will follow the rules for testing and have met all the health and safety requirements for testing as posted on the test center door and next to the signature pad.
You will be asked to reschedule your exam if:
- You have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 14 days of your exam date.
- You are currently experiencing or have experienced one or more associated symptoms within the last 14 days of your exam date.
- You live with or have had close contact with someone who has confirmed or suspected COVID-19. There is an exception for health care professionals. +
- You have been or are under home quarantine or centralized observation by government or healthcare authorities within the last 14 days of your exam date.
If you know or suspect you may have COVID-19 or you are not feeling well, DO NOT TAKE THE EXAM. You may cancel and reschedule your exam for free up to the day of the exam. Please reschedule to a new date for free or cancel for a full refund of your base registration fees at apps.aamc.org/mrs (after the bronze zone deadline, you can request your exam be canceled with a refund by submitting an Emergency Refund Request through the MCAT registration system). Additionally, individuals who arrive at a testing center with symptoms will not be allowed to test and must reschedule.
If you are immunocompromised or have a disability or medical condition, that you believe requires an adjustment to the standard testing conditions, we encourage you to apply for an accommodation. Additional information and instructions on applying for accommodations can be found on the.
+We support health care workers on the front lines of this pandemic. Medical and health care professionals who have had close contact with someone who has confirmed or suspected COVID-19 within the last 14 days of their test date will be permitted to test if both they and the patient were wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment.
The vast majority of examinees will be testing in a center such as the one pictured below, though note there is some variation in the layout and capacity of test centers. Examinees will always be seated at every other workstation under AAMC social distancing requirements for testing. Social distancing (at least 6 feet between individuals) will also be required at check-in and in all common areas for AAMC testing events.
Pearson VUE Test Center Diagram
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that individuals wear face masks in addition to maintaining a safe social distance in public settings. * Examinees will be required to wear a face mask at all times in the test center except when taking photos during check-in and when eating or drinking to protect themselves and others. A face mask can be a surgical or cloth mask, including one that is homemade, as long as it covers the nose and mouth. Examinees should practice wearing their mask and make sure it is comfortable before test day. For those who wear glasses, consider ways to wear a face mask that doesn’t fog the lenses.
Cleaning, Sanitation, and Additional Safety Measures
Test center staff will follow strict cleaning regimens after each exam session, including disinfecting all items that examinees come into contact with during and after testing. Staff will:
- Clean every testing workstation, keyboard, mouse, touchscreen, headphones, and noteboards after use by an examinee.
- Clean the proctor palm vein device, signature pad, and stylus after each use.
- Clean the check-in and proctor workstations, keyboard, mouse, desk, and chair arms regularly and between each exam.
- Clean the lockers and storage area after each testing session. Storage bags for phones are discarded after each use.
- Clean high touch points and objects in communal areas such as door handles, door plates, and lockers hourly.
- Provide tissues, soap, hand sanitizer, and paper towels for staff and candidates to use.
- Conduct routine test center employee wellness checks (e.g., temperature checks) and protocols for identifying symptoms.
- Utilize sneeze guards at the check-in/reception center.
The AAMC takes health and safety issues very seriously. We encourage examinees to send us feedback about their testing experience or report an issue to a test center proctor or by filing a test center concern in the MCAT Registration System or emailing us directly at email@example.com.
* See country-specific face mask exceptions for Australia and the United Kingdom on Pearson VUE’s website.
Reports of Health and Safety Concerns on MCAT Exam Dates
The AAMC’s priority during center-based testing is keeping examinees healthy and safe. Please report to the AAMC any behavior or health and safety concerns you observe on test day. Reports of health and safety concerns on MCAT exam dates will be treated in a confidential manner. There will be no repercussions for reporting this critical information to the AAMC.