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Protecting Your Health and Safety on Test Day

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The AAMC’s priority is to keep examinees healthy and safe when they take the MCAT exam.

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Health and Safety

We continue to monitor guidance about the coronavirus from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and state and local health authorities. Protocols are determined in partnership with expert guidance and Pearson VUE. This webpage provides important information on the following:

  • Protocols in Test Centers
  • Requirements for You to Test
  • What to Expect on Test Day
  • Social Distancing, Face Masks, and Cleaning
  • Five Ways to Report Concerns 

 

Protocols in Test Centers 

Learn more about the health and safety protocols in place at test centers.

Our testing partner, Pearson VUE, has implemented the following COVID-19 precautionary measures for all MCAT administrations: 

  • Limiting the number of people in each MCAT test session. 
  • Maintaining six feet distance between individuals in the testing room. 
  • Requiring the use of face masks for all staff and MCAT examinees. *(Ventilated masks and face shields are not permitted.)  
  • Approving the use of disposable gloves (upon inspection) while testing. 
  • Making hand sanitizer available during testing and allowing personal hand sanitizer bottles (upon inspection) in the test room. 
  • Cleaning and disinfecting regimens between all testing appointments and throughout the test day. 
  • Requiring examinees to sign an agreement that acknowledges that they meet the current posted health requirements, and that they will follow all health and safety guidelines while testing. 

*The CDC released updated guidance on the benefits of wearing more than one mask. You are strongly encouraged to wear a multi-layered cloth mask, or a cloth mask over a disposable mask, on exam day.


 

Requirements for You to Test

Protecting your health and safety and that of others begins BEFORE check-in.

If you are not feeling well on the day of your exam or suspect you may have recently been exposed to COVID-19, DO NOT GO TO THE TEST CENTER. Please contact the AAMC to cancel your exam at no cost. You will be instructed to file an Emergency Refund Request in the MCAT Registration System. 

You may NOT go to the test center after you submit an Emergency Refund Request. Your exam will be canceled so that you may register for a future date, however, your refund request may not be processed until after your exam date. 

When you arrive at the test center: 

You must read and comply with the COVID-19 test center procedures posted on the test center door. 

Please DO NOT enter the testing center if any of the five criteria below apply to you on test day.  You may not enter the test center and must 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 COVID-19. There is an exception for health care professionals. + 

  • You have been or are under home quarantine or centralized observation by government or health care authorities.

  • You traveled to or from, within the last 14 days, a location that the state/country/city you are currently in has placed travel restrictions on. 

+We support health care workers on the front lines of the 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. We request that front line workers only proceed with the exam if both they and patients were wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment. 

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 


 

What to Expect on Test Day

At Check-In: 

  • You will be asked to sign the ePad.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. 

  • Your test day photo will be taken. You may pull your mask down under your chin to take the photo. Please immediately put your mask back in place over your nose and mouth. 

  • You will be required to place your palm on the scanner. Please use the available hand sanitizer before and after touching the palm scanning device. 

If hand sanitizer is not available at the check-in desk, please ask for it! 

While you are waiting to be checked in, please observe social distancing of at least six feet between you and others who are waiting. When you are escorted to the test room, please observe social distancing in the hallways and in all common spaces of the test center.  

You should expect…

Please note:

The number of individuals in each MCAT test session to be limited.

At most test centers, each room should contain no more than 10 individuals.

Social distancing: Examinees will be seated six feet (two meters) apart in the test room.

At most test centers, there will be one open workstation between pairs of examinees.

While you are waiting to be checked in: Please observe social distancing of at least six feet between you and others who are waiting.

When you are escorted to the test room: Please observe social distancing in the hallways and in all common spaces of the test center.

In smaller common areas of some test centers, maintaining six feet of distance may be challenging. If other examinees or test-center staff do not adhere to social distancing in these areas, please remind them of the required spacing.

Examinees and staff to be required to wear face masks (face masks must adequately cover your nose and mouth); gloves are optional and subject to inspection.

Masks may be removed for the test-day photo and during breaks to eat and drink.

Masks may NOT be removed while you are at your workstation. Your exam will be terminated if you remove your mask while you are at your workstation.

Hand sanitizer to be available, and you may bring your own

Hand sanitizer must be in a clear bottle and is subject to inspection.

Cleaning and disinfecting regimens to be followed between all testing appointments and throughout the day.

To reduce distractions during the exam, staff may clean workstations, common areas, and other facilities while examinees are not present in those spaces.

If you are concerned that your workstation was not cleaned before your exam, please let the staff know immediately.

To be required to acknowledge that you meet health requirements for testing and that you will follow health and safety guidelines while testing. When you sign the e-pad during check-in, you are acknowledging that you meet and will follow these requirements.

Temperatures will not be taken before you enter the test center unless required by the locality where you are testing.

If you do not feel well or believe you may have a temperature, please DO NOT go to the test center.


 

Social Distancing, Face Masks, and Cleaning

 

Social Distancing 

Most examinees will be testing in a center such as the one pictured below. However, there is some variation in test center layout and capacity. Examinees will be seated at every other workstation under AAMC social distancing requirements for testing. Social distancing (at least six feet between individuals) is also expected at check-in and in all common areas of the testing center. 

Test Center Diagram.JPG
Pearson VUE Test Center Diagram

When you are escorted to the testing room, please observe social distancing in the hallways and in all common spaces of the test center. 

In smaller common areas of some test centers, maintaining six feet of distance may be challenging. If other examinees or test center staff do not exercise social distancing in these areas, notify staff immediately. 

Face Masks 

Pearson VUE requires that MCAT examinees and Pearson Vue test center staff wear face masks in all areas of the test center at all times, except when taking photos during check-in and when eating or drinking*.  

A face mask can be a surgical or cloth mask, and it must cover the nose and mouth. Layering cloth with disposable masks is allowed; KN95 masks should not be used in layering. Ventilated masks and face shields are not permitted. 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

* See country-specific face mask exceptions for Australia and the United Kingdom on Pearson VUE’s website. 

Cleaning Measures 

Test center staff follow strict cleaning regimens before, during, and after each exam session. Research and best practices for preventing the spread of COVID-19 are evolving and we will be updating protocols regularly.  

To reduce distractions during the exam, staff may clean workstations, common areas, and other facilities while examinees are not present in those spaces. If you are concerned that your workstation was not cleaned before your exam, please let the staff know immediately. 


 

Five Ways to Report Concerns 

The AAMC and Pearson VUE encourage and support examinees advocating for their own health and safety while in the test center. 

  1. If you observe any violation of the health and safety protocols in test centers before, during, or after testing, immediately report them to your proctor or test center staff. 

  2. If you do not feel comfortable reporting during testing, you may notify the AAMC of any behavior or health and safety concerns. 

  3. Report concerns on the survey presented at the end of your exam. These responses go directly to the AAMC. 

  4. Submit concerns through the online form.

  5. Email concerns to mcatsafety@aamc.org

  6. Call the anonymous tip line at 202-828-0973. 

All reports will be treated in a confidential manner. There are no repercussions for reporting this critical information to the AAMC.

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