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How to Register for the 2018 MCAT: Top 3 Tips

  • by Sam
  • Feb 27, 2018
  • MCAT Blog, Pre-Med Support

by Clara Gillan

If you’ve been keeping up with recent developments in MCAT news, you might have noticed that the AAMC recently opened registration for all remaining 2018 test dates. The MCAT testing season runs from January to September, and this development means that students planning to test in July-September 2018 can now register for their exam.

If you are one of these students, but you aren’t sure what this means, never fear! Registering for the MCAT can be an intimidating prospect, but as long as you follow a few simple guidelines, you’ll be all set in no time.

Below are Next Step’s top tips to register for the MCAT exam and set yourself up for pre-med success.

#1. Know the registration rules

Registering properly is simple, but registering improperly can cost you on Test Day. For example, if you have not created one already, the AAMC’s MCAT Registration System will prompt you to create an AAMC ID, which will be associated with a username and password you choose. If you already have an AAMC ID, do not create a second one! Doing so may be grounds for cancellation of your registration or even a ban from taking the MCAT exam.

Similarly, when you register, make sure that your first and last name(s) perfectly match your name(s) on the identification you plan to use on Test Day! If you initially make a mistake, you can change your name to match your ID up until 8 days before your test date. We recommend double-checking both the Registration System and the confirmation email you receive upon registration to ensure that your name is accurate.

Other rules may apply to you depending on your situation. For example, if you plan on utilizing the AAMC Fee Assistance Program (which provides financial assistance for the MCAT and medical school applications), you must be approved for the program before you register if you want to receive discounted registration rates.

#2. Register as early as possible

As with many aspects of pre-med life, “the earlier the better” typically applies to MCAT registration. Even if your test date is several months away, we recommend registering now or very soon to ensure that you get a seat at your preferred testing location. If you wait too long, you may be forced to take the MCAT at a more distant or less convenient testing center. The MCAT Registration System can be found here:

Even if your MCAT exam date is not 100% certain, you may want to consider registering now with the possibility of rescheduling later. For example, consider a student who is almost certain he wants to test in mid-July, but who worries that he might have to push his date back to early August if not prepared. Rather than risk missing out on a July seat, it may be worthwhile to register now and pay the rescheduling fee if an August pushback is needed. If you reschedule 30 or more days prior to your exam date, you’ll pay only a $90 fee, or a $45 fee for AAMC Fee Assistance Program recipients. That may or may not be worth paying for the peace of mind of having an exam seat; it’s up to you!

#3. If you can’t find a seat at the location you want, don’t panic!

While registering early is the safest bet to reserve a seat at your preferred testing center, sometimes this simply isn’t possible. If you attempt to register for the MCAT and find that no seats are open near you, that doesn’t mean you are out of luck. In fact, seats often open up over time as other students cancel or reschedule their exams.

In this situation, it’s generally advisable to register at any testing center where you would be willing to test. Then, check the registration system daily to see whether a seat has opened that would be better for you. If one does become available, you can pay the rescheduling fee and switch locations.

This brings us to our final point: don’t be afraid to reschedule if necessary! It’s best to take the MCAT at a location convenient to you, on a day where your life is as stress-free as possible, and at a time when you feel fully prepared. If any of these are not possible with your initial registration, rescheduling may be your best option. Talk with your advisors, pre-health community, and/or family and trusted friends to determine what is best for you.

On behalf of those of us at Next Step, we wish you good luck!

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