Why Should You Take the AAMC PREview® Exam and How Can It Help You?

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Learn more about the AAMC PREview® exam to decide if you should include it as part of your application.

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With the 2024 application cycle right around the corner, many of you are deciding which medical schools to apply to. In the Medical School Admission Requirements™ online database, some medical schools are requiring or recommending the AAMC PREview professional readiness exam. Others are accepting PREview scores to conduct research after the admissions cycle concludes to determine if they will use the exam for a future application year. You may be thinking, what is the PREview exam? Do I need to take the exam in addition to the Medical College Admission Test® (MCAT®)? Where do I learn more? 

Communicating Your Readiness for Medical School 
Aspiring physicians communicate their readiness for medical school by demonstrating their proficiency in the 17 core competencies medical schools look for when evaluating applications. These competencies, created by the AAMC and several medical schools, include not only science and thinking and reasoning skills but also professionalism and interpersonal skills, recognizing that 21st century medical students must be ready to receive advanced instruction in all these areas. 

You communicate your readiness to develop these competencies through the various components of your medical school application. The MCAT exam provides medical schools with a standardized evaluation of your basic knowledge of the natural, behavioral, and social sciences. However, the PREview exam is an opportunity for you to showcase your knowledge of competencies that go beyond academic readiness, such as service orientation, teamwork, resilience, and reliability. 

Together, your MCAT exam and PREview exam scores, coursework, GPA, volunteer and life experiences, work and activities, letters of recommendation, and more provide medical schools with a more complete and balanced view of your ability to further develop the core competencies while you are in medical school. 

Choosing to Take the PREview Exam 
Many medical schools will ask applicants to take both the PREview exam and the MCAT exam in their admissions processes. Performance on the PREview exam will provide medical schools insight into your knowledge of effective and ineffective professional behavior and potential to develop into a doctor who demonstrates compassion, empathy, and professionalism. 

Not every applicant will need a PREview score. If none of the medical schools you are applying to require or recommend the PREview exam, you do not have to take the exam this year. However, we estimate that more than 80 percent of applicants will likely apply to at least one school that is requiring or recommending applicants take the exam. 

Keep in mind that if a medical school you are applying to is recommending the PREview exam, you will want to consider taking this opportunity to demonstrate that you understand that the school values the competencies the exam is measuring. Only you can decide if you should take the exam, and you can make this decision by consulting with the medical schools you wish to apply to and talking with your prehealth advisor. 

When you do decide to take the PREview exam, be sure to apply for the AAMC Fee Assistance Program before registering. Individuals who are approved for fee assistance are able to take the PREview exam for free. Additionally, the AAMC offers free resources to help you prepare, including a full-length practice exam and a preparation guide. 

If you have any questions, please reach out to the PREview team through our online form: Contact the AAMC PREview Program. 

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